Last week marked one year of my return to Australia from living in London which means I have now been back for half the time I was away. It has actually taken me almost the whole year to adjust back to life in Australia and stop pining for London on a daily basis as it really was the best time of my life. This anniversary got me feeling a little nostalgic, so I decided to make my post about things that I miss and do not miss about the city of dreams. I must forewarn you that if you think you are about to read anything of remote value or importance you are sadly mistaken (and you should know me better by now).
I do not miss the high living expenses. Yes, I’m still unemployed and everything for me right now is a high living expensive, laugh it up ha-di-haha (jerks – give me a fucking job) but I worked full time for the whole time I was in London and still lived pay cheque to pay cheque. My friend once said “London is like a serial rapist that attacks your wallet and bank account over and over again until you have lost the will to live” and I think that’s about right – its crazy expensive.
I do not miss feigning interest in the X-Factor. In the UK, they take the show very seriously whereas in Australia the X-Factor and similar shows are thought of as jokes. They are guilty pleasures and something that you watch in secret when you’re on your own, and then lie about it after OR you watch it solely to perve on a hot host, judge or contestant. That couldn’t be further from the truth in England – it is on on Saturday night and people legitimately don’t go out until after they’ve watched it. They often gather in groups with their friends and watch it for fun then have many discussions about it during the week – an activity which I am glad I do not have to partake in anymore.
I do not miss the children. It might just be a South London thing, but kids over there are scary. If you see them in a group you don’t think ‘aww aren’t they darling?!’ you think ‘oh shit, does that kid have a gun?’ And if you think I’m just being a pansy, may I remind you of the London riots in 2011 where those fearless bastards basically ran the city for a few days, leaving behind a fiery path of desolated destruction along the way? And if you still think I’m being a pansy then can I also remind you to piss off.
I do not miss the phenomenon that is wearing ugg boots in public. I’m not talking about the cheeky pop to the supermarket for 5 minutes wearing them which we are all guilty of – oh no, I’m talking Winter, Central London, peak hour – women on their way to work at their professional jobs – extremely well dressed and polished from the calf up – but from the calf down are markings reminiscent to that of your typical bogan. I initially brushed this off with the thought that they would change their footwear upon arrival at work but I am told that a lot of the time they stay in these monstrosities for the entire damn day. Don’t get me wrong, I love ugg boots as much as the next extremely attractive young woman, but they fall into the pyjama genre and where I come from, wearing pyjamas in public is what distinguishes an average person from a bogan. Move north of the equator and cross a few time zones and they are considered a trendy staple for your winter wardrobe. Baffling!
The most disheartening factor to come into play is that they only seem wear the genuine ‘Ugg’ boots which are marketed in a way so that in buying them, they think they are doing something truly Australian. The irony lies in the fact that most Australian’s spend $10 max on unbranded ugg boots purchased from Kmart or Big W which can be replaced on an annual basis, without financial guilt. Genuine Ugg boots, however, retail from about £120 – £250 which is completely fucking ridiculous. Their sheer existence is merely a product of what happens when bogan’s have too much money but if you’re paying that kind of cash for what are essentially slippers, why wouldn’t you wear them in public?! Being one who often succumbs to peer pressure (friend: ‘wanna get drunk?’ me: ‘k’) it was hard not to get caught up in it all but I’m pleased to say that I stayed true to my beliefs.
I do not miss their KFC. Australian KFC and I’m sure most other countries KFC’s shit all over the ones in the UK. I understand that some might find that statement to be outlandish but to those sceptics; I urge you to simply step into a KFC in the UK, order a meal deal of your choice, take out a chip and carefully examine it. You will immediately notice – before even tasting it, that something is not right. That subtle golden glisten created by the specks of chicken salt is absent and that’s because chicken salt doesn’t exist there! I KNOW?! I was as shocked as you are! In lieu of this, they allow you to take as many salt and pepper sachets as your heart desires, so you can season the chips yourself – like some kind of fucking moron. I’m sorry KFC but what my heart desires, is chicken salt. Standard salt and pepper just does not cut it – I want to speak to the Colonel.
