Susie Rushton: Who travels to find what they have at home?

Urban Notebook

Share
Related Topics

Could it be true that, wherever you are in London, you're never more than six feet away from an American tourist? On certain days, usually a sunny Saturday, and particularly if I go to one of the parks, I'd believe that. Boris Johnson doesn't. He's just allocated £75,000 for a brand new USA Day in the capital – while also cutting back on funding for Black History Month, Africa Day and other Jewish events.

The Mayor has defended the decision as part of a drive to bring more US tourists to swell the queues of Madame Tussauds and the Fifth Floor café at Harvey Nichols and Lei-cester-shire Square. I could have sworn that Chuck and Marlene and their giant children are already happily holidaying here in their droves, standing on the left side of the Tube escalators just for kicks, and needed no further enticement. I also had the strong impression that they came to London to see British things – the more Union-Jack draped, by-royal-appointmented and authentically-historical, the better.

Johnson has been criticised for sacrificing events which celebrate the cultures of sizeable communities who actually live in London in favour of the American bonanza. Actually, if I were mayor, I'd scrap all those mass-attendance celebration days, simply because I'm staunchly against anything that disrupts the transport system. (How about No Tube Delays Day? Or Cleaner Buses Day?)

But Boris's USA Day is a particularly pointless event. Do tourists really want to jet into town for a long weekend, only to find that their own culture tricked out into an all-singing street parade? We all know how fond Americans are of their own country, but I suspect even they would rather be left alone to contemplate the waxen Royals in Madame Tussauds.

Ordeal by parking ticket

There it was, flapping in the breeze behind the windscreen wiper, nestled in a plastic bag, a rite of passage. My first parking ticket. It's barely six months since I passed my test; two months since I acquired a (shared) car and a resident's parking permit. So, I'm green. I'm not fully aware of the risks, of the ways in which owning a car in this town can turn around and bite you in the back pocket. And now I am also £60 worse off.

I never really had a chance: the sign warning that a parking bay would be suspended for one day was little larger than a pack of cards, and affixed about eight feet up a lamp post. I only found it after looking at the small print on the parking ticket, which announced I'd been fined £120, or half if I paid within two weeks.

I've learned now that a car parked in London is nothing that you can take for granted. Like a vulnerable pet, it must be checked on, pampered and protected, even when it's not going anywhere.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Deputy Editor: i’s Review of the Year

Andrew Webster
RIP Voicemail?  

Voicemail has got me out of some tight corners, so let's not abandon it

Simon Kelner
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all