Misunderstandings that people have about living in London
When I decided to move to London, many, many comments were made about why I shouldn't. Most of them are only partly true.
- •People are rudeThey're not necessarily being rude to you. Londoners are just not as chatty as people from some other parts of the country, and will often not get as involved. Some are rude though. But because they're idiots. Just like idiots everywhere else.
- •Transport is a nightmareIt can be. When it's busy, it's really, really busy. Like, nose to nose, can-I-get-my-arm-onto-this-train busy. But that aside, it's cheaper and better run than most of the rest of the country. Try living in Liverpool, where taxis are often cheaper if there's more than one of you on the bus, or the trains stop running because it's raining and they let you on only to dump you on an outside platform for an hour at the next stop. Try Bristol, where buses never run in the tiniest speck of snow.
- •It's expensive to go outYes it is, if you decide to buy a drink at a central London pub full of tourists. Go down a back street and seek out the places the tourists don't go. If you live here full time, you know that you can get a fry up for a tenner in most places in Greenwich, but if you're happy in Wetherspoons, or you go out to some of the more residential/student bits like Deptford, cheap and cheerful is your friend. It's never as cheap as up north, but it's only really expensive if you choose expensive places.
- •It's expensive to liveOk, yes. We pay twice as much as we would in most parts of the country because we live in the centre of Greenwich. When I lived in Camberwell though, a bit further out, I paid £800 a month for a one bedroom flat in a nice area. It's never cheap, but if you houseshare that drops much further. It's very common for professionals to share with others, and that's how I started out. No, I can't afford to buy, but it's not impossible to rent here on most wages.
- •It rains a lotHave you been up north?! It rarely rains compared to northern places. Humidity is the worst weather here. Summer can be sticky.
- •Some areas are no-goThanks to a certain wig-haired individual who has undoubtedly never been to those places, there is a rumour that some areas have been radicalised. Rubbish. The areas in question might well have larger Asian populations, but these are people just going about their daily lives like you are. I've worked in schools in those places. Not once did I feel unsafe. Usual rules apply about walking around at night, just like everywhere else. Let's face it, white middle class jocks can be assholes.
- •I'll just pop round...'Yes, I'll jump on the overground to London Bridge, get on the tube for half an hour, then get a bus that stops at every possible place along the way...' Something that still surprises me is how far everything is from everything else. You need to think of London as a county rather than one city - the city itself is the bit that includes Westminster. To get to a gig in Camden though, requires one massive trek from Greenwich. Getting back can involve three night buses and take an hour and a half.
- •It's built upOf course it is, but look at how many ruddy parks there are! There is loads of green space, some of it so vast and beautiful that you forget you're in a city at all.
- •London is the UKThis one is for the non-Brits. Lots of people who move here for a while from other countries never actually leave London and assume that everywhere is the same. It's really not.