Last month – basking in the aftermath of the Brits, BAFTAs and ‘surprise’ Prince gigs – we gushed about how much we loved London. It was, we smugly declared, the greatest city in the world. Fast-forward four weeks and, while we’re still obsessed with the capital – truth be told there’s nowhere else in the UK that we’d even consider calling home – we’ve calmed down a tad. We can appreciate why people don’t love London, without thinking that they have a screw loose. Here’s eight of the most enraging things about living in London
How come a tube journey costs more in London than in any other city and yet the transport system never runs smoothy – invariably affected by rain, snow, signal failures and engineering works (here’s looking at you Met line) every other weekend?
£18 for a cocktail at celeb hangout, Annabel’s? In the words of tennis legend, John McEnroe: You cannot be serious. Yes we know this private members club is the only one to have been visited by Her Majesty the Queen but £18 for a modest mojito? The words ‘off’ and ‘rip’ could easily be arranged.
The quality of (affordable) accommodation
Chances are that unless you’re a footballer, banker or barrister, you’ll live somewhere that’s more of a hovel than a home. I’ve rented a ground floor room replete with a creaking boiler, a room the size of a postage stamp and a windowless, Wi-Fi free, freezing cold basement before fleeing further afield to zone five - which isn’t without its own problems...
igger isn’t always better. Your suburban property might be more spacious but you’ll need to allow a minimum of an hour to reach civiilisation (aka central London). Going out at night? Unless you fancy remortgaging your house to pay for a black cab home, the nightmare that is the night bus (expect urination, violence and vomiting) awaits. And don’t think you can convince your friends to leave their postcode and pop in and see you: if you live in zone five, you might as well be on Mars.
During summer 2012, London was transformed: the frowns on the faces of commuters were turned into smiles as everyone pulled together to stage the greatest Olympic Games the world has ever seen. But after the Olympic torch had been extinguished, normality returned: we’re all pushing and shoving for a seat (dream on!) on the tube and are unenthusiastic about enthusiasm.
When the sun is shining, London looks the part. Sadly the sun rarely makes an appearance – even during the height of summer. Rather we have to cope with skies that are the colour of porridge, biting winds, bucket loads of rain and sub zero temperatures. Some people like it cold. Some people are bonkers.
Everyone is always busy
Never ever ask a Londoner if they’re free to meet in the next fortnight. My friends and I have what we refer to as the ‘three week rule’ – we’re talking a good 21 days away when it comes to getting a date in the diary to catch up. We laugh about it but yup it can frustrate when your best mate isn’t available until April and your brother, who you haven’t seen since Crimbo, advises ‘Easter’.
As Londoners we spend Monday-Friday working (the number of Londoners who work 48 hour weeks has risen from 10 per cent in the nineties to 26 per cent in 2014, with 70 hours weeks now the norm) and playing (post work drinks, dinner at the latest IT restaurant, theatre dates) HARD. Little wonder then that when the weekend rolls around, we’re drained – both mentally and physically. This disturbing new trend is what Londoners are referring to as the Shatterday/Shunday phenomenon. We’re following the 5:2 plan not just with our diets, but when it comes to work and socialising too, and its taking its toll.
Still perhaps all of the above is price I have to pay not to live, like the rest of my family, in East Anglia?