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So London, Like, Sucks, Does It, Gwynnie?

By Jo Last edited 135 months ago
So London, Like, Sucks, Does It, Gwynnie?
gwynnie.jpg

It appears Gwyneth Paltrow, Oscar-winning actress and macrobiotic mother, has a bone to pick with our "dirty", "cold", "depressing", "relaxed" (no, we don't understand that last one, either) city. She advised fellow Americans in this month's Marie Claire - the US version, of course - to watch out for "dirty streets" and the rain - how original of her. Goodness, what a wonderful way to make herself popular with her adopted home's inhabitants!

Also, the customer service is just rubbish in England. People are much more relaxed there, and things take forever to get done. They’ll tell you it’ll take two weeks for your Internet service to be fixed! It drives me nuts. And I miss being able to get anything at any time of day. You can’t do that there.

She must be living in a different London to us, then, as we've never had any problem finding things to see and do at any time of day or night. And this coming from a woman who advises visitors to "bring a little cashmere sweater or a pashmina" in case of a cold snap. A cashmere sweater or a pashmina?!? Perhaps she needs to get out of (It's Grim Up) North London for her own good, before she disappears up her own fundament, in a stunning display of her yogic prowess.

But Londoners aren't taking this lying down, oh no. A tourist board rep told the Daily Hell Mail that:

We dispute what Miss Paltrow has said. Thanks to the work of groups like Keep Britain Tidy, the streets [...] are cleaner than they have been in decades. And the best thing about our service is how polite we are - something the millions of Americans who visit Britain each year really appreciate.

Will Gwyneth abandon her adopted city and her £3.2million haunted house in Belsize Park? Do we really care? Answers on a postcard to the usual address!

Last Updated 20 October 2005

rb

Someone tell that thankless whinger to get in her SUV and go back home then. Only people who have everything they could ever need or want complain incessantly, have you noticed?

Greg

"rb" here displays that legendary politeness to which the Daily Mail quotation refers.

kevjep

How much do I hate Gwyneth Paltrow and her awful husband? Their kid is going to have rickets and be all bow-legged because of their whims - it's not as if either of them looks very healthy is it?

I thought it had been quite dry for a while as well - admittedly not the last couple of days. Maybe I'll open up my cashmere wardrobe and wear one of my sweaters if it stays like this for long.

sounmike

Of the native Londoners I know, they seem to complain more than anyone else about this city. It doesn't mean that they don't like the place. I don't see why everyone is making such a big fuss about this. Is it because she's a foreigner? Or because she is famous?

Having said that, you can only complain so much about the weather; if you come to London, expect it to be grey.

Rob Fletcher

Yeah, before we go getting all defensive, doesn't she have a shadow of a point, especially regarding service, the standards of which are unquestionably higher in the States.

Doesn't make her or Chris Martin any less insufferable but even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day.

kevjep

I think people are making a fuss about it because she knows so little of actual London that it's infuriating when she comes up with comments like this. Try getting the tube, love, or rather NOT getting it when it's running badly. Then you'll have something to moan about.

Other famous foreigners are fine, it's just with her that people have the problem because she is such a whinging, namby-pamby person in general. She should try living in continental Europe if she wants bad service.

John

Have you considered that paying attention to what Ms. Paltrow said only repays her nasty remarks with the compliment of caring and attention?

Ignore her. It's easy, and more pleasant, and it doesn't risk missing anything of significance.

dallas

ok im from america and i think that london is dirty and depressing. also i think that yall are really loud and fucking obnoxous..... i hate going there. im never going again..!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tim

Thank you Rosanne !! You can wobble off into the sunset now and marry your cousin.

Shannon

I HATE LONDON TOO! BEEN HERE TOO LONG AND DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY EVERYONE IS SO DEFENSIVE ABOUT THEIR "GREY AND DEPRESSING CITY". SHE'S ENTITLED TO HER OPINION AND I THINK SHE HAS A POINT. EVERYONE WALKS AROUND LOOKING MISERABLE AND THEY ACT VERY RUDE IN GENERAL. IM GOING BACK HOME TO NEW YORK WHERE PEOPLE ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT A SMILE IS!!!

Twinkla

Sorry, but Ms Paltrow is stating what is obvious about London when other celebrities are just attempting to be gracious (or they have other homes to escape to on an almost full time basis). I have lived here over a year and am soooo deleriously happy to be leaving soon, I have literally been counting the days down. London is crap in most respects: too expensive, filthy, people are rude and repressed (Ms Paltrow earns points for her directness in my book), the weather is absolutely dreadful...gangs of teens running amok beating up people for their mobile phones...shall I go on? Your countryside is wonderful, but give me back NY anytime. Great place to visit, but shit to live in.

foreigner

So I'd rather be here in London than not because I'm a playwright. But Jesus Christ, folks, let's figure some things out here in London. Here's where London fails miserably compared to the states:

1. Customer service.

We use a lot of words that are different in America and these two are just a combination that doesn't exist in Britain. You really have to live in the US to appreciate the difference. It's the attitude. Most businesses (gyms, restaurants, broadband companies, cell phone companies, etc.) will do whatever it takes to get your business. Time and again, my experience here has been that there is almost an attitude of taking great pleasure in telling me that without 3 more documents and another trip they can't help me. I couldn't pay ANY amount of money at a gym to work out. I had to have 2 proofs of address (which I had) and a letter of enrolment from my school (WTF?). You can't even get a cell phone plan without a UK debit card. Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, what are those? Chip and pin only will win the day. Our money has been turned away about 5 different times.

2. Libraries.

In the States, libraries are free. To reserve a book online for pickup is 40 p. CDs, DVDs, etc. cost the same to check out from the library as they do from Netflix, Blockbuster, etc. in the States. Sure, they have vast, wonderful libraries here, but not for the poor. They're not expensive, but for the taxes you pay here, local libraries should be free.

London excels in a few areas, though.

1. Culture, obviously.

There is enormous value placed on culture. Even the National Gallery is free.

2. Health care.

Is free.

And don't hate me too much for posting this. Again, I love London, but I'm a grown man and have almost been brought to tears many times because we've been turned down for:

1. Renting a flat.
2. Getting a bank account.
3. Getting dinner (chip and pin).
4. Working out at the gym.

So far.

It's a bit maddening.