Okay, stop asking, I admit it. Sometimes, at work, I am on websites that do not directly contribute to my work. I’m not an avid consumer of Buzzfeed, but I have been known to fall for the horrifyingly increasing trend of ‘clickbait’. I digress. A common theme of late, and seemingly aimed towards us graduates is along the lines of LONDON IS SO EXPENSIVE or LONDON IS SO OVERCROWDED. These points are not incorrect, but so much dialogue about the state of our world and the expensiveness and consequent difficulties. Often, those who have not found themselves moving to the capital are quite pleased to have avoided moving here.
It is a blooming expensive part of the world. I pay at least 30-40 quid a week to travel around.
It is full of people.
It is dirty.
However, life is what you make of it. The more you put into life, the more you will get out of it.
The same could not be more true for London.
Yes, there’s Oxford Street and there’s the West End, and there’s too many people that do not know how to use a pathway sensibly. All of this is true, but what people refuse to note somehow, is that there is so much more to London than London.
Why not go to Canary Wharf? That’s what I do a fair bit of these days. It’s a horrible and soulless place. Therefore, no-one else goes to this bizzaire Island or knows about its art gallery with a Marvel Comics museum. Why not try the odder museums such as The Old Victoria near Teddington with its recent Private Eye exhibition. Why not look for the odder little pubs with unique beers and ciders such as The Duke in Southwark (okay, I’m being tenuous here, its my workplace’s local).
What I’m attempting to paint on this picture is this: London is what you make of it. Buy paint brushes, and the quality of the picture is not determined by the expense on the brushes, but by the use of them. When working and living here, yes you will be poor, that’s quite likely. Yes, I have listened to Pulp’s Common People and know not to romanticise a lack of money, but London isn’t actually about the money. Its about finding things. Its about going to unique ice cream bars for brunch. You can do that elsewhere, in other cities, absolutely. I’ve definitely done that Norwich, York, Edinburgh and Brighton. However, I didn’t go to two cinemas, three markets, a museum about transport history and then a rooftop bar to watch The Jungle Book in the same day.
You can tell I’m missing the Edinburgh Fringe.
London is more than London. Yes, its overpriced on its rent, and the analogy of it having everything on your doorstep is worryingly rationalised by analogies of the city economically kidnapping its citizens from the more soulful parts of the UK. However, this summer, me and my minimum wage have gotten a heck of a good value out of this city. It’s not a city. It’s a hundred towns accidentally working together to make an experience. No-one knows the end goal of London. That’s why they keep changing it so much.
It has always troubled me that Leciester Square has managed to sustain that M&M world shop, which has yet to explain or validate its existence on any level.
But damn, you couldn’t make something so irritatingly remarkable that leaves you wondering anywhere else, could ya?