Monday, 8 September 2008

You're dirty but I love you, London

Το διάβασα σήμερα στη thelondonpaper, από τη φοιτήτρια Lauren Fitzpatrick, από το Teddington.

I was at a barbecue the other day (I know, it was optimistic). One of the guys there was in London on business. A year ago he had packed up his house and possessions (wife included) and relocated overseas, where houses are three miles apart (and cost under £200.000), everyone has a massive garden and swimming pool, and rush-hour traffic consists of two cars on the same stretch of road. We were chatting about something mundane when he asked us, in all seriousness, why we choose to live in London.

My first thought was the old adage "there's nothing worse than the newly reformed/converted", but as the empty wine bottles started lining up and the clouds moved off towards France, I started thinking: "why do I live here? And what is it I love about Lndon?"

It's easy to be negative, but when faced with making a list of all the good things, it takes a little longer (or a few glasses of good quality vintage). I love the buzz of the city - the noise of the buses and cars, Tubes and train. I love the ear-splitting sirens of police cars and ambulances as they scream past you on the street, and seeing the cars pull over to let them pass. I like the black cabs and red buses.

I love the fact that people stand on the right-hand side of the escalator, so that those who feel they need a bit of exercise at the end of a 16-hour day can race up to the top without having to say "excuse me" once. I am fond of the silence on the Tube even when it's packed, the diversity of people and the myriad languages. Yet, in spite of this, London still remains quintessentially English.

I love the feeling of hendonism and the never-ending list of social engangements - or any excuse to drink or get drunk; the City Boys in their pin-striped suits on one corner and the painters and decorators in their paint-splattered overalls on another. I love Camden Town for its punks and piercing, Sloane Square for its silver spoons and the East End for its cockneys. I enjoy Summer evenings in the park (sadly not many this year), sandwiches and indian takeaways, the West End, the theatre, art exhibitions, concerts and the museums.

Once I'd started, I found myself on a roll. I'm proud of the fact Ilive in a noisy, dirty, hectic city and wouldn't swap it for the world. Would you?


Paris Apostolopoulos said...

Athens is more or less the same, but this is not the case! London from another point of view sucks I is chaotic it is dirty it has high rates of criminal action and many many other things bad things (far worse that Athens)

the answer to you question is simple! You simple love the UK life style...and that is ok, I mean its all about choices!

Panos Konstantinidis said...

Pari it's not exactly like that, quite the contrary I'd say. London's crime rate is falling (this is due to the increasing number of police force because of the Olympic games in 2012). Besides that London has less crime than other European capitals, like Paris for example.

Athens is good if you enjoy the sun and you want to go for a coffee in Theseio. I don't think it's got anything else worth mentioning, apart from the ancient past.