I came across a tweet last month which said “I have come to the conclusion that living in London makes me sad and everything is grey…and evil. People always look like someone died and no one ever smiles, you take a breath and £27.99 leaves your account. What is this”
I both agree and disagree with this tweet.
First of all, London isn’t all grey. Yes, the sky is often grey but even in the city of London, where most of the grey and glass buildings are, there are small streets and buildings with ornate details that show the old side of London. These give London its character. These secret nooks and hidden street art are usually hidden to those who don’t give London a chance by simply walking around and taking it all in.
For example, St. Dunstan’s in the East is a ruin of an old church that has been reclaimed by vines and a variety of plants. Yet, it’s in the middle of a concrete and glass jungle – 47% of London is green space, so saying everything is grey is an exaggeration.
Like every city, London can seem monotonous and grey at first glance but if you open your eyes, there’s more than that.
Unlike other cities however, Londoners can indeed look like someone died. We’re not like the Americans, we don’t bother to fake a smile or make conversation much to strangers, especially on our daily commutes. But have you seen the smiles on Londoner’s faces when they’re at the pub after work with mates? When we actually do smile, it just means something especially great happened, and this makes those moments all the more genuine and special.
I personally find it freeing that I can just have a resting “someone died” face while I think about my problems. It can be tiring to fake a bubbly demeanour, might as well save it for the times you truly are enjoying yourself.
However, the last point about how expensive London is, I have to agree with. Comparing prices with foreign friends makes their jaw drop (well apart from the Norwegians, they think London isn’t bad). This has forced me to be resourceful, research for the best cheap eats in London and to actually check my budgeting. Plus, there are many free and cheap options for every expensive options. Our amazing museums and galleries are often free, there are restaurants with great food that have main course dishes at about 7 pounds and there are shops like Lidl (a godsend honestly).
I just wish rent was cheaper. That’s the real issue.
London is what the tweet says: grey, full of sad-faced Londoners and expensive.
But it doesn’t have to be. There are parts of London which definitely aren’t. I can’t help but notice I should be grateful for living here after visiting other towns and cities. London is just picky about who its friends with.
And after living here my whole life so far and after exploring most of it, we’ve become best friends.