Moving to London can be an unexpected culture shock, even if you’re coming from 50 miles away. It’s big, it’s loud, it has its own quirky way of doing things – and it can take some getting used to.
To help you get your head around how Londoners think, here are seven things that don’t exist in their vocabulary.
Let’s Take the Car
Unless they’re a taxi driver, a Londoner is about as likely to own a car as they are to own a horse. And, like their equestrian counterparts, these car-owning freaks of nature are far more likely to be storing said means of transport at their parents’ place in Berkshire than within easy reach of their front door.
After all, you’d have to be crazy to want to drive in a city where the tube – or even a pushbike – will whizz past rush hour traffic in a fraction of the time. And when it’s cheaper to Uber everywhere than to buy your own vehicle, why would you bother?
There’s Not Enough To Do
As heavy-drinking, sarky culture snob and all-round Londoner Samuel Johnson so famously quipped: “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”
You might get tired of tube strikes and tube crushes, of slogging from Shepherd’s Bush to Hackney, of sneaky six quid pints or the latest daft “pop-up” concept; you might even wear yourself out trying to squish in the whole of the Tate Modern or the British Museum into one hungover afternoon. But you’ll never, ever, run out of things to do – especially when so many of the best things are free.
Fancy a Shopping Trip to Oxford Street?
Seriously. Only the most masochistic of city dwellers would plunge themselves into the anxiety-attack-inducing hell of battling their way through interminable crowds of 15-year-old tourists to get into the same chain stores you find on every other high street in Britain.
It’s Only Zone 4
London isn’t so much a capital city as a self-contained state all of its own, and its outer boroughs are seen the provinces. Venturing outside of Zone 2 is practically a minibreak.
They Should Turn It Into Luxury Flats
London “developers” are a bit like Voldemort’s Dementors: nefarious forces that suck the soul from vibrant areas, leaving a string of hollow shells in their wake. Or, as developers call them, “luxury apartment complexes”.
Scarcely a day goes by without a much-loved London landmark being razed to the ground for office space or converted into ludicrously expensive flats, before being marketed as Towers of Mordor for affluent psychopaths to gaze over the minions that wallow below the poverty line beneath.
Just whisper the words “developer” and “luxury flats” around your average Londoner and they’ll recoil, terrified that you’ll summon the evil that that will price them out of the area and replace their favourite drinking holes with yet another branch of BeAtOne.
I’m Just Going to Give Some of My Sandwich to this Pigeon
If you’re from outside the city – perhaps somewhere with ducks and wildlife and open spaces – you may find yourself compelled to throw a few crumbs to the feathered friend that has landed by your feed and cocked its head up at you harmlessly. At this point, seemingly sane Londoners will lose it, screaming “WHATAREYOUDOING IT’S A F-ING RAT WITH WINGS!!!!!!!!” while attempting to fend the pair of you away with a makeshift crucifix.
(N.B, you will realise your mistake 0.0004 seconds later when the rest of the crazed winged-rat army descends on you and your sandwich like a disease-ridden flight of the Valkyrie)
That’s it, I’m moving to…
London can be a stressful, not to mention expensive, place to live. But it’s also one of the most exciting places in the world to be – and it has a way of getting you hooked. No matter how much they grumble about the downsides, or spend their lunchbreaks Googling house prices in the Caribbean, to a true Londoner, it will always be home.
Sound like some of the Londoners you know? Share this post with them!