When I graduated from Cardiff University four years ago there were two places I'd decided I was going to live; the first was London, the second was Dundee. At the time I'd been invited for job interviews in both cities and was willing to move to whichever accepted me first.
Thankfully for my family (all of whom live in the opposite end of the country to Dundee) and my fear of flying, London got in there first. Within a month of graduating I'd found myself a room in an empty apartment in Elephant and Castle and, aside from the mice and an unfortunately timed decapitation-incident, everything had gone pretty smoothly; work was good, the tube was a novelty and I kept spotting people off the telly.
Fast forward four years and despite having lived in various neighbourhoods across London I just couldn't figure out how to make the city feel like home. So, four years after hitching my first ride
into zone two, I escaped on a train out of Paddington with my Mum, my dog and an unexpected period of mourning for the Bakerloo line.
I've now been living back in Devon for six months and I am happy to say that yes, life really does exist beyond the hard shoulder of the M25. I have a great job, I spend time with my family, my friends and a massive foamboard made for beginner surfers; I always get a seat in my favourite cafe and I've found somewhere to cut and colour my hair for £40...that's right, £40.
But what I've also noticed, is that in the four years I've been living in the nation's capital, everybody in the UK seems to have become obsessed with it. For every month I've been out of London I've noticed an article about its magnetic field; only last week Radio Four's Evan Davis dedicated a whole hour to telling us why London is so brilliant, and there was another hour of it this week. Plus London seems to be all anyone's talking about; I entered a raffle at an event in Totnes (bang smack in the middle of South Devon) on Saturday night and narrowly missed out on winning two tickets to see a film at the Picturehouse in Clapham. Why I couldn't have bagged a couple of tickets to Dartington's Barn Cinema instead, I do not know?
I understand why everyone's talking about London, by now most people must have at least one family member living there - naturally fuelling conversation and increasing visits - and it is arguably the greatest city in the world. But I also think that the rest of the UK deserves a little attention every now and again; the Dundee Victoria and Albert Museum is opening next year, for example, did you know that?!