First time I went to London I was eight years old. Actually, it was my birthday gift that year: I was to fly to London by myself and meet my dad who would be there for work. I can remember so much from that trip: the cold, rainy weather, the smell of the city, the food I ate. I got to do so many of the things one is expected or could want to do in London.

We went to Trafalgar Square and fed the pigeons. I remember my dad telling me the guy who sold the pigeon food had told his insurance company that he sold “fuel for flying” to make sure they gave him his insurance. We went to Hamleys and I had my young mind blown by the prospect of a five floor toy store. I spent the whole time trying to take in this massive city as best as I could.

On that trip we stayed in the Portobello Hotel, a far nicer hotel than any hotel I have been able to stay in London ever since. My dad was in the process of moving to England for work (which I didn’t see at the time was also part of my parents’ separation) so he was at this hotel all the time. He brought me to the hotel bar and introduced me to the bartender, Damon. Damon brought me a coke and remarked about my name and his being similar. My dad told me he used to see Damon’s father’s band play in the 60s and that Damon was now playing in a band himself. But they needed “a new name ’cause what kind of name is Blur?”

I have had a ton of amazing trips to London in my life but nothing will ever compare to that first one.

As told by Fucked Up’s Mr. Damian. Photo by John London.

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