London: Your Guide To Mastering The Capital
So you want to move to London. Any change in life can be scary but it’s important not to worry. London is not only the fashion capital of the bottom right corner of England, it’s also full of incredibly interesting people all waiting to shake you by the hand (they may or may not let go so check for any open sores before you accept). You may be moving to our great city because you have managed to secure one of the ten or so jobs currently available, or perhaps you have relations here. Maybe you just fancy living life as though you’re in a particularly aggressive computer game. Whatever your reasons, you’ll need to know the basics before you even think of trying to work out the queueing system in Pret A Manger.
Finding Somewhere To Live
Unless you’re Bear Grylls or that bloke who built a tree house in a conifer outside Sydenham, you’ll probably need to rent a room. Many people embarking on life in London are young and usually quite poor so your best bet is a ‘flat share’ (or prostitution but that’s frowned upon by many law enforcement professionals). There are many websites that list available rooms so once you pick your desired side of the river (see next point) you can quite easily find somewhere cosy. London flat shares are famously luxurious and it’s not uncommon to find seven or even eight people with whom to share that luxury. Imagine the fun of getting home from a long day behind the till to fight over the single gas ring with three burly Australians and a worryingly thin Eastern European in order to cook your Lidl noodles. Afterwards, you can retire to your room to lie back on your sleeping bag and pile of rolled up jumpers while ignoring the animalistic sex noises. This is truly how friends for life are made!
Your Side Of The River
As you may know, London is divided by the Thames river (the ‘h’ is silent). When you move to London you are required by law to select your side of the river based on the many guides available and once you live there, you’re there for life. You MAY NOT change sides at any point, as this would lead to anarchy, chaos and fluctuating property values. You are permitted to cross the river for employment purposes but without the correct permits and properly displayed badges you are liable to be pushed into the river Thames (silent ‘h’) by a Beefeater.
London’s famous tube network is among the most reliable tube networks in London. Technological advances in recent years mean it is now possible for up to FIVE out of every seventy people to get a seat. Impressive I’m sure you’ll agree! Now obviously service like this doesn’t come cheaply and you will find most if not all of your wages going on your weekly travel. However you wouldn’t be able to afford to get to work if you didn’t work so it’s like the circle of life, really. When using the tube network it’s important to remember four things:
1. Your elbows are your jabby, annoying tickets to that cushy square foot of space near the door. Keep them pointing out at all times and use them to move people out of your way (don’t forget to dip down for children).
2. Learn how to read while walking along. Studies show that people trapped behind you as you meander aimlessly along with your nose buried in The Metro are likely to become calmer and happier as a result so try and do it whenever you can, especially as you approach the escalators.
3. You encounter many different types of people on the tube, most of whom don’t actually realise they’re on the tube. Remember; it’s not your job to point this out to them. If you interrupt their singing, argument with someone invisible, or enthusiastic defecation you’re likely to receive a sharp, often physical admonishment!
4. Do not speak to anyone. Ever. This really can’t be emphasised enough. In recent times, accidental eye contact accompanied by an embarrassed smile has become almost acceptable but is still ideally avoided. If you address someone it must only be to insult them in the traditional fashion, or to point out that someone has just stolen their purse.
London comes alive at night. Don’t worry, there are no (dangerous) zombies! Rather its bars, clubs and pubs present a myriad of possibilities, all involving alcohol. Whatever your tipple, be it a glass of chilled wine, a pint of beer or a mix of the two, you will find it in London. Many of the traditional pubs will have a fascinating array of characters. You can spot them by their medals, scruffy dogs and yellowy beards. They’ve always got a story to tell so buy them a pint and sit comfortably! If you find yourself in a bar with a large amount of exposed brickwork and/or giant silver pipes running along the ceiling that look as though a builder got bored halfway through and walked off the job, then you must employ certain phrases. These are:
“Fourteen pounds for a mojito is extremely reasonable, have one yourself barman!”
“The DJ has picked just the right type of music and volume for 5.30pm on a Tuesday.” (This is usually shouted)
“Yes, toilet attendent, I would very much like a paper towel, a squirt of knock off perfume and a Chuba Chups lolly for a pound, you’re so kind! I wish you worked in MY toilet! Hahaha.”
Hopefully you have found the points in this guide useful and your resolve to move to London to join the hoardes of blissfully happy and fulfilled people is even stronger. Once you understand the way our glorious city works, you’ll find you never want to leave. Obviously you can leave, London isn’t a prison! Well bits of it are, but don’t think about that. Anyway, before you start applying for those coveted café jobs, don’t forget to send your bank details to the address on the back page so we can send you your ‘Stick a fork in me, I’m lonDON(e)’ badge (£7.99 inc p&p). Good luck and see you soon!