How to blend in as a Northerner in London

Living in London as a Northerner can be tough.

London life is a million miles away from my humble Northern up-bringing. I’ve been here for six months and almost completely forgotten what gravy tastes like.

You have to know about certain things living here. Sushi. I’ve never eaten sushi in my entire life. Yesterday I was part of a conversation about the best types of sushi and the best places in London to buy the best types of sushi.

I nodded along and eventually steered the conversation towards biscuits.

However, nodding along and talking about why you like custard creams so much will only get you so far. As a Northerner living in London, you need to keep your wits about you. You need to be able to blend in to your surroundings, no matter how strange or foreign they may seem.

So I’ve compiled a list for all the Northerners in London who are attempting to blend in with the locals.

Unbutton several of your shirt buttons

Like all Northern men living in the South, I struggle to remember how many buttons your supposed to unbutton.

A good rule of thumb is that it’s somewhere between Hugh Grant

and the blonde bloke from E4.

I’m often not brave enough to unbutton my buttons. Mainly because I am a hairy man.

A great tip to any Northerners in London is shave your chest. Shave your chest so that it’s all lovely and smooth. Let your open shirt glide across your chest effortlessly as you sway around London pretending you can afford to use public transport.

You’ll blend right in.

Read a book 

Not just any book. It’s got to be a certain type of book.

  • It’s got to be chunky, at least 400 pages. A novel is good.
  • It’s got to be second hand. Like you found it in a rare book shop.
  • It’s got to be a paper-back. You’ve got to be able to fold the front page back on itself whilst reading it with one hand.

You can’t just buy a brand new hard-backed book of Guinness World Records from WHSmiths.

Also, learn how to read whilst walking. I’ve seen it, it’s wonderful.

Walk fast

If there’s anything that makes a non-Londoner look like a non-Londoner it’s dilly-dallying.

Don’t dawdle. You can’t potter about this place like you can up North.

Get your head down and get to wherever you are going, fast. No matter what.

Knock people down if you have to. Sure you might upset a few people along the way, but who cares about people’s feelings anyway? When you arrive at your destination thirty seconds earlier than you would have done without aggressively barging into strangers, you’ll feel proud of yourself. It will have all been worth it.

Use the additional time to reflect on some of the best places in London to buy the best types of sushi.

Smoke

I replaced cigarettes with Jammy Dodgers about five years ago.

I’m four stone heavier, but I don’t get out of breath as much on hills.

Smoking is big in London. Proper smoking, with those little tiny rolled up cigarettes.

I lived in Newcastle for three years and up there, vaping is king. You’ll see groups of burly Geordies outside a pub and they’ll all smell of blueberries and candy floss. That’s the vape life for you. Everybody looks like they’re appearing on Stars In Their Eyes. Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be… billowing cherry flavoured smoke into the faces of strangers.

In London, walk around with a tiny rolled up cigarette hanging out of your mouth and look moody.

You’re good to go.

Buy a coat

As a Northerner in London, you won’t own a coat.

Buy a coat. They are all wearing them down here.

The Northern way is to not wear a coat. You just turn up cold, sometimes wet. You don’t let it phase you. You just crack on. That’s not the way it works here.

You’re going to need some gear.

Buy a coat. If you can, buy an overcoat. That’d be even better. I’ve always said it’s better to be safe than sorry so why not go all out and get an overcoat, an umbrella and a briefcase. Then you’ll really look the part. I’ve also seen a few people with these silly little white scarfs. Get one of those aswell.

Just follow these tips and nobody will even know that you’re from the North. Try not to speak to anybody, the accent will give you away. (It’s London, this shouldn’t be a problem.)