We love London. That’s no secret. But we’d really appreciate it if it came with some small print once in a while. Just to give us some pointers, you know? Shed some light on what the actual f*ck is going on with regards to rent/etiquette/weather. So here are claims that are so often frivolously made about London, and the terms and conditions that we feel suitably go with them. We advise reading, and of course agreeing with them before embarking upon any form of capital adventure. At least then we can say ‘we told you so’.
1. It’s expensive*
*Prepare to have every. single penny barbarically ripped from your (literally and metaphorically) poor hands and destroyed before your very eyes no matter how many coffees/lunches/clothes you make at home.
2. Rent* is higher**
*75% of your income.
**Here ‘higher’ is a synonym for ‘you won’t f*cking believe how much you have to pay to live in a sh*t hole’.
3. It’s a vibrant*place
*You will hate people soon enough.
4. Rush hour* is overcrowded** and stressful***
*Hell on earth.
** Pigs on the way to the slaughter house travel in more comfortable conditions.
***This is the understatement of the century.
5. There are lots of things to do*
*You will spend 95% of your free time in bed watching tv. But yes, there are things to do. That no one does.
6. It has a buzzing* nightlife**
**Note: this consists of either your local that shuts at 11pm, or some horrendous nightclub that charges men and pervs on girls. Or somewhere good, which to get to you have to travel for the same amount of time it would take you to forward roll to Scotland.
7. It is the cultural* capital of the world**
*Results may vary.
**That is, not including Italy, Greece, Austria, India…
8. It* can be quite** cold***
*London in every season.
9. Work* hard, play** hard***
*As in the place you spend all your time at, including evenings, weekends, holidays, dreams…for very little emotional or financial remuneration.
**Drink. Or sleep.
***We’re talking fiendish sudoku, Grana Padano kind of hard. And yet one must still be able to function absolutely at the highest level the next day. Even on only 3 hours sleep. A late night is no excuse for walking too slow/falling asleep on someone on the tube.
10. You’re bound* to meet someone** here***
11. The area you live in is really ‘up and coming’*
*This is a lie. A LIE. You live in a sh*t hole area that somehow manages to seem more grey, wet and dirty than the rest of London, surrounded by other people that can only afford to live in a sh*t hole area making it quite a ‘young’ sh*t hole area, with maybe some average-at-best charity shops and a pub that is equally as sh*tty, but that has a garden so it can pass as OK. At some point, one of the ‘young’ people will set up a pop up restaurant** of some sort, giving the postcode a little relevance at last.
**The terms and conditions need their own terms and conditions. By ‘pop up’ we mean van selling overly-priced food with a slight ‘twist’. For example, vegetarian steamed milk buns or lobster flavoured ice cream.
12. All Londoners tend to have a love-hate* relationship** with tourists***
*Hate. Just hate.
**If you deem ‘relationship’ as meaning ‘one-sided culturally ingrained stereotypical judgement and antagonism’.
***Any person in possession of a map/paper travel card/average-paced walking ability.
13. Uber has revolutionised taxi service, making it easier and far more affordable*
*We can now drink at least three times more when out because ‘home’ is saved in your phone.
14. Bringing bottled water* onto the underground** during summer*** is advisable****
*By bottled water we mean 6 bottles per person, rehydration sachets, several cucumbers and a saline drip.
**AKA a runner up in the World’s Hottest Sauna Competition.
***Disclaimer: just because it’s summer on the tube, it does not mean that it’s summer outside.
****Unless the dried prune look is in that season, we’d go more with ‘mandatory’.
15. There is a rivalry between drivers and cyclists*
*The ins and outs of this rivalry is crucial to understand. You must grasp the supporting arguments of each side, and then choose your stance carefully, but making sure to never, ever let the opposition know of your opinion as this is a very serious matter indeed and will, undoubtedly, destroy whatever relationship you may have with said road user. Forever.
16. You can dress however you want and no one will notice*
*Whether you’re a hipster, goth or flip-flop-guy-in-winter…there is a freedom to London that gives people the feeling that they can wear whatever they want. And there is. And you can. But people will notice. And occasionally judge. It’s human nature.
17. London is an incredible city*
*No, apologies, THAT is understatement of the century.