It’s amazing what perspective distance gives you in your perception of others.
As a typical middle-aged, middle-class North Londoner travelling around India, you can feel as one when Ashraming with an Austrian narcoleptic World of Warcraft champion; whilst getting snooted at by the Parisians, you can feel in total unison playing pool with a 16-year old SNP badge-holding Glaswegian; when rafting in Wales, you can feel a perplexing camaraderie with a Brummie Warhammer buff. However, find yourself in the depths of ‘Sarf London’, only a fellow North Londoner will understand your plight, the fringes of the universe connected only by your Oyster card.
But for the location planner, London’s idiosyncrasies pose fascinating dilemmas: an ornately gentrified square masquerading Dickensian squalour; Arabian Sultans squeezing landed gentry’s dilapidated former glories; ‘look at me’ retro-modernist-urban-rural-classic-chic-coolness disturbing Bengali Bazaars.
Outsiders do not understand these stereotypes and nor should they. Why should they care that the Shoreditch is no longer cool enough for the Dalstonite half a mile down the road? Why is it important to know that North London cabbies won’t work in South London? Why would they ever notice the fascinating transition between black and Hassidic black on Seven Sisters Road?
The London locale is getting increasingly smaller and more defined as each area strives for recognition, an identity. To be in the hospitality space, it is essential to understand these peculiar nuances and social sub-cultures. However, to keep track of them means hitting a bi-sexual Melton Mowbray pie tasting on a Monday, a burlesque curry market on a Tuesday, an S&M-inspired Oyster tasting on a Wednesday, drag stand-up on the Thursday, blind cocktail-making on the Friday, pistachio-throwing and jenga raving on a Saturday, and of course Australian Church-inspired boozing on a Sunday morning. #good luck…