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A New Perspective
London in General
Member Name: pucker2
London in General
Date: 12/12/01, updated on 19/12/01 (45 review reads)
Advantages: Lively, Exciting, Lots to do
Disadvantages: Dirty, Often crowded if you don't know where to go
If I were to take my life in London seriously I would become an incredibly boring individual. As it is I love this city and never tire of its charm. Every corner holds a fascination for me and even in my darker moments, I cannot help but smile at the sheer lunacy of it all.
Picture the scene. I step off the tube at Embankment station and walk out in to the bracing autumn air.
Person 1: "Standard!" I walk on, having acknowledged the headlines.
Person 2: "Big Issue madam?"
"No thank you"
Person 3: "Spare a moment for Amnesty International?"
"Sorry, I'm running late"
Person 4: "Have you got a minute for Oxfam?"
Person 5: "Could you tell me how to get to the Lion King?"
"Yes, you're standing right in front of it"
Person 6: "Can you spare any change please?"
Person 7: "Do you have 30 seconds to discuss your hair?"
On particularly unassertive days I have been known to sign away my life savings to Greenpeace, deposit £5 worth of small change with various homeless people and be carrying around 17 leaflets for bars and nightclubs, to which I have no intention of going.
I can never understand how anyone could possibly get sick of a place like this. Millions of people just trying to make a living or get on with their day and if you can't let them do that then London becomes the most lonely city in the world.
However, if for some unknown or personal reason you do become sick of London and its tourism mentality then here are a few tips on places to go to escape.
1) The Lamb and Flag pub is half way between Covent Garden and Leicester Square (just off of Garrick St.) and yet remains a million miles from any of the fancy cocktails and dramatic scenery that we often come to expect from the gimmicky bars in W
C2. It is a traditional pub with real ale and wood floors and it is always my first port of call when I want to catch up with an old friend in a relaxed atmosphere.
2) At the other end of the beverage spectrum, The Muffin Man in W8 (Wright's Lane, just off Kensington High St.) is nothing short of a novelty nowadays. Safely inside zone 1, it still has the feel of a 1970s seaside teashop - complete with real leaf tea and net curtains. This one is definitely good when you need to warm up after a rainy day at the shops but I can also recommend the breakfast selection if you are more of an early bird!
3) If you have ever been to the West End on a Saturday night you will know how ridiculously crowded it can get. Quite often the groups of young men and women do not even know where they are going but simply wander around aimlessly, getting in the way and waiting for London's nightlife to jump out and grab them. If this situation ever occurs my advice would be to head for Dean Street (off Oxford Street). There you will find an informal comedy show (known as the laughter lounge) on the top floor of the Crown & Two Chairmen. It has reduced prices for concessions and I've always found the acts to be of a high standard.
4) As far as impromptu eats go, curry is always a good option - especially if you are in east London. Whilst Brick Lane is the obvious choice, the range of restaurants can sometimes be overwhelming and although I'm not an expert, I have never had a bad experience at Sheba. Situated at the far end (No. 136), the food is good and the staff are charming but, most importantly it is never too crowded as it is one of the last restaurants you come to.
5) Finally, staying east, the Bishop's Grape is one of my favourite finds of last year. This bar is simple and quiet with a wide range of wines and ports. It reminds me of the bars found on the continent and I half expect it to spill out onto the street come summer. I
t is on two floors so there are always free seats but most people will be found around the bar because, unlike most bars in London, here the landlord himself is often found pouring the drinks. He too adds to the charm of this place, which is situated on Devonshire Row off of Bishop's Gate (yes, I too enjoyed the pun!). It has the disadvantage of having last orders at 8pm during the week but with the generous measures I usually find it quite a good thing!
I hope you find these locations as helpful in dealing with London life as I have over the last few years. It is always a lot easier to smile about things when you know you can always get away from it all.