What were you up to in the year 2000, eh? Enjoying the fact you could still smoke in pubs? Rocking out to Queens of the Stone Age (with no support) at Camden Underworld? Basking in the afterglow of a cool school trip to the Millennium Dome? Using a Jane Norman carrier as a handbag? Getting a roll of film developed? Buying the ‘Thong Song’ on CD?
Well, while you were doing all of that, this lot were busy being born. London’s freshest generation of adults slid out of birth canals in Y2K, turned 16 as Britain voted to leave the EU and graduated from teenagehood amid the fucking pandemic. What the hell does all that do to a person? That’s the question we were so desperate to find an answer to that we set out to interview a whopping 20 21-year-olds from across the capital about their likes, dislikes, hopes, fears and ambitions.
What we discovered is a generation who are in some ways exactly how society imagines them (politically astute, social media-obsessed, career-hungry, isolation-exhausted) but who are also full of surprises. Take TikTok, it makes them feel old too. Or partying. Yes, they are into it, despite all the stories about them being non-drinkers and club avoiders. Or London. Sure, some young people might have fled to the coast and countryside over the past year but at least four of our interviewees moved to the capital within the past six months and all of them say they plan to stay.
Maybe you’re 21 and currently dismissing all of this as ‘very bait’, to which I say: ‘Sometimes your brain gets a bit slow when you’re old, sorry.’ But if you, like me, are heading rapidly towards middle age, please take the next pages as a proper, comprehensive guide to London’s youngest grown-ups, all in their own words. Kate Lloyd
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