Sunday 18 May 2014


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The Internet is probably the best invention to help the Misanthrope in his or her day-to-day life. Thanks to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, we can do our banking without having to suffer a conversation with the friendly, happy-to-help bank manager. We can buy clothes without having to tell shop assistants 'I'm fine, thanks' every few seconds, and without the worry of whether there is a hidden camera in the changing rooms. We can 'socialise' with our friends without having to look interested and having to awkwardly look them in the eye; unless you're unlucky enough to both own a webcam, in which case, you can have the TV on in the background and not wear any trousers. We can even find people willing to have sex with us using the Internet.

As a misanthrope you're not going to like having to go outside, especially to a place where there are going to be people; and lots of them.

And if you're a misanthrope living in a city with a population of around 8 million, namely London, you're going to need help getting around and surviving life in the capital without having to resort to killing.

Are You A Misanthrope?

Before reading any further, we should probably work out if you need to be reading this or not. There's nothing worse than investing time from your boring, mundane life, into something which turns out to be a disappointment. Everyone hates buying a £50 DVD box set of a popular American drama which everyone raved about, and then falling asleep during the first episode.

 So, are you a misanthrope? Well, are you the sort of person who walks into someone's house and greets their pets before talking to the humans in the room? Cats don't require you to make pointless small talk with them; and it's less awkward when you tickle them behind the ear and they sit on your lap. It's against social etiquette to start behaving like that towards your host.

 Perhaps you think that Eeyore's outlook on life is a pretty accurate one, and one that more people should take on board, rather than all this 'glass half full' nonsense. Or maybe you related to Fluffy the Hamster from the Creature Comfort animations, and his depressed, cynical and pessimistic views about life.

 You might even be the sort of person who would rather be late, and take your chances on the next train or bus being less crowded. It's not that you are trying avoid getting cold or flu germs (however, that is a positive of not wanting to be near people), it's that you don't like it when others sit next to you, or breath near you. Plus you don't trust people in close proximity to you to not fart and force you to get a nose full of their faecal particles.

If you answered yes to one or more of those, then carry on reading. If you like your glass to be half full of love and positivity, then go and buy yourself The Wire box set; I promise you it's not boring at all.

Travel in the City

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Screen Grab

There are many unwritten rules for travelling on public transport in London, but one of the most important to remember is to not make eye contact with another living being. Look at the adverts, your shoes, their shoes, your fingers, a book or inspect the inside of your eyelids; just don't look into the eyes of someone else.

The keeping of this rule has been helped massively by the fact that everyone now has a phone or tablet to stare at, and ear phones to stick in their ears. People now don't have any need to accidentally and awkwardly catch a glimpse of the large-breasted lady sitting opposite.

Londoners amuse themselves by watching the latest American hit drama series on their phones, while other people look over their shoulder and also enjoy the free entertainment. They sit forward on the edge of their seat, with their ears plugged in, whilst maintaining an expression of stoicism. This allows them to be in a completely different world, where they're not sat next to a large man with a film of sweat covering his skin.

Other Londoners spend their time furiously tapping at their screens as they attempt to play a game. They fling birds, ride motorbikes, rearrange shapes and pop candy, all while other passengers look over their shoulder, and themselves become engrossed in the game. You can watch their faces flinch as the player crashes, or shake their heads in disappointment at the choice of putting that shape there. If a passenger is playing a particularly captivating game, he could end up with his own set of disciples who secretly root for him.

 One will almost certainly see someone on public transport holding a book-sized device, looking at it intently for a few minutes, before giving a quick swipe and continuing to stare. These people are reading a book, but without the hassle of having to hold a book-sized object and needing to lift a finger to turn the page.

This does, however, mean that someone can read a book without everyone around them knowing what they're reading. They could be reading a best-selling novel, an erotic story or a Paul McKenna self-help book; no-one will ever know. This can save huge embarrassment, but also removes the possibility of someone wanting to start a conversation with you about 'the message' of the book.

If you're particularly lucky, you'll get a young person, with a sculpted hair cut who keeps pulling their trousers up, come aboard with their headphones on and music turned up. One should not think of them as being selfish, and not caring about the people around them having to put up with the constant thudding of popular music. Instead, one should think of him as a selfless being who has chosen to damage his own ears, just so that he can share his 'banging tunes' with us mere dullards. People should be grateful, not hateful.

 The odd person might even use their phone to make a phone conversation.
"You won't be-lieve what Phyllis did at work today," says one woman, gossiping with her friend during a painfully long conversation. "I knoow, rite?"

