Why anyone would want to move to the most expensive city in this drizzly, poorly written soap of a country is beyond me. Nevertheless, welcome, Rihanna. Please help yourself to a Greggs sausage roll, a permanent state of dread, and the following tips for living in London.
1. Bring a coat
Twenty-nine degrees and not a cloud in the sky? Bring a coat. Thirty-eight degrees and old people are dying? Bring a coat. London weather is like a particularly volatile Roman emperor. One minute it’s all smiles and libations, then someone looks at him the wrong way and it’s utter carnage, with vital organs flying merrily hither and thither. Roll up your coat. Stuff it into your bag. Knead it in there like dough. You’ll thank me later.
2. No one understands Old Street Tube
If you’re unlucky enough to be summoned to Shoreditch for some reason, you may well end up at the M.C. Escher etching that is Old Street: the sick bastard of the Northern Line. When you Google “Old Street exits”, the map indicates there are four of them. This is a conspiracy and a lie. There are at least twelve, and the only way to choose the right one for you is to search inside yourself for any trace of psychic ability. It’s said that Uri Geller once picked the right Old Street exit on the first try.
3. London is big
London is basically the size of a country, so if someone who lives on the other side of the river asks you to do something up their end, here are a list of excuses you can borrow:
“Just looked and the overground is being mental” (extremely realistic)
“Someone sneezed in my face on the tube and now I have a cold” (extremely realistic)
“I bought a flat white and a sandwich in zone one and now I’m halfway into my overdraft” (extremely realistic, even if you’re Rihanna)
4. Rooftop bars are shite
As soon as the temperatures top 17 degrees (although we’ve already been over how this means nothing) people will start inviting you to get pissed on the rooftops of Peckham, or (God forbid) Dalston and Shoreditch. Sure, the view of the London skyline from Frank’s is spectacular. But you’ll be lucky to catch a glimpse of it through the sea of 800 people who – each and every one of them – think they’re enjoying some kind of “hidden gem”. Then again, if queuing for an hour, for an £8 cocktail in a small plastic cup is your hobby, then go for it.
5. Landlords are your sworn enemy
Rihanna, I realise you have a net worth equal to a small country’s GDP, but listen… if you want to fit in as a Londoner you really need to start complaining about paying £750 a month to live in a portaloo in Deptford, with nine other people. You will be required to tweet at least twice a week about bringing back the guillotine for landlords. If you do not meet this quota, your status as a true Londoner will be revoked.
6. Book at Silk Road
Camberwell’s Xinjiang restaurant is easily one of the most hyped in the city. And for good reason. It’s small, a bit dingy and cheap by London standards (i.e. less than £16 for a main course), and the food is phenomenal. So it ticks all the boxes of literally every London media-type millennial, looking for an “authentic” experience in a city with – apparently – three Prets for every person. Therefore, book. Even if you’re going at six in the evening on a Monday. I can guarantee they don’t care if you’re Rihanna. I’m pretty sure the following exchange has taken place there:
Silk Road staff member: Your name, please?
Silk Road staff member: we’ll have a table in about an hour.
God: I created the hour.
Silk Road staff member: OK. Your table will be ready in about an hour.
7. You love Sadiq
Never forget: Sadiq Khan is every Londoner’s lovely London dad, and he can do no wrong. Even when he tried to make those hellish “Tube chat?” badges happen, the response was less “BURN HIM” and more, “God, Dad, you’re so embarrassing.”