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Austin Allegro

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Everything posted by Austin Allegro

  1. I know a few people in the city. Most seem to be earning about 50-60k which is not much different from the national average when you consider they work about a 70 hour week. I'd say they're part workaholics, part corporate climbers. The big bonus boys do seem to be rarer, and a lot of them seem to be Americans or Eurotrash without the first clue about the UK. I call them city-staters as they generally have no interest in going outside London (one even asked if she could travel to Windsor and back in a day). As someone pointed out, these people have flourished since the deregulation of the markets. They are paid such unreal sums simply because they control the currency. It's like in the old days when the butcher was always the fattest man in the village - simply because he controlled the meat supply. It's always amusing to meet these people at parties. When they say they work in banking, I always ask them things like 'why don't you lot ever take more than five cash bags at the counter?' or 'Which bank? Lloyds, Natwest? Do you know that girl who's always rude at the branch in Oxford Street' etc. Seems to wind them up for some reason....
  2. Interesting theory - I thought the accepted view was that he was starting to have mental problems - depression/paranoia and eventually Alzheimers' - when he appeared on telly with Sir Harry Secombe in the early seventies he kept getting mixed up/forgetting his lines etc.
  3. And don't forget those horrendous shrieking podges from the local girls' school who traipse around in those maroon uniforms...anyone who thinks schoolgirls are sexy will quickly be cured by looking at that lot... Islington is like the curate's egg: good in parts. Colebrook Row is I believe one of the most expensive streets in London. There are lots of lovely period properties in close proximity to a few rough-ish (but not too horrendous) estates. The main disadvantage IMO is the lack of decent shops. NI shopping precinct has made an improvement, but you've only really got Chapel Market as Upper St is just poncey boutiques selling shoes for £500. There isn't even a WH Smiths...it's also a magnet for Nathan Barley types* visiting the various chain bars and theme pubs on Upper Street, and can be quite noisey in the evenings. *I once saw one wearing a tight, brown tee shirt saying 'I'M THE DADDY'
  4. I seem to recall someone calling Bow Quarter 'Bow Legs Quarter' due to its popularity with the gay persuasion, but that may have changed now.
  5. Apologies for the lack of references, but this was too good not to post about. I think it was the property section of last Sunday's Times or Telegraph. It had the compulsory picture of a young, attractive girl working in PR in London who was 'priced out'. She had hit on an innovative idea which was for the council of her London borough (Wandsworth, I think) to use peripheral council estate property for housing - things like garages, lock ups, bin stores, defunct boiler rooms etc. The idea was they would be given a lick of magnolia and some spotlights, and sold as 'affordable' homes for those earning around the £20k mark. Like all such ideas it was pitched as a way of 'helping' young people 'get on the ladder'. I found the paper on the train but stupidly didn't take it with me - please someone tell me I didn't imagine this...I am pretty sure it was lunacy like this that heralded the last crash...
  6. Interesting. I looked into narrowboats. Initial costs are not too high, but the problem is getting decent permanent moorings. In the London area this costs you pretty much the same as a flat, and you can't get a mortgage on it either. I'd personally be happy to live in a static caravan, but again the trouble is finding somewhere to put it! Anybody who had a garden big enough would not be the kind of person to need/want a pikey creating an eyesore in the garden. Perhaps sheds are the way to go - some of them are quite good these days...
  7. Fair enough - but you're practically in the country. I was challenging the assertion that you need a car in zone 2! Although I am quite frugal in my lifestyle, I am not anti-car and I realise that a lot of people do need them, but not really in London.
  8. Haha! Good one. Actually the last car I had was a 17 year old Mini Mayfair, so you're not far wrong! I live about ten mins walk from a tube station, and there are good bus links to central London right outside my door. I cycle the five miles to work every day. There is a Sainsbury's about ten minutes walk away, and I carry my weekly shopping home in shopping bags, or if I have to buy a lot I take a rucksack or use my bike paniers. The only time I have ever needed a car in the last eight years or so was when I bought some shelves from Ikea, and for this I borrowed my mother's car. IMO a car just creates its own need; once you adapt yourself to a car-free lifestyle it's no problem, unless you are physically disabled or live in the middle of nowhere - but zone 2 is fine in my experience.
  9. I accept that part of the attraction of 'up and coming' areas is the combination of period property and closeness to central London. I don't accept, however, that you need a car outside zone 2. I live in zone 3 and get by perfectly well with public transport and a bicycle.
