Observations on London

Not very often so I do pieces like this, but it’s helpful to document it.

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To be sure, I’ve never liked living in London, or anywhere in England. There has not been a single point in living memory where I felt happy at being English. Yes I was born here. However, over the past 2 years or so a few things are deepening my dislike even more:

  • I’d never had the time to see all of London when I was younger. Now I’ve been to a good variety of parts: north, east, south, west & central. Apart from relative numbers of ethnic demographics, it looks the fucking same everywhere. Shops, flats, office blocks and little flecks of greenery to break up the grey, plus the occasional half-decent looking houses (only in north & west).
  • The sheer number of shops (supermarkets & off-licences) is pointless. The people who run London obviously see it as nothing but a hive of consumers, which to be honest is how most people here are.
  • There are homeless people all over the gaff! Doesn’t matter which part of it you go, you can see rough sleepers everywhere – even in the middle of the day on busy pavements and even right outside shop entrances!
  • Things are done so ass-backwards it’s not even funny. Example: Tottenham Court Road (an underground station in central London) has just been renovated after ages. It’s a huge station – and totally inaccessible to people with mobility problems. There’s enough space to fit at least 4 or 5 lifts, but is there even 1? No! Another example is the buildings; rather than renovate old buildings and save money they demolish them and rebuild from scratch! English builders used to be ridiculously slow (so slow Malaysia refuses to hire them), but over the past few years there’s been a construction frenzy! Why? Couldn’t tell you.
  • Even we hate our daytime TV channels and sitcoms. American ones are much better. Doesn’t affect me as I stopped watching TV ages ago, but I hear the same fuckery as before. EastEnders, Coronation Street, X Factor, Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity Get Me out of Here… all total dogshit. And the magazines all gossip about the same crap: which celebs are marrying/ banging/ divorcing/ losing weight/ gaining weight/ pregnant/ anything else normal people somehow can’t do.
  • London is racially segregated, not by “No blacks, no Irish, no dogs” type racism (anymore) but by ‘white’ flight. That’s why south & east London are so ‘black’/ ‘brown’/‘grey’ while north & west are so ‘white’. Central London is the exception; it’s basically just a place to work and visit so everyone is welcome. The parts outside London are even more ‘white’. But even in east,  central & south don’t be fooled into thinking racism doesn’t exist. I know a shop in east London that tries to exclude ‘black’ customers. How do I know this? Members of one of my writing groups have been there and said the exact same thing, and every time I’ve walked past I’ve not seen a single non-‘white’ customer. Literally not one.
  • On the topic of racism, it’s almost never open but hidden in broad daylight. Examples:
  1. In football posters on betting shop windows or pubs, whenever a ‘black’ player is shown he’s ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS shown open-mouthed*. Why? To imply a visual similarity to apes methinks,
    to add to Observations on London post
    * (latest example)

