For the love of London


by Sunny
17th January, 2006 at 2:58 pm    

Coming back from sunny Los Angeles to dreary London can be a bit depressing at times, to be honest. I even got a slight tan, yay! LA has much going for it in terms of nice weather, nice people (everyone says hi to each other there, even random people in the street!), and tons of mexican food (yum).

Though the food situation in London is improving constantly, when it comes to niceness, it lags far behind. Not that people are rude – they’re just too afraid to be friendly. Many there speculated it could be due to the weather – people in New York behave very similarly to London.

While in LA I partied hard in Las Vegas and then down in Mexico. I went to see Basketball games, clubbing, drinking, chilling, sightseeing, shopping etc., and I felt like moving there many times. But whatever it is, there is a lot to be said for London. It has a certain down-to-earth character and a buzz (and public transport) that is unrivalled. Once you get to know the city better, its difficult to avoid getting sucked into it.

A few years ago it was Toronto, but I’ve decided that place is way too boring and under-populated. So, for now, Los Angeles will have to wait.

[Note: my internet connection is buggered, and will be another 10 days before coming back on speed. So apologies for sparse coverage]

On another note if you’re at LSE, I’ve been invited by the SU debating society to talk about multi-culturalism etc today (6:30pm). My fellow panelists? Wait for it…. Charles Moore (Telegraph), Minette Marin (Sunday Times) and the gen-secretary of the MCB. Sparks will fly ;)


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  1. Rohin — on 17th January, 2006 at 3:05 pm  

    Ah thank goodness, Sunny’s back. Just as I thought “oh good, a new post after a few days of inactivity” I saw it’s just a frikking post about your holiday to make us feel jealous!

    Bastard! I’m GLAD it’s raining in London, serves you right.

  2. leon — on 17th January, 2006 at 3:09 pm  

    Welcome back Sunny!

  3. mynewsbot — on 17th January, 2006 at 3:49 pm  

    Go Sunny

  4. SB — on 17th January, 2006 at 4:20 pm  

    Londoners are often too busy to be nice or at the very least, courteous. Why does basic etiquette disappear on tubes and during the sales? Ugh..

  5. EiNY — on 17th January, 2006 at 4:45 pm  

    Hey Sunny. Welcome back.

    Having lived in New York for five years and now living in New York I can safely say that (a) people in New York do not behave similarly to people in London and that could be because (b) the weather here, although more extreme, is a lot better than in London. We see the sun on a regular basis…

    Best.

  6. Col. Mustafa — on 17th January, 2006 at 4:47 pm  

    Places with more sun aren’t always generally happier places. (Middle east come to mind, hehe)

    But yeh i would love to stay somewhere like LA for a while.
    Best thing to probably do is always travel and live in different places.
    First i need to find a wife that will agree to that and have a job that allows me to do that.

    WB Sunny.

  7. djtigger — on 17th January, 2006 at 5:13 pm  

    LA’s nice and dandy been living here for 7 years and traffic blows.. before moving here it was all fun in da sun but if you wanna settle down be ready to pay an arm and leg for a nice place close to where you work. People are nice but fake and very LA at times. But otherwise great weather. Its sunny out here in burbank area so I guess it does beat the rain :) .

  8. Vikrant — on 17th January, 2006 at 5:51 pm  

    Does it ever occur to you guys that theres more in world than your boring city ‘n shitty tube? People in small town England are more friendlier than in London fer sure.

  9. Al_Mujahid_for_debauchery — on 17th January, 2006 at 5:53 pm  

    “Though the food situation in London is improving constantly”

    London in particular and UK in general are way way ahead in the quality of desi food when compared to the US.

  10. Rohin — on 17th January, 2006 at 6:04 pm  

    “Does it ever occur to you guys that theres more in world than your boring city ‘n shitty tube?”

    Not really. Shitty tube, sure. Boring city? No chance. I wouldn’t live anywhere else in Britain, I love London like crazy. I HAVE spent extended periods of time in other parts of the country – I’m not knocking them (although non-Londoner always try to insult London) but they’re not for me. It’s the greatest city in the world, especially work-wise. Whether in the media, science, art…there are few places on Earth with as many opportunities.

    And as AMfD says, it’s a foodie’s paradise.

  11. Vikrant — on 17th January, 2006 at 6:19 pm  

    Well i’ve lived at Leicester and Carlisle (way up north in cumbria, which accounts for my Northern Accent)! But dude London is by far the only place with no sense of belonging. London’s culture has been swept under the tide of multi-culturalism. I’ll have my lil’ place on Surrey-Berkshire border rather than London anyday.