  10. It's all down to the peculiar labrynthine system of British snobbery, best summed up by the late Noel Coward, who said 'I will travel first or third class, but never second'. I know a few upper-middle-class professionals who live in places like Hackney and Harlesden. For the same price or less, they could buy a decent family house somewhere like Finchley or Surbiton, but such places are considered far too 'lower middle' and suburban. Areas of high crime and poverty are somehow considered more 'real', raffishly glamorous and exciting than the blandness of suburbia. There is also a certain amount of kudos to be gained in some of the more liberal professions by living in multicultural areas - Michael Frayn illustrated this well in his 1967 book 'The End of the Morning'. I think it's something to do with the British class system being a horseshoe. In a feudalistic society the top and bottom of society have more in common with the middle, and I think there is still a race-memory of this in some British people.
  11. Hilarious! A colleague said more or less the same thing to me, when I told her that the emails she was circulating about AIDs infected needles in cinema seats, alligators down toilets, people waking up in baths with their kidneys removed etc were urban myths. When asked to prove it I referred her to www.snopes2.com and she replied 'oh so if they say it's a myth, you believe them??' Also had this convo at work with a colleague when talking about pensions: Her: my property is my pension. Me: (innocently). Oh - how does that work? Well when I retire, people will give me money for my house. Oh - you mean you're going to sell it and move somewhere cheaper? No...er...there are these companies that give you money for your house. Do they get you to rent out rooms to lodgers, perhaps? No, no - they just...like....release the value of your house! Oh, you mean mortgage equity withdrawal? What's that?? A second mortgage - basically a loan secured on the value of your house. You have to pay it back though. Oh....(concerned look).
  12. It would also seem a bit odd that millions celebrate the birth of an obscure carpenter in the middle east 2000 years ago in festivities based partly on Roman midwinter booze-ups. You can't get much more outmoded and irrelevant than that! I mean, come on, it's 2006 after all...! Surely this is discriminatory towards lip-readers? Channel Four should be ashamed of such blatant disregard of a disabled minority!
  13. LOL! Perhaps there will be a concerted effort by VIs to make 1930s suburbia cool. Then the gentrification process can spread all the way out to the M25!
  14. In my flat sharing days the major problems have been: 1. Cleaning/washing up. Even if you have a rota, people in flatshares often seem to enjoy living like pigs. 2. Paying bills. Endless arguments over who owes what, late payments etc. I've even had utilities cut off because flatmates were too 'laid back' to pay their bills. 3. Noise/disturbances/bringing back dodgy characters for 'parties' etc 4. Queues for bathroom/kitchen etc 5. People leaving and the remainder having to find a new tenant (depends on your agreement)
  15. In the end I paid up. All things considered, it's still a good deal, and the LL is a professional and in it for the long term. The rent is still less than most similar properties in the area. It seemed a bit silly to risk it for the sake of a few pounds a month.
  16. leave London to those who can deal with a little bit of a buzz Is that 'buzz' the sound of the police helicopter as it hovers overhead? I take into account your comments about Notting Hill in the old days, but I don't think there are any more 'character' areas like that left. The move to Harlesden by the trustafarians seems to me somewhat desperate - I just think that this whole thing of 'edgy' areas, 'buzz', 'vibrant' etc is generally VI spin in order to entice people into buying slum properties, and those that are foolhardy enough to fall for it have to repeat it to themselves constantly in order to justify their purchase...
  17. The sheer snobbery in some of these comments is breath-taking. I mean "get rid of the incumbent population" ?? You missed out a key word from the quote: it was 'the incumbent UNDESIRABLE population'. You've obviously never lived above a drug dealer who plays mega-bass music until 7am with attendant arguments, fights, car doors slamming etc. I managed to stick it for a year but wouldn't live in a 'vibrant' area again if you paid me to. If that's the 'f***ing buzz' you refer to , I'll take the bland middle class areas anyday! The poster was merely pointing out that as long as you have people like this in an area on fixed tenancies (ie, in council flats) it is unlikely that new money will move in - hence Harlesden won't become the new Notting Hill. Which is presumably great news for people who enjoy a 'buzz'...
