London Is AngryMarch 4, 2010
There’s a survey saying that London is the angriest city in Europe and apparently Lambeth is the angriest borough in London. That takes some doing, to become top of the anger league among 32 angry boroughs. New York used to be angry, but it doesn’t appear to be anymore since it was cleaned up (in Manhattan at least). I thought I wasn’t going to experience the famous rudeness when I paid a visit a few years ago, until I saw a yellow cab driver yelling at a woman who decided to leave her brain at home and go for a jaywalk. London can be angry I’ll admit, but the angriest in Europe? Maybe it’s true, because there’s plenty for a Londoner to get angry about. Let me give you a short list.
Public transport. We currently have our weekend travel properly stuffed due to engineering works, which involves shutting down whole chunks of various lines, or shutting down a line completely. The Jubilee line has had this for at least a year. The Eastern end, which is the newest section, takes the brunt of this, meaning those who go to the O2 for concerts have a hellish journey of replacement buses and whatever they can use for an alternative journey. That the company contracted to do the job as part of a public/private initiative failed to reach the target to complete it by the end of the year, leaving passengers in sufferance for a few months more, add to the frustration.
Drivers. The driver is a cash cow for local authorities. There’s the congestion charge; the chameleon toll that started off as a traffic calming measure, morphing into a green tax. Motorcyclists appeared to be exempt from parking charges in areas like Westminster because they were ‘greener’ than cars, but that goalpost has been moved. You need a permit to park outside your own home, but that doesn’t mean you’d be able to park outside your home. The best part is that because the roads are the responsibility of the individual boroughs, you’ll almost certainly be slapped with a fine, because a rule in one borough is not necessarily the same in another. You pays your money, you have no choice.
Cyclists. They shoot through red lights and ride the pavements. That subject deserves a post of its own and maybe one day I’ll do it. I don’t know if my keyboard would be able to withstand the pounding that it will receive as I vent about that particular wind-up.
People. Where do I even begin with this one? If you’re not wound up at least once a day you’re not a proper Londoner and there are plenty of people who can help you fulfil that potential. We have those who deliberately walk into you when there’s plenty of room for manoeuvre; there are those who walk and text and don’t even look up when they find themselves almost kissing you; there are those who can’t be arsed to get up from their seat to let you get off the bus and then there are people who slap their basket on the self service till section of the supermarket when you haven’t even finished paying for your goods yet (I can feel material for another future post coming on).
I’m a Londoner and I’m angry.