- Bank – Central Line
- Piccadilly – Bakerloo Line
- Embankent – Northern Line, northbound
Just this morning, when I was wondering whether I should write a piece about how my beloved London has become quite rude in recent times, my thinking process got halted abruptly when I heard a loud thumping on the tube window. It was so loud, the noise went right through the rubber of my earphones and it silenced the great Johnny Cash.
We were at Bank station and some guy, wanting to get on the packed tube, thought it was the right approach to get into the carriage, by knocking like a lunatic on the windows. His eyes nearly popped out of his red face. He then exposed his teeth and exploded in front of the glass:
‘You f*cking C**ts,’ he shouted. ‘For f*cks sake, move, you f*ckers!’
Literally, his exquisite choice of words. He was a man in pinstripes and looked like a thousand other professionals working around Bank. So, he wasn’t your typical ‘chav’, dressed in the latest market edition of Burberry.
This man’s rude manner summed up my thinking of late: London has become rude. It all seemed to have changed so rapidly as well.
Of course, I am not claiming that London was once made out of the same cloth as the Disney town Celebration (FL) which is the idealised version of small town America. And, it wasn’t exactly like people would release 100 peace doves to then burst into happy chanting upon greeting each other at the pub. London, being the robust place it is, has always had a bit of an edge to it and is definitely a city you don’t mess with. That said, since I have arrived here nearly 15 years ago, things have taken a turn for the worse.
London, was, not so long ago, a cool and pleasant city where people minded their own business and were respecting more or less to the unwritten rules you somehow discover when settling here. These are the transport rules; let people off before boarding, to name just one. The society rules: don’t stop at the entrance/exit of shops or any point of interests, do not jump any queues and move about in robot-fashion but have the charm on standby when it is required to switch it on. Also, you never stare.
Now, it appears that some of us living here, have transformed themselves into self-centered individuals who will stand wherever we want if it serves us better, we don’t mind pushing someone to the side to get that last vacant seat, we have become queue jumpers or will give you lip when you bump into them by accident. And more than ever people stare and even if I do that little twirl of the head and glance backwards as if to say: ‘surely you can’t be looking at ME?’ they keep staring. It feels like London has gotten eyes. And teeth.
There are so many instances of boorish behaviour I can recall since the euphoria of the Olympics last summer. I don’t know why I consider the post Olympics time to be the ground zero of this current brutish wave. But everything has a starting point and for me, it looks like it all kicked off after the best time in London ever.
Still, it shouldn’t be the case that, post euphoria. we have to act so rudely. It is a real shame that such great city has become that miserable.
What is it exactly, that causes London to have become so angry and act upon the cliché that this city is rude, as observed by the rest of the world long before London was actually rude for real?
I wonder if this is due to the recession; people being laid off, jobs are now much harder to get and the cost of city life appears to be increasing with every hour passing. Then again, there could be many other factors at hand, I think.
Could one of the reasons be the current trend of Internet Trolling; the contemporary pass-time of being nasty to strangers whilst hiding, sad and lonely behind a screen? Is this form of bullying now flowing over in real life – no longer content these trolls are with destroying one’s person day by posting cruel comments on one’s Twitter, they now feel tempted to ruin people’s day in real life? And talking about online activities; maybe some of us believe we have become mini-celebrities because we’ve after all got 500 followers and 2300 friends on Facebook? Which makes us Madonna right?
Or is it because the drugs have changed in recent years? I can see things around me when I’m out, the vibe in some places has changed. As where Ecstasy would make everyone love each other and scream out things like: ‘I want to personally thank your mum and dad for making love in the seventies as otherwise I wouldn’t be talking to you, you totally amazing stranger ‘, the drugs now available on the market, such as horse-tranquilizers, plant food and paint stripper causes them to act like Urban Barbarians.
Maybe it is simply due to the fact that London is bursting at its seams; with so many more people having entered this city in recent years hoping to exploit the gold rush but what they usually find is bits of tin foil – flown away from a stray kebab wrapping. But who knows, it may just be a Post Olympics Depression we all suffer. A bit like we’ve spent the night with the best lover ever who promised us sunshine days and croissants in bed but then left first thing in the morning, never to be seen again. No wonder we all got a bit miserable.
Yet more reasons spring to mind as I also think that the incessant flow of cold callers/texters wanting to flock you insurance, a credit card or kitchen, are driving us even further up the wall of discontentment. Talking about that phone, I am also sure that all of us being so engrossed in our mobile of late, has made us more introvert than before and as such, we may not interact with people so well as we used to be able to.
Oh of course, I am just guessing here but what I know (and others I’ve consulted) is, that London has changed. It just seems less friendly than it was but having gone through all of the reasons I could think of, I am wondering whether this city has transformed into a grump because of a mixture of all things suggested?
But who knows, it might just be all due to the bad weather we had in the last year. And goodness me, does the weather effect people’s mood here or what!
It would be amazing though if we could go back to the wonderful days of the Olympics or even the times before, where we used to all dance around a camp fire on the grounds of the Tower of London and make each other necklaces out of daisies. Okay, this picture is far-fetched but I miss the ‘old’ days, where we all seem to just flow past without so much aggression, more smiles and definitely less staring, fuming eyes. I love London very much and at present, I love it like a mother would love a very naughty child. You will never give up the love but you will get exasperated at times. Disappointed even.
I am however sure that London is not the only place where the level of rudeness has increased in recent months, years. But the good thing about this city is still that it’s a bloody amazing place, with so much to do and once you get past the sour faces and the pushing and shoving, you’ll have an absolute great time.
The vicious man in the pinstripes’ suit, I saw this morning, I wonder whether at some moment today, he slapped his head and said: ‘god, I just acted like a proper idiot, earlier on’.
But I am afraid that he still thinks it is absolutely acceptable to call people the worst names under the sun, just because he wanted to board the train. Unfortunately, it seems others thought so too as nobody batted an eyelid. Though, that could just be a London thing. We don’t care, we used to not stare ( even if there is more staring going on, we won’t do so if someone acts like a total twit). As, deep inside, we are still these robust London robots – but with a Colgate smile and cute dimples when the situation applies itself to it.
Go on London, smile. We’re on camera!