You like em too! Go on, admit it!
1. Fried chicken
Forget kebabs, burgers and pizza: the crown of fast food guilt goes to those heart-besieging, conscience-taunting lumps of deep fried fowl that ooze grease over drunken hands every night of the week in our bone-littered city. Future generations will scorn our appalling diets and tacit support of factory farming. Can you live with that shame? That tasty, tasty shame?
In the list of pointless places to own a car, London comes a close second to a Pacific island that’s less than a mile wide at low tide. Why? Because we already have an amazing public transport system. And cars cost a fortune. And they’re bad for the environment. And they’re slower than the tube. It’s bad economics and a tad irresponsible. Which, unfortunately, doesn’t diminish how nice it is to hop in the motor and cruise around the city. Don’t judge us.
3. Singalong musicals
What everyone says: ‘I love going to the theatre. I’m really into social realism. Did you see “Chimerica”?’ What everyone means: ‘Oh. My. God. I just love “Mamma Mia!”. And “Dirty Dancing”. Have you seen “The Bodyguard” yet? And IIIIIIIIIII-ee- III will al-ways loooove cheesy musicals-ee-III…’
4. Chugger dodging
You see them before they see you. The charity workers with their stupid bright T-shirts, clipboards and predatory attitudes, lurking in plain sight, waiting to strike at the bank accounts of hapless passers-by. But you know their game. With foxlike cunning, you weave and suddenly accelerate – whatever it takes for them to approach someone else and ask them to sign up instead. Then, BOOM! You’ve made it past quicker than they can say ‘blah blah Africa’. Haha, eat my dust, charity! My money is as untouched as my enormous stockpile of guilt.
© Alex Arnell
‘Camden. It very cool, yes?’ enquire innumerable visitors to London. No, mate, it’s a clusterfuck of teenage tourists, indie posers, miserable fakes and the worst street ‘performers’ in the city (we recently saw a bloke earning money just for being dressed as Mr Bean). But oh, how powerless we are to resist its clichéd charms. It is, in essence, our geographical answer to ITV2: dumb, ridiculous and full of wankers, but irritatingly moreish.
6. Hard Rock Cafe
We know it’s cheesy and rammed with tourists, but the Hard Rock is awesome! Where else can you eat a burger next to Dylan’s guitar? Or chow down on buffalo wings under Ringo’s drum kit? Or drink a cocktail with the very straw that Stevie Nicks used to… (only joking). Basically, if you’re a music fan you should feel guilty about not going to the Hard Rock.
7. Nerdy commuting
Go on, admit it: you know it’s sad but you secretly love your commuting prowess. You know which tube carriage will stop nearest your exit; you know a crafty shortcut between lines at Euston; you might have even discovered a quiet ten-minute window between peak bursts on your bus route. It’s okay, we all do it. Haha, just kidding, you big freak! God, you’re such a loser.
8. Ultimate Power club night
Lots of great music falls under the ‘guilty pleasure’ umbrella: Dolly Parton, The Bee Gees, the guy who did ‘Here Comes the Hotstepper’. But no music is embraced with such apologetic enthusiasm as the thundering hymns of throaty heartache known as power ballads. That’s why this club night exists: it’s a safe haven for devotees, where they can fist-pump, air-grab and scream tearfully along with Jennifer Rush, away from society’s judging eyes. It’s like AA but even more emotional.
9. Tube fantasising
‘Ooh, they’re fit. Shit, they just looked at me. Was that a smile? Maybe they’re “the one”! I should say something before they get off. Maybe they also get off at Oval. Oh, that would be perfect. We could chat and flirt all the way up the escalator, then go for a drink round the corner. I wonder if they’re free to come to Tim’s party on Saturday? We could have a lazy breakfast the next day then go to the Ritzy. I bet they love the Ritzy. Then we could… Oh, they’re holding hands with the person next to them. Typical.’
© Ed Marshall
10. London Dungeon
Hammier than a pig farm run by Mark Hamill in Hamburg, this gloriously gory journey through London’s sinister past is the undisputed king of the ‘I know I shouldn’t, but…’ tourist attractions. Where else are you greeted by a hologram of Brian Blessed as Henry VIII? Yeah, The Tower of London: not so high and mighty now, are we?
By Dan Frost