Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview post with people who live (or have lived for a while) in London. If you fit the bill and want to be interviewed, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org. Always looking for new volunteers.
Joshua was roped into moving to London while on his way back to the States after 12 years of living in Scotland. He hasn’t regretted it since. He now works with his best friend from university in a tech company and spends his idle time dreaming about how to make the world a better place. One of these days he might just do something about it.
LLO: How long have you lived in London?
JJ: I moved to London in December–though I’ve been in the UK for 12 years–so I’m still quite new to the city, but exploring at a fast pace. It feels like I’ve been here for months already. Hard to believe that I can still count it in weeks.
LLO: Where are you from originally?
JJ: I’m originally from California, but I’ve lived all over the US and the pacific. The last 12 years I’ve been in Aberdeen, but I’ve made occasional trips to the city to visit friends, for business, or just to touch civilization again.
LLO: Best thing about London?
JJ: Opportunity! There is so much to do here and so many opportunities to grow, prosper, explore. The city is filled with new avenues waiting to be discovered and re-discovered.
LLO: Worst thing about London?
JJ: Infrastructure – You get spoiled in cities where things really work and flow well. I often feel the system here is stacked against itself. I’d hate to be a politician in London. It must be aggravating. Nothing feels particularly user-friendly.
LLO: North, south, east or west?
JJ: South/West. In my short time of exploration, I’d have to say that I really like the South/West. I love the buzz of central London or the creativity of Camden, but the South West feels most like home to me so far. I like Earl’s Court quite a bit.
LLO: Best restaurant?
JJ: Best restaurant so far is Gourmet San in Bethnal Green. It’s an authentic Beijing style restuarant (a girl from Beijing introduced me to it). I’ve never had Chinese food like it and it’s cheep!!! You’ll spend less than £20 a head including drinks.
LLO: Best place to escape the city?
JJ: The gym. I took out a membership at Virgin Active when I got here and it’s a lifesaver when you need to slow down in the sauna or burn some aggression on a weight machine.
LLO: 2012 Olympics – stay or go?
JJ: Stay, but… I’m stoked it’s here. I was in LA in 1984 for the Olympics there and the whole city was buzzing. I have this sort of cringe hesitation though about it, like when you watch someone on X-Factor that you think may bomb it painfully. I’m worried that the infrastructure and bureaucracy is going to let us down. We are following the footsteps of China. That is hard to compete with. Our contribution to the millennium was a dome and a ferris wheel. What are we going to bring to the Olympics?
LLO: How do you spend your time on the tube?
JJ: Studying an Underground map! I’m still not at the place where I can jump on and off trains without thinking about it. I try and confidently blaze from one train to the next and then find out I’m heading the wrong direction and have to, embarrassingly, change tubes and head the other direction.
LLO: Most random thing you’ve seen in London?
JJ: A techno-didgeridoo busker in one of the underground stations.
LLO: Best place to catch a gig?
JJ: I love The Troubadour in Earls Court. Epic.
LLO: Favourite London discovery?
JJ: I love Beyond Retro. It’s the coolest vintage clothing store.
LLO: Favourite market?
JJ: The markets in Camden are amazing. I couldn’t believe that this place existed in London when I first saw it. I don’t think I actually need to buy anything there when I go, I just love seeing what’s on display.
LLO: If you were to dress up as one of the tube station names for a costume party, which would you be?
JJ: Oxford Circus – I’d go as a posh clown.
LLO: Best place for a first date?
JJ: I went to the Mahiki Lounge the other night. It was great. You couldn’t take anything too seriously when you’re drinking from a coconut while being served dim-sum by waitresses with crazy hats and aloha shirts.
LLO: Boris is……
JJ: The mayor??? Did I get it right?
LLO: What would you change about the city if you had the power to do so?
JJ: I’d change the transportation system, upgrade the tube system and re-engineer the roads. I don’t think anything is engineered to be user-friendly. That said, I have to say the Oyster cards are one of my favourite aspects of travel here. That works. But the congestion charging scheme is a joke. The EZ-pass system used in many cities in the US is far better.
For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.