1. Go out partying in Leicester Square.
Don’t do this unless you want to belong to the bunch that puts too much gel in their hair, has a three-course dinner at Angus Steakhouse, and proceeds to throw up in front of the M&M store before midnight. It’s just going to be you, the backpackers and a bunch of signs saying, “Love sucks, true love swallows”.
2. Be part of the gentrification of Peckham, Hackney, or Brixton.
You think you’re cool just because you’re going to the rooftop bar at the top of a multi-storey car park off Rye Lane, but actually you’re just contributing to escalating housing prices and pushing people — who can’t afford to stuff their converted roof lofts with overpriced ‘60s furniture and Macbooks — out of their neighborhoods. In a month’s time there will be a Pret and a Caffè Nero next to your artisan coffee place.
3. Be overtly enthusiastic at a concert.
London has some of the best music acts performing on a daily basis, but that doesn’t mean you should shout and clap enthusiastically after every song. Be like everyone else and stand still with a straight face if you love the music.
4. Stand on the left-hand side of the escalators.
You stand on the RIGHT-hand side of the tube escalators, and if you fail to do so you prove two things — first, you must be blind or from outer space if you miss taking notice of all the people walking down the stairs on the left; second — you can’t read… there are signs all along the sides of the escalator! Stop getting distracted by the ads for Mamma Mia everywhere.
5. Be preppy in Hackney.
Don’t come to the east side of town in a suit or anything by Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger. Everyday costume is a midriff top, something ripped and some tattoos and piercings to go with your dressed-down look. Don’t try and ooze money when you can be shabby and creative looking. Also, when here, try to get a job in media. If that’s not possible, dye your hair in a multitude of colors and just pretend you’re an artist.
6. Run for the underground train and get stuck in the doors.
It takes three years and daily commutes to master the art of calculating the time between you setting your foot on the platform and the standing train closing its doors. In a split second you need to decide whether to lunge yourself at the door or wait two minutes until the next train comes. Whatever you do, don’t get stuck in the doors, leaving you no choice but to use every muscle in your body to push them open. There will be death stares from the other commuters.
7. Be a (w)banker in Shoreditch.
Shoreditch was cool until the 20-something yuppies hit Favela Chic and made Old Street their tube stop. Don’t be a Jordan Belfort in the East End.
8. Have dinner at the all-you-can-eat buffets in Chinatown.
There are decent restaurants serving freshly-steamed parcels of joy out of baskets, stir-fried pak choi, and curry laksas in Chinatown, so why would you settle for oily noodles, deep-fried prawns, and chips unless you have unrefined taste buds?
9. Say no to alcohol.
It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere in the world. Midday drinking is fine anytime of the week, and there’s nothing wrong with hitting the parks with six packs of Corona, Magners, and Bulmers at 11am. If in a pub, don’t order a coke or ask the bartender to make you a Shirley Temple. We all know you’re not driving, because let’s face it, you can’t afford a car here. So why be a party pooper and turn down a pint? You’re making everyone uncomfortable with your absolutism.