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Top five things north Londoners say to south Londoners

Clare Vooght

Illustration: Nathan James Page

1. ‘It’s all gangs down there, isn’t it?’

The north Londoner thinks the south Londoner must be really street, because things get scary down there. Maybe the south Londoner knows kung fu or keeps a knuckleduster under her bed? No, wait, she must have struck a deal with the local postcode crew. The north Londoner’s never been further south than Borough Market, where they once saw someone make off with someone else’s artisan cheese. The horror!

2. ‘We have this thing called “the tube”’

The north Londoner treats the south Londoner like an arrival from a remote Amazonian village. The unfortunate south Londoner, they think, hasn’t heard of the tube, let alone been on one, so they must be guided through life in the big, bad city – ushered away from the tourist traps and led to the decent pop-ups. Next they’ll be asking the south Londoner if they have an indoor loo.

3. ‘It’s just so far

For some, it’s terrifying to leave the cosy clutches of ‘proper London’ – with its Big Ben, readily available chain coffee shops and reliable transport links – and venture south. ‘S’ postcodes are so frightening, the north Londoner may physically lash out when forced to attend the birthday of someone who lives south of the river. It can get pretty messy. But they’re always over it by the time the cake arrives.

4. ‘I went to Frank’s once’

The north Londoner once took an Overground train to Peckham Rye to drink Campari and admire the sunset from the roof of a certain car park. Now, whenever they hear the words ‘south of the river’, they whip out their phone to show everyone yet another stupid Instagram of that pink staircase. The south Londoner gets it: Frank’s is all right. But what about all those other south London institutions? Peckham Springs, the Effra Social, Little Nan’s, The Hermits Cave, The Ivy House or The Fox on the Hill? Too far off the tube map for you? Then how about the BFI bar on the, er, South Bank?

5. ‘Stop going on about how good south London is!’

‘People who live in south London always go on about how good it is,’ says the north Londoner. ‘Do you ever hear someone from north London going on like that? No. Because they don’t have to convince anyone it’s good. Everyone knows it is.’ Chill out, north Londoner. Yes, we have a coping mechanism that involves defending the south side’s abundant green spaces, out-of-the-way art galleries, £5 cinemas and surviving branches of Wimpy to the death. And yes, we’re all secretly dying to move north of the river and pay twice as much for a flat half the size. Now, how about another Campari?

Illustrations: Nathan James Page

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