London may be the most diverse city in the entire world. Looking around, the range of religious, cultural and linguistic differences is second to none.
This raises the question: is there room for local identity in such a diverse place? Well I think there is. In fact, I think there are easy ways to spot someone ‘gone native’. Here are some pointers..
Firstly, there’s definitely a London attitude to public transport. TFL is good, and you can get by pretty much anywhere if you know what you’re doing. Londoners have a particular way with transport, being generally quite happy to just jump on the tube and see what happens. After all we sort of know where we’re going, and how hard can it be to get there?
As an indirect consequence of spending so much time on the move, we now actually refer to the Metro as a legitimate and reliable source of information. Yes, it is so tabloid and yes, we really don’t care what One Direction had for breakfast. But hey, unlike everything else, it is free so it’s brilliant.
Another way to spot a Londoner is their ability to live by an untold code of conduct. Londoners understand each other without much talking. Which is great, because we don’t like talking to each other. At all.
More than that 10 am client meeting, our biggest fear leaving home in the morning is to end up having to talk to someone on the train before grabbing breakfast. Or worse, actually making eye contact. We have shared values about who to dislike too, ranging from slow walkers to loud people on buses.
That’s not to say we are an intolerant bunch, rather the opposite. In fact, London’s one of few cities where you can walk around with blue hair and mismatched shoes without raising an eyebrow. Come to think about it, that does explain the no eye contact policy..
Another thing we share is our attitude to gastronomy. In short, eating in is boring, so we eat out. All the time. Even on the rare occasions when we’ve just done a shop and are determined to eat in, there’s only so many restaurants/food places we can walk past without giving in to temptation.
Finally, Londoners have a very unusual attitude to money. Whether it’s food, drinks or rent, we spend our time paying over the odds for the simple pleasure/necessities of life.
In an attempt to soften the blow (or out of complete denial perhaps), we regularly use phrases like ‘that’s actually not too bad’, even though we’ve just paid 20 quid for a couple of vodka and cokes. Not even sure how much vodka’s actually in there half the time, either..