Monday, 13 March 2017

London






For no particular reason I felt like writing a post about living and working in London, especially as draw a lot of my artistic inspiration from it so why not!
I remember my first working day of actually living in London. it was a chilly January morning in Golders Green, it was snowing and I was wearing my new black shoes - yet to be broken in. That felt like one of my most memorable days of living in the big smoke! Well, that is just a memory... nothing of consequence to this post. I'm sure if you, like me have moved to London from elsewhere you will remember your first day. Mine was snowing, looked pretty and my feet hurt. So... London from my perspective

Welcome traveller

Perhaps you are a graduate looking for a job in London or a someone who wants to build a new life where the streets are paved with gold – prepare yourself. I came to London over 8 years ago whilst I was looking for a webdesign & graphic design role. I feel have come to know London reasonably well for an outsider, a boy from a small coastal town off the Cornish coast trying to carve a life in the capital. I had many reasons for wanting to come to London, finding work, being with my partner, having little working opportunity in my home town, I had just graduated from Cumbria Uni (Then Cumbria Institute of the Arts) and I needed to take the next bold step! I hope some of these little points are of some use to you, they are by no means solid facts but they are from first hand experience. If you are from anywhere that isnt the South East of the UK one of the first things you will notice are the prices of everything, be a pint , a glass of wine, accommodation. If you decide live in London the chances are you will probably start in a shared house and a single room, back then could be about £540+ depending on which borough you live in. You may also need to downsize some of your possessions... yeah, £500 wont buy you much here, just a heads up.

Full of cool things to do

You can’t argue this… London is full of cool things to do which would suit many different tastes, hobbies and quirks. You go to restaurants, pubs, bars, clubs, gigs, random events, museums and general tourist traps! There are also more obscure activities which can be found with a little bit of digging. Ever fancied yourself a little bit history, why not go ‘Mud larking’ with London’s guided walks, sorry, not Mudlarking technically speaking as you need a license its beach combing, when I went on this walk I found a clay smoking pipe from 1660's (ish) among the silt and stones of the Thames. My friend found a Danish glass bottle neck which looked pre-industrial. You can even try your hand at sword fighting, learning the staff, sword and buckler, longsword. There's loads here in a word.

Prices

Where do I begin! There is no denying that the second I step out of the door it feels like I’m being fleeced, but yet you become accustomed to this perpetual state of nakedness – not literally, as I’m note a sheep or a goat, I would have difficulty typing otherwise. I still find it quite entertaining when outsiders from say Yorkshire, Cornwall, etc remark on the prices of things even I balk on the odd occasion. I find it comforting that I’m not the only person in 30 mile radius that thinks “Hang on” I've seen that in another shop for a fraction of the cost. To tell the truth I find it a lot less shocking these days, I think I've been desensitised. What can I say, you pay for the privilege to live here and it can be costly. Don't get me started on mortgages, rent or having something of your own. Be warned!


Ambition


There's so much opportunity here! Which I'm not sure any where else in the UK can even compete with, aside from some of the larger cities but even still, London's scale for business is colossal.
London has a go get and and make it happen attitude that skyrocket your career. It's competitive.



Transport

The transport system (TFL) makes and breaks London and don’t even get me started on Southern rail! Getting around London is convenient and accessible – also horrific at the same time in rush our. Some of the tube lines are now open 24 hours so you can stay out to the late hours, get a kebab and head home with bits of onion and soggy lettuce down your front. Oh remember not to fall asleep and end up at the last stop of the train line though! I’ve done that once or twice. Another good thing about the transport is the fact that you don’t even need to own a car to get to work. You can hop on and you nearest tube station, battle through hordes of human beings, dogs rude pinstripe wearing businessmen (not all) and presto, you've made it to work. It’s awesome, smelly, fascinating and crowded but the tube is something that is iconic of London in my opinion. Setting aside the practical logistics for the tube trains getting you from the point a to point be the tube is an interesting place brimming with subtle and not so subtle characters just trying to go about their business, myself included!

History


I like history and like character, London offers both of these those interested enough to look around and see what is going on. Many feet have trampled the soil of London including the Roman's! If you like history, London is certainly worth visiting and seeing. There’s still more hidden down there. As mentioned previously there is also a lot things hidden in the Thames aside from old mobile phones and pint glasses which have been cobbed from the Goldenhind! Lads! Lads! Lads!

What does it feel like

Day to day, I will speak honesty as a lad who has grown up in a small community with not much going on.
I wont lie, London can be a knackering place, offering little in the way of peace and quiet unless you are sat on the toilet, taking a bin out or sat on the tube train of late evening/early morning with some late night revelers slumped against the glass barrier at the end of the seats. But hey, at the tender age of 24 why would I have cared about peace and quiet when there is partying to be done. What happened! Well maybe turning 30 happened. I still enjoy going for a drink and having jollies and being a general public pain but I think twice about it all now... maybe three times and then do it anyway, consider your actions! A quiet me thing I do like to do is travel up to Thames side on a weekend and look at the early morning sun on the water. Could just be missing the water of the fact that I like the solace and the view… or all of the above. On occasions I will even take my sketch pad.

Another thing which has taken me quite a long time to really put my finger on it. People may think Londoners are grumpy or rude... I would be more inclined to say impersonal/ reserved, and actually this isn't a Londoner so much but a commuter. When you break the unspoken rule in London of talking to a stranger on the tube people can be quite chatty and helpful. People like to keep to themselves here which isnt a bad thing but can give a slightly lonely vibe to the place. This can be a bit of challenge for garrulous boy from Cornwall.

What Now?


So did you happen upon this post looking for answers or someone to tell you to live here or not? I'm afraid I will offer neither but what I have given you are some of my personal accounts and opinions and mini stories of living in London for over 8 years. The rest is down to you or whether you think it will suit you or not. Here are some buzzwords to factor in : costly, conservative/reserved in areas, busy, lack of proper green space, small properties for your average buyer or renter. Brimming with career opportunities! Fun, youthful, loud, exciting, full of things to do all the time, shops on your door step.


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