Or other people use it for short and sweet conversation.
"Alright luve? Put the ket'le wuld ya; I'll be 'ome in five."

When on public transport, it is also customary to shout your conversation into the phone, so that everyone on the surrounding carriages knows your business. Even better, if you can throw in a loud, annoying laugh, or do it all in a foreign language, then you should go ahead and do it. Nothing grates on the souls of other commuters more than that; assuming they're listening.

The Biannual Tube Strikes

Surprisingly, life in London on a usual day, runs smoothly. If the sun is shining, and you can get a seat on the bus, the queues are working, and no-one has thrown themselves in front of a moving train, you could be forgiven for feeling strong, positive emotions; such as contentedness. Nothing strong enough to stir a smile, but enough to stop you wishing for a new plague, as you cup your head into a sweaty armpit.

However, this is nothing but the calm before the storm, when the Transport for London staff throw a hissy-fit and decide to award themselves a few days off. The result is central London becoming a no-go zone; as if a nuclear attack has just been performed on Charing Cross roundabout.

The Government issues statements, such as:
"Please stay in your homes until further notice. Travellers are advised to use other routes, and to not attempt entering the area unless  completely unavoidable. If you are worried about loved ones who might be stranded at a bus stop, please call 02054 845321. We thank you for your calm and cooperation during this difficult period."

Actually, they don't, but for the panic that builds up in the average Londoner in the week proceeding a planned strike, they probably should consider such warnings.

And what is the row over? It's usually over things such as not being paid enough (despite being paid considerably more than the average nurse), and the rise of the machines. When the average tube driver gets paid £50,000 a year to spend half of it striking, it isn't a huge surprise that people have little support for them, and cannot wait for computer-operated trains. The computers can't strike… yet, anyway.

In reality, Transport for London could probably interchange 50% of staff with paper cut outs of them, and the public wouldn't take much notice, with most only lifting their heads up as they tap in their Oyster Card. It would be weeks before anyone even noticed a rainbow-coloured mammoth in the ticket hall, let alone the lack of staff.

Escalator To Hell

The sky is black. The ground is wet. The faces of people are miserable. It's a dull morning in London, and you're entering an underground station, with many others, like germs entering a wound. After all, the underground is essentially just a sewer for people. They drain in off the streets, and are quickly washed away underground, with the accompanying smell being a mixture of different bodily excretions.

"Big issue!?" The scruffy-looking man says, offering you a magazine. You do your best to avoid looking at him, and pretend you never heard him.

Anyway, you've entered the station, and paid for the displeasure. Now you're the other side of the gates, and walking towards the crowd that surrounds the entrance onto the escalator. On your way, a casually dressed, well kept-man offers you a paper.

"Evening Standard!?" he yells. You take it.
"Cheers mate," you say, in your best, manly voice.

You stand on your step, silently wedged behind a man with dandruff, next to a woman with a large suitcase resting against your knee, and in front of a snorting being. You look around, and the walls capture your attention. You can see the grinning, colourful and posed faces. Are they advertising the latest West End musical, or are they windows that you can see trapped souls through? It's so hard to tell.

 You step off, and make your way onto a platform. Check it's the right one. Double check. Triple check. The train is arriving. Check again. *beepbeepbeepbeep* Quick, catapult yourself on before the doors shut. Now you find yourself precariously hanging inside the carriage, unsure whether your body is going to be sliced by the closing doors.

 The doors are shut, and all your limbs are still attached. Result. Now you're stood intimately close to a stranger. Look around you. Look at the people joining you in the immense heat of the criminally overcrowded train.

 Notice that man sat there? The overweight one. See how he's starring at the two women sat opposite. One wearing a risqué short skirt to show off her never-ending legs. The other with a blouse so tight, it barely covers her mountainous peaks. The man sits there, with beads of sweat forming on his excited brow, slowly eating a pasty. Dinner and a show. Gluttony and lust.

 Oh, but what is the buxom lady doing now? She's getting her mirror out of her bag, and checking her make-up is all still in place. Oh, that lipstick just needs a bit of a touch up. And is that faint red mark on her chin the birth of a spot? Better put some more foundation on, just in case. So, she sits there, looking at herself, lips pouted, between telling her long-legged friend about what an amazing birthday she had at the weekend. Pride.

 Look down the other side of the carriage. That woman, fast asleep, sat next to the man with his legs open so incredibly wide. He must have testicles the size of Mercury and Venus. In fact, all those people down that bottom half are sat there, all trying their best to avoid the pregnant woman stood in their midst. Sloth and greed.

