On Dolores
The Mission
Thursday morning


Tales from never neverland

As I write this, the sound of revellery (in the form of two combating sets of repetitive beats) drifts in through my faux-Victorian windows.

I’m perched on a hillside, a stunning and sunny view of downtown from my window, next to the infamous Dolores Park. If there had to be one spot I could bring my friends and family to from the ‘Old Blighty’ (the UK) and point and say, “look, this is San Francisco, this is why I’m here”, it would be Dolores.

My teenage sister visited – she said it was like never neverland.

It’s a far cry from my old neighbourhood in ‘The Big Smoke’ (London), where I’m almost certain that it’s currently raining, grey and miserable. Where a meander to the shops would inevitably entail an altercation with someone mis-spending their youth, and an evening out would involve an hour-long commute either way.

London is a place that should retain a special place in my heart, after all it’s where I was born and bred. It’s a city that every visitor seems to love. Samuel Johnson famously said, ‘when a man is tired of London, he’s tired of life’. Yet as long as I lived there I could never muster the pride to say I loved it, even liked it. I’ve always been tired of London, yet I’m certainly not tired of life.

Which is why I moved. Now, when people ask where I live, I can hardly contain my pride, my sense of life, when I say San Francisco. There’s nowhere quite like it on earth. From twisting drives up Highway ‘1’ North, with barely a second without a world-class view, to late nights in the Mission. From evenings in a tub overlooking the bay, to friendly heart-warming conversations with complete strangers on the muni. From the madness of the never-ending stream of street-parties to the calm of the Botanical Gardens – all just a cycle away.

Ask 100 people what they think of living in London and you’ll hear lots of ‘it’s alright’ and ‘it’s OK’. They’re a tiring bunch. Ask 100 people what they think of living in San Francisco and you’ll hear an abundance of ‘I love it’s’ and ‘I couldn’t be happier’ and ‘I feel so lucky to be here’. They’re full of life.

People love it here and that simple effervescence is palpable throughout the city. That’s why, for now, there’s nowhere else on earth I’d rather be. All I have to do is persuade a few of my tired friends over to join me, and to slowly infiltrate the quotations annals so that Mr Johnson’s quote is modernized to read:

‘No wonder you’re tired of London, it’s crap – San Francisco’s where it’s at.’ – Mr Savage, Never neverland, December 2009


You can see the rest of Tom’s photo shoot here.



  1. ed brydon
    Posted December 7, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, the first fellow Brit on i live here:SF. Thanks Julie, and Tom. Although I’ve never lived in London, quite a few friends and my sister do though, I can certainly empathize. I live in NYC and love it here. It’s true though, I’ve never been to SF, but my first visit is coming up at the end of January 2010 and I can’t wait. Great post, great new site on WordPress.

  2. Posted December 7, 2009 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Well, I don’t even live in San Francisco, but I visit often enough to be able to say, “Welcome to the City”.
    And your sister’s observation was right — San Francisco IS a Neverland — a place where everybody is expected write their own script, and everybody is a star…

    And Julie, the new site looks nice and clean — way to go.
    Got my sidebar link changed over to the new address.

  3. Ned
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 3:57 am | Permalink

    Tom – yes, it’s currently raining, grey and miserable in London. Surprise!

  4. Medea
    Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Perhaps someone could swing an ‘iliveherelondon’ corollary to Julie’s site. London is fine, it bustles, it has art, plenty of colorful and engaged people, I’m sure-yet there’s just something about our town as Tom says-it’s palpable. We are a lucky bunch. Thank you both-and Julie I love this new site-it’s crisp and bright and wonderful. Congratulations!

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