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    * (and another)
  2. On TV ads, not always but too often to ignore, when a ‘black’ person is shown her/his back is turned so viewers can’t get a clear look at their face,
  3. Sasians – I mean the young ‘uns born and raised here as well as the elders – will avoid physical contact with other Sasians who look like they could be descendants of Shudras (menial labourers) or Avarnas (untouchables). By “look like”, I mean significantly darker-skinned than themselves. Obviously a remnant of their 3500 years of Hindu culture, even if they’re Muslim/ Sikh/ Buddhist now. What, you didn’t think I’d only mention ‘white’ racism did you?
  4. Jewish children staring at ‘black’ people as they walk past them. Oddly, I find it’s only the children who do that not the adults,
  5. NWA. Explanation not needed,
  6. By extension, youth of all backgrounds feeling it’s alright to refer to themselves & their mates as “nigger” (spelling makes no difference, it’s the same fucking word).
  • The youth of all colours are very disillusioned, they’re not domesticated like older generations. The government can’t fool them because no-one gives a shit what they say anymore, so the media steps in. That’s why everyone jabbers on about programmes like Eastenders, Corrie (Coronation Street for my American viewers),  and Big Brother, or celebs like Tinie Tempah, Jessie J, Nicki Minaj, etc.
Shoot me now.
  • Of course economy just means money travelling in a circle in society, and becoming rich = keeping more money for oneself therefore stopping it circulating. That’s what the government does, in many different ways: raising taxes, cutting benefits, increasing transport prices. The newest trick I’ve noticed is the increase in zero-hour jobs, where people are technically employed (hence the claim that there are more jobs than ever before) but have no guaranteed number of hours therefore no guaranteed pay. Also interesting is the simultaneous increase in companies that demand people to pay to become employees (e.g. Saladmaster, ACN). What the fuck kind of job is that, that asks employees to pay them?!?
  • England is officially the most CCTV’ed country on Earth! I’ll be honest, that came as a surprise to me. I thought it’d be America but no! Check here, here, herehere and anywhere else on Google for proof! Why does a dege-dege island with only 1% of the world’s population need so much surveillance?!? My guess is it’s another manifestation of xenophobia & fear of revenge from people England has wronged in the past.
  • The education system is bollocks. All the way from primary to sixth form/ college, we’re taught academic achievement is the be-all & end-all of success. We’re taught to just remember predestined answers & facts and that’s it. Then we hit university or the workplace, all of a sudden we have to think for ourselves! So in the most impressionable years of our lives we’re taught originality is bad (even getting punished for it), then it becomes the only way to get ahead?!?

  • I’ve recently become much more clued-up about how home ownership works, and I am increasingly convinced that England (especially London) is a tourist attraction not a place to live. The fact that tenancies can last as little as 6 months was the kicker. In places like Germany, that doesn’t exist. How can you expect someone to inhabit a place for only 6 to 12 months then just up and move elsewhere, especially if they’re on low income/ disabled/ parents?

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  • Since the end of last year I’ve noticed loads of adverts for a company called Nobody’s Child. It only has pics of a really slim girl, maybe 12yo or so. At the same time there’s been a massive increase in the number of ads with child models, including a lot of little girls wearing adult-style clothes & make-up. I don’t business what fashion companies wanna say, I reckon they’re promoting paedophilia.
  • Talking about children, post code wars. What the fuck? Kids stabbing one another on road just ’cause they live in different boroughs?!?!? Evidence that there really is a kind of “yob culture”.
  • Oh, and two huge gripes I have with the ground I walk on…

(just as likely to be from a human as from a dog)
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9 thoughts on “Observations on London”

      1. yeah, cats is denying their africanness (africanity?) talking ’bout “i’m not african- i’m caribbean,” and his pops is PURPLE black. i’m lile “what- are you saying you’re arawak or taino? HOW DID YOU GET TO THE CARIBBEAN?”

        others are like “my parents are nigerian, but if i went back there, i wouldn’t even know the language.” as if that’s something to be proud of.

        so basically, according to these cats- and their ilk- if any afro-brit has any phenotypical trace of non-african ancestry, he’s pedigree black: still black enough to claim ‘black benefits’ (athleticism, swagger, “the rumo(u)r”), but not too black to claim ‘white benefits’ (mainstream acceptance, attractive FACE (not just body), etc.)

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      2. I’ll have to disagree with you on that. Most ‘black’ people here don’t deny their “Africanness” (anymore). The consciousness is rising to boiling point. However, to claim we’re African just because of phenotype & ancestry is simplistic. Especially considering when pressed which African country/ ethnic group we’re from we can’t answer, and ‘whites’ don’t claim “Europeanness” if they weren’t born in Europe. It all comes down to how we define African. Speaking only for myself, African means ancestry, phenotype AND geographic, ethnic & cultural familiarity. On those three almost every member of the African diaspora would fail, and many Africans on the continent would strongly agree.
        For example, I used to claim Jamaican because that’s where my family’s from. However I was born here, English is my first language, I’ve only visited Jamaica on holiday never lived there. Because of that I now claim English – but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

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