gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

Fauxde to the north

I intended to write this piece a couple of weeks ago, but I feared the sentiment could be lost what with all the violent shopping going on down in London.

Now though, now I feel like I can end Gradulthood’s semi-dry patch with a sideways glance and a moan about the city I hope will further my career, the city I’m moving to in less than a month, the big smoke - London.

Over the years, the capital has swallowed many a well-intentioned gradult. You know the type, the people who moved to London content with their past lives in Leeds, Birmingham, or Bristol, but looking for a new adventure. Alas however, a few years later, they return to small town England for a flying visit, hating every moment they’re away from their beloved city.

I hope that, when I do venture away from the capital (I haven't even moved there yet...), I’ll still be able to appreciate the finer things the rest of this country has to offer – a well brewed cup of Yorkshire tea, a pie with peas and gravy, a football match without a padded seat!? The simple pleasures.

CBS advertising however, want all those who come to London, to be enticed by the lifestyle with a series of aspirational statistics. Those of you who are down there have no doubt seen this, and for those who haven’t, here is a selection of fun “facts” they’ve plastered across the city:

Londoners are 37% more likely to be opinion leaders than the UK average, stating they ‘buy new products before their friends’.

Londoners are 26% more likely to have recently visited theatre/gallery/concert/ballet/cultural event etc. than the UK average.

Londoners are 44% more likely to be ‘very interested’ in clothes/fashion articles in magazines than the UK average.

I mean, they can’t be serious, can they…? Don’t ever let me return to the north, quoting these figures. If I do, as punishment, send me to deepest darkest Burnley wearing a pink cardigan, and make me ask for a frappacino at the greasy spoon – that’ll teach me.

Admittedly, there is an awful lot on your doorstep in London, but many people I know who have made the move just don’t make the most of it. I intend to. If I’m living in what is undeniably one of the best cities in the world, I’m going to make sure I see more than my local Wetherspoons. Well, maybe split my time 70/30? In favour of Wetherspoons. Or another generic chain pub, I’m not that fussy.

I’m sure many gradults have considered the relocation, or have already moved to London, and why wouldn’t you? There’s a heck of a lot more jobs down there, and most of our friends are already in residence. All I ask, is that you spend your time reminding Londoners there’s a world outside of the M25, and we do in fact have Starbucks.

Anyway, enough moaning, I’ve got some house hunting to do…



  1. Hey Michael,

    As a Northern gradult who has been living in London for the last year let me give you the truth about those CBS statistics. London is a wonderful city there is no doubt about that but that is if you are visiting it as a tourist. Living and working here is a whole different deal if you don't have money to burn (which believe me you won't) then London isn't all it is cracked up to be. You won't be able to afford to enjoy the brilliant cultural aspects of London because if you did you won't be able to afford your food and rent for the next month.

    The tube is constantly overcrowded unless you start work at around 5:30am (I sampled the tube at this time and it is bliss compared to every other hour of the day). There is no such thing as manners when it comes to public transport and manners are in the minority in other areas of life down here as well.

    I don't want to put you off as there are advantages to living down here as you said most things are at your doorsteps and there are a hell of a lot more jobs down here as well. In fact that is the reason me and my girlfriend moved down here as jobs were plentiful.

    However after living in this place for a year we have both come to the decision that hopefully this time next year we will either have plans in place to be moving back up North or actually moving back up North.

    So do make the most of it when you come down here and you might even love it down here. But for this Northern gradult it just isn't my cup of tea :-)

  2. As nice as it is to receive a rare comment, especially one so considered, I've got to disagree with a lot of your points James!

    As a gradult living in the capital on a wage that flirts with the poverty line, I still think there are plenty of things to do here on the cheap.

    Almost every cultural aspect of London is free. Every museum, gallery, statue, historic markets ect... Cash isn't the thing that stops me enjoying them; it's usually because when it comes down to a toss up between culture and going out drinking I wake up 12 hours later full of headache and regret.

    As for this manners argument that is repeatedly trotted out. Again I have to disagree. For starters I don't want some stranger talking to me when I'm trying to get to work in the morning. Who does?! In every other aspect of life I've noticed no difference between the manners down here and the manners up North when I was at uni.

    I do agree that the tube is overcrowded - as it is in Milan and New York as well.

    I reserve the right to jump sides the first time I'm mugged.

  3. Hi Joseph,

    Everyones experience of London is different. However it always seem to fall within 2 camps love it or hate it. A bit like marmite which uniquely I am a neither hate it nor love it guy. But when it comes to London I unfortunately fall into the hate it camp.

    London is a wonderful city and I understand why it attracts so many but as I said in my previous comment it just isn't my cup of tea.

    Oh and maybe go to a museum or gallery once in a while and give your liver, head and wallet a rest :-)

  4. I had been recently suduced by the idea of heading down to the LDN by young Joseph himself. But after going down at the weekend, 'everything on your doorstep?'... I just dont think it is. Yeh, there is loads of stuff in London, but some of it is 2 tubes and a long walk away!

    The more I consider it, the more I suspect I am currently having probably more fun living up north. I live in a massive house with my own bathroom, and my missus has a balcony. Can't see me getting that same standard of living down there?

    Sure, we may visit the same 10-15 city centre bars, but we can walk to each of them, and then walk home afterwards. Oh, and if my mate is out in the same town, I will be able to get to walk to where he is, not be stranded 10 miles away cause the tube stopped at 1am.

  5. Everything certainly isn't on your doorstep, I'm not sure who said it was, but there is certainly a helluva a lot more in the vicinity.

    You probably wouldn't get that standard of living down here but the difference in terms of places to go and things to see and do between London and the North incomparable!

    Oh, the reason so many people neither love nor hate Marmite is because it's an advertising slogan!

  6. I guess at this stage I should throw in my two-penneth.

    I made the 'everything on your doorstep' claim, which sure, is slightly ambitious, but I wasn't expecting the phrase itself to get picked apart. Everything is within roughly 45 minutes? Is that fair?

    It does have its downsides, which I'm sure I'll experience, but I'm doing everything I can to select somewhere on multiple night bus routes, close to a tube stop. Sure, you can't just whip across the city to see your friends on a night out (although travelling to see J in Wimbledon for 45 mins via a change of clothes on Earls Court platform would suggest otherwise, but that's another story), you just have to plan ahead a little.

    I can't argue too much, because I haven't done it yet, but once I've formed my opinions, don't you worry, there'll be an article.

  7. Hi Michael,

    I recently moved to Toronto from the second biggest city in Ireland to pursue my dream of getting into tv/film production. I was so excited at the prospect of living in this vibrant city where the streets are paved with gold (a dream sold to us gullible poor sods of Europe) Four months in and I am still no where nearer my dream. I work two part time jobs six days a week, I spend half my time on transit. I don't get to exercise outdoors because of the bloody weather and gyms are expensive. I have come to the conclusion that my quality of life was much better back home and am considering moving back. Just a word of caution...grass is NEVER greener on other side. Best of luck though,