 Along with the pregnant lady, every standing passenger on the carriage is stalking the people sat down. You're all like lions, watching the zebras, ready to jump as soon as one strays from the herd. You stand there, back aching from carrying a heavy bag and having not sat down since you woke up. You're envy.

 The train then begins to slow down, eventually stopping in the dark, unlit tunnel. Everyone starts to fidget. Then the voice comes over the speakers:
"I'm sorry to inform you, but this train has been delayed due to a person falling in front of a train."
A chorus of groans fills the carriage.

"Oh, how awfully terrible," says one woman, earnestly sniffing.
"No, it's just bloody selfish," says a businessman, full of wrath. "People who commit suicide in such an public way,  delaying people getting to work, pisses me off. If you wanna kill yourself, go do it at 'ome privately!"

 Now you're never escaping Hell...

People in the City

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London Etiquette

There are lots of people in London; far too many in fact. It is impossible to be out in London without thinking, at least once, that it's been a long while since a healthy proportion of humanity was wiped out by an epidemic. Swine flu just never really caught on like us misanthropes hoped for.

In order for society to be considered a successful one, all of its inhabitants need to get on in perfect harmony. London is not an example of one such society. We just don't function together. I think it is because the residents of London can be split into two categories.

Firstly, there are those of us go through life, head down with the intention of blending seamlessly into the dingy backdrop of London. They are quintessentially British. They plug themselves into a headphone socket and upload a facial expression of extreme stoicism onto their face. These are the sorts of people who apologise profusely, despite them being completely devoid of blame, for walking into the back of someone who randomly stopped in the middle of the pavement. In fact, apologising becomes as regular as breathing.

The truly British members of our society are the people who, when asked, say yes to someone asking to take an empty chair from their table in a café, despite their friend only nipping off for the toilet. They are the sort of person who, despite starting the queue to enter the approaching train, will be the last person getting on; after everyone has pushed themselves on first.

The other half of society are difficult to categorise. They look British, sound British, and even tick 'British' when filling out forms. But they don't think or act British.

These faux-British individuals are guilty of unapologetically stopping in the middle of a crowded street, for no apparent reason, and expecting to part the crowds around them like a modern-day Moses. They see a queue forming, and yet decide to walk around said line, as if the unspoken rules of Britishness don't apply to them. They are the people who get to the barriers at the station before unapologetically searching for their Oyster Card, rather than being prepared five stops beforehand.

Yes, you read right. Worse of all, they are unapologetic. They will elbow you out of the way without so much of a mimed apology. These people don't even perform the 'No, I Insist You Go First' dance; they will just march through the door like it's their God-given right. They even have the audacity to look you in the eyes when they sit opposite you on the tube, as if they're expecting you to allow them to put their feet up on your lap.

Unfortunately, this way of insolently striding through life is catching. More and more people are becoming like this in London. And with the ability of humans to travel quickly and freely through the country, it is undoubtedly spreading. Let's just hope these are the initial symptoms of the epidemic that will cull half the London population.

Learn Your Left from Your Right

Londoners are a very patient bunch, who take life in their stride. They are free spirits, and never rush to be anywhere. The Londoner will just mill about, with no particular purpose. They wake up in the dark, and venture out in the drizzling rain, just for the fun of it.

Well, that's what some people must think. These people must mistake Londoners for being a bunch of compassionate individuals. Why else would they stand on the left side of escalators? The only way they could make the rule any simpler, is if Cbeebies did a cheerily patronising song with the lyrics: 'By standing on the right, You're always in the right!'

The trouble is, that people stand on the left through absolute pig-headedness. They have spotted the limp and depressing conga line forming up the right side of an escalator, and opted to have a little silent protest on the left. Maybe they're raging against the machine. Maybe they're just getting their jollies by making men in suits stand behind them, tut tut tutting. Or maybe they are just completely ignorant.

Either way, this is a mistake one will only make a few times before they surrender, and start to stand on the right. Everyone knows you stand on the right, and climb on the left. Some people will impolitely ask to be excused past. Others will just push past, whilst trying to whack them with their brief case. Either way, inevitably, if you stand in the way, you're going to get bruised ankles.

The Commuter

Have you ever been in a milking shed? The cows are all herded in through the doors, where they take their position, lined up next to, and opposite, other cows. They are then hooked up to a machine, and then stare at each other for an indefinite period of time while the process of draining their udders continues.

