In ths city I feel controlled all the time. Cameras on every street are constanty watching my moves. Cameras in shops, in bars, restaurants, buses, metro, at work. Maybe people feel safer with so many cameras around them. I don’t. There is no freedom in London. There is this delusive freedom that money gives you, but there is no real one.
Everything is so organised and so perfectly controlled that sometimes I feel like I cannot breathe. Everything is explained on numerous signs and information written everywhere. Sometimes I think that Londoners stopped to think on their own. They just follow. The streets are full of people following the crowd, following the most popular touristic sights, following the metro arrows.
But what annoys me the most in British people is that they are martinets and they will do their best to help in keeping general order. For instance you cannot get in a bus with no valid ticket. Driver will make sure that everybody has tickets and pleading, crying, explaining wouldn’t help here, as they are determind to do their job correctly. Not that it affects them if there are people without the ticket inside the bus, but that is their job and they will make sure its done well. The same thing happens in metro and all the offices, banks, agancies you go to. The bureaucracy will drive you crazy, but they will still sit calmly at their desks repeating, they don’t know how long the waiting will take. It is exactly the same thing you can find in India, but I guess it is not Indian people’s fault as it is a post colonial British influence.
Brits have a bunch of crazy rules and prohibitions that are supposed to make a life easier but sometimes I cannot stop myself from laughing at them. There is the latest one, which I found in front of the British museum.
The other crazy thing about this city are the things you have to pay for. The tube tickets prices are radiculously high, let alone the rent. But there is also a number of things that you woldn’t expect to pay for. One of them are hammock chairs in Hyde Park. I was sitting there relaxed one day when suddenly I was asked to pay for it!Another one is playing in public. Artists have to pay to perform their music on the streets of London. Of course, not many of them do, because prices are so high they could never afford it. Other things are the public events. Festival of colours, which in most of European cities is for free (you just need to buy a packet of colours for something about 1 pund), in London would cost you minimum 30 pounds. The same thing with other festivals. In Spain, France, Germany or Poland festivals have prices most young people can afford. Here, you need to have a well paid job to afford these things, as prices can start even at 100 pounds. National museums in London are for free which is really good, but if you take a look at all the private museums and other atractions like London eye, aquarium, Madame Tussauds they are all unbelievably expensive. Also things like cinema or open air events are usually very expensive. That creates a typical problem- people with money have no time to enjoy all these things and people with time have no money to do so…