The Neurocentic’s invaluable guide to life in the big smoke. The question is, can you live without it?
Eat food, that’s my advice. When you’ve done your monopoly board trail of London it’s time to get started on your snakes and ladders. The supermarket, that’s a great place to start, because there you discover ultimate invisibility. Do not, under any circumstances, assume politeness, patience, willingness to assist or satisfaction. Collect basket, ignore existence of all other life forms and be a selfish shit. Hurry, hurry, hurry. You know it’s a slippery slide; stop to let the mother with her daughter in a pushchair through the gap in front of you and the woman with the shopping trolley rams it up your backside. ‘Hurry up, get out of the way, I have to get to Kipling’s Cakes before they sell out of cherry bakewells.’
There’s a special device above the door in supermarkets that sucks out your brains as you pass under it. That’s why we’re all zombies focused on buy, buy, buy, and sod everyone else. I cast my dice, get out of there, two bags of shopping (one and a bit to you), take six steps, oh, there’s the ladder; let’s cook something real tonight, no more KFC. But wait, I get home and there’s a message on my carton of orange juice: ‘If Foil Seal is missing Return to Store.’ Well, I returned to the store, but what now? Didn’t I do my shopping an hour ago?
Eat anything, that’s my advice. Avoid shops at all costs. Make loads of friends and invite yourself around to eat their food. Make fourteen good ones and you won’t be back for two weeks. How could they catch on? Snakes and ladders, up the stairs to the highest flat, your prize is waiting for you. Snakes and ladders, down the road to the kebab shop underground, you hit a snake. Fifteen hours on the bog (have we been here before?), you should’ve stuck with KFC.
One more thing, you have another option; if you don’t mind food that isn’t real, you can get a Vesta curry when you enrol with the Union. Packet soup, just add water. Dehydrated caviar, just add water. Powdered water, just add… bother, that was going to make me millions. But, students, please remember: Pot Noodles are not the special variety found around the Pool Tables in SOAS Bar, but, apparently, the too gorgeous snack not to be missed if you really can’t be bothered to cook / eat out / eat with a friend / eat food. (Also note other complexities of the English language: A joint in the oven usually refers a leg of lamb. Coke in the fridge refers to your empty bottle in the door with only traces of the brown liquid at the bottom because I invited my friends around and we helped ourselves to your food.)
Cooking is not a problem, buying it is what stinks. So here’s your final plan: Ring your friends, tell them you’re having a dinner party, get each of them to bring something. An onion, a bottle of wine. A tomato, a bottle of wine. Half a zebra, a bottle of wine. That kind of thing. Then when they say, ‘Anything I can do to help?’ give them those little jobs: peeling onions, stirring the stew while you check your voicemail, measuring the rice. Sit back, relax and serve, with four bottles of wine. You were the snake, you climbed the ladder, now you’re home and dry.