Right, now I’ve had my customary cup of coffee and a ginger biscuit (or three) I will get down to business. I’m just going to come out and admit it.
My name is Jemma Smith and I am a London addict. There, I said it.
I am completely and absolutely obsessed with the place and there is nothing to be done about it. Kinda like those people who think they were born in the wrong time, or god forbid to the wrong parents, I believe I was born in the wrong place. Right time, right parents (love you mum!) but without a doubt the wrong place. I was born in Doncaster. It couldn’t get anymore wrong.
I was this close (I’m holding my thumb and index finger VERY close) to being a London baby. Not long before we (I have a twin, I’m not schizophrenic) were born my parents were seriously thinking about going into the pub business, where they would have been based, you guessed it, in London. However not being the London lovers that one of their daughters would grow up to be they changed their minds. Damn it. I wasn’t even born yet and already the fates were conspiring against my love of the capital.
Fast-forward 21 years and here I am sat writing this post fresh from a stint in the big smoke. When looking on the surface my love seems to be completely without reason, why do I get homesick for a place that isn’t even my home? Perhaps it’s not homesickness, more like lovesickness. However if you look a little deeper into my obsession (if you dare) you will find that I pine for the place when I’m not there and I can happily while away the hours envisioning how utterly fabulous my life will be when I finally move there. And please don’t tell me if you are going to London when I’m not as my jealously knows no bounds.
I don’t know, maybe I have a touch of the Dorothy Gale syndrome. Always thinking the grass is greener somewhere else but never really looking in my own backyard. But you know that part in The Wizard Of OZ when Dorothy goes over the rainbow and steps out of her black and white house into the multicoloured land of OZ? Thats how I feel when I go to London. I can’t think of a better way to describe it than that. There’s no place like home? Shut up Dorothy.
Sadly, as established, I cannot claim London as home. It is however my spiritual home. I just know I belong there. Now I know I sound a bit weird in a ‘if London were a person you would be arrested for stalking’ kind of way, but just hear me out ok?
The first time I went to London was with my parents. They took me and my sister to see Starlight Express. I was about 13. And so my obsession began. Over the years I returned to London with my parents (numerous times,) school, friends and even alone. I’ve seen shows: Mamma Mia, Lion King, Joseph, Sister Act, done the tourist trail, rode the London Eye, pursued The British Library, watched the Spice Girls reunion tour, shopped till I dropped, took in a play, witnessed a television show being recorded and worked at two magazines. All of these experiences were made even more special because of the location.
There are so many things that I love about London the only way to express them in any logical way is to make a list:
1. It’s our capital city. Show some respect!
2. The tourist attractions. Some of them provide London with it’s most memorable landmarks and some of them are just damn good fun, all of them make London a must see.
3. The fact that there is always something to do. So much to do in fact that you never get round to doing it all. I laugh in the face of anyone that says there is nothing to do in London, your simply not trying hard enough.
4. The fact that it is FULL of opportunity. No matter what your ambitions you can bet that you can make them happen in this amazing city.
5. The red busses and phone boxes. There’s no mistaking where you are.
6. The tourists. Yes I myself have been one a fair few times but now I like to think myself an honorary Londoner. But there is nothing that raises a smile like seeing a camera clad tourist taking pictures of EVERYTHING in sight.
7. The history. You can’t escape it when your there.
8. The buildings. Beautiful, old imposing buildings next to the slick, modern new ones. This sums up London perfectly. It’s history standing side by side with the present and the future.
9. The shopping. Enough said.
10. The fact that everyone can be a celebrity if they want to. All you have to do is put on a pair of designer sunnies and strut.
11. The West End. What beats it? I love the theatre.
12. The weather (yes really!) It’s always warmer in London than it is up north.
13. It’s multiculturalism.
14. People’s individuality. They know how to express it and they sure as hell are not afraid to.
15. The fact that it’s so busy. This city really doesn’t sleep.
16. How it’s more than likely you’ll spot a famous person or two. Even if you never reach the dizzy heights of fame yourself you’ll always have something to talk about at parties “Remember that time when we saw…….”
17. The fact that you are never really alone. Even when you are. Your surrounded by people constantly.
18. The importance of the place. Everything happens there dont’cha know?
19. If you try hard enough the guards will laugh.
20. That when a car with blacked out windows cruises past you automatically think there is a someone famous inside. And when your the one in a car with blacked out windows you can’t help feeling a little superior.
21. The London feeling. Hard to describe if you have never been there. The best I can do is describe it as the over the rainbow feeling.
There are only three downsides to London life. The cost, so damn expensive. The tube, gives me the creeps. And the pigeons, massive bird phobia. All the other stuff that is reported in the news is just scaremongering in my opinion. Never once have I been shot, stabbed, robbed, raped or murdered (obvs) while there. Now I’m not saying that these things don’t happen, because I know they do. All I am saying is that these terrible things also happen in other parts of the country not just London. Just because you live in London doesn’t necessarily mean you are destined to be the victim of crime. London seems to have acquired a bad reputation for these things but bad buggers live everywhere not just in the capital. I mean every time I travel to London I have a cousin that jokingly reminds me to take my stab vest! There’s really no need!
There is nowhere in the world I would rather be than London. The places of all places. Ask me any day at any time where I want to be and London I will answer. What really demonstrates my love for the place is that every time I have to leave I feel more than a little sad. As if I’m saying goodbye to my destiny until next time. I mean where else would you see Diana Vickers wobbling down the street in a tiny dress and sky high bright orange heels in the middle of the day? Where else would X Factor contestant Lloyd Daniels walk into you while you were busy minding your own business? Where else would you see Coleen Nolan talking on her mobile outside Starbucks while sucking on a fag? And where may I ask would you find individual hand painted elephant statues dotted all over the city? Nowhere but London. I don’t have pictures of Diana Vickers and her shoes, Lloyd Daniels and his rudeness or Coleen Nolan and her fag but here you go:
If you have gotten to the end of this post (congratulations!) and are still unconvinced that London is the best city in the world I have three words for you. Topshop. Oxford. Street.
It’s safe to say that if I had a pair of ruby slippers right about now I would be clicking the heels and chanting “There’s no place like London….”