Every struggle of living JUST outside of London
It’s a touchy subject
The North/South divide between Universities is competitive enough between students, until you consider the lengths you’ll go to to justify your little southern village as genuinely counting ‘withIN London’. This debate goes back years with boys from Zone 8 behaving like they live in an Eastenders alternate universe. Being greeted by the warming words “alright treacle what you sayin” doesn’t necessarily mean they come from Hackney. Living just a seventeen minute train away from Euston I never realised how difficult the question “So where are you from?’ would be.
Having to explain to your Uni friends the reality of your hometown
You can’t lie, saying you’re from North London on the first night of prees is the safest way to avoid any debate or probing questions. Honestly, it sounds a lot cooler. Living so close to central and the tube line it’s much easier to say you live close to London than to list off places no one outside of Hertfordshire, let alone the South would be able to recognise. Realistically, who’s heard of Radlett or St Albans?
Questions about your accent
Living just outside of London you gain a slightly confused accent that changes depending on who you’re around. For your flatmates, you can sound like a hybrid of Made in Chelsea and Danny Dyer (when you’ve had a few drinks) in one go. Going home midweek means by the next day you will have reverted back to your slightly posh with a few slang words thrown in dialect. Going back up to Uni, you’ll notice your northern counterparts thick accents more than ever.
Giving up explaining where your town is so relating it to the closest landmark
The majority of my conversations when you finally reveal you live in Watford go in one of three ways:
No not the Watford Gap, the other one.
Yes the football club, I haven’t met Elton John.
George Michael and Anthony Joshua lived here so we’re pretty sound.
Getting caught out by an actual Londoner
After weeks of extending the truth and convincing your flat you live the authentic London lifestyle finally you get caught out. Of course there has to be someone from Islington at your prees to expose you, why wouldn’t there be? Queue the awkward flustering about how you’re SO close to Euston and you go there all the time so you may as well be. These shameful encounters lead to a lot of embarrassment and many failed attempts to justify yourself.
Cheap University prices compared to the South
A disadvantage to living so close to London but not being able to enjoy the perks of living central is the costs. Although you may not live within the main zones your local pub and club say otherwise. Club entry is just under a tenner and shots a ludicrous £4.50. Going to a Northern uni and paying 2 for a fiver jagers will be music to your Southern ears. With these prices you deserve to extend the truth a tad.
Missing the last train home
Many nights for those living outside of the night tube are spent at Euston station waiting for the 5am morning train. Laying on the floor of the station covered in glitter and sweat until the first train arrives is my most shameful experience to date. I cannot think of anything worse than getting on the train in your gig/rave/night out attire surrounded by serious looking adults suited and booted ready for a day in the city. It is potentially the most degrading experience of your teenage years, yet one you’ll do it every few weekends.
You know the underground and London but you don’t KNOW them
Yeah, you’ve been to central countless times and your knowledge is pretty good of the main London stations. Cut to rush hour, your train is delayed and people are uncomfortably pressed against you on the tube. Then you will realise you are not cut out for this life. How do people keep a straight face and not immediately panic when they miss their stop? What about when you witness someone narrowly avoid the shutting doors? Do you help them or just stare awkwardly at the platform as you speed away? Turns out, you’re not as good at dealing with the London lifestyle as you thought.
It’s not as big of a deal as you make it out to be
No one really cares where you’re from, as long as you’re not a complete dick about it. London or not the south combine to go against all the southern stereotypes which are in no way believable. Not everyone sounds like Jack Whitehall or Tim Westwood in the South. London or just outside, no one will probably know the difference.