Life

26 Reasons Why Living in London Sucks

The UK capital just came in at number 60 on the world's "most liveable cities". Here's why.
June 9, 2021, 1:37pm
london
Photo: VICE

Every year, the Economist Intelligence Unit crowns one city as the world’s most “liveable”.

This year’s winner is Auckland, but considering it has some of the most expensive housing on Earth, and the worst traffic in New Zealand, it would appear that much of that win is down to the city quickly getting back to relative post-COVID normality because of New Zealand’s tough lockdown.

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London, as usual, did not rank in the Top 10. In fact, it came in at an entirely unremarkable 60 – which makes perfect sense: London, famously, is not an easy city to live in.

The EIU index ranks cities on factors like healthcare, infrastructure and education, which is fine, but also vague. So, considering the VICE editorial team all live in London – and are well versed in all the stuff that makes it officially unliveable – we decided to explore its ranking in more detail. Here are some of the things that make the UK capital a terrible place to live.

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Photo: Chris Bethell

– Being in your thirties and forties and having to live like you’ve just left home for the first time because the cost of everything is so high: bad.

– Isle of Dogs: I still don’t know what it is. 

– Not to hate on south London, but the travel connections suck so badly it’s painful. Trying to get from one area of south east to another, even if it’s only a couple of miles away, takes 50 minutes and the better part of a fiver.

– You can’t even go to the pub anymore to drown your sorrows about any of this, because sociopaths with diaries instead of mates – who plan their social lives based on articles with headlines like “50 LONDON BOOZERS YOU *NEED* IN YOUR LIFE, OK?” – have booked every table there is, seven weeks in advance.

– The supremacy of the “Avo, Olives and Toms” baguette in non-Veggie Prets as the main vegan option. I imagine this is true across the country, but the concentration of Prets in London makes the problem hard to ignore.

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– Having to deal with estate agents, otherwise known as Satan’s representatives on Earth, at least every 12 to 24 months, if you’re a renter.

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Photo: VICE

– Zone 3’s dense population of well-off nuclear families who insist on walking around in V-formation and shoving everyone else into traffic. 

– How, increasingly, it seems like if you want to rent anywhere that isn’t former council housing that hasn’t been “seen to” since the 80s, or an old Victorian building that’s been split into ten different flats where none of the light switches work for some reason, you have to live in one of those silver-and-maybe-a-few-primary-colours-thrown-in-for-a-laugh new builds that are entirely self-contained, with gyms and post offices and shit, and feel like the sort of spiritual but highly efficient voids that Elon Musk wants to put on Mars.

– When people who don’t live here say literally anything bad about London and genuinely believe they are right, which they are not. It’s not “too big” if you never go anywhere more than two miles from your flat. 

– But, in fairness to them: the illegally dangerous levels of pollution thousands of us are forced to endure constantly.

– Dipped into a corner shop yesterday and bought a single red pepper for £1.45. How.

– It costs like £140 to park outside your own place – one of many, many factors that make it pointless to drive in London, which also makes it even harder to escape.

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– Ballie Ballerson, Flight Club, Selfie Factory and any other wallet-rinsing proprietors of organised fun that exist purely as backdrops for “pics for the gram”.

– Bumping into celebrities in normal places, like Tesco. People who are rich and beautiful shouldn’t be operating in the same space as my hangover. 

– Fish and chips in London is always bad. I would love to be proved wrong. 

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Photo: Chris Bethell

– Having to walk past people’s Victorian houses with an upstairs and a downstairs and a fireplace and two cars parked outside, and thinking: ‘How?’

– All those residential road closures they started doing last year – which yes, are supposed to help with road safety and encourage cycling and clean up our air, but also I got an Uber recently and had to take a diversion that cost me an additional £1. It’s not on!! Sadiq out!!

– The buses in summer time. They fucking stink. And then you have to go about your day with the bus stench clinging to your body. 

– Having to use the Central Line, the most cursed of all the lines

– Various newspapers assuming you’re “a member of the metropolitan elite” simply because you live in London. Would a member of the metropolitan elite live in a house-share with no living room?

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Photo: Chris Bethell

– Police in London are only good at a few things: breaking up raves, cracking skulls on protests and interrupting vigils for women. Great job, pigs! 

– “Snow days” don’t exist in London, and if you have the audacity to “have some fun” when it does snow here, you will invariably end up using an old pizza box as a sledge and stacking it in front of some children.

– Every day that south east London goes without the proposed Bakerloo Line extension, people are deprived of stunning leafy parks and Morley’s.

– Without Trocadero, London is nothing.

– When people talk about a London “riviera”, it usually means a roadside canal with a dead cat floating in it, or a river downstream from a sewage treatment plant.

– Planning in the City of London itself is completely deregulated, which in theory is good and should lead to the building of many cool things, but in reality means that almost 100 percent of the area is owned by mad billionaires who buy up properties to launder money while contributing nothing to the economy. Literally get a job!!!