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Londoners who live in London are a rare breed. In my office of 40, only two people were actually born and raised in the megacity of 8 million. Lucky for me, my partner and many of his friends are some of these scarce specimens. I thank them in advance for providing me with such robust material.
What they say: Excuse me.
What they mean: Get the f*** out of my way.
They’ve been politely trying to get around you on the sidewalk for 30 meters. When a Londoner stops silently seething you know you’ve really messed up.
What they say: That’s far.
What they mean: I can’t be bothered to go there.
It can also mean it’s outside of Zone 2.
What they say: London Salary.
What they mean: We pay you more to compensate for the fact that a pint costs twice as much as it should and you spend half your salary on rent.
You’ll also feel better about suffering four housemates in a three-bedroom house while your friend easily affords a huge flat in Birmingham.
What they say: You’re not from London.
What they mean: You grew up outside of Zone 3.
If you didn’t live in a borough that 1 in 3 Londoners (not entirely scientific) have heard of, you might as well be from Slough. Where’s Slough? Exactly.
What they say: It’s a proper pub.
What they mean: You don’t need a supplementary income to get pissed there.
They serve beer. And none of that craft brew shit, either.
What they say: I read in the Daily Mail…
What they mean: I’m a self-righteous, middle-England, right-wing, anti-immigrant, homophobic, misogynist, anti-intellectual, racist bastard.
I don’t think people from London like Daily Mail readers very much.
What they say: I read in the Guardian…
What they mean: I want you to know I’m not a self-righteous, middle-England, right-wing, anti-immigrant, homophobic, misogynist, anti-intellectual, racist bastard.
What they say: I read in the FT…
What they mean: I do, or will one day, own this country — if not the world.
Dry and unbiased fact, with a capitalist slant — there are powerful words in the Financial Times.
What they say: I’m on my way…. No, I’m not on the Tube yet.
What they mean: I’ll be there anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes after we agreed to meet.
Theoretically, they should be there on time. It’s just that Transport for London has other plans. A true Londoner knows of their lies but plans their arrival based on just the Tube journey anyway — ignoring the walk to the station, delays, and line changes.
What they say: How much is it?
What they mean: I would just like to confirm that I cannot afford this.
Because, you know, I’m still doing an internship and getting paid expenses.
What they say: Hipster.
What they mean: He wears tight trousers.
True Londoners remember when wearing baggy jeans, low and backwards, were all the rage. And they’re nostalgic for it.
What they say: I don’t go south of the river.
What they mean: That’s not London, there isn’t even a Tube stop.
Sorry, the Overground is not the Tube.
What they say: I don’t go north of the river.
What they mean: That’s where everything that’s wrong with London is happening.
Who needs trees? We’ve got Brixton Market.
What they say: I don’t go out in East London.
What they mean: I’ll have to take three night buses and walk for 20 minutes to get home if I go out in East London.
It’s also likely to involve getting vomit on my shoes.
What they say: I only go out in East London.
What they mean: I’m from East London.
And why go anywhere else?
What they say: This is London.
What they mean: Stop complaining.
In exchange for the exorbitant cost of living, meandering tourists, and transportation that gives you black snot, you get to live in the greatest city in the world.