We pay preposterously over-inflated rents to live in spaces people outside of London more commonly use as storage cupboards. Our tubes are over-crowded, hideously expensive and often subject to delays. We think nothing of paying over-the-odds for everything- from sandwiches to cocktails, and yet we insist on staying here, proudly, defiantly telling everyone how 'great it is to be a Londoner', against all fact and reason, like that mad old woman who keeps asking me why Jay-Zed's music is so 'thumpy'. Actually, that particular 'mad old woman' could be my Mother, but the point remains the same- Londoners have to justify living in London (and my Mother doesn't really 'get' Jay-Z).
But every once in a while, when the night bus comes immediately and you are the first to see something magnificent at the Tate Modern, and you watch a group of schoolchildren being mesmerised by a performer along the Southbank, you remember why you live here. And there simply is nothing better than the smugness that comes with being a 'proper Londoner', and taking people to some secret little find that only 'the locals' would know about.
And last week, I got to do that. (I have later found out that simply everyone knows about this place, and has either been dying to go or has already gone, but there were a few hours of bliss when I felt incredibly cool).
On the roof of Selfridges is a cafe. There was, also, until the beginning of the month, a Bompas & Parr crazy golf course, but having witnessed the unmanly fit of anguish my golf partner displayed at losing to me (who wasn't really trying, and was far more concerned that the Daylesford Cafe would run out of afternoon tea before we sat down), it has since been closed.
I would like to say quickly that playing crazy golf on a course designed by jelly-makers on the roof of Selfridges was one of my coolest moments. (credit: Ann Charlott Ommedal) It was possibly slightly enhanced by the agonised howling of my defeated comrade, but even without that smug-making soundtrack, it was pretty great.
Anyway, you'll have to wait till next Summer to use the Bompas & Parr rooftop golf course to impress and overwhelm visitors to the Big Smoke. But in the meantime, you should take them to the Daylesford cafe. It's open till 10pm, which means you can eat perfectly moist cakes and drink lovely prosecco (obviously, with council tax being what it is, no proper Londoners are drinking champagne any more) whilst looking at the sparkly magic of London at night.
They do 'proper' food too (my Grandfather will only go to a very few, specific eating-places in London, having an Irishman's fear of 'fancy nonsense', so I am well versed in the difference between 'proper' and all other types of food)- huge salads and meat-filled sandwiches, gin and elderflower jelly and a well-stocked cheese board. I can speak knowledgeably about almost all of the food served, as in a bid to further emasculate my already humbled golf adversary I proceeded to out-eat and out-drink him. He later wreaked his revenge at Ping, the ping-pong club in Earls Court, where he thrashed me in straight sets. 'Still,' I reminded him as we stumbled home. 'It was nice of me to take you to that secret rooftop golf course and cafe, wasn't it? Did you feel like a 'proper Londoner'? Exploring undiscovered corners of the capital?' He looked at me kindly. 'Lucy,' He replied. 'I'm not sure something found on the top of Selfridges can really be classed as a 'secret'. Luckily, there was a drunk gentleman sharing his home-made rap with the rest of the bus as we travelled home. 'London's great, isn't it?' I asked my friend. 'It really is. Now please be quiet, I'm looking up driving ranges. I'm not letting you beat me again.' I smiled at him fondly. 'Defiance in the face of all facts and reason? We'll make a Londoner of you yet.'
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