Obligatory Snow Post


West Ken Snow by Buckeroo Kid from the Flickr pool. (She was the London Art Spot feature last Sunday. Here’s a link if you missed her awesome London pics!)

Maybe it’s because I come from snow-y Buffalo, New York where people break out one of four ice scrapers from the back seat and drive around with their 4-wheel drive tyres in blizzards without a second thought that I find this so amusing. In Buffalo, this amount of snow is absolutely laughable.

These headlines conjure up a much worse picture in my head than the pretty image in Kathy’s picture above.

Telegraph: “Britain’s deep freeze: icy weather brings worst snow for 50 years”
Guardian: “Grit supplies reaching critically low level as icy weather continues”
Metro: “Panic buying as heavy snow hits”
Evening Standard: “230,000 pupils get day off; more closures feared”
The Sun: “UK has 8 days of gas left”

Some of the best headlines came yesterday – about elderly people buying second-hand books to burn because they are cheaper than firewood. All the grocery shops are running out of products because frantic people are stocking up.

When I woke up this morning, I could still see grass poking through a thin layer of the white stuff. It was pretty. It was out-of-the-ordinary for London. But it wasn’t exactly life-threatening.

The way Londoners react to this weather fascinates me to no end. Everyone seems more friendly, smiling at strangers, except for the morning commute when travel chaos ensues and you’re smashed into a carriage with a stranger’s hair in your mouth. Kids run about, sticking their tongues out for flakes. People carry umbrellas (umbrellas??). Although, I suppose that’s the natural reaction to precipitation in these parts…You can’t have a conversation without the word “snow” and multiple exclamation points.

And then there’s the complete idiots. For example, I was on my lunch break for half hour yesterday. When I left, there was a dog tied to a railing – a black dog with long scraggly sopping wet hair, sitting in a puddle, covered in snow, visibly shivering with these big sad eyes. When I returned, he was still there, lying down in the puddle, a salt-and-pepper speckled mound. I don’t even like dogs, but I wanted to give the poor thing a blanket. Seriously.

Anyway, I’m sure in some parts outside of London, it might be a bit more “severe”, but the world’s not ending (except maybe for that dog if someone didn’t rescue it by now), the media hype is hysterical and… umbrellas? 

It’s just a bit of snow.

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Listen to a Londoner: Koushik Ghosh

Listen to a Londoner. This is a weekly post where people who live (or have lived for a while) in London answer a few questions about the Big Smoke. If you fit the bill and want to be interviewed, give me a shout at littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk. Always looking for new victims volunteers….

Koushik GhoshKoushik Ghosh, 30
(Bonus answers from Koushik who sped past the 10 questions like Lucy a few weeks ago!) 

Koushik spends his days cutting people up working as a surgeon in Chelsea. By night he likes nothing more than playing chess, pool and occasionally listening to loud funky music whilst driving his car around West London.

LLO: How long have you lived in London?
KG:
Pretty much all 30 years of my life. I was born in Edgware General Hospital and brought up in North London. 

LLO: Where is your family from originally?
KG:
My parents are originally from Kolkata, in West Bengal, India

LLO: Best thing about London?
KG:
 I think its probably the vibrancy and diversity of cultures, though the number of things to see and do are almost endless. Clubs, bars, galleries, museums, wonderful parks – from the young and eclectic to the cultured and sophisticated – there’s something for everyone.

LLO: North, south, east or west?
KG:
Being someone who has lived in pretty much all parts of London, I can say there’s pros and cons for most areas. I grew up in North London and a lot of my friends live in and around various parts of it so that always has good memories for me. The last few years I have lived in South London and found it to be lovely in terms of parks and people, but it has slightly worse travel links. East London is certainly diverse and vibrant with some nice restaurants if you look in the right places, though it tends to be a little rougher than other parts. Though, to me London is like a mosaic – you won’t live in a bad patch without being a stones throw from a good patch.

LLO: Best restaurant?
KG:
Ooo thats a tough one. I’d have to go for Buen Ayre in Bethnal Green or Tayabs in Whitechapel.

LLO: Best place to escape the city?
KG:
Wonder out into the suburbs of North West London and beyond. Perhaps venture to Elstree in Hertfordshire and pick strawberries. Or get lost with the wild deer in Richmond Park and then take a rowing boat down the Thames in the summer.

LLO: 2012 Olympics – stay or go?
KG:
Definitely stay – if just to say you were there. I think it’s going to transform the face of East London; the vibe will be amazing.

LLO: Best place to catch a gig?
KG:
The Bull and Gate Pub, Kentish Town

LLO: Best local band?
KG:
They started playing acid jazz in Ealing venues back in the early Nineties – Jamiroquai

LLO: Favourite book, song or film about London?
KG:
It’s an old film from the Nineties called Martha Meet Frank, Daniel and Lawrence. I watched it with some friends from school and it made you feel quite excited about the city we lived in.

LLO: Favourite market?
KG:
I really like Greenwich Market – so bustling and not a sprawling mess full of tourists like a lot of the other markets in London. There’s more of a feeling of authenticity to it.

LLO: Most influential Londoner?
KG:
Joe Strummer of the Clash

LLO: Best London magazine, newspaper or website?
KG:
I have always been a fan of The Metro – it summarizes important and entertaining news stories in bite-size, attractive chunks and is free and readily available.

LLO: First place to take a visitor?
KG:
Ronnie Scotts Jazz club, Soho.

LLO: Boris is…
KG:
…A hero for saving that lady being beaten up by those chavettes. Also a bumbling buffoon – but in the most entertaining way possible.

LLO: What would you change about the city if you had the power to do so?
KG:
Introduce mobile phone reception on the underground and make it run 24 hours.

Thanks Koushik!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.