Think you’ve mastered London? Well we’ve got news for you. You don’t master London. London masters you.
OK, we don’t quite know what that means, but what we’re getting at is simple - no matter how long you’ve lived in the Capital, the city still has the power to throw something at you that you didn’t see coming. It could be a bizarre new food trend, a hipster phrase you’re almost certain isn’t made from English letters, or even just a friendly nudge to let you know that, actually, you’ve been doing something really, embarrassingly, wrong this whole time.
Well, this is that friendly nudge. These are 20 things that no Londoner/self-respecting human being, should ever, ever find themselves doing in Foggy London Town…
Moan about queuing up to eat at a new pop-up restaurant
London doesn’t need any more tutting, eye-rolling, watch-checking pain-in-the-arses. You knew this place would be busy. You knew there would be a queue. Everyone in front of you is exactly the same as you, just waiting to ‘check in’ on Facebook and gloat about their “new favourite place”, so shush your gums. If you can’t hack it, then guess what? You’re in LONDON. You’re absolutely definitely less than five mins from something equally as awesome. Don’t believe us? Take it from our brothers over at Mr Hyde, who prove there’s always something within spitting distance that’d be just as amazing to lock your jaw around.
Use the 30p toilets at Paddington Station
You’ve grabbed your train dinner from Yo! Sushi, stocked up on M&S G&Ts, and used your God-given psychic powers to deduce that your 1903 to Exeter will, in fact, arrive at platform 11 this evening. You’re ready for anything this ride south will throw at you. Anything, apart from a total bladder sabotage that’s just stumped you, and will cost 30p you don’t have. Fear not, intrepid adventurer. We won’t let you fall foul here. There’s a mighty fine Fuller’s pub, named The Mad Bishop & Bear, at the top of the escalator that has fee-free relief stations to go nuts in. Spend a penny? Not this time.
Underestimate the life-changing ability of Infernos
Many people think they can split the population of London into two halves – those north of the Thames and those south. But there’s a far more black-and-white way to look at things, and the great divide is no river, but the stinkiest, stickiest, cheesiest nightclub in the entire city. You can cut the populous of London into those that’ve been to Clapham’s infamous Infernos and lived to tell the tale, and those that down-right refuse to step foot in there. Just spare a thought for the secret third group: those that have been and didn’t make it out. God rest their souls.
Ask an Uber driver to give you your passenger rating
…At the risk of not only shattering the very fibre of our soul, but also reliving the long-supressed memory of the chunderous car pool journey with Sweaty Brett from IT back from last year’s staff Xmas party? Something’s are better left unsaid.
Push the ‘open’ button on the Central Line tube doors
Doesn’t work. And it won’t work the next time you do it, mate.
Take a selfie near Tower Bridge
Look! There’s a family from New Delhi refusing to smile into the camera while trying to convey what a “great time” they’re having in England! Check it out! A bride and groom from Osaka having their wedding photos taken beside the Thames in full pavlova dress and suit for reasons that will never make sense to us! Hey, New Delhi Dad is back by the river for more, this time going solo and pretending to be taking an important call on his Samsung Galaxy while taking a selfie with his iPhone 5c! IT’S A PRIMARY SCHOOL OF ITALIAN-OR-MAYBE-FRENCH WITH A HUNDRED SELFIE STICKS! Need we go on?
Ignore the City AM guy outside Waterloo Station
“Good morning my friends!” “Hello my friend!” Disregard his undiluted, unfaltering, impartial friendliness at 7.15 every morning, and karma is going to pull your pants down in your next board meeting.
Engage in a cyclist/driver debate
Nobody wins this war. Nobody.
Instagram/Tweet/Snapchat a ‘hilarious’ coffee shop A-board
‘Coffee this way, real life that way’? ‘An espresso a day keeps the plague away’? ‘Darth Vader goes to Starbucks’? There’s a reason why there are so many of these sappy, humour-sucking signs on our streets now - anyone that posts them to their social media is essentially watering the Gremlin. Do not water the Gremin. Please.
Congregate around the street performers outside Camden Tube Station
“Hey man… just leaving now...the tube only takes five minutes from Camden Town, so should be with you - erm - taking into account the 600 people I’ll have to walk through as they watch a man making a tiny puppet DJ, by next Tuesday?”
Walk along Victoria Park after dark
At best, dark and drowny. At worst, dark and finally-get-home-with-no-wallet-phone-trainers-or-clean-underwear.
Use the toilets in Oxford St McDonald’s after dark
Remain neutral in the Brick Lane Beigel War
Beigel Bake all the way! Or, was it… no, definitely Beigel Bake. But maybe it was Beigel Shop? Yeah that sounds about right…or does it? Sh*t.
Pic: Beigel Shop Facebook
Mistake Battersea for Clapham Junction
Speaking ill of anyone’s home borough in London is pretty much identical to telling a blue-faced die-hard patriot William Wallace from Braveheart that the Highlands are for skirt-wearing numpty boys. So accidently saying you’re going out in Clapham Junction when you mean Battersea? Wow. WOW. Expect a spittle-flecked tirade barked in your face, educating you that “Clapham Junction is the train station and not the area, you ignorant, brain-dead weasel.”
Pic: Google Maps
Accidently kick over a human statue’s money pot
Nothing makes you feel more of a disgusting scumbag than booting the £1.73 some floating Yoda has slaved over for 8 hours in 31-degree heat. And nothing will make you run faster than seeing him come after you with his staff held aloft, ready to smack you right over to the Dark Side.
Try to beat the guys playing the ‘cup game’ on South Bank
Spoiler: you’re about to lose £20.
Leave without sampling the chicken wings at The Stag in Belsize Park
Best wings this side of the Atlantic. They’re so good, in fact, that there’s definitely a case to claw them from the sauce-stained fingers of the USA and make ‘em our national dish instead. Howd’ya feel about that, ‘Murica?
Drink more than three after-work pints if your tube ride home exceeds 15 minutes
First and foremost, “Oh, I better be off, I live in zone 6” is absolutely no excuse for ducking out of a round. You know you live in zone 6. You haven’t just moved to zone 6 in the time you’ve been sat in the pub with your mates. That said, you’re running the gauntlet if you go beyond the magic number and embark on a tube for longer than a quarter hour. Best of luck, brave soldier!
Tube it from Chancery Lane to Farringdon
Smart, go-get-‘em Londoners know that, in some cases, taking to foot is a far quicker way to get around than the tube, which has one reason for existence and that’s to make getting around quicker. Two changes and four stations between Chancery Lane and Farringdon, or a ten-minute walk? Enduring the Seventh Circle of Hell at Covent Garden station or just walk the 250m there from Leicester Square? Six stations, two changes and a loss of will to live between Blackfriars and Southwark, or a breezy stroll over Blackfriars Bridge? You know. You know.
Breathe in as you walk past a phone box
That’s a toilet. A toilet where humans wee and do other things that aren’t worth thinking about. Still, doesn’t stop you from letting an innocent foreign tourist pose inside one for a holiday snap, does it? Like anyone uses them for actual phone calls anymore.