  12. Rohin — on 17th January, 2006 at 6:55 pm  

    That’s a bit of a weird criticism. Others may talk about ‘not belonging’. I’ve been a Londoner since I came to this country and I’m deeply proud of it. Before anything, before British, Indian, student whatever – I say I’m a Londoner.

    But you referred to multiculturalism as the offending cause. That’s what I find odd. That’s what makes London great. Banning Christmas or nativity scenes – THAT’S not multiculturalism, that’s idiocy. Multiculturalism is people from different backgrounds getting along and mixing. It’s what prevents things like 7/7 (unless you ban all immigration). To hear an Asian criticising multiculturalism is rather amusing.

    Without multiculturalism, you’d suffer more racism and prejudice than you do today, whether you prefer your Surrey-Berkshire locale or not, the reason it’s a place where you – as someone who isn’t white, feel welcome – is because of multiculturalism.

    Belonging is a separate issue, but perhaps it’s to do with actually living in a place. Seeing as you can’t have lived in London for very long, if at all, I can’t put much in your criticism, but you’re entitled to it.

    If you think London hasn’t got culture, you couldn’t be more wrong.

  13. Rohin — on 17th January, 2006 at 7:28 pm  

    About LA though – I’m also visiting soon (for the first time). I’m sure it’ll be a lovely place, but you just have to watch Rize to see it’s no place I’d ever want to live.

  14. FOB — on 17th January, 2006 at 7:55 pm  

    Sunny you are kindding right? Dud

  15. FOB — on 17th January, 2006 at 7:56 pm  

    Sorry bout the previous comment..what I was going to say was:
    Dude, not even Americans like LA. SFO is so much better.LA is fake man.

  16. FOB — on 17th January, 2006 at 7:58 pm  

    LA downtown is a wasteland man..junkies and hookers galore …

  17. kismet hardy — on 17th January, 2006 at 8:14 pm  

    After years of hippieness in the fields of ravey dreams, I remember the precise moment I turned into a cynical, coldhearted, hate filled wanker.

    I was sitting on a tube that wasn’t moving.

    ‘I’m sorry,’ a friendly enough voice chirped, ‘your journey will be delayed due to a person under this train’

    Not ‘a’ train.

    This one.

    Jesus everyone, there’s a guy who died under our wheels just now, for all we know he isn’t even all dead yet!

    Instead of concern, there was a round of tuts and the Evening Standards went back up.

    I boarded the tube a lover, I departed a hater.

    I’m telling you. That’s how it happened

  18. Siddharth — on 17th January, 2006 at 8:30 pm  

    ha ha. thats fucking wicked man.

  19. Col. Mustafa — on 17th January, 2006 at 9:10 pm  

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    hehehehe, love the response.

  20. Vladimir — on 17th January, 2006 at 10:09 pm  

    Hey Hardy, me feel’in that. I dislike london too. I have lived there for a number of years too befire anyone asks too.

  21. Bikhair — on 17th January, 2006 at 11:03 pm  

    Rohin,

    Dont come to my town. I will smell you a mile away. You will trigger my destroy mechanism. Do yourself a favor, go visit the city of Ingelwood and wear all blue. Top if off with a blue scarf tucked in your back pocket, with a corner of it hanging out. Please! Ha Ha Ha…. I kid. Have fun and unlike Sunny stay away from those dens of zina and intoxication.

  22. kismet hardy — on 17th January, 2006 at 11:24 pm  

    Hello Bikhair. I only came on to PP because Rohin told me there was a bona fide porn star here. Was he pulling my leg? I hope not. I’ve always been eager to have a proper conversation with a painted lady

  23. Ananthan — on 18th January, 2006 at 7:23 am  

    Toronto’s not that bad! Really though i’m not sure why we haven’t been able to cultivate more of an image as a sort of cosmopolitan world city… maybe because we only have ~5 million people.

    Even then, i’ve always wondered why more doesn’t seem to happen here… the city’s as diverse as any in the world, but in my mind it hasn’t been able to establish itself as anything other than a place where everyone has a relative or ten. Not that this place is anywhere near devoid of action, there’s always a lot going on, but it never seems to progress into something bigger, as far as i’ve seen.

    I’ve been to LA, it’s a nice place but besides the weather, I never understood the draw.

