Loathly London: A City Overcrowded with the Unhappy. (An opinion piece by Pinar Djafer)

The probability that you watched that clip right to the end is unlikely. The truth is, it’s draining and depressing – just like London.

In an annual Global Liveability Ranking and Report conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, London was one of Europe’s least liveable cities.

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Many tourists are impressed with the City, its iconic sites and landmark venues. You know the ones – the Big Ben; Buckingham Palace; Oxford Street; Downing Street; the London Dungeons; Madame Tussauds and so on.

But the sad reality is that most tourists will have seen more of London’s beauty than Londoners themselves.

Students spend thousands of pounds on university to get their dream job in the city.

The reality is in fact that most Londoners are exhausted, completely exhausted.

Most Londoners rise at the crack of dawn, still half asleep, to put on a suit that’s not properly ironed because of the lack of sleep. They will carry their strenuous rucksacks on their backs and put on their commuting trainers, whilst adding extra weight to their backpacks with the Loakes office shoes they could barely afford.

They stack layers and layers of outer garments on to their attire and still manage to freeze when they step outside. The smack in the face of sharp London air wakes them up and if that doesn’t do it, caffeine will.

They pay several pounds a day on the tube to find that they’re squeezed into the train carriages like a bunch of sardines. Their £10 travel fare is spent on smelling armpits and bad breath in the morning because in London you don’t get what you paid for – you get conned.

They get off the train to see grey clouds ready to shower down, grey pavements, tall grey buildings and mismatched red buses. The closest thing to heat they see is that which is permeating from their boss’s face due to their lateness. Of course somehow the train delays end up being their fault and they are advised to catch the earlier train next time. So now they’ll be up at 4am instead of 5am.

They’ll spend hours in the office dealing with a boss that hates them, colleagues that compete with them and clients that challenge them. They’ll miss their lunch break because there’s too much to do and they spend every hour praying it was home time. Of course when home time comes, their boss finds something else to do before they leave.

Students will spend a great majority of their lives working hard to pay off a lot of their debts which got them the qualifications that put them in this kind of job in the first place.
As a student, being broke is something that is made fun out of. But when you’re thirty and working to keep up with London living – it’s not so funny.

You usually end up biting off more than you can chew with the house that you’re still trying to pay off and your dream car will always remain a dream.

I think vacations put people in greater depression. You spend months saving for the holiday you so rightly deserve. You finally go and the two weeks fly by. The sun, sea, and friendly faces are a reminder of everything you don’t have at home. Instead, you have deadlines, bills and the cold grey streets.

I’m not surprised that you don’t see warm smiles from Londoners. When hearing an announcement on a platform that a passenger has jumped in front of the train, and passengers will need to find alternative routes, I’m not surprised that people are more angry than compassionate. When you live in a depressing, expensive and hostile place like London, you will become as grey and cold as the city itself.

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