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It's time for London to deliver on its promises, says Hannah Smith

Written by
Time Out London contributor

This blogger came to London looking for love and excitement, but all she found was a dependable internet connection.

London is a city of opportunity. That’s why most of us came here, right? We strolled into the capital optimistically, exploring every quaint historic alleyway, hoping to walk in the footsteps of Shakespeare but walking instead through puddles of Friday-night piss. Quickly we learnt that, although Harry Styles probably is around every corner, we’ll never see him. As ‘Where’s Wally’ has been trying to tell us for years, standing out in a crowd is really, really difficult, even when you’re wearing stripes and a stupid hat (which basically explains Hoxton, right there). We are all totally and utterly invisible, because while big-city life creates millions of possibilities, it also attracts millions of people to get in the way of them.

In the ten years I have lived in London, I’ve seen Jude Law a grand total of once. ONCE. And even then it was just the back of his head (although that was enough: even the back of his head would be pretty enough to make you leave your husband, if you had one, which you haven’t because you live in London, where there is an endless conveyor belt of ‘options’ for your boyfriends to move on to.)

Where is the London promised in books? Where’s the fun and the success? Where’s the romance? I’ve never stood on Waterloo Bridge in the rain, crying as the man I love runs towards me, saying he was a fool and never wants to be parted from me ever again. Even if that happened IRL, a gang of marauding commuters would bang into us so violently that we’d be thrown over the side to our deaths before he could finish his sentence.

Speaking of which... In all my years as a Londoner, I have never ever seen a dead body floating in the Thames. Not that I’ve wanted to. Honestly. But surely the Thames must be filled with bodies. I walk across Waterloo Bridge every bloody day, and not a sausage. Not a finger or a foot. Nothing.

I’ve never stumbled across a gig any more ‘underground’ than a busker at Oxford Circus. I’ve never bumped into a famous film director in Starbucks and handed him my brilliant screenplay which goes on to win an Oscar and makes me rich beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve never been handed a note on the tube telling me how stunning I am by a handsome stranger (and no, that drunk guy creepily eyeing me up does not count). I’ve never been model-scouted in Covent Garden, for fuck’s sake, and even if it’s a scam, I want to be scammed! Okay, I have seen a royal, but it wasn’t Prince Harry, or William, or any of the good ones, it was bloody Princess Anne. Yes, exactly, who? And she sped past so quickly I couldn’t even get a selfie.

The temptation for Londoners is to accept the inevitable and sit at home every weekend, watching Netflix with your housemates and shaking your fist at fate. But here’s the thing. In the time that I’ve lived in London, Jude Law has dated an actress, a waitress and – controversially – a nanny. In that time I have been ALL OF THOSE THINGS. It could have been me. It could have been you. It still could. Jude, I’m waiting. We all are. Call me.

By Hannah Smith

Want more ranting and raving? Here's Ben Patashnik column on why Londoners should give themselves a break.

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