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

Volunteer Mentor for people who have offended

This is an unpaid volunteer role. : Belong: We are looking for volunteers who ...

Business StudiesTeacher

£100 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Group: Supply Business Studies Teacher...

English Teacher

£110 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: English Teacher - CaerphillyT...

Cover Supervisor, Folkestone School - full time and part time

Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: We have urgent and multiple vaca...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: Cameron’s speech, his place in history, and the Pedant Club

John Rentoul
 

Why Facebook won't be feeling threatened by Ello...yet

Ed Rex
Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

An app for the amorous

Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

She's having a laugh

Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

Let there be light

Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A look to the future

It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
The 10 best bedspreads

The 10 best bedspreads

Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?