Everything you’ll realise as a Northerner living in London
Get ready to hit up a Pret!
There is a power struggle currently going on in the UK. No, I'm not talking about Brexit. Brexit is not a power struggle, Brexit is you, drunk, trying to tell the bouncer you aren't that drunk as they kick you for being drunk.
No, the power struggle is this – people in London think they're better than people in the North, and everyone in the North fucking hates London.
Picture it, just a bunch of lads in London, "Goddamn we're better than those Northerners," they're probably saying, in their not northern accents. You go up north, everyone's horny for gravy, everyone is anti-horny for London.
Growing up in the North you learn a few rules about life:
1. Things are done in a certain way in the North, gravy is put on things it is not put on in the South, and this is fine, because it is the North.
2. Don't expect anything from the Government.
3. A band is good. A band of good local boys. Good local boys making good local music, eating good local gravy – until they stop being good local boys and move away (see Arctic Monkeys).
4. If you move to London you are a traitor and no matter how many people in London you tell, you will never be quite as Northern as you once were.
So, I am a Northerner currently living in London. But how does it feel being a Northerner in London? How does it feel knowing there's more money in one city than across a whole bunch of northern English counties? How does it feel paying a whole lot of money for a pint? Well:
You will never stop getting mad about the price of a pint
I bought a drink in London and I felt like the next natural step was appearing on Can't Pay? We'll Take It Away.
I live in Sheffield, a place where beer is made in abundance, so much beer, more beer than there is Government support, beer rivalling gravy as the main source of sustenance, beer so aplenty I'm actually sick of beer.
A pint in Sheffield costs around £3-3.50, a little more expensive if it's strong. In London it cost me nearly £5. That's five English pounds of money that I earned in the North, good Northern money, gone. I could've bought, I don't know, at least one Freddo with that (price of Freddos correct at time of writing).
Imagine the price of drinks at a festival – this is London. Yes, there is an abundance of pubs – all with gold plating outside, they've got names like The Duke of York, they're all full of very official guys in suits drinking pints as if they are enjoying this life – but you do not have an abundance of money. London.
Saying thank you to the bus driver is actually impossible
I mean I'm not saying that saying thank you to the bus driver is particularly cool, it's not like wearing flares wider than your hips kind of cool, no, but saying thank you and a bit of politeness can go a long way.
NOT IN LONDON. You get on the bus. You scan your Oyster Card. You sit down on the bus. You get off the bus at the back of the bus. You do not interact with the driver. At no point can you thank your driver. You just have to get off and get on with your anonymous London experience. You could shout down the bus, I suppose. "THANK YOU", you will shout. Everyone will look at you like you're a fucking idiot. "Look at this northerner", they'll say, "thinking he's better than us, being all polite". Best keep your mouth shut, guys.
There are Prets everywhere. There are more Prets than people. You want a Pret? No? Then tough shit, because the closest thing to you will be a Pret and if that's full then just walk a bit further because you better believe there's another Pret nearby. It's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but it's Pret.
Pret, the southern Greggs. For context, there is one Pret in the centre of Sheffield – there are five Greggs. That's a lot of Greggs, especially given how small Sheffield city centre is. But even that is a small amount of Greggs compared to the abundance of Prets in London.
There's even Veggie Prets. Vegetarian specific Pret-a-Mangers. A whole shop, a whole unit of space, dedicated to the Vegetarian options at Pret. Imagine a Veggie Greggs? You can't, can you? You can't imagine a dystopia where sandwich shops have spin-offs.
Everyone in London loves Pret. Someone in the office asked where we wanted to go for lunch – we went to Pret. This is London, city of bikes lying about everywhere, city of Prets.
Change your accent or face endless ridicule
Only yesterday I said "Bath" in my Northern accent and that was followed by someone saying "Barth" in their not Northern accent.
Imagine being in a City so large you can go anywhere (and still be in walking distance of a Pret), be anyone (someone who likes Veggie Pret), do anything (go to Pret), and still have to adapt the way you say bath. You may as well be an American.
