Name two things more annoying than London tourists.



*Disclaimer. This is not serious. I love foreigners. Even if they do take all our jobs.

1)When the Bakerloo line is closed. 2) That Rihanna song.

It’s Sunday evening. The weekend is coming to a close, sun is setting in the east, and anyone with a reasonably healthy attitude towards life is working themselves up into a suitable state of cynicism and grumpiness to bring in Monday morning. The 2 day highlight of your week has ended, and in approximately 12 or so hours, you will find your head in someone’s musky armpit on some God forsaken portion of the Hammersmith and City Line. After a typically annoying, but comfortably familiar journey in which a rushed secretary crushes your little toe with the heel of her Primark stiletto, and your friendly Nigerian traffic warden promptly gives you a ticket in the time it takes to park your car outside of your workplace and walk back to your car with the appropriate documentation, you will begin another 5 days of drudgery. Obviously, the thought of this this leaves most of us suitably subdued as we morosely meander around Victoria station on Sunday evening.

That is, apart from the tourists. No, no, the sun never sets on their perpetual enthusiasm and zest for life.  Nevermind that even daylight itself is depressed with the thought of another week of work, and has decided to retreat into the recesses of the dusky eve, they are still traipsing around the tube, half blind, looking for another sightseeing activity to engage in. In essence, I have no problem with this. It’s almost refreshing to gaze into the eyes of the innocent Birmingham teenager, excited to be in the big smoke, unaware that 2 hours ago as he walked around Camden market, he was pickpocketed by a friendly looking youth who pretended to ask him for directions. I’m inspired by the Japanese family who ask me to take a picture of them with their dodgy “Keep calm, gawp at Kate Middleton” T-shirts that they bought from the even dodgier street vendor 5 minutes ago. How sweet.

However, I simply wish that amongst all of this joy, they would take a moment to consider whether they can refrain from causing considerable obstruction to my  journey. Please do not:

1) Stand in front of the ticket barriers with your oversized map.

There is an appropriate place for leisurely reading. Your personal toilet seat, or your local library. Charing Cross station may often carry the faint and comforting scent of stale urine, but I can assure you, it is neither of the aforementioned places. Therefore, please stand to the side, as I am typically at least 5 minutes late for every important event in my life, and as you may have picked up from Sainsburys in your short sojourn in our fair country, ‘every little helps’. Thank you for helping me.

2) Stop suddenly in well flowing pedestrian traffic to take pictures.

I know that that building looks interesting to you. It was interesting to me too once upon a time. I completely empathise with the need to take pictures of important events during your stay here. “Look, there’s a poster of Jamie Oliver”. “Over there! It’s  the entrance to Oxford Street Topshop!”. If you’re American, you will inevitably find every nook and cranny of this country “awesome”, “cute”, “too cute” “super awesome” etc. So of course you will want to take copious photographic documentation, and I would never deny you that pleasure. In light of this, please follow the appropriate British etiquette of being polite to the point of annoyance, and extract yourself to the side of the pavement, waiting for a suitable break in the flow of people.

3) Attack members of the public with your backpack.

I know we like to throw our weight around on the world stage, but in case you hadn’t noticed, England is a small place. With some rather overweight people, but really, a lot of us are rather small. If not in body, at least at heart. We’re easily frightened and don’t like confrontation. I’m not sure why your day trip to  Buckingham Palace required you to pack your rucksack with several small rocks – maybe it was to stop your oversized map from blowing away in the wind (we have bad weather) when you lay it out it front of the station. Whatever your reasoning, our NHS is already overwhelmed and we simply cannot cope with you decapitating random passers by as you swing your rucksack over your shoulder at break neck (pun intended) speed.

4) Use any form of public transport apart from the DLR during rush hour.

You are simply not equipped to do this without annoying someone. If you want the experience of being consistently tutted at and a passive aggressive Brit muttering “Please stand to the right” in terse tones, then obviously feel free to engage. But if I accidentally on purpose push you into a ticket barrier so that your oversized rucksack gets trapped between, don’t take it personally. It’s not because I don’t like you, it’s because you’re a tourist.

Am I the only Londoner who finds tourists annoying?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *