See part 1: 5 Things I Like About London.
1. Quality of Life
This is the main thing. The #1 worst thing by far about London. Quality of Life in London is really low. Housing is expensive. Commutes are long. As a relatively well-paid London resident I am lucky enough to have the choice of horrendous commute or hideously expensive apartment. I opted for the apartment. Most people suffer both the commute and the barely-affordable (or straight up unaffordable) rent.
This style of living has created some new words and phrases. For my apartment, my friend coined the phrase “povel” (posh hovel). For me, this is a one bedroom basement apartment, dark all year round, and also slightly damp in winter. But in Kensington and Chelsea. There’s a private garden, but no dishwasher.
The other phrase another friend and I use is “zone 1 poverty”. This is living in zone 1 (central London, although huge – I will get to that later) but that is the full extent of any extravagance.
London is disgustingly dirty, especially the tube which I sometimes describe as a “filthy rat hole”. In other news, I saw an actual rat yesterday.
I’ve come to think that a regular dip in mild bleach (easily located at your nearest swimming pool) is probably necessary for feeling actually clean.
It takes the best part of an hour to cross zone 1. Obviously leaving zone 1 takes even longer, although I confess this is something I aim to do as seldom as possible. When visiting my family, the journey time is roughly 45 minutes to the train station, 50 minutes on the high speed train to Rugby.
4. A Series of Small Towns
I love walking across cities, I think a great city has an arc, where downtown is the crescendo. London has no arc, that I have found at least. It feels like a series of small towns, connected by the aforementioned filthy rat hole. In some ways this is kind of cute, you find little high streets and residential squares. However there’s nowhere I have found where you can have everything you want, close by.
5. Londoners and Tourists
There are two kinds of people in London. Londoners, who are desperately avoiding eye contact and will never speak to you. I sympathise, I as have become this – every time I take the tube I also start to hate humanity. If they are driving a black cab, they may try to run you over. This baffles me, as surely the pedestrian is the natural passenger of the taxi. And, tourists. Tourists are typically lost, lugging large suitcases, and in the way due to the suitcases, walking slowly, or because they blocking the pavement in order to take a picture of their friends with some landmark.
Londoners hate each other, because there are too many people everywhere, and tourists, because they are in the way. I expect tourists also hate Londoners because they are horribly rude, and keep walking through their carefully staged photos.