A few weeks ago, I had the unfortunate experience of attending a party full of PEP students – one of those weird events where you eat strange cheeses, choke on roll-ups and listen to that awful ‘Get Lucky’ song over and over again. I would advise that no good soul ever attend one of these soirees.
In any case, the hot topic of this party was how supposedly great London is. “I can’t wait to go to the LSE” the eager-eyed Dutch girl exclaims, spraying alcopop onto my face. “London is so exciting, there’s always so much to do!”. Her comrade, eager to also “live the London lifestyle”, expressed similar sentiments. According to this prim-fresh oddity, she was at heart a true “city girl”, despite growing up in Shropshire.
I don’t know where this bullshit comes from, but I’d probably blame Gossip Girl. Oh, you don’t watch that? Well if you must insist on lying, Gossip Girl is a US melodrama about a bunch of brats with more money than brains, who rage around the New York City causing mischief and mayhem. However unlike Spiderman, sometimes they get pregnant or have sex with their siblings. Gossip Girl sells itself on the idea that living in ‘the big smoke’ is basically the best thing in the world, and that anyone in this metropolis will have access to high society.
As a Londoner myself, I feel obligated to make this basic point – London is basically the arsehole of the world. For starters, it smells like a sewer, and no amount of Italian coffee and Balti curry houses will ever be able to cover it. But perhaps you like living in shit (you did go to York, right?), and after all, you’re in this city for authenticity.
So maybe you’ll come to London expecting to be greeted by cheeky chappies in the East End, carting you toward your first double-decker bus. And sure, you might meet this ‘authentic’ Londoner, but more likely than not, he’ll probably steal your wallet and laptop. After this traditional inauguration and a few more “fuck offs” from random tube passengers, you find yourself in your new apartment, which oddly looks very much like James College N block. Welcome to your very own overpriced ex-council house. Have fun living off baked beans for the foreseeable future.
One thing you should know about London – it’s the city for the rich. If you happen to be related to an Arab Sheikh, Baroness or Wayne Rooney, this is your kingdom. While being the “Club of PEP” president or head dictator at Model United Nations may have won you BNOC status at York, in London it means absolutely nothing. You edited VOX (the PEP journal that looks a bit like a self-help brochure)? Great, but if you don’t have the lolly, you’ll have to drink rainwater. Sorry mate.
Worst of all are the Euro-Hipsters that now seem to be infesting the landscape. I now have to live with two of these specimen; a duo of pointy moustached, subtlety ironic ‘Graphic Designers’ who don skinny jeans half the size of their legs and oversized wool jumpers in the middle of summer. When they aren’t raging about how great they are because they ride bicycles, they play odd electronic-disco music on loop and speak as if everything is a question; ‘I really want to go to Greenwich Park today?’ one of them asks/says to me. I thought these people only existed in York’s History of Art department.
Of course, there is so much more you can hate about London: pseudo-fashionistas, tourists, ticket inspectors, people in general. Really that’s all London is; shops stocked with stuff you can’t afford and people who for the most part, are like York’s hipsters only 10000x worse. Quite frankly, you’d be better off in Mogadishu.
Samuel Johnson once said that “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. Well guess what Sam, you’re an idiot.