Writers' Blog

Published on February 6th, 2014 | by Ben Grazebrook

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London: A city of misery?

Commuters queueing to get on the tube at Brixton station

For students in London, rent and transport take up the majority of their meagre budgets. [Andy Fyles]

London is pictured as a metropolis of opportunity and the hub of Europe. It’s one of the greatest cities in the world, and many think that anyone would be lucky to live here. I know that I did.

That’s until I lived here. As a student, the fairytale vision I had of London was crushed almost the instant I moved to the capital.

Gone were the bright lights and tourist attractions, which were instead replaced by the less desirable areas on the Monopoly board.

The biggest drawback of life in London as a student is undoubtedly the cost of living; rent and transport take up most of a student’s budget, to the point where food is often a luxury, and a night out is merely a pipe dream.

On the rare occasion you can afford to party hard you spend half the evening queuing to get into a club, and the other half queuing at the bar, all so you can pay for a drink more expensive than your weekly shopping.

When the evening is finally finished you get the delight of paying for the taxi home or risking the adventure that is the night bus.

Transport

Speaking of public transport, isn’t that a joy? The underground is just an expensive way to make yourself uncomfortably sweaty while strangers invade your personal space.

Meanwhile, the bus will take you on one of the most tedious journeys of your life. Of course you could try and cycle, but let’s face it, unless you’re an adrenaline junkie it’s really not a form of transport suitable for the average person.

Spend any amount of time in London and it’s very quickly apparent that there are just too many people in this city. And they’re miserable people, too. Londoners really are some of the most sombre and desolate bastards on the planet.

Something that’s even more tedious than the buses is the great British tradition of queuing. Whether it be a line to get on the tube, to top up your oyster card, or get your lunch, it seems it is almost impossible to go through a day without standing in an endless stream of queues.

Unattainable

And, finally, the worst thing by far about London is the complete idiot who tries to walk down the street while reading a book. This is NOT socially acceptable behaviour.

Obviously, London is not all doom and gloom, and it does have redeeming qualities – otherwise I would never have considered moving here in the first place. It’s just that, as a student, these qualities are often unattainable.

Don’t get me wrong, I think London is a great city. But, in the depths of winter, when I’m sat at home shivering on a Saturday night because I can’t afford to turn the heating on, I forget all of its merits and can’t help but mutter desolately to myself: “London is shit.”

 

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Ben Grazebrook



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