October 14, 2012 – Explaining Londoners:
“You get a shiver in the dark
It’s raining in the park but meantime
South of the river you stop and hold everything
A band is blowing Dixie double four time
You feel all right when you hear the music ring.”
“You step inside but you don’t see many faces
Coming in out of the rain to hear the jazz go down
Too much competition too many other places
But not too many horns can make that sound
Way on downsouth way on downsouth London town.”
Dire Straits, “Sultans of Swing”
Words and Music by Mark Knopfler (Lead Singer, Lead Guitar – See picture below).
If New York is “The Big Apple” what does that make London?
The top 11 things that make Londoners, well, Londoners (per the New York Times):
‘1. Does everyone drink like Winston Churchill? According to Britain’s National Health Service, 12 percent of Londoners (about 900,000 people) drink more than five days a week. Editor’s note: Seems like a lot to me.
‘2. That said, what’s the best off-the-beaten-path pub? After #1, are you surprised this is #2?
‘3. Are Londoners psyched for the Olympics? Londoners are not impressed by anything, at all, ever. Note: The Olympics are now over – great job London.
‘4. How smart are London cabdrivers? Every London black-cab driver has to know, by heart, every street and driving route within a six-mile radius of Charing Cross Station. There are 26,000 streets in London and approximately 148,000 places of interest. It can take more than three years just to prepare for the test, and it can take years to complete.
‘6. Is London really as expensive as everyone says? According to “The Economist” survey of the most expensive cities, London finished at #17 (see below):
‘7. Why are Londoners always apologizing? Frequent apology is one of an arsenal of clever tricks Londoners employ to obscure their true feelings and remain opaque to outsiders and possibly even to themselves.
‘8. Ken or Boris? Editor’s note: I guess you have to live there? They are both former Mayors of London.
‘9. Who is the Donald Trump of London? I do not know – suggestions anyone?
‘10. Wanna eat there? Sorry, they’re booked until Christmas.
‘11. Does anyone know why Londoners kiss one another on both cheeks? According to Richard Price, the Kent-born chairman of the history department at the University of Maryland, the double kiss began migrating from France in the 1970s.
If you follow the flow of money around the world, you might be surprised to find that the central node of global finance, the place where money passes through most often, is London, not New York. Wall Street, of course, is no piker. American investment banks — partly because the U.S. economy is the largest in the world — do more business and make more money. But when it comes to international transactions, London is the world’s financial center. The City of London, its Wall Street, employs more than 300,000 people, whereas Wall Street itself employs fewer than 200,000.”
(Credits: Sultans of Swing lyrics courtesy lyricsfreak.com, Narrative – Ravi Somaiya, Rosie Schaap, Andrew Mueller, Mickey Rapkin, Eric Spitznagel, Tim Samuels, Sarah Lyall, Roger Bennett, Andrew Mueller, Adam Leff, Richard Rushfilld, Kaleem Aftab, Edward Schneider, and Jon Kelly for the New York Times, additional narrative W. G. Foster).
The Master of Disaster