Despite consuming my body weight in wine, beer and gin I have one lasting memory. In meeting these new people I had to justify my love of living in the Bush on no fewer than 3 occasions. It appears that Sloane Rangers, EastEnders and even our neighbours in W10 can't understand why I would choose to live in Shepherd's Bush. To the Sloanes it was the idea of being out of guffawing distance of King's Road, to the arty farty trendy bendys of the East there was the biggest misconception of the decade that Shepherd's Bush was Notting Hill and they couldn't cope with the idea of all that money and lack of warehouse conversions. More understandably the Grovers begged the question why live there when you can live here? Well my answer to that one was the Congestion Zone.
Two of these individuals were men that I was mid-flirt with (on separate occasions) when they started laying into my beloved Bush (ahem). One was Chelsea Boy, the other an EastBender. I quickly found myself falling down a slippery slope into a big rant defending W12. My main argument, and not the best flirting tactic I've ever used, was to explain I loved the Bush precisely because it's not like where they live (one being too white and elitist, the other being a little self-obsessed and full of inverted snobs). Surprisingly Chelsea Boy was happy to accept this in the same jolly way that he prefers deck shoes and red cords to Converse and jeans. However it was the more easy-on-the-eye and interesting gentleman from East London who was most stubborn in accepting that Shepherd's Bush had much to offer its residents. I even drew parallels with his preferred area of East London as I explained that it was rough around the edges, deeply diverse and you could buy a semi decent bagel at anytime of night. I think actually what he couldn't accept was that Shepherd's Bush isn't the place to be seen; it isn't cool. It is the BBC, it is where Antipodeans accumulate and copulate, it is a line in the opening theme of Only Fools and Horses, it is an out-of-the-way music venue and it is full of very odd people roaming the dog poo, chicken bones and vomit ridden streets all day every day. I guess he has a point - what is "cool" about any of that?
My final thought is this. If you spend your life choosing to live somewhere (or do anything) because it's "cool" doesn't that suggest a shallowness about your personality and what you aim for in life? Isn't it better to choose to live somewhere because it's practical, interesting and real? I love living where I live because it's all of those things and then plenty more. And that to me is pretty cool.
P.S. I got Chelsea Boy's number. EastBender got mine but he can whistle all the way from Hoxton if he thinks we're going on a date anytime soon...