There are literally bikes lying around everywhere
Listen guys I'm all for saving the planet and everything but please stop trying to run me over at traffic lights. A short questionnaire:
a. Standing on the pavement waiting to cross the road? You will nearly be hit by a passing bike.
b. Crossing the road? You will nearly be hit by a passing bike.
c. On a bike? You will nearly be hit by a passing bike.
This is London, city of bikes.
Commuting! In! London! Is! Hell!
If you're a Northerner working in London, good luck to you. It takes me an hour to get to work on a morning and everyone I've said that to has said I'm lucky it's just an hour. AN HOUR. I live in a suburb of Sheffield most of the time and if I commuted for an hour I'd be in Chesterfield. CHESTERFIELD. I have to get an a packed train in the middle of nowhere, watch that train become increasing packed, face in someone's armpit, armpit in someone's face, then get off that packed train onto another train and stick my face in someone else's armpit. Forget the London Dungeons, just get on any given train at 8am.
The Tube is a passive aggressive nightmare I will never wake up from
I'm not talking passive aggressive in the sense of messaging your housemates asking them to do their washing up in an unnecessarily short tone. I'm talking about a whole new level of passive aggressive behaviour, unparralled by any public transport in the North.
Yes, you may have your precious trams in Manchester, you may have been on the Metro in Newcastle, they're nothing compared to the passive aggressive nightmare of the Tube.
I sat down and asked someone to pass me the newspaper next to them and oh my God the look they gave me. It was like I'd just asked them if they wanted to put gravy on their chips.
Imagine this during rush hour, a time of great passive aggressiveness. Just a bunch of people, all in smart attire, all wearing trainers in their smart attire, forcing their way onto a train that is quite clearly full. Never waiting for anyone to get off first.
Like the last train home from Manchester, on a rickety Northern train through the night, everyone is crammed in, all in the same boat. Except their is no drunken chat, no one sort of half asleep whilst stood up, no angry ticket conductor trying and failing to check tickets – no, there is passive silence.
Everyone feels the same, everyone has the same goal of getting home – but silence. You glance at someone, they angrily catch your eye, you look away – silence. Someone really needs to get off at this stop and the route to the doors is blocked. Do they say excuse me? No – silence.
The point is, the tube is just a bunch of people who are annoyed because this is their life, they can't get signal on their phone, and a bunch of Americans keep pronouncing Holborn "Hol-Born". This is the tube, it is a nightmare.
Harrods is just a fancy John Lewis, though
I naively went to John Lewis once to buy a rug and left when I found out how expensive rugs are. Then I went to Harrods and spent a fortune on a bag that said Harrods on it. I didn't buy anything else, I just bought a bag that said Harrods on it. And then they put it in another, less fancy bag, that also said Harrods on it. What I'm saying is, both John Lewis and Harrods are expensive and you can get John Lewis up North, so Harrods is pointless really. Unless you're really horny for Princess Diana and financial masochism or something.
Buckingham Palace? No fancier than your Mam's house
Don't get me wrong, Buckingham Palace is pretty fancy. It's big, yeah, but so is the Tesco near my house. It's got some pretty intimidating guards too, but again, so has the Tesco near my house.
Now I've not been inside Buckingham Palace, I doubt I ever will, but I'm sure it's pretty fancy. But so is my Mam's house. When I first brought my girlfriend home from uni to meet my parents, hot damn you will never see a fancier house than that. You reckon the Queen folded the ends of the toilet roll when Charles brought Camilla back? Did she fuck. Northern Mam's are the most house proud. Fancy people you will ever meet and no ten minute walk down The Mall just to get to Buckingham Palace is going to change my opinion on that.
Coffee is to Londoners what gravy is to Northerners
Now I'm no coffee snob, I can't stress enough how little I care what your coffee order is. Do not tell me what your coffee is, do not tell me how you like it, do not tell me where you think is good to get coffee. I. Do. Not. Care.
London, though, can't get enough of it. Coffee is to London what gravy is to the North. And it can't even just be coffee, it's where it comes from that matters. You can't go wrong with Bisto gravy, everyone knows it. Apparently you can go wrong with coffee because fuck me there are so many places to buy coffee, all with their own Instagram wall or an Instagrammable sign or an Instagrammable way of serving coffee.
Basically, if you don't have Instagram you will not understand London and you will not be able to buy coffee. Unless you go to Pret.