My London adventure started off with all the usual mishaps and flapping around that generally accompanies me wherever I go. The standard stuff, like running for buses that may as well have “FU” instead of “No.44″ in lights on the front, and having a minor nervous breakdown upon the realisation that I’d forgotten my railcard when I arrived at the train station. This trip, potentially career changing, was off to a good start.
Emma Bennett and I were heading to the Big City for a careers Open Day, run by the Creative Pioneers folk, and I also had an internship interview. This was a massive step in the right direction for me- namely the Taking Active Steps Towards Avoiding Lifelong Unemployment direction. It had to go smoothly, or else I’d sulk for ages afterwards.
Arriving in the capital, we were at a bit of a loss as to what to do with ourselves for the next 15 hours before our little career day. After a little bit of googling “Places in London”, we decided that Leicester Square was as good a place to start as any, so embarked on an unnecessarily troubling tube-trip, found ourselves in the midst of a buzzing city centre, and did what any Northern girl would have done in that situation. We went to the nearest bar.
Ordering a bottle of wine and a sharing platter, we nestled ourselves down and recounted everything we had learnt about London. They used weird teabags here. They run everywhere. The Tube isn’t as complicated as the map makes it look. Leicester Square has a M&Ms world. We even managed to come up with a pretty solid reasoning on geographical cultural differences within the UK.
“In the south, they don’t have time to chat to everybody. Think about it, that’s why it’s such a culture shock coming up North. Up North, you’ve got to make best mates with a bus driver, the parking guy, the ticket-checker, the fella at Costa, and the receptionist before you’ve even got to work. Here, everything is a machine and it gets shit done. No faffing about making friends with every bugger you walk past. I’m busy, I don’t want to be your best friend, bus driver.”- Emma Bennet, North/South Philosophiser.
Having solved this great cultural mystery, we proceeded to skip a main meal and go straight to dessert; two slices of pecan pie and four shots of Goldschlager. Next, onto the nearest place that offered us free drinks for a dance with some bad-breathed Australians. I think we must have been quite drunk by the end of it all, because we ended up taking selfies sat waiting for a tube at quarter to twelve.
To sober us up, we bought some toothpaste at a corner shop, trampled around the King’s Cross area trying to find our hotel, and engaged in a little chat with a stranger who rather impolitely, and I daresay aggressively, told us we needed to give him 20p. Luckily, the direction we ran from him in happened to be the way to the hotel, and within minutes we were tucked in bed watching some Superskinny/Supersized pseudo-documentary. All in a night’s work.
Up early the next day, with our 20ps intact, we got dolled up and set off to my interview. It had been arranged for 10.30 and -feeling overlyconfident about the Tube- we set off at 9.30, and immediately got on the wrong train. I was almost twenty minutes late to my interview, and gave myself a whistlestop tour of many back streets of the city centre trying to find the right building. By some small miracle, the woman interviewing me empathised with my Northerner-down-south-distress and all was forgiven and, thankfully, my internship secured.
“London is exhausting” we concluded, slumped down on the train home later that night. Then Emma accidentally kicked the armrest of the person in the front, sending their arm flying. We quietly pissed ourselves laughing for the two hour journey home, and I swore to myself that next time I came to the capital, I’d bring Emma. Or a map.