(This is a short article due in the Freshers’ Week edition of Cub, the Queen Mary student magazine, in September.)
London, shmondon. We’re all bloody sick of it now. Some people talk about living in London like it’s some throbbing paragon of indie culture, the kind of city in which you’re a waste of sweat and nipples if you aren’t at Turnmills having Arcade Fire piped into your arsehole while three hundred ludicrously pretty people in ironic Aerosmith t-shirts sneer at you for not flailing your limbs like a drunk twat or sarcastically clapping along to Lily Allen because it’s BLOODY FUNNY that she’s famous and rubbish. Some people. Probably.
The truth is that for half of your first year, if you aren’t having your face shotgunned off in a car park by a dribbling ex-porn king then you’re doing mighty well. The other half of the time you’ll probably spend doing grown up stuff like getting an Oyster card or shopping for kettles and saucepans like the proper blummin’ human you probably are. None of this time, however, can be spent avoiding the Tube or buses, whose renowned, fuck-poor service is as associated with London as Big Ben or getting nunchucked on an escalator. I know. Cuh. The public transport. Bla bla. But the reality is your enjoyment of London will depend quite a lot on your moving around the city (you sure as hell aren’t going to do anything in Mile End except eat hot wings and shave your face through a drain in boredom) and the problem with travelling about is that unless you’re rich enough to get a taxi everywhere you’ve got to sweat next to bankers and the REVOLTINGLY POOR on the Tube like everybody else.
So here are some tips:
1) Avoid Brick Lane. Unless you’re the kind of piss-creaking, niggly tagnut who thinks about visiting Rough Trade as a sort of Salma Hayek-esque Mecca of worthy wanks then you’ll probably be depressed at just how damn skinny and beautiful everyone is.
2) Don’t spend the first two days of Freshers’ Week searching for Blu Tak to adorn your walls with pictures of the girlfriend back home who will dump you by Christmas. It will happen. You aren’t John and Yoko. Not that I’m angry about all that or nowt. Nope.
3) Finally, do NOT think it’s boring to pretend to your new flatmates that you find it sexually exciting to have access to so much shared cutlery. It IS funny for the risktakers among you and you will be justly rewarded for your bravery with the pasting you deserve for listening to me, you lucky young bastards. Now go away and drink yourselves backwards.