You might think that, at Londonist, we exist on a televisual diet of London Live, BBC London News and repeats of Spaced and Only Fools and Horses. This is largely true, but occasionally someone else gets hold of the remote control and flips through the channels. This was how we found ourselves watching the Subway Wars episode of How I Met Your Mother, in which 'the gang' (the official collective noun for any group of sitcom characters) discuss ways you know you're a real New Yorker. They come up with:
- see Woody Allen
- steal a cab from someone who needs it more than you
- cry on the subway and not give a damn what anyone thinks
- kill a cockroach with your bare hand.
Oh, whatever, New York. We have our own list of what it takes to be a real Londoner...
Try to be clever to avoid a public transport snafu and still get caught out
Signalling problems on the Central line? No problem: you don't need Citymapper to work out an alternative route, you're a real Londoner. You deftly swerve away from the station entrance (you're so real you don't even need to approach the barriers to know there's a problem), jumping on a bus that will connect you to your destination. Except then the bus breaks down. Congratulations: now you're a real Londoner.
See Will Self
Will Self is our Woody Allen. If you haven't seen him on one of his regular perambulations, you'll see him in the pub or perhaps a Pret. Do not, however, engage him in conversation unless you have a dictionary handy.
Have a close encounter with a tube mouse
We don't mean 'see one on the tracks'. Any tourist can do that. We're talking about having one run across your foot as it emerges from a hole in the wall next to where you're standing; we once heard of a friend of a friend who had one disappear up his trouser leg. Extra London points if you don't squeal like a small child during your close encounter of the furry kind.
'Sarf of the river? At this time of night?'
It's a cliche about cabbies not wanting to venture into the mean streets of Wandsworth or Nunhead after midnight, and it's a cliche largely because it doesn't happen often. But it does happen. It's particularly annoying when the cab's gone 30 yards and hit an inexplicable wall of traffic and the driver's clearly thought 'bugger this'.
A fiver no longer seems extortionate for a pint
Paying a fiver for a pint, sadly, isn't that uncommon anymore. The real Londoner doesn't make a fuss about this. The real Londoner suppresses a wince and vows to switch to drinking bitter.
Got your own opinions on this? Of course you do. Let us know in the comments.