Have you ever been on the Jubilee Line? The passengers crowd in through the doors, where they take their seat next to, and opposite, other commuters. While their Oyster Card is draining of money, they sit and stare at each other blankly, whilst trying to ignore each other's existence, for an undetermined amount of time. This is a strange, and inhuman experience.

On a bus, every passenger wants the front seats on the top deck. In built into everyone is the childish ambition to pretend to be a bus driver. Therefore, they will unremorsefully kick, push and shove others to try and get to the coveted seat. If, after fighting their way up the stairs first, they find the seats occupied, that might just push them over the edge, resulting in a faintly audible sound of exasperation.

However, regular commuters, regardless of whether they are on a bus, tube or train, have developed a keen sense of their whereabouts. The commuter can be sat, head buried in their free morning newspaper or book, and without lifting an eye, know their position on the route. Perhaps it is an understanding of speed, sound and time. Or it might be that their bottom has memorised every bump, or every sway. Either way, the London commuter can unquestionably stand, make their way to the door and step outside onto the right platform or stop with absolute precision, and without ever averting their gaze.

The commuter is perhaps modern-day proof of Darwin's theory of evolution.

The Endangered Cockney

We have grown up with the expectation that London, particularly the East, is filled with charming Cockneys. One expects London streets to be filled with people doffing their cap with an "Awright geeezza". Or to hear a vocalisation of surprise not dissimilar to "Gaaaaawd blimey; yer 'avin' a giraffe!" Instead, one walks down the street to the sounds of tooth sucking and people going '"O.M.G".

The true Cockney, seen in films such as Mary Poppins and Oliver!, is gone. The occasional one might be selling actual apples and pears, or coming to fix your gas boiler with a smiley disposition, but they are becoming a rare sight in London. If one wants to see lots of Cockneys in one place, visit Whitstable in Kent. The seaside town is full of tube and taxi drivers talking in colourful accents and rhymes. But not in London.

Instead, London is frequented by teenagers who hang about in car parks, constantly asking each other "D'yew know wot I'm sayin'?" and "D'yew ge' me, like?". These two phrases are usually interspersed by simple nouns and verbs to create something reminiscent of a 'sentence'.

Of course, there is a slight hint of Cockneyism in how they talk now, and people will still call each other "mate" or "darling", but little else remains. London is full of professional suit wearers, who talk in  business jargon drivel, foreigners speaking their native tongues, and unemployed tracksuit wearers, who speak in, like, bad similes.

The Cockney is now nearly as dead as a Dodo, so don't go expecting Dick Van Dyke to be gracing the streets.

Out in the City

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The Big Screen

The cinema is the perfect place for a misanthrope to go. It is the only time one can sit in a darkened room for a few hours, sitting in silence and watching a screen, whilst still being considered to be socialising. It allows them to go out in public, with friends, family, or on a date, and spend time in their presence, without having to engage with them on any level, apart from maybe sharing a tub of popcorn.

Despite this though, there are many reasons why one should be weary of entering such a building. These are issues which are synonymous with the cinema experience, where ever you are in the country. Firstly, the cost of refreshments is laughable; some people have to take out pay-day loans to afford a bottle of water, popcorn, and a bag of sweets. Then that's on top of buying tickets to watch half hour of adverts, before a film which is on a screen that is too large and the volume turned up too high, and sat on a seat that is marginally more comfortable than resting your buttocks on an overflowing rubbish bin.

Londoners though, watch films in a manner I am unused to. They treat cinemas like their front room. People walk in and out, throughout, numerous times. They go to the toilet, purchase more snacks, take phone calls and go to the toilet again. Some Londoners, usually the younger ones, spend their time laughing and joking throughout the film, and others just generally chat with their friend, about what has been happening at work. Others spend their time, screen in hand, texting someone, liking something on Facebook, or just tapping away at a game. Then, for the moments they are watching the film, they sit back in their chairs, and put their feet up on the back of your chair.

Is it because we live in an age of Sky+, where everyone is used to doing what they like, when they like, and just pause what they're watching to do whatever? Is it because people have such short attention spans now, that being passive for 2 hours is impossible for them? Perhaps. Or maybe there just are not enough coffee shops in London for friends to go an chat in? Well, it's definitely not the latter. In truth, I haven't the foggiest why anyone would pay, say, £8-£10 for a cinema ticket, and then pay no attention to it.

