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30 things about London we'd like to curse
Photograph: Time Out

30 London things we’d love to curse

A plague of locusts for that noise on the Victoria line, pestilence upon Pret...

Written by
Lauren O’Neill

What your most annoying friend calls ‘spooky season’ has arrived, and so has Pumpkin Spice Everything, your big coat, and the SAD lamp you had to rush order. Slowly, London has lost the healthy golden sheen that it tends to take on – siren-like, persuading you to pay £11 a go for Aperols you don’t even really enjoy – between the months of May and September, and it’s grey and normal again, your old grievances with the place sinking back in. 

In that spirit, perhaps it might be cathartic to harness the defining moods of the moment - witchcraft (because it’s Halloween) and resentment (because it’s October). As such, here are 30 London-specific things we would gleefully curse in an instant...

1. Elephant and Castle roundabout.

2. The friends-of-friends you meet in the pub who have the infuriating way of referring to their parents not as ‘my mum and dad’ but simply ‘Mum and Dad’ as if they are the mum and dad of everyone at the table.

3. Guys called Andrew and Toby opening ‘Modern European’ restaurants that have girls’ names like ‘Julia’ and ‘Nell’.

4. The Thameslink in the mornings, which is the closest a human can come to the experience of salmon migration.

5. The Guinness, man.

6. Anyone queuing for the crumble stand in Borough Market, like, it’s crumble lads how good can it be. 

7. Luxury flats always but especially the ones with floor-to-ceiling windows in the corridors, so you can see from the street that they look weird and blank inside, like student halls or a hospital.

8. People who cycle along the canal, and especially the ones who aggressively ring their bell when you don’t step out of their path quickly enough.

Canal cyclists London things we'd love to curse
Photograph: Time Out

9. Exhibitions that bill themselves as being ‘immersive’.

10. Shops that bill themselves as selling ‘provisions’.

11. When you accidentally use the wrong card coming out of the Tube and end up getting charged £16 about it the next day for reasons you don’t and will never understand.

12. People who wait until they’ve got all the way to the barrier before fumbling around in their bag for their Oyster.

13. People (fine: men aged 28-36) walking around Brockley in H2T Patagonia like they’re about to shoot an episode of ‘Green Planet’ in the garden of the Barge.  

14. West Ham fans in any train station on match day.

15. The thing on Hinge where people put ‘Clapham’ as their ‘irrational fear’.

16. And yet: Clapham.

17. The rental market obviously.

18. Rooftops obviously. 

19. Adult ball pits obviously.

Adult ball pits London things we'd love to curse
Photograph: Time Out

20. Private members clubs.

21. ‘Beetroot Wellington’. £18. 

22. Dropping six quid on some olives at a wine bar for the privilege of having a waiter decant half a tin of Perello Gordal into a ceramic dish. 

23. Neon signs on the walls of bars (the real pandemic.)

24. When they pedestrianised Soho and for one glorious summer it was a sparkling utopia of leisure and merriment so then of course they just brought the cars back.

25. Old Street roundabout.

26. The fact that if you happen to have your birthday on a Monday literally no restaurant in the city will be open.

27. The utter lie that London is a ‘24 hour city’ when you can count on one hand the number of actually good venues that close later than 1am. 

28. Everyone in the park somehow having a very adorable dog when you yourself cannot have a dog because you a) are a low-life renter or b) go to the pub too much or c) both.

29. The fact that this is one of the most expensive, cosmopolitan cities in the world, a centre of industry, mythologised, paved with gold, and yet you cannot buy a decent salad on your lunch break.

30. £7 pints, and the knowledge that this is only the beginning…

Meet London's next-gen witches

Very decent Halloween parties in London this year


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