I'm beginning to think living in London is a bit like having a child. I have (naturally) not fully thought this through and so will be experimenting with doing just that below. If you want to see whether this survives beyond the bloggosphere and onto a stage you'll have to come and see me gig (or ask me - I'm a pushover).
Also - my skin itches a bit today and I think I like Kasabian. So far the two seem unrelated.
1. When you go out in London it's always in the back of my mind that you have to be back at either a sensible hour, or make arrangements to stay out all night. The transport system becomes very much like sorting out a babysitter...
"I could go home at 11pm on a normal tube" = "I can get my usual babysitter who is happy to stay out that late."
"I could stay out all night and just sort myself out in the bright 10am sunshine where the tourists will think I am ultra cool" = "I'll leave the kids with my parents and they will judge me the next day for being a poor parent."
"I could stay out until 3am and get the night bus home" = "I'm going to have to get that babysitter with the club foot and 3 unspent convictions."
(It's just occurred to me that in my hypothetical world of having kids I am a single parent. I'm really shocked, and also worried about what this says about my self esteem/safe sex practices.)
2. By the end of a day with either you need wine.
3. Just waking up in the morning and deciding to leave your front door is going to cost you at least £10. With a child you need to carry a suitcase of Sudocrem and nappies and bottles and the kind of cloth that must spontaneously combust when your child reaches three because you never see it again until you have the next one. When you're a Londoner you only have to look out the window and your Oyster card has been charged £1.30 (unless it's January 2012 and it's risen again by 8% to fund the Olympic celebrations that you aren't attending because you'll be in Edinburgh bleeding money into another city instead). Once you've paid for your trip wherever you're going it's almost expected that you buy some sort of frothy, milky coffee with something interesting added. It doesn't matter whether or not you drink it, you just have to be seen walking (very quickly) down a high street with it and scowling at people who stop on the streets. I'm 90% sure that in Ye Olde English "tourist" was a direct translation for "Ass hole" and it's just a prank we've been playing on people for centuries.
4. When you tell other people that aren't in the same boat as you they always say the same polar opinion:
"I like kids when you can give them back!" - - - "Ooh, I like it for a day but I couldn't live there!"
Then they look at you strangely as though you're a slightly different breed for doing something they aren't doing. When this happens, it doesn't matter whether you've spent the entire morning berating your child/Boris Johnson and swearing that you're never having another one/moving to Oxfordshire as soon as you get a pay rise, you immediately start defending your chosen position.
Of course, the second you mention kids and London in the same sentence and you immediately invoke a barrage of "opinions" on why doing anything that brings the two together or separates them is utterly wrong.
"Oh, I couldn't possibly raise my kids in the country - what would they do? Where would they go to school? They'd only have about 4 kids to be friends with!"
"Oh, I couldn't raise my kids in the city - too many cars and people and asthma."
As though children raised in either environment have been total fuck ups for years and it's just an epidemic that has thus far failed to hit the news. Unless you read the Daily Mail, in which all people under 18 are morons who will eat your skin if you don't give them a Nintendo DS.
5. At some point in the first two years of both you will get another human's vomit on you.