London. The end of the road of hopes and dreams. A place where people hope their lives will become complete, they will bag a job that they always wanted and have thousands of hobbies and interests at their fingertips.
Of course, for anybody living in London, they know those views are far from a reality, especially those that arrived here with those views a few months ago. They know that those dream jobs just don't exist right now, if in fact, they ever have.
They know that the housing market is far from accessible for a large amount of the London population and they've witnessed even reasonably paid earners falling further and further away from the centre of the action. And with that, all those people are seeing their hobbies, interests and the exciting places to go getting longer public transport journeys away and becoming less accessible and worth visiting.
It recently hit me, I myself have lived in London for over a year now. In that short amount of time I've seen many changes. I've lived in three different places, with different transport connections. I'm now 10 miles away from my university and basically the same distance away from free museums and the hub of all the action.
I came to London because my heart really is here. Not because of any of this hopes and dreams stuff, but rather because as a student journalist and as a freelance journalist I need to be in London.
As much as I would like to say I didn't need to be in London to get a journalism job, I do. I'm not made for radio or television. I'm front Yorkshire, have a strange accent and don't have the figure/appearance for television. Basically, I'm destined to be behind the camera or sitting at a desk hammering at the keyboard.
Even if I was good enough for television or radio, I might get to escape to Manchester, another big city, with increasing rents. I could go to a local newspaper or online news site when I graduate, but do you really think that they aren't already swamped with applicants, trainees and staff? Many of them have face redundancies or the closure of offices in the recent years.
The reality is, I am realistic about being trapped in London for the rest of my life and it's a sacrifice I am willing to make for a career I love. A career that will earn me pittance in a city that I'll be reporting rent rises so extreme that only a few lucky ones can afford to even live in the capital.
But I know I will never settle, that I'll be stuck on the rental market for years and that I'm very unlikely to move further north (from my current Tooting flat) because that's just how the housing market is working. Every year when I'm forced to move because of rental costs, I'll tell myself "never again" but I will, no matter how much I love the place I'm in at the time.
Sadly though, I come across so many people that don't know this is the reality of London. There are so many people that think it is perfect and that the rent increases wont really affect them, because the news doesn't make it sound too bad. And it breaks my heart, I just want to stop them all. All the young people flocking to London hoping for something, anything that gives them a shot at life. I really don't want to disappoint you but it isn't what you want or what you expect.
It's as tough here as it is everywhere in the country, whether it be in a rural village or another city. Jobs are scarce, at least the ones to pay the rent. Good, nice rented property in a reasonable area not too far away from the lively action is also in pretty high demand and is difficult to find, don't expect to walk into your perfect house as soon as you turn up.
in fact, just stop having expectations. If you come here as a student, take a year in student halls, because it will give you a shocking reality about the state of London before you come to find somewhere to live in the next few years. If you're coming here for work, think really carefully about if that job (while it might pay a couple of £s an hour more) actually translates to more money in your pocket at the end of the week.
London isn't the place of dreams that it is made out to be. It's a media myth. I'm a journalist, I sadly see the facts and figures the media present everyday and see how they are manipulated. This is London, just another place suffering, another grey city and another place with lots of stifled dreams left in cupboards somewhere never to be recovered.Suggest a correction