Thursday, 12 April 2007

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner

I haven't been able to check my snail mail for nearly a week as I'm still in London. And since I'm here for a week instead of the weekend/Bank Holiday that I'm normally down for, I've been able to get a few things done, see a few places I haven't seen for a while and tune into radio stations I haven't heard for a long long while.

Today is traditionally jobs day in the London Evening Standard. There is a big jobs compendium on Mondays but as it was a bank holiday this week it didn't come out. Since I left London there have been some changes. There are now three free papers being given out at tube stations. TheLondonPaper, London Lite and the Metro. Some Londoners are impressed, others are not.

The stuff I've missed out on down here. The tube, the variety, the street life - it's great. I miss this place. A walk down Oxford Street, Berwick Street Market, Notting Hill, Soho, the Museums - look what I've been missing. Juice and smoothie bars, a variety of different shops, half decent buses that have "in" and "out" doors. Tube trains that get me everywhere.

Proper fashion. The variety in the way people dress is fantastic. Although, there are an awful lot of black patterned tights and denim mini shorts going on. Topped off with smocks and big sunglasses. Instead of the Chav vs Goth thing going on up here. I didn't see one shiny nylon tracksuit.

I could move back here. Or so I thought.

From Monday to today I have spent more than £15 on travel. Even with my pay as you go Oyster card and the resulting half price £1 a pop bus journeys that's a lot.

And the people. They're everywhere. Try standing your ground outside H&M at Oxford Circus between around 4pm and 6pm. Then try to get a bus home in the rush hour. I stood all the way from Oxford Circus to Shepherd's Bush. The 94 was packed.

And the tourists. The French bunch who were trying to navigate around London using just a tube map. Buckingham Palace = Victoria (ish). The Yanks who couldn't believe that you had to move from the Central line platforms to the Victoria line platform to get the right train at Oxford Circus (and who got in the way of the stairs arguing the toss with me and each other) and the Italian bunch who blocked the platform at Bond Street standing around their rucksacks as they pored over a map.

I've never understood that at all. In all my years of commuting that has got to be just about the most annoying thing I've routinely seen. Just what is the point of looking at a street map when you're Underground and can't see any streets? What the fuck are you doing? Get out of the bloody way you morons - ARRGGHH!!

It took one day of travelling around London to get back into the London commuter mindset. I think my blood pressure has just got back to normal now.