Everyone in London is rude
This is the stereotype we always hear. “The problem with London is that nobody talks to you”. At first I thought this opinion came mostly from proud townsfolk keen to state why their frankly insignificant hometown is better than the capital. But then just the other day my grandad — who is a proper cockney type Londoner — said the same thing.
Eager to prove people wrong because I’m a stubborn little thing, I set off armed with an audio recorder and my best please talk to me even though I’m a stranger face. I should probably mention that, scientifically my results are not representative of the whole of London but instead give you a little insight into the random acts of kindness experienced by the people of Peckham. So boring disclosure out of the way, what did I find out?
For starters I learnt that people find it very hard to think of random acts of kindness that they’ve experienced off the top of their heads. At first this suggests that they can’t have experienced any niceness recently and that indeed London is a horrible and nasty place to live. I propose an alternate theory. You, like me have probably been in the situation where you’re told to think of any word or any song and suddenly, as if by some sort of men in black style memory wipe, you find your brain empty. My initial question “can you tell me about any random acts of kindness you’ve experienced in London recently?” seemed to give people a bad case of empty brain.
I changed tactics and instead told them of random acts that I had experienced in the hopes that this would coax the memory of a similar experience out. Result.
The responses I got ranged from helping an old lady to cross the road (classic) to random acts of kindness from animals and sparked some interesting conversations. One such conversation was with all two members of the Peckham based R. Kelly fan club. These were two very friendly and chatty guys who offered a possible explanation for why I was so adamant that London was a friendly place to be. Perhaps, as a fairly small town girl (living in a lonely world) I have a different outlook on life and might give off more positive, dare I say it, ‘vibes’ which might encourage people to be nice to me randomly. Either that or they all fancy the pants off me.
So, don’t listen to anyone that says all Londoners are rude. You just have to have the right positive attitude to bring out the kindness in the people around you, whether that be in London or a small town oop north. Next time you accidentally catch eye contact with someone on the street or on a train, try smiling slightly (don’t overdo it you creep) before darting your eyes away. You wouldn’t think it but just a smile can go a long way.
Listen to some of Peckham’s random acts of kindness here: