5 Things I Miss About London
OK, so I’m getting sentimental here, but I really do miss living in London.
The Brits have it good, although though they do love a good moan about the weather, the tube, their cricket team, the price of mince meat, newspapers with ink that rubs off in your hands, the fact that a weird-looking Australian tried to encourage fellow passengers on the 214 bus to get involved in a GreenDay sing-a-long at 7pm on a Friday evening on the way home from Sainsburys.
In fact, I frequently tell all my Brit mates that the UK is so great, that I consider it the second-best country in the world. For some reason, they’ve never appreciated this compliment. Ungrateful bastards.
So, in no particular order, here’s my list of the 5 things I miss the most about London.
1. Dunnyman. A uniquely British creation, Dunnyman (or the female equivalent – Dunnymole) is the lovable ‘attendent’ that dispenses handroll, after-shave, condoms, women-advice and philosphical mantras in the pub toilet. He is well dressed, welcomes everyone with the stock-standard ‘Freshen up boss!’ greeting, and is almost always from a war-torn or famine-afflicted nation. Despite working in barely-tolerable, unhygienic conditions and copping daily abuse from drunk arrogant punters, Dunnyman is always smiling. I thought Sydney taxi-drivers copped a handful taking my mates home on a Saturday night….I’ve finally found someone with a thicker skin – Dunnyman.
2. Fried Chicken Joints. On every street corner in London, there is a fried chicken joint selling £1 fried chicken pieces, deep-fried in month-old vegetable oil. They’re a cornerstone of the British diet, and have been around for centuries. During the Victorian era, London town-planners laid out the city in such a way that every pub would be no more than a 50m stagger from a FCJ. However, the typical modern-British male is ashamed to frequent a FCJ, often waiting until his friends are on their way home in a cab before checking over his shoulder. In fact they’re sometimes so discreet, a casual observer would believe he’s entering an adult shop.
3. The Church. Every Sunday afternoon between 12-4pm, a “nightclub” in Kentish Town holds a massive piss-up called The Church. Completely dominated by Aussies and Kiwis, it’s a perfect excuse to end the weekend much the same way it started – drinking beer, being loud and obnoxious, eating 5 chicken pieces and a kilo of fries from a FCJ, then passing out in a cab.
4. English Accents. Don’t get me started here, I love English accents. OK, let me distinguish for a minute – I’m not talking about the chav accents from South Ruislip that sound rather like down-syndrome strawberry farmers. “O’ight geezer, giv’us one of ya fags love… innit”. Instead, I’m referring to the educated public-school London accents that you hear everywhere. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit (and please don’t tell my mum) – posh female English accents give me the horn. Often I’d re-check my voice-messages just to hear the lovely Buckinghamshire Vodafone lady tell me that I have no new messages.
5. Apathy Towards Terrorism. While the rest of the world is cowering in fear at the thought of mass-murder on their public transport systems, the Brits simply don’t care. During my first week in London in mid-2005, bombs went off on buses and trains all around central London. The locals simply carried on their day-to-day business without even blinking. I thought what a crazy place to live, no one seems to mind!
Me: How was your day mate?
English Friend: Yeah was fine old chap, but the tube was delayed because a bomb went off on the Piccadilly Line…I wish the London Underground would just get their act together and stop making excuses.
Me: So you honestly don’t mind all these bombs going off. What would you do if a suicide bomber sat opposite you on the tube?
English Friend: I wouldn’t care. Well, as long as he doesn’t try and start a conversation with me.