It’s been a rough day but the shock of the lack of chicken salt is subsiding and you find comfort in the fact that you can drown your chip sorrows in the potato and gravy. After the trauma you have just been through, that little, white, pot resembles that of an angel’s halo. And that is where you real kick in the crotch is….potato and gravy doesn’t exist there either. What they’ve given you instead and without warning is a hot, little pot of baked beans. Pardon? I don’t know what sick bastard decided that this was okay but where I come from; it is bordering on criminal. To simply replace the perfect chip accompaniment and side dish combination with legumes in a tomato based sauce, and not breathe a word about it is unjust. They do have stand-alone gravy but you have to ask for it. I’m not completely clueless, I know baked beans have their place, but it is not as a side with fried chicken and chips.
Every time I was drunk and in a KFC I was a fairly vocal advocate of abolishing the baked beans and introducing the potato and gravy. If the last two paragraphs have moved you in the same way as they did to me and you are in the UK at some point, I ask that you take 5 minutes of your drunken night to go into the nearest KFC and protest about this too. If we can get enough people to rally this, we CAN make a change. The potato and gravy doesn’t have a voice, but we do.
I do not miss the crowds. London has a population in excess of 8.1 million so there are people around EVERYWHERE and at all times. I do, however, miss what the crowds bring; a steady but regular flow of tail. I personally, have never gotten so much action in my life and I hold grave fear in thinking that I’ll never get that much again. And let’s face it – Aussies in London don’t have the best rep; they are plentiful, always drunk and giant menaces – they’re practically vermin and I was still somewhat of a pulling machine. I actually went speed dating once there and I cleaned the fuck up. How it worked was after your 3 minute date with that person you select ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘friends’. If you say ‘yes’ to someone and they say ‘yes’, you’re a match. If you say ‘yes’, they say ‘no’ you’re not a match. Two no’s is obviously no match. And if you say ‘yes’ and they say ‘friends’ then you’re friends. I can’t remember the exact amount of men at this event but it was something like 18-20. I was too busy being charismatic to bother taking it seriously so I just selected ‘yes’ for everyone to see what they had said for me. The next morning I got my scores as follows:
One guy said ‘no’. I won’t get into it, but there was a hair smelling incident which one party did not consent to.
One said ’friends’. Dude was old, I was like the youngest age allowed in this group, and he was the oldest.
The rest of them said yes. Turns out; I’m pretty fucking charming. It also confirms my point that with so many people living there, one of them is bound to want to get freaky with you.
I do miss the Brits. They’re well-dressed, sarcastic and believe that a pub every 20 metres is completely necessary. Their appealing accents teamed with their generally articulate vocabularies make even normal sentences sound engaging. For example, I remember hearing a conversation between two colleagues of mine once where one stated: “I actually quite enjoy lavatorial humour” which translates to ‘I like shit jokes’. See, you’ve either got it or you don’t – class can’t be taught.
I do miss Kiwis. Statistics show that there is actually more Kiwis’ in London then there are in New Zealand (I just made that up) and the NZ High Commission in London is actually bigger than New Zealand the whole country itself (made that up too). For most of the 2 years I was over there, a vast majority of my friends were Kiwi’s because I love them and they love me. I have this strange theory that Kiwi’s think I am way cooler than I actually am and that I am far more attractive than I actually am – I look a bit Kiwi so whether it’s a case of mistaken identity or not who knows/cares but it is something I will not complain about which also means it is likely I will one day marry a New Zealander. This is beneficial to me in that I get what I always wanted: the Haka at my wedding.
I do miss really awesome nightclubs like Fabric, Koko and Ministry of Sound. Canberra has Mooseheads and Academy….I rest my case.
I do miss being able to drink in public. Having the power to pre-drink in the street is cost effective, time efficient and a big ball of fun. I’m not saying I don’t do it now; it’s just really hard to conceal a bottle of Passion Pop or wine in your dress without being caught or judged.
So there you go. Shitty blog post aside, London really was my first love. I met so many wonderful people there from all different countries and walks of life that I’m sure will be lifelong friends. Not only did I learn so much from my experience there, but I grew up a lot too. Please don’t think of this post as me complaining but rather an extremely unhelpful insight of London that you will not find in any of the Lonely Planet Guide books (and with good reason). I bid you adieu.