London Living: Ten Commandments
Wednesday 28th October 2015 | Sam
In general, being able to live in London is a privilege. Despite the constant moaning from it's residents about how expensive it is to live and overcrowded it is here, the positives most definitely outweigh the negatives. Given to us by a man that looked like God whilst waiting for a bus at the top of Stanmore Hill, these are the Ten Commandments needed to get through life in London without hassle.
1. Thou shalt not walk slow... ever.
One of the biggest sins you could possibly commit in London is walking at a snail's pace down Oxford Street. You won't be aware of it, but you will have accidentally pissed off the polite Londoner strolling behind you. If you need to check your phone while walking, pull over and take a minute to sort yourself out; and if (for some unknown reason) you feel the need to stop dead in your tracks whilst walking... you may as well have told those around you to fuck off, because they are not going to be happy with you once they have crashed into the back of you.
2. Thou shalt not smile at, or try to converse with, strangers.
If you are living in London, chances are you are a busy mother fucker. You have no time for other humans, those around you are merely obstacles trying to get in your way whilst trying to get your shit done, so why would you smile at them? And forget trying to start a conversation with a stranger on the tube, that is the single most awkward thing you could do whilst living here, instead, adopt the poker face seen on 99% of commuters, and accept that your iPod is your only friend whilst underground... although Underground WiFi is changing that, allowing us to ignore strangers to an even greater level!
3. Thou shalt not rely on Public Transport to be on time.
As of last year, London is home to 8,538,689 people - almost 1/6th of the population of the whole of England. Let that sink in. No wonder why the public transport is so unreliable. An experienced Londoner will know that leaving last minute to meet up a friend in Central is simply not an option. With endless tube strikes and constant slow-running services, you should always expect the worst when using the Underground. Buses aren't much better. In fact there is a famous phrase that perfectly sums up the state of them: "Like London buses... you wait for ages then three turn up at once."
4. Remember to top up your Oyster Card.
Forgetting to top up your Oyster Card and walking up to the barrier at the tube station just to hear the dreaded multi-beep is like a red rag to a bull for the scurrying Londoners queuing behind you; much like suddenly stopping in the middle of the pavement. The biggest fear of a Londoner should be getting rejected by a ticket barrier during rush hour. Not only will you have to push past the sneering, angry faces of businessmen who are late for work but you will also miss your train and have to wait for the next one, which nobody wants to do. Thankfully, we now have the safer option of using our contactless debit cards and iPhones to pay for our travel, so, unless you have no money in your bank account, this problem is slowly but surely being solved. Except now when you get the red beep and the barriers don't open, it's not that you didn't top up, it's that you have no money at all. Embarrassing.
5. Honour the 'Keep to the Right' signs.
There are thousands of escalators in London used by millions of people, so this commandment isn't as easily followed. However, it's still a major annoyance when trying to exit the tube station asap and seeing a whole queue of polite Londoners impatiently standing behind a tourist who doesn't realise that the left-hand side is for those want to get a bloody move on. This is another rule simply made to keep you from embarrassment - no one likes the guy blocking them from getting home as quick as possible. Don't be that guy.
6. Thou shalt enjoy the free things.
Despite all the talk about London being expensive, the truth is that there is loads to do and see for free! All of London's major museums including the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, V&A Museum, British Museum and the Museum of London charge absolutely zilch to explore. If it's the outdoors you prefer, then the capital is also home to a variety of parks and forests which really come to life during the Summer months. The vast canal system also provides some wicked views to enjoy whilst walking the dog or taking a jog. And of course, you can enjoy Guestlist absolutely free! What more could you want, eh?
shalt must enjoy the nightlife.
With over 300 nightclubs and 2000 bars and countless more pubs, there is never a dull night in The Big Smoke. If it's a rave you're after, London can accomodate you with clubs such as Fabric and Ministy of Sound pumping out classic club nights week after week. Places like Shoreditch are the hipsters choice for a night out, providing punters with countless brewpubs and independent pubs with a great amount of character; and Hackney Wick has been revamped by budding entrepenuers turning old warehouses into immensely popular canal-side spots - it's definitely something to check out in the Summer.
8. Thou shalt go to a few live shows.
Besides the thousands of pubs/bars/clubs to visit, there are also hundreds of theatrical shows being put on daily all over London; those who are theatrically-inclined may find themselves wandering around 'Theatreland' being amazed at the variety of talent on show. Of course, London is also a favourite place for many musicians to play shows, and it's easy to see why, with it's countless venues - there is never a lack of live music to be heard. Check out the latest must-see events all over the capital at our events page here.
9. Thou shalt go exploring.
The best way to see the magnificent city is not through a viewfinder on the top of an open-top double decker bus. If you truly want to experience what London is really saying, whack on your walking shoes and go exploring! The best way to find new 'favourite pubs' or hidden gems (besides reading our newspaper) is by getting out there, feeling the vibes of the city and seeing where the road takes you. Of course, you may get lost very easily... so bring a map!
10. Thou shalt never badmouth London.
Possibly the most important commandment on this list, thou shalt never talk shit about the city that so many of us love. Despite all the transport delays, slow walkers and choc-a-bloc traffic, you must always remember that London is the best city in the world! Don't just take my word for it, a league table compiled by Master Card ranked London as the number 1 city on the planet in 5 of the past 7 years... and it's easy to see why.