I’ve been here a little under three weeks now.
London to Sydney.
I am not used to being a stranger. London was so familiar by the time I’d left, I didn’t appreciate how easy it made everything.
‘You’ve made the right choice moving to Sydney,’ people tell me time and again. Maybe I take it the wrong way, but it implies two things to me:
1. These people think they have life cracked (they don’t) and 2. The places I’ve been living in for the past 36 years have been shit (they’re not).
Sydney is not better, it is simply different.
Of course the weather is a draw for many. Not me. My proclivity for facial hair might suggest otherwise, but I’m not exactly a short-wearing beach bum. I like trousers, jeans, leather jackets, suits (and the odd roll-neck jumper). I’ve compromised by buying a few pairs of linen trousers, which I think make me look like a Columbian drug baron (although actually probably make me look more like The Man From Del Monte).
(I did not know until I just watched that ad that Tom Baker did the voice-over. What a wonderful piece of geek info!)
So yes, weather and clothes.
Of course the food here is wonderful. Well, the Asian food is, anyway. And the fish. Prawns as big as my fingers.
(Dominos pizzas are smaller, but that’s no bad thing.)
And wandering around the beach at night (breathtaking views from Bronte to Bondi), or jogging around Centennial Park in the morning are both lifestyle pluses.
But then there are the bars. If the bouncers think you show the slightest sign of inebriation, they’ll either kick you out or not let you in.
The dichotomy of mandatory happy hours in every bar you visit and the intolerance for people being pissed is something I can’t get my head around. It’s like they’re baiting you to get fucked up and then reprimanding you when you take them up on it.
A lot of people tell me how expensive it is here. Well, I suppose it’s true. But Sydney is not the most expensive place in the world. Property (and certainly rent) is far cheaper than London. Although, strangely, avocados are extortionate.
These little differences give me nice ideas for writing. Most of the my WIPs are currently London-based. I’m relying purely on memory for those right now. It’s actually making them far more surreal (my memory is a strange, twisty thing).
My new ideas are based here. There’s a lot of material for horror. Blistering heat, weird creatures (check out the fucking evil Ibis bird pictured above), psychotic bouncers.
The nanny state thing also provides great material for dystopian sci-fi.
I did text one of my best friends and said I missed the relative leniency of London. He replied, ‘Mate, it’s Christmas. Work parties all over the place. People are vomiting on the street by 7pm most nights in the City.’ And then I remembered that London’s fucked-up in its own, unique way.
And I thought, well, maybe a little regulation ain’t so bad.