Thursday, 2 May 2013

A love letter to London

I consider myself extremely lucky to live in London, & I'm going to try to explain what is so fabulous about it.

I've been to many cities in my life (all of which I loved btw!) but there are only 2 that I would actually want to live in.... New York and London. To my mind they are the most exciting and modern cities in the world, so getting to actually LIVE in one of them is frankly a dream come true.

I grew up in a small town in Wiltshire and by the time I was 16 and had an idea of where I wanted to go (career-wise) I couldn't wait to escape. I knew that if I wanted a serious career in the Arts then I had to move to a big city, so when university came about it had to be London. My time at uni in London opened my eyes to the life I wanted. In order to get on the career ladder I had to go back to the West Country, and it was a HUGE sacrifice. I have rarely cried as much as when my dad drove me away from my friends and the city I loved. I don't regret it of course, it was all the building blocks for the life I have now, but at the time I was in utter misery. I visited London as much as possible, and after 3 years of hard work I came the closest I've ever come to falling into depression - I'm very lucky to be quite a stable person mentally and I don't take it for granted - I had to get back to London. That's what I did.... at any cost.

So here goes.

Lets start with something that actually relates to this blog(!). Fashion in London is cutting edge. Even New York can't touch us. In my home town I would get stared at for wearing a bright pink coat, In London I can wear insane clothes and I know there will be a myriad of other people much more outrageous than me. It goes without saying that the shopping opportunities are almost endless! Woe is my wallet. The most important part of this is that people can be themselves.

This bastard government may be trying their hardest to bankrupt the Art & Heritage sectors, but when it comes to museums and galleries, London is king. It is home to some of the most amazing museums in the world, which contain some of the most beautiful art in the world.... and they are free, therefore making what used to be considered 'high culture' available to anyone who wants it, no matter who you are or where your from.

Following on from this, London also offers some of the best entertainment in the world in form of theatre, dance and music. If you live in London and your bored, what are you playing at?! No matter what kind of music you like, there is a gig every night of the week. There are talented (and occasionally not so talented!) people working for your entertainment, and it is happening all the time.

I've spent ten years of my life living in London, and despite what everyone is always telling me about how dangerous it is (people who have never lived here of course) I've never been attacked, mugged or intimidated in any way. In my home town there were nice areas and rough areas. In London that is not always the case, you have council blocks on the same road as million pound houses. We all live together.

Something else that people who have never lived in London like to tell me is that they could never live here because it's so stressful and busy and noisy. Of course when I ask these people whereabouts in london they have visited it's always central London. I'm sorry, but if you really believe that Every where in London is like Piccadilly circus then you are seriously mistaken. There are so many suburban areas in London - there has to be, there are millions of families living here, and who the hell can afford to live in central London?! Some people live AND work outside central, but they still have the benefits of living in London. Try Hampstead, Richmond or Dulwich if you want to see a different side of London.

London is completely cosmopolitan. There are people from all over the world living here, people of different colours and religions, Shorditch types, families, the LGBT community, pearly queens and country bumpkins like me all rubbing along with each other, which is a beautiful thing.

The food is out of this world, and I'm not just talking about the expensive designer taster menu type restaurants, I'm talking street food, world cuisine, food festivals, markets and little independent eateries where you can have an amazing meal for well under a tenner.

The tourist opportunities are almost endless, I still have some things on my list after 10 years. sometimes I just decide to be a tourist for day in my own city, and it's so much fun.

This city is beautiful. I sometimes take short-cuts and find myself in amazing little streets full of outstanding architecture, little squares / gardens and tiny shops. You don't have to go far to find something special in London, it's history has created a personality that flat out screams at you!

As much as I complain about the cost & service of transport in London, at least I can get about (24 hours a day). I really do think I'm lucky to live in a city where I don't need a car.

These (amongst many many others) are what makes London so expensive to live in. It costs money to have everything at your fingertips, of course it does. You want a spacious home in a nice area, with a garden, close to a tube in zone 2? Then you better have a fucking well paid job. If you don't then stop being so unrealistic. If you don't think it's worth it then don't live here, live in Reading .. the train to Paddington takes 30 minutes! If you want everything that London has to offer, then you have to pay for it. Accept it and try to get the most bang for your buck.

London is worth every penny to me. It has given me my future - a job I love, a life full of excitement, new and interesting friends and the man I love.

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