And then the mighty smighter blessed the northerner with a JOB in LONDON. And she wept with joy and danced the dance of employment until the wee hours flinging her JSA slips into the gloomy streets. Then she realised, CRAP, she has to move to London. ……………………………………………………..
I’d never really given much thought about working in London until recently. I grew up in Luton, commuter land to the big smoke, and always assumed after (hopefully) graduating I’d would come back and gabble around for a job in the capital.
Now, I’m really lucky because my parents are still willing and able to house me (at a decent rent rate) so I could afford to working on a rubbish wage and commute in. Living at home isn’t ideal but it works for me and it’s nice being near friends and family.
Central London was always just a train away. Always THERE. Squatted like a giant watery toad between boring Bedfordshire and coastal Brighton. No biggie.
It was only when I moved home from Leeds having graduated (hurrah me!) and northern friends started confiding in me that they were a bit nervous moving down south to the city. SO inspired by this I bring you my humble guide to surviving in London….from the point of view of er, well, a commuter.
1. Do not die before you get to work.
It sounds obvious but someone will try and run you over at least three times a day. Usually they’ll be a cyclist, or a bus driver. Anyone who drives around the city area who doesn’t make their living from chivvying around tourists and frenzied Londoners is, in my opinion, insane.
2. Toughen up.
Southern fairy my left buttock. Don’t whinge that everyone is unfriendly in London. Small gestures of niceness are everywhere…but probably not before 9am and I’ve had my frappacappachinotea and injection of sunshine. Before then I am miserable. WELCOME TO LONDON.
3. Don’t rely on the tube.
Yes the tube is great (and sweaty in summer ICK) but the amount of times I’ve tried to get into Oxford Circus (my nearest station) and the gates have been closed for aaaages in rush hour to stop people being rammed off the platform and onto the tracks is silly. LEARN THE BUS ROUTES. For instance the 73 from Oxford Street will actually get you to St. Pancras quicker than the Victoria line will (if you included the marathon tunnels to get you out of the underworld). Tres useful. Note that bus drivers have NO MERCY when it comes to closing those doors. Better yet, walk. You can get pretty much everywhere in central from anywhere else in central in under 20 minutes on those weird gangly things that are attached to your feet.
4. Tourists are evil.
Ok not evil, but slow and cumbersome, which is just as bad. Suitcases will become the bane of your tube journey as will massive groups of foreign teenage tourists who think it’s an awesome idea to dither around tiny tunnels like lost sheep. Foreign teenage tourists WITH suitcases will turn you into a ragey caffeineless monster that wants to thump them all. DON’T. However tempting.
5. Don’t wield a long umbrella.
It doesn’t make you look cool or business-y. You’ll end up impaling someone with it in the crowds as you jauntily bop along with it. Take a flimsey fold up one and HAVE SOME HUMANITY. Besides, I’m pretty sure The Evening Standard is designed to be used as a hat.
6. Keep a tube map with your oyster card.
No matter how London savvy you think you are there’ll alway be a time when you drunkenly wander to Camden and then realise you have no idea what’s the best way to get back to Islington. And you’ll probably get asked for directions if you have a relatively friend face/ don’t look like you’re going to murder the person reading your paper over your shoulder.
7. Don’t eat
EVER. STARVE YOURSELF.
I’m joking obviously. But who can afford to eat lunch a Pret every day? I thought not. Sod that. Packed lunches are cool again. Especially in a lunch box.
If you cba to pack lunch every day (I know I can’t LONG) couple of tesco cheapo fresh ciabatta for 50pish + packet of ham + packet of lettuce BOOM. SORTED.
I opened this up to Twitter:
@gazthejourno says: “let passengers off the tube first”. DEAR GOD YES. If you don’t you’re a twat. End of discussion.
@kokiri says that sleeping on the nightbus is perfectly acceptable.
Personally I think any kind of napping is acceptable on public transport.
I’ve just realised that this is mostly about transport. Gah. Clearly spend too much of my life on trains squashed up against some dishevelled person from Hertfordshire.
Hannargh out x