Of course, London is in Britain, and therefore operates under the same set of rules. One must just ignore these other people, and only break your stoic poker face to roll your eyes. We just want to turn around and slap the feet off your chair, or telling them to shut up about 'that bitch from work'. Or perhaps even kick the phone out of their hand. However, thanks to the rules we, as a society, have put upon ourselves, we have to just suffer these fools. Well, apart from the occasional hero who will make a short, loud, irritated speech to tell them to shut up, but you can't rely on one of them always being present.

I should be able to watch a film, without having an idiot's commentary accompanying it, popcorn being flung at me, or being put into a headlock by some kid's muddy Adidas trainers.

It is here then, that I suggest Boris Johnson passes a law, similar to the contempt of court law. Anyone who disrespects a film is held in contempt of cinema, and could face a maximum of a month in jail and be fined £2,500; of course with the money going towards refunding the tickets of everyone in that screen. It's the only way to teach proper cinema etiquette to a city of selfish, stupid morons, with muddy trainers.

The Theatre, Darling

Many great actors and actresses tread the boards at London's West End each night, and many millions of people go see them do just that every year. So much so, that it has become somewhat of a tourist necessity to go see a show; thus explaining why so many people are always in attendance.

It's an expensive night out, but it comes with perks. Firstly, there is a better class of people there. 
These are the sorts of people that might actually apologise for bumping into you; which is a rare treat in this city. Secondly, because it is so expensive, people tend to make sure they arrive on time and don't talk through it, what with everyone trying to get their monies worth. And thirdly, it makes a nice change from the usual drudgery of watching television every night.

 There are many varieties of show you could go see. Musical or Shakespearean play. An old classic or a new breakthrough hit show. Comedy or tragedy. Theatrical adaptation of a well-known story or a small budget, independent show. Featuring a thespian actor or reality show star. An Andrew Lloyd Webber creation, or other. Camp or not quite as camp. The list is endless. Like the tourists pamphlets say in their usual, cliché manner: There is something for everything. Unless you're deaf and blind; there is nothing for you.

 The show will typically be full of washed-up comedians, X Factor finalists, ex-soap stars or celebrity talent show winners. These names bring in the crowds, and it is because of this you have to purchase tickets way in advance. In the cinema, it is likely that you can pick seats which are a spitting distance away from anyone else. In the theatre, there is no escaping others.

Of course, you could get an aisle seat, which means you only have to sit next to one person, and that person is usually someone who's stench you are familiar with.

"Excuse me please."

Getting an end seat however, does mean that you will have to get up for every person who sits in your row.

"Sorry, can I come by?"

You often find in fact, that you have closer contact with the old couple sat in the middle whom you have never met before, than you might have had with some of your past boy-or-girlfriends.

"Do you mind if I just... thanks."

Having an aisle seat however, comes with a huge responsibility. When the show is over, and you've all finished clapping, cheering and whistling, it's time to put coats on and leave. So if you're at the end of the row, you're the pace-setter for everyone else who shared your row. No-one wants to be quietly tutted at while they put their arm in the coat. As soon as that curtain goes down, it's a race to be one of the first audience members out the door.

And thus ends a typically uneventful night out, soaking up the culture which London has to offer. And if the ceiling of the Victorian theatre hasn't collapsed on your head, that makes for an even better night out.

Shopping in the City

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The London Shopping Centre

You're about to enter a Westfield's shopping centre. Perhaps you're trying to find a gift for your niece? Maybe you're looking for a new belt to stop you accidentally mooning old ladies? Are you attending a wedding next weekend, and needing to buy a gift and something sparkly to wear? Or are you thinking of replacing those tired-looking cushions? For all I know, you're looking to treat yourself to some sexy stockings... Look, I don't know your business, but either way, there you are, waiting for the automatic doors to open. Oh, you have to pull them open yourself. Idiot.

Anyway, you're finally inside. But don't stand still for too long though, otherwise you'll find yourself being thwacked with shopping bags, and shunted about by shoulders. Of course, you know what shop you want to go to, but where is it? There is over 150,000 square metres of shop, over three floors, at your toetips. It's at this point you consider going home and buying everything online for the rest of your life. But, hey, you're here now. You knew it wasn't going to be easy.

And so, you wander for what feels like hours. You've depleted your water supplies, you have blisters on your blister's blister, you're hopelessly lost and still haven't purchased a thing. This would have been so much easier if you had learnt the native language - whatever that is - so you could ask for directions. Yet you carry on walking, with the sense of constantly being watched, and fearful of someone spitting on you from an upper level.