  24. Jay Singh — on 18th January, 2006 at 10:01 am  

    London is great when you are young but it takes a toll – when you hit a certain age, and if you dont have the money to make it work for you, you do have a Kismet Hardy on the Underground moment.

  25. Rohin — on 18th January, 2006 at 10:33 am  

    Hey Ananthan, I like TO a lot – no need to get defensive ;)

    It’s just that the rest of Canada ain’t too interesting. Awesome natural beauty, but I found Vancouver and Ottawa snorefests and they’re the other big cities.

  26. Jay Singh — on 18th January, 2006 at 10:38 am  

    I feel sorry for Canada.

    Everyone makes fun of them.

    The two places in the world that are a laughing stock for being boring are Belgium and Canada.

    And they are very sensitive too. If you mistake a Canuck for a Yank, they get so angry its like they want to bash you over the head with a set of moose antlers or something.

    Some Canadians try and over-compensate by saying, ‘Hey, we’re really crazy, we’re just so wild and cosmopolitan’ etc etc etc

    But I cant help feeling that Canada is the Milton Keynes of the western world.

  27. Rohin — on 18th January, 2006 at 10:46 am  

    No way, that’s harsh bro! Canada is an amazing country if you’re into your lakes, mountains, rivers and so forth. Milton Keynes has concrete cows.

    I’ll tell you one thing – Canadians I’ve met over here have a far easier time getting British humour. Hence they’re all right by me. More famous people than you think are Canucks.

  28. Jay Singh — on 18th January, 2006 at 10:54 am  

    I know Rohin. I was just teasing. I think I am the only Punjabi in the world that doesnt have an uncle or cousin living in Canada. But Jazzy B is a Canadian and whilst his music has improved since he linked up with Shinda, those haircuts and clothes in the early days made me hate Canada so much.

  29. Rohin — on 18th January, 2006 at 11:03 am  

    Jazzy B.

    Wow. Mate I can’t argue with that. He is to Canada as Hitler is to Germany, a deeply embarrassing product.

    #BLAME CANADA!#

  30. Jay Singh — on 18th January, 2006 at 11:18 am  

    Bomb them!

  31. El Cid — on 18th January, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

    Vik, man, you northern yokel, you’re just jealous!

    “London’s culture has been swept under the tide of multi-culturalism.”

    You clearly don’t understand the dynamic and magnetic nature of London. I recommend Peter Ackroyd’s London: a biography

    I concur with Rohin. London is THE WORLD’S GREATEST CITY. Before I am British, Spanish, European, global citizen, I am a Londoner.

    LA? PA-LEEZE. New York, even Chicago, any day.
    Sure everyone’s nice to you, but do they mean it?

  32. El Cid — on 18th January, 2006 at 1:01 pm  

    Jazzy B is Canadian???????????????????
    Having shared the streets of North London with this fellah, I was incredulous to read this. Canadian??? Hello???!! I don’t think so!!
    But then I did a Google search, and lo and behold I came across The Crown Prince of Bhangra.
    Oi, bhangra bwai, get your own moniker.
    Da original Jazzy B is none other than the man behind 1980s legends Soul II Soul.
    For those of you still young enough to be engaged in dodgy activities with the lingery section of your mum’s Argos catalogue, this band had big hits on both sides of the pond, across Europe, platinum-selling albums, won Grammies, etc.
    In fact, Jazzy B was recently named among the top 100 Black Britons.
    Let this be a lesson to us all if we ever become famous, for this is what could happen if you don’t register your own domain name.

  33. El Cid — on 18th January, 2006 at 1:03 pm  

    “this fellah” should have been a link. Sigh. I wish there was an edit button on this.

  34. Sunny — on 18th January, 2006 at 2:10 pm  

    Heh, great discussion. I have to agree on the point about Toronto. It has the makings of an excellent city, but it doesn’t have the character.. don’t ask me why. Maybe because it’s so sparsely populated. I actually like London’s overcrowding status and the rickety tube. Gives it character.

  35. Vladimir — on 18th January, 2006 at 2:43 pm  

    On the topic of Canada, when speaking to an American it’s always nice to ask them where it is, and then to ask them if it is the country next to Canada?, it’s interesting to see how they react.

    hope the debate at LSE SU went well?

  36. BevanKieran — on 18th January, 2006 at 2:46 pm  

    Hello Sunny

    How was the debate? Is there going to be a podcast of the debate around anywhere?