  18. This girl also said that Harlesden was becoming popular with professional people priced out of Notting Hill. I said what happens then when Harlesden becomes like Notting Hill - do all the middle class professionals start buying in Neasden? She claimed the exodus would stop at Harlesden as that was where the period Victorian houses stop, with most property beyond being 30s semis, which Trustafarian types don't want. To be fair, this has happened in quite a few areas. Notting Hill was like Harlesden until it became gentrified in the eighties; and this happened to areas like Fulham, Parsons Green etc as the Arabs squeezed out the upper middle classes from Mayfair and Belgravia in the seventies. Even Chelsea was considered a bit grotty in the fifties.
  19. There was an interesting article in 'The Business' about the possibility of a downturn in the City, based, from memory, on the following: 1. Bonus growth cannot be sustained indefinitely, even if the markets remain healthy. 2. The tax incentives for City firms are lessening, leading to outsourcing/moves offshore etc 3. Quality of life in London is worsening, in particular with regards to crime and transport infrastructure. However, even if the City boys all go back to their barrows in the East End, we will still have the Russian billionaires using London property for their money laundering...
  20. Spoke to a very nice upper-middle-class young lady the other day who had scrimped and saved to buy a flat in Harlesden. For those of you who don't know, Harlesden is a 'vibrant' inner suburb of north London. It has been 'up and coming' for at least ten years. A friend of mine lived there for a while but tired of the constant racial abuse from young men in the streets (she's white) and eventually decided to move when her next door neighbour was murdered in a drugs deal. Now, this young lady who'd just bought said that the area was 'up and coming' and 'getting popular with young professionals'. I asked was there a fireplace shop in the high street, as that was always a good sign of gentrification. She replied that she didn't know, as she never walked around the locale, but this was ok because the money she saved on living in a cheaper area paid for a taxi home every night! This, IMO, is all part of the lunacy of the housing bubble - people borrowing huge amounts to buy worthless flats in areas where they are too afraid to walk the streets, all just to 'get on the ladder'!
  21. Re the mobile homes: don't think I haven't thought about it! The problem is where to park the bloody things as you wouldn't get pump-outs, water or electric hookups anywhere near London. (I think Loughton is the nearest campsite). I'm pretty sure it's illegal to sleep in them on public roads (which is why that old lady moved on to Alan Bennet's drive a few years ago) although if you walk round areas like West Kensington you'll see a few aussiewagons with curtains all round and I'm pretty sure people are sleeping in those, although they're probably just spare rooms for people living nearby. You could also be done for drink-driving if you get p*ssed and sleep it off....
  22. Interesting thread. I've always disliked the hippies, seeing them as essentially spoiled middle class idealists, who degenerated into the kind of social engineering PC authoritarians that run our country today. But I've always liked the kind of Good Life, smallholder self reliance, which was pretty much the norm for most people in the UK until the Enclosure Acts and the industrial revolution, and is still the norm for many in rural parts of the world. A year or so ago I had a 'moment of clarity' and realised it was pointless trying to climb the slippery slope of capitalism. The stuff that really matters in life doesn't require money, and the stuff that I wanted that did require money, ie a house, required SO MUCH money that it would be impossible to save it, even if I worked 24 hours a day until I was 90. This is a completely different situation to that of my father, who was able to afford to support a wife and two children, a three bedroom house and garden, a car, and foreign holidays every other year despite being a middle ranking civil servant on the equivalent of about 30k a year. So now I'm working in a job with an average salary but sensible hours, which I find interesting, and keeping my commute to a 30 minute bike ride. I eventually hope to move out of London, but am a born and bred Londoner with most of my relations here, so it will be a wrench. Somebody said people were going back to church - not sure about this. If it is true, it is probably not due to religious dogma (which has never been a strong point of the English) but perhaps more to do with a desire for a central community body which they can get involved with.
  23. Aren't there some sort of restrictions on it also - change of use or something. I've seriously thought about it, as you can buy/rent those little half shops quite cheaply, but I'm pretty sure you're not allowed to live in them, otherwise a. the prices would be the same as houses (or more probably, due to 'close proximity to shops' ) and b. you'd get a lot more people living in shops. Mind you you do sometimes see shops with net curtains etc over the windows, obviously not trading - so perhaps it is possible....? You could just set up a company selling furniture, second hand books etc, and do out the shopfloor like a living room, then never open!
  24. £31k gross - London male, 35, BA and PGDip, ten years experience working in corporate communications, 35 hour week and good non-financial perks, plus a bit of pocket money from Ebay/Amazon, and a little business I run in my spare time.
  25. Ah, but even though the Olympics will cost £500 trillion, it will still be worth it, because house prices in Walthamstow could go up by as much as 10%!
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