"Eeeyouch!" you cry, quietly.
You've been hit on the back of the ankle. As a true Brit, you carry on and pretend it never happened.
"Argh!" you howl, slightly louder than before.
Hit again. This time you turn to see what is attacking you. It's a native, pushing their young in a red plastic car. Do you confront them, telling them to watch what they're doing? No. You shake your head slightly and step aside, and pull your sock down. Just as you expected: blood. Now you're wishing you went to the Doctor's first and got the necessary injections.

Ah, but look, there's that shop you've been looking for. You go in and ask the shop assistant if they have *insert desired item here*.

"Nah, we've sold out. You'll have to look online," says 'Jade' as she revolves gum around her mouth.
Now, where's the way out?

The London High Street

Many towns in London have a high street, for the great unwashed to buy bowls of produce, cheap clothes and eat McDonalds.

When walking through a high street, it is highly likely that you will encounter at least one man shouting about the brilliance of God. He will remind you that your life is full of sin, and that you should join him and repent your sins (but who has the time?). You'll recognise him when you see him; he'll be the one in the middle of the street, shouting as loud as he can with no-one within a 10 metre radius of him. Well, that man is either a religious nut or drunk.

Other people to watch out for in the London High Street are the clipboard carriers. Of course, they are found across the country, but in London they can be more concentrated into one area. They use a net approach, where they line up across the street, making it impossible to get past. So, chances are, they will break your gait. And, chances are, they are students trying to make some extra cash for themselves by trying to raise money and awareness for some charity; 'Batteries for Remotes', or something like that. I rarely even listen to them.

There are many obstacles to try and avoid when walking up the street. These can include old ladies pushing trolleys, people who have their gaze fixed firmly on their phone and gangs of school children who insist on walking in a line of attack the width of the path. It might be easier to attempt a pole-vault over them, or to just charge through like a bull. However, in practice you end up in the road, avoiding cars, cyclists, and lamp posts. Of course, it might have been easier to clear your throat and say 'excuse me', but that could actually lead into an interaction with another, and you never know which way it could go.

The high street, like many others, is filled with a rich variety of shops. Starbucks. Costa. Nero. Starbucks. Greggs. McDonalds. KFC. Poundland. Coasta. And a half stocked W H Smith. If they don't float your boat, then there is a generous selection of stalls selling everything from fruit and veg, hand-made jewellery, to badly-knitted hats, flowers and to more fruit and veg. 


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The Misanthropic Londoner

It can be hard to recognise a Londoner when they are out in London. They will very rarely visit a popular London tourist attraction, such as the London Eye or Buckingham Palace. Most would have never visited Madame Tussauds, unless they were themselves, or accompanying, a child. Instead, such places are filled with foreign tourists photographing the wax model of Tara Palmer-Tomkinson, thinking it is a deformed Victoria Beckham.

They don't go out and enjoy what London has to offer, because there is no sense of pride amongst them. Perhaps this is because there is no sports team called London, like Liverpool has. One is never going to visit a pub in London, and see a bunch of drunks cheering 'Come on London!', whilst standing around a TV.

That's why London is full of misanthropic beings. No-one talks to each other, because everyone knows that no-one says anything of interest, and there are people in London who haven't moved any of their face muscles in over 20 years. In fact, people are now designing buildings which, when the sun is in the right position, will burn whatever resides in the street below. Only a misanthrope builds a death ray.

Misanthropes are everywhere.

However, as I say this, I realise that over the past three years, I have become one of them. A Londoner. When I first came to this city, I was bright-eyed and taking in all the tourist attractions I could. However, I noticed a change when I visited Madame Tussauds at the end of my first year. I spent half of the time complaining about the price, and the rest snubbing the appropriateness of the immortalised beings in there.

Since then, the frequency with which I visit popular places has rapidly decreased. I haven't visited an attraction in London for over a year, and I now only commute when it is completely unavoidable. I have never had a patriotic thought about the city, and never given up my seat on a train. My face hasn't even expressed an emotion since I saw a legless man pushing himself over Westminister Bridge on a skateboard, in the winter of 2011. I 'ave even dropped the letter 'h' from my vocabulary, and now proceed to call strangers 'mate' and 'darling', with every conversation ending with 'cheers'.

Over the years, my skin has become inch-thick with pollution, and I have sneered at anyone who has ever made a noise within a 100 metre radius of myself. Being a misanthropic Londoner means I am just one accidental elbow in the rib away from turning Grand Theft Auto into reality.

So, it is at this point, before I go on my killing spree and get my face plastered over the news, that I must say the following….

Cheers mate.