London Is Angry

March 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.



  1. I was in London two years ago and found the people so nice and helpful!

    • Hello, Sarah. It’s nice to hear from you again. I’m glad you had a good experience of London. To be fair, most people have a good time when they visit, as they should. I have a love-hate relationship with London, as a lot of residents do. I don’t think I’d want to live anywhere else, but sometimes it drives me to the edge. Overall, I’d say it’s 60/40 in favour of love.

  2. I am particularly angry about that Survey. As if we need more people panning Lambeth… first we are Loony Lefties, then we are apparently all crack addicts, now it seems we are the angriest in the uk. Its enough to make your blood boil!

    On a more positive note, Brixton now has the updated Windrush Square with beautiful fountain and weird fake trees and lighting set into rounded steps. How long it will look that good is anybody’s guess, but it will surely change the mood for a while. And us WesNozzers (people from West Norwood, also in Lambeth) are getting a municipal swimming pool by 2012. Surely we can crack a small glimmer of a grin?


    • I heard about the Windrush Square, opened by our dear mayor last week. That’s definitely a good thing for the area. I don’t think Lambeth is any more angry than the rest of London. However, in places like parts of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea, I expect it to be fragrant, with not a whiff of disagreement.

  3. London was one of the friendliest big cities I’ve ever visited too, but I may be biased by trips to surlier metros like Berlin. It may also be that London is so large that I got lucky and only ran into nice people. We tend to stay in Bloomsbury, as there are many B&Bs of good value (clean but cheap) near Kings Cross. Certainly London had the nicest cab drivers anywhere, helpful and knowledgeable.

    • Bloomsbury is a nice spot. I haven’t been to Berlin yet, though it’s one of many on my list of places to visit. The cabbies here are very good in my experience. I’ve only ever encountered one surly individual. Usually, I have a good chat, which always makes the journey better. I don’t know when you were last in London, but Kings Cross has changed – a lot.

  4. I come from Lambeth. How dare you! Next time I’m over Stratford way…

    • Come and have a go if you think you’re hard enough…

  5. Don’t forget the weather … the weather can make you angry! And those people who stand on the left side of the escalator then get angry when you tell them to move… oh London, how I miss it so!

    • Marakita! How could I possibly forget about the escalator etiquette (frequently broken)? I don’t know where you’re living now, but if you want a London fix, you could do a lot worse than pop in here from time to time. I appreciate you coming to have a look.

  6. This seriously made me laugh! One time I had some guys sitting outside a cafe hit on me… Then when I ignored them THEY proceeded to yell at ME for being rude. Classic. I mean, guys, I know I’m a commodity with my tan skin and I probably hurt your feelings…but geeze! That’s no way to treat a lady.

    Man, I heart London!

    • You know your value, B. I like it. These kind of men tend to punch above their weight, then whine when they find themselves on their arse. When a friend gives the story of an experience like this, I tell them that person’s response proves they were right in their original assessment of them, so they have nothing to get upset or angry about. Those people were tools, no doubt, but if they had found a way of living positively, starting with building their own esteem without the arrogance, they would’ve got a better result.

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