When you think of London, its rich history of art and culture immediately springs to mind. Its iconic dingy music venues, the theatres and the wild nightlife have been at its heart for centuries. London is currently a buzzing metropolis filled with a wide range of cultures and people; I’m honoured to call it my home as I believe it’s one of the most exciting places on the planet. But the sad truth is that everything I have just described is quickly dying out.
The future of this bustling, crazy city looks like it’s going to be very different. It looks sterile, it looks clean, it looks as boring as the six o’clock news. You can wave goodbye to the pubs that are filled with trendy looking teens all listening to a kooky band. They’ll be replaced by a swanky cocktail bar filled with suits talking about how much they’ve made (or lost) in the city. Electric Avenue in Brixton is filled with a wide range of exotic foods; that’ll be gone. In its place will be a swanky market selling quinoa and the latest health food products to the yummy mummies who have invaded from nearby Clapham. The theatre? You can forget about that. None of the actors will be able to afford to get to the venues.
The sad truth is that London is being cleansed and not just from those who are being forced out because they’re no longer allowed to claim housing benefits. The establishment is gradually ejecting the artsy and creative people who have been its soul for decades and have made this wonderful city so iconic.
Those lucky enough to be leaving university during the 90’s boom would stagger out of a rammed club at 3am and stumble back to their flat in Notting Hill. London was dirt cheap and it was possible to rent a house with your mates pretty much anywhere. Think back to Bridget Jones which was released in the naughties – she was able to afford a flat, on her own, in London Bridge, on a secretary’s salary! The thought of that happening now is quite frankly ludicrous. The reality is you’re lucky if your can afford a four person house share in deepest darkest Walthamstow. And don’t even think about the possibility of buying somewhere; that is most definitely impossible.
If you want to buy a house within inner London the average price is £937,110. If like me, you would have to borrow all of the money, it would mean you would have to earn £3,748,440 a year to be granted a mortgage. As I said, impossible.
The Telegraph’s Alex Proud points out that in the 90’s each London borough had its very own personality and was filled with people that reflected that:
Hampstead: intellectuals; Islington: media trendies; Camden: bohemians, goths and punks; Fulham: thick poshos who couldn’t afford Chelsea; Notting Hill: cool kids; Chelsea: rich people.
But now every one of the places mentioned above is filled to the brim with dull, upper class families who are far more interested in which school they can send their incredibly privileged offspring to. They don’t care about a ‘vibe’ or a ‘scene’ – they just want the streets to be safe and quiet at nightfall. In short; everything that made the centre of this city great to live in is already dead.
The suburbs of this incredible city are slowly suffocating as well. They are being engulfed by a wave of privileged twenty somethings who’ve been given a wad of cash for a deposit by their parents. In the not-too-distant-future there will be nothing left to do in London. Everyone capable of creating anything of worth will have moved to Bristol, Manchester or Liverpool. But not Birmingham, nobody wants to go to Birmingham.
In all seriousness – it’s incredibly sad that within 20 years, London has become a glass-filled, rich boys’ playground. There is an extremely limited number of careers that young people can choose if they want to join the party. If you want to become a teacher, a nurse or any form of creative you can forget about owning a house in London, or living anywhere near its centre. The doors are closed. But if it’s any consolation, I don’t think the party that’s going on inside is anything to write home about.
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