[Images: Nathan James Page]
1. Confused Aussies
Our backpacking cousins are a Vegemite-smeared riddle wrapped in an enigma. They wear flip-flops in winter. They shun an Oz paradise to live in Balham and do something soul-destroying in digital recruitment. They get completely wallamalooed on a Sunday (not Friday, not Saturday: Sunday!) at their spiritual home The Church Party Bar, and they create ‘Mad Max’ style carnage on the streets of Clapham. In short: everything they do is upside-down.
2. Housebroken junglists
He’s still dreadlocked (though grey), he’s still partial to a Red Stripe (though not on a school night), he’s still banging on about the time he saw Goldie do a rinsin’ 17-hour set at Rage in ’92. The difference now is he lives in a leafy part of southwest London, owns a Volvo estate and runs a graphic design company called Fontz (‘under a wicked old Victorian viaduct, bruv’). The only ‘massive’ he’s part of these days is the queue for the toilets at Brixton Village. Though it’s worth it for some of those killer spinach crêpe, blud.
3. Mean mummies
The green spaces of southwest London are thick with rich stay-at-home mums and their ‘adorable’ offspring. To the untrained eye, the SW mum appears as graceful, gentle and long-necked as a swan (it’s the superior genes). But like a swan, when pushed, she can turn violent. Boot your football within 30-feet of darling Archie or Cressida and she won’t think twice about ramming her three-grand pram into your socially inferior balls.
4. ‘Slumming it’ posh blokes
In hip, class-conscious London, being posh is a toxic asset. By all means throw money around, society says, but don’t do it wearing a monocle and kicking a cockney waif. To truly fit in, the twenty-first century toff must be more down-to- earth, wear scruffy deck shoes and a beer-stained rugger shirt, and ‘slum it’ in a Battersea mansion with five other ‘seriously good blokes’. The whole charade is harder to maintain than you might think: imagine the cognitive dissonance of being twelfth in line to the throne yet knowing what a battered sausage is.
5. Wimbledon grifters
For two weeks every summer the mild-mannered residents of Wimbledon are transformed into souped-up Del Boys, desperate to exploit the gullible, tennis-loving chumps who descend on SW19. Accountants become hard-bargaining cabbies. Children hawk cans of Coke for a fiver a pop to thirsty passers-by. The really smart ones pay off their mortgages by renting out their homes to rich Yanks anxious for some quaint English charm. Forget Andy and Serena – these people are the true Wimbledon winners. What a racquet!
By Michael Curle, who doesn’t miss east London. At all. Ever. No, really.
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