The Five things you can only know if you are a Northerner that moved to London…

As my friend pointed out to me this title is a little more niche than my usual fare, but at risk of oversharing my personal life I thought I would do a blog that’s a little less about me and a little more about the experieces of every single Northerner who has moved to good ol’ London town.

  1. Parking Fines

I dare. I double dare to ask your Mancunian friends about how many parking fines they got when they first relocated to this city. See…the problem is that living in Manchester we were spoilt. We believed that parking was a right…you needed to go to the Doctors, visit your grandma at the old age home or heck do the shopping and you could just park.  And so it took us some to adjust to this new world of parking permits and jurisdictions. Let me tell you right now it’s Manchester Jews and Manchester Jews alone who keep Brent and Barnet council afloat. You should also know that parking fines always come in trios….in London you better believe it never fucking rains….

  1. Double Standards

As a Mancunian I can bitch about Manchester all I want….that’s my right having been raised and lived in the city for 18 years. I can call it dirty and grey and a bit of a shit hole because frankly all of this is empirically true. Especially when you consider that London has Buckingham Palace, the British Musuem and like a thousand Oxfam Bookstores to name just a few of its more notable sites. But, so help you god if you are from London and dare to besmirch our city, because suddenly we become like a mama bear; ready to defend to the death. With stealth and cunning we will smell out any criticism and make sure you regret having ever opened your own mouth. And quite frankly native Londoners….I suggest you take a walk down Brent Street (particularly the Tesco in Sentential square) late at night before you get busy with me and my city.

  1. Driving for fun

For a short while I lived in Paris and absolutely bloody hated it which is another story for another time. However, on returning home (which at that point was Manchester) I would go for long drives just to calm myself down, to feel free, it was like the obese man’s version of running. All the endorphins, but none of the actual exercise. Win bloody win. That all stopped the moment I moved to London. Suddenly, driving stopped being a pleasurable experience, because….well quite frankly and I’m just going to say it….London drivers are fucking nuts. Cars stopped in the middle of roads for no reason – with no one in them. Impossible junctions where cars angrily and obstinately refuse to let you go even though it’s a red light and they can’t move and then, frankly, there are the pedestrians who waltz in front of cars as if they’re going for a lazy country stroll in the Lake District. What I learnt and I learnt bloody quickly is that driving in London isn’t so much fun as it is a fight till the end.

  1. A Shmy

Now for those of you aren’t akin with the Northern butchering of the Yiddish language a “shmy” is basically like a look – you’d go for a shmy to the shops, or if you’re really trying to lay it on thick you’d go for a “shmyke.” To be honest, no-one is really sure if this word is actually Yiddish or just made up by impassioned Mancunian Jews…but I feel it perfectly represents the Northern curiosity to know what’s going on at all times. It’s why me and my friends, when walking down Golders Green Road will look into every restaurant to see if there’s anyone we know and then quickly look away – heaven forbid anyone should catch onto our nosy ways. Or why…when you we see an ambulance, police car or any other vehicle associated with an emergency we will crane our necks and dart our eyes – even if we’re driving to make sure we know absolutely what’s going on. Though, of course, none of your gossip can beat the shit that goes down in Manchester although that is another story for a whole other time.

  1. Jewish Geography

No-one and I mean no-one plays Jewish geography like the Manchester Jewish community. This is mainly because of our afore mentioned innate nosiness, which combined with an incredibly small community which is essentially made up of four families who all married each other, means we will not rest until we have found a connection to you no matter how tenuous. We want to know who you are, who your parents are and quite frankly we won’t stop until we are fully satisfied that we are either related or about to be. Londoners….just go with. Trust me it’s so much easier this way.

6. Money

To explain this point I will start with a funny, and yet tragic story – a tragicomedy if you will. Picture the scene I’m like 20…and going to the cinema in London for the first time armed with my student I.D and a naive belief that working hard and earning a good wage will one day be enough to grant me a mortgage. Ha, fool. But, more on that later. And the sales assistant turns to me and goes that will be £12.50 please and I swear to god I laughed, I thought she was joking. I was brought up on the AMC cinema where tickets were like £5. I didn’t know it yet but this moment would come to symbolise my entire London experience. Because in London basically I can afford a pair of shoes….not even like a fancy pair, but like a semi-decent option from Office, ideally in the sale and then I could live in the box. In Manchester, I could buy a fucking three-bed semi in Prestwich and live happily ever after.

L’shanah ha’bah b’Manchester?


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