London Local Custom Tips by sourbugger Top 5 Page for this destination
London Local Customs: 674 reviews and 733 photos
Thanks to 'Badgas'
There are many ways to waste a complete hour at work, but this is one of the finer options.
An in depth analysis of the shop fronts of certain businesses in the poorer parts of London (East and South, and especially South-East) takes a certain dedication on the part of the website writer.
I hope he never finds the delights of VT, as you may well end up looking at 150 plus tips on various fried chicken outlets. There are also vast collection of pictures (all with a commentry) on 'poundshops' and 'nail bars'. As an insight into life in London at some of the lower rungs of society, this site can't be beaten.
I include a photograph they feature, which they regard as a work of genius. Not only does it get a bit close (without infringing copyright directly) to the most famous fried chicken outlet of the all, but also forges a link with the average chavs favourite brand of apparel - FCUK.
Do not be alarmed to see unaccompanied children on buses, trains, trams and even tubes. School buses are virtuall unheard of in London and thousands of children use public transport to get to school and home again. For the buses they don't even need a 'zip' card (a sort of junior oyster card). It is a refreshing change in thes days of an overbearing nanny state in so many other areas of life.
I'm sure many parents would not quite be ready to trust their five year old to get on a train themselves - the though of it it would certainly terrify me. It's not just for the 'school run' however..in theory they can ride the whole network whenever they like..for free...little lucky tykes. It is also a mark of the bus drivers and other staff that they can look out for the 'little people' and check they are OK.
Set against this is the law of England that states : It is an offence under section 1 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 to "neglect or abandon a child under the age of 16 for whom a parent or carer has responsibility", but the law gives no detail of what amounts to neglect or abandonment. It therefore is a question of degree. A journey they do every day (e.g to get to school and back) is fine, but just leaving them to 'ride the rails' would not be.
I'm sure it builds self-reliance and independence, but most kids these days seem to be transported all of 300 yds to school in a 'Chelsea tractor' ( a 4 x 4)
Where are all the cars ?
It's become something of a tradition to walk across the famous Zebra pedestrian crossing in Abbey road in bare feet.
For many years, this crossing has held a fascination among fans of popular music.
THE BEATLES , on Friday the 8th of August, 1969, thought they were just photo-shooting a new LP-cover (thats a Long Play record for anyone under 21). Their efforts spawned yet another tourist attraction to London.
If you go to St John's Wood tube, then head south-west down Grove End Road for about a quarter of a mile before you find Abbey road.
The studios were only named after the road when the Album became a massive bestseller.
If you are venturing anywhere beyond the main tourist sights, pehaps visiting friends or relatives, or some obsure shop then you will need one vital piece of equipment - the A-Z map of London. No other map will do, every Londoner owns one and even cab drivers (who are supposed to know every road within a six mile radius of Charing Cross) have been known to sneek a crafty peek when stumped.
It is very easy to read and use. Every newsagent sells them.
Fancy a pint of Nelson, Terry (Mandela = Stella)
What are you to make of such a sentence ?
Of course it is cockney slang - read on to find out what it means !
Many people know some cockney rhyming slang anywhere in Britain such as 'apples and pears' (meaning stairs) and 'Merchant Bankers' (Do I need to spell it out ?).
It is however mainly through TV series such Minder ,Only Fools and Horses and Eastenders that many lesser known examples have become more widely recognised.
Every 'Minder' aficionado knows that "getting a Ruby down your Gregory" meant going out for an Indian meal (popular 1950s singing star Ruby Murray providing a rhyme for curry, and Gregory Peck : Neck), and that "trouble on the dog" meant your spouse was calling (Trouble and Strife : Wife, Dog and Bone : Phone).
This trick of leaving out part of the Rhyme means that the possibilities are endless, and many suspect that cockneys often just make it up as they go along to have a laugh (cf Black cab drivers !)
What's his political philosophy ?
I heard a wonderful example the other day on the quiz show 'QI' which shows just how impenetratable the language of Cockney London can be. There can only be a few who are 'in the know' and thus enjoy the fact that their language is deliberately obfuscationist (now there's a word that does what it means : to make deliberately complex and hidden).
If someone said "He's a completely Listerine" - what would it mean ?
Well here goes :
STEP 1 : "Yank" is a slang word for an American (perhaps from 'one yank and they're off')
STEP 2 : "Tank" rhymes with "Yank"
STEP 3 : In Cockney rhyming slang, a "Sceptic tank" is a Yank
STEP 4 : The tank is dropped, so a a "Sceptic" is a Yank
STEP 5 : If you are against something, then you are 'Anti.."
STEP 6 : An 'Anti-sceptic" is therefore someone against yanks
STEP 7 : ':Listerine' is a brand of antsceptic mouthwash
So, the phrase means "Someone who is anti-American". Phew, told you it was complex.
Do they call me buttons ?
There are far more royal couples in London than Phil & Liz.
There are 'Pearly' Kings and Queens for many of the working-class neighbourhoods in London.
Their roots are somewhat obscure. Perhaps they began with a poor orphan who picked up spare buttons from costermongers for resale and began helping, in time, those less fortunatue than himself. Then again it could a reference back to a form of 'protection' for costermonger market stallholders,who used them to safeguard their pitches.
In either event they stem from the costermonger community in Victorian times, and the fashion for sowing thousands of these pearly buttons onto black clothing caught hold. Some of the suits are so heavy they must be a nightmare to wear in hot weather.
Pearly Kings and Queens can often be seen at any kind of Charity function in London, or parades, fetes , carnivals and such events. They do a great job in raising thousands of pounds for charity each year.
They also make a great photo opportunity !
A Chelsea pensioners
You may well at some point or other come across one of the Chelsea pensioners in London.
They are a group of around 350 ex-forces pensioners who give up their pension to be able to live at the Royal Chelsea hospital, founded back in the time of Charles II.
You are thus more likely to encounter them in that area of town, but many of them wear their ceremonial scarlett coats when they are going about their everyday business elsewhere.
The hospital itself can be visited, as it is a historic building, and there is a also a small museum attached.
The pensioners, if treated with the proper respect they are due, are very amiable and quite willing to have their photograph taken.
As always in such matters : just ask first.
It's probably best not to mention that Chelsea pensioners is an anagram of 'Each Person's senile'.
Pint of your finest please !
Whilst common in America - it is just not done in Britain.
A number of pubs in London are however going down this route, trying to encourage tipping, by returning change on a small plate.
Just pick it up - no problem.
Your paying through the nose for flat, watery, southern, puffy, girlie beer anyway.
If you are visting London then you always say that you are going "up" to London, even if you live North of London and it looks "down" on the map.
A bit of a pedantic point I know - but an interesting quirk of language.
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