What is the dark side of London?

London is a city of opportunities. It’s a paradise for job seekers, explorers, art admirers, culture enthusiasts and adventurers.

If you’re a millionaire, life in London can be good. If you’re an Everyman, living in the capital may not be easy at all. If you are poor, life is not what life should be.

From the outside, everything is beautiful. Buildings, monuments, bridges, parks and the classiest cabs on earth. It’s easy to fall in love with walks by the River Thames. It is hard to believe London has lots of ugly too.

London has always got something new to offer and see. The world is your oyster. And of course, London is a marvellous city.

Big cities like London are amazing and exciting places, but all that glitter is not gold.


Properties for rent in London are not cheap. When looking for a room for the first time, you may question whether prices are for a room or the whole flat, per week or month. This seems too expensive to be true.

Mice, bedbugs, spiders, cockroaches. Different small creatures are regular residents in London properties. For them, it is rent-free, of course. 😉

Forget the British comedies. There everybody seems to live in Bloomsbury or Notting Hill. That is more like an exception than the rule.

Moving from “flat to flat” is quite common. High tenant turns over is the norm. In London, people come and go. Some question whether they’ll ever find permanent home conditions.

But that’s not so bad. The real problems start if you lose your job and don’t have much saved. It’s not hard to find people who saw their life quickly descend into a “vicious circle” of drug addiction and homelessness.

I met people living in hostels sharing a room and one bathroom with sixteen other people.

Although they are working, some have to sleep rough until they save enough money for deposit and rent. That day often never comes as they are easy targets for robbers.


Working in the City may look cool and exciting on the outside. The City stresses many workers, unfulfilled and underpaid. Take a walk in the City on a working day and try to look into their eyes.

Occasional acts of aggression can be part of your daily commute to and from work. Soon enough you get punched in the face with a fist, a briefcase or any other available body part or object. Nothing to worry about. You may have been attacked by a person trying to cut competitors, trying to get on the train.

A rush-hour train is a place with non-existent physical personal space. People create personal safety bubbles, avoiding eye contact and making travel time personal. Don’t-you-dare-to-disturb-me policy.


London is a place of romance. Yet many Londoners feel disillusioned by the lonely city that takes energy and sentiments away. This makes London a place of indulgence, one-night stands and the general commitment-phobia.

Distances in London are so big and life so busy. You need to book two weeks in advance to catch up with a friend. When the day comes, either party is allowed to feel tired enough and end up postponing.

Parties in Central London tend to be overcrowded and overrated, being gatherings of too many random people.

There’s a pretty big rotation of people. There are millions of them, they come from practically every part of the world, but they tend to come and go.

London is a city of no commitment. There are so many companies, males, females, flats, bars, temptations and places to go. Sometimes it’s easier to move on. Going for a more exciting option than to make an effort in fixing existing problems is definitely easier.

The people

The beautiful, the exotic, the weird, the extraordinary, the colourful, the depressed and the depressing. You will find them all on the London tube. If you like observing people, you’ll never be short of variety. People tend to avoid eye contact, so don’t worry about anyone might catch you staring.

You’ll see a lot of tension and frustrated gestures. If you see people who are relaxed and with a healthy glow on their faces, they’re tourists.

Sometimes the traffic, anonymity, stress, competition and emotional indifference get you. Not everyone ends up making money in London. For every one that achieves it, there are hundreds sacrificing everything and have not much in return.

Life in London can be exhausting but to leave this city may mean to give up a lot.

You may either love it, hate it or both. Yet one rarely becomes indifferent to London.