  37. Sunny — on 18th January, 2006 at 4:03 pm  

    The debate was quite good… the guy from the MCB was absolutely rubbish at eloquently destroying some of Charles Moore’s easily rubbished arguments (his knowledge of Islam was pitiful but he made tons of statements based on those assumptions).

    I also found I agreed with Minette Marin much rather more than I thought on various issues. She was really nice and amicable. Particularly on issues of free speech and even issues of culture we agree on quite a lot. I will write about this more soon… unfortunately no podcast! LSE is not that advanced yet :)

  38. Vikrant — on 18th January, 2006 at 6:41 pm  

    You clearly don’t understand the dynamic and magnetic nature of London.

    Pah… i go to Paddington and Southall i see Punjabi everywhere, in Hounslow its Gujju! I mean like a sizable portion of Southall’s population cant speak English.! Thats London’s version of multiculturalism fer ya.

  39. Vikrant — on 18th January, 2006 at 6:43 pm  

    Jazzy B is shitty allright but then again Canada’s got Raghav whos pretty good mesays.

  40. Vikrant — on 18th January, 2006 at 6:44 pm  

    Raghav’s a mint” as we say in pukka Northerner.

  41. El Cid — on 18th January, 2006 at 6:58 pm  

    Raghav’s nang man! Thanks for the tip Vik. What’s the name of the tune playing on his site. I like it. I might even download it.
    In fact, what would be your top five Urban Asian classics for a bhangra beginner like me?

  42. El Cid — on 18th January, 2006 at 7:00 pm  

    We used to say “mint” down in London in the early 80s, back in the day when Dallas was on the box and Leroy off of Fame was bus’sin the leg-warmers styleee.

  43. Vikrant — on 18th January, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

    El Cid, since i’m a non-Punjabi Bhangra is as alien to me as you! I rarely listen to it.Well Freddie Mercury(who was a Parsi i.e Indian Zoroastrian) has gotta be the best British Indian artist by far! Cliff Richard was also part Indian i think.

  44. coruja — on 18th January, 2006 at 8:50 pm  

    Vikrant,

    NO!

    Sir Cliff was born in India, but he is not what was then termed ‘Eurasian’. He has taken pains to explain this several times and was ‘racially’ abused when he went to school in Britain for being a darkie.

  45. Jay Singh — on 18th January, 2006 at 10:15 pm  

    El Cid

    Go to http://www.ukbhangra.com scroll down and listen to the latest tracks on the bootleg battles – that’s mostly bhangra mixed up with Hip Hop

    More traditional Punjabi music on the jukebox

  46. sk — on 19th January, 2006 at 3:36 am  

    I really like London though I’ve never lived there. I visit often because I’ve got family there, so I guess I’ve only got an outsider’s perspective. I live in New York, which I enjoy, but I’m always ready to zip off to London….maybe I should move there and discover the truth for myself.

  47. Vikrant — on 19th January, 2006 at 9:55 am  

    coruja,

    wasnt his dad an Anglo-Indian? Just google for “Clif Richard… Anglo Indian”.

  48. Vikrant — on 19th January, 2006 at 9:57 am  

    Then theres also Engelbert Humperdinck who was also an Anglo-Indian.

  49. El Cid — on 19th January, 2006 at 11:32 am  

    Leicester’s finest. Now you’re talking!
    Mind you, Ginger Spice is half-Spanish.

  50. Rohin — on 19th January, 2006 at 2:25 pm  

    El Cid! You’ve got all confused. Hohoho.

    Jazzy B – top fella and one of the 100 best black britons.

    Jazzy B – professional idiot

    I’m actually pissing myself. Not your fault, easy mistake to make.

  51. Rohin — on 19th January, 2006 at 2:34 pm  

    No you DIDN’T get confused El Cid, y’already knew. And sod’s law, I can’t edit this comment. Sorry, am trying to write some coursework and speed-read. Lesson – never do that on your own blog.

    Anyway, now everyone has pictures of the unlikely lads.

  52. Jai — on 19th January, 2006 at 2:42 pm  

    El Cid,

    If you’re looking for “authentic” bhangra, good names to look out for are Manmohan Waris, Surinder Shinda, and Surjit Bindrakhia.

    There are numerous artists around who have a more modern slant to their music, and if you just want good party songs, B21, Bally Jagpal and Jassi Sidhu have good albums.

    (Just some names off the top of my head).

  53. El Cid — on 19th January, 2006 at 10:14 pm  

    cheers for the tips Jai, Jay

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