Every city is quite unique when it comes to its inhabitants, but London is a true heaven for people watchers. Here are some very London-specific types of people that you won’t meet anywhere else.
- The City Bee
The City is the financial centre of London (I know that you know, but just in case) and nowhere in Europe can you see as many suits concentrated in one place. The City Bee looks sharp in his suit, works 12 hours a day, yet still makes time to casually walk around during lunch break looking efficient and important. They’re everywhere you look in the City.
But my favourite time for Bee watching is after 5 PM when the lucky ones head home. Have you ever seen people walking to a big concert/football match/demonstration? That’s how City Bees walk towards tube stations. Hundreds and hundreds of them march like an army with faceless expressions and perfect suits in the most direct way possible. You really don’t want to cross their trajectory. It’s a little bit scary but at the same time quite impressive. Just like a hive.
- The Street Styler
You will recognize the Street Styler as soon as you see him. And don’t worry, he will make sure that you do. Because to be seen is the main purpose of his fashion choices. He will dress in the most ridiculous combinations, usually involving bright colours, oversized fur items and unlikely materials and will hang out in public spaces. You can always see some in Camden Market or on Portobello Road, but the real treat is London Fashion Week.
One was in February and I accidentally walked into the crowd in front of the main venue on my way home. The photographers were surrounding the Street Stylers who would pose graciously even though they were of course just accidentally passing by but secretly hope to find themselves under hashtag LondonStreetStyle. I was also photographed during the week once. So maybe times are changing and the next big fashion thing will be “jacket, jeans, boots and sunglasses in the most boring colours possible”. You’re welcome.
- The Sweet Old Lady
The Sweet Old Lady is my favourite type of person. She is always tastefully dressed, wears plastic waterproof hats when it’s raining and you can see her in small parks and gardens between 9 and 11 AM walking her cute little dog while chatting to other equally sweet old friends. And you just know she would give you chocolate biscuits instead of the plain ones with your tea.
And even though the title is quite gender specific, this goes for men too. Few days ago I saw this gentleman in the Museum of London wearing a Sherlock Holmes hat and, I swear, an ankle long dark green woollen cape. At first I thought he was part of the exhibition because I met him in the Victorian section, but then I noticed he was accompanied by a normally looking lady and we met several more times in other galleries, including Modern London. He looked just like my granddad would in 19th century England and I loved it.
- The Runner
There are two types of runners in central London. The first one looks just like me when I run, that is about to drop dead in 45 second, but there are not many of them.
The second type though, that’s very London specific. Because they really run. There’s no jogging nonsense involved, they run and they run fast. And I mean Usain Bolt fast (are you impressed that I know a name of a sports person? Me too!). And the reason why I dislike them so much is because they look completely effortless while doing so. It’s just not natural if you ask me.
But the most ridiculous case can be seen in the City. They run with little backpacks on their back, especially after 5 PM. That means that they worked the whole day in a bank, changed to their running gear afterwards and ran home just to get some exercise. Oi, mate, take your friend Superman and get out of this planet, you were expelled from humankind.
- The Prince
… or other member of aristocracy. OK, so technically, I haven’t met any yet, but it’s just a matter of time. It’s inevitable really. I know how it works, I’ve read all the books, seen all the movies. We’re going to meet in an accident involving coffee and/or a bit of a life saving, he’s going to immediately fall in love with my personality and we’re going to live happily ever after. Of course he will reveal his firstborn-in-a-very-rich-family origin after some time so I don’t look shallow. Also did I mention he’s stunningly handsome? And if a hard Brexit comes and I will need a British citizenship, we shall marry in his family castle on a beautiful summer day. The End.