I have recently started some freelance work in London EC2, at an office in a converted warehouse in the maze of streets between Old Street station and Moorgate.
It is an area where 21st-century financial corporations are spreading out from EC1, building mirror-glass and polished granite skyscrapers amid the crumbling decay of 19th-century sweatshops and goods stores. Everywhere there is scaffolding, 'For Sale' and 'To Let' signs and the old juxtaposed with the new.
Even my choice of where to eat offers a similar dichotomy: a traditional greasy spoon cafe or a trendy Cost-a-Lot coffee bar.
The energy in this part of London is very strange indeed. It is vibrant, but also cold and unforgiving. It is a place where I feel I need to appear strong and confident, so I wear my work-face as I walk from the station in the grey morning gloom with the commuting crowds.