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Friday, 9 September 2011

Ten Things That Make a Place Civilised

So what makes a city/town/village/row of houses civilised?

Here's my top 10

1. Free Water in Restaurants and Cafes - massive fail for greedy Tallinn Restaurant owners who make sure the staff bring you some expensive Evian when you specifically ask for tap water. But full marks for UK, Japan, USA and even the humble Kanooks for always giving you free water when you sit down.

2. Free Wi-Fi everywhere (including airports) - And the opposite applies. UK especially must be the most backward country in the world regarding this. Most people still call it the 'Interweb' or if you are with BT broadband 'Interwait'

3. Real Originality - Ok im not talking about hipsters walking around looking like zombies and making ironic remarks like on Broadway Market, London (I'll find out if its the same in Buffalo's Hipsta Allen Street tonight)  But a real unique local creative hub that doesn't look to other cities to copy is priceless. Seems to me that smaller cities have this original 'feel' like Osaka, Glasgow, Toronto, Amsterdam, even little old Tallinn, know what i mean?

4. Cheap Living and Tasty Cheap Food - What is the point of a 'cool' area being a place where it costs $500,000 for a studio apartment? All that means is the trend is DOWN. Thats why London and New York are decidedly mediocre these days. If you're in a place where its too expensive for a struggling creative genius to eke out even a meagre living then guess what...all your neighbours are shyster lawyers and dull bankers, and your life may as well no longer exist.  Tokyo has 119 Michelin Starred Restaurants, but...its damn expensive. Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore all have great food choices for a quarter of the price. I would get a better steak for a tenth of the price in Buenos Aires than London, thats for sure. And the waiter wouldn't be Eastern European either.

5. Good Bookshops - to spend afternoons in. No further explanation needed.

6. Good Weather - Look, i don't care what you say, but what the hell are these 'lifestyle surveys' thinking of when they put the crappest coldest wettest cities in the top ten? - (here) Helsinki, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto - why not throw in Anchorage Alaska while you're at it?  All the South East Asian Cities are too humid. Vienna, Glasgow, Copenhagen and Seattle rain all the time. And all the others in the top lists (like Geneva or Barcelona) are too expensive to consider.  So that leaves us with a couple of nice weathered South American Cities like smog blessed Buenos Aires who really deserve to sneak in there.

7. Mixed Race and other Beautiful Chicks -  Ok this maybe a personal bias, but it seems to me that mixed race chicks are almost alway smoking hot. And that adds to the good vibe. Everyone is happy when a beautiful girl is around (hint for beautiful girls - especially if she's making breakfast)

8. Positive Vibe  - Well you can say its just who you hang around with but really, overall some cities just have a good energy. London and New York are great but have a negative grinding vibe, probably due to the massive expense of simply existing there. You know what i mean? Weather says a lot here too.

9. Low Redneck/Bro. Count. - But directly connected to this is the redneck count. I mean don't get me wrong i've been accused of defending rednecks in the past, and in some ways, i do feel for them. I mean we're all white trash when we go far back enough aren't we? But of course to be in a city where the weekend'scene' consists of drunk fighting or thumping hip-hop and DJ's are considered talented isn't civilised. You can tell the redneck/bro count by the number of fast food outlets in a neighbourhood. Hackney used to be a 'Bro' neighbourhood (Black youths looking to relieve you of your wallet/life) and even without seeing anyone you could tell because every shop on every street was either a fried chicken place or barbers shop. Now white English twats called Tarquin eat in the same places when drunk, parking their stolen supermarket trolleys outside. Dickheads are also not civilised.

10. Plenty Sports around.  Ok I know I abuse fat people possibly more than any other group in my blog. (forgive me, I try to abuse everyone fairly and evenly) but really its more because its their own fault. My friend showed me a video today (where she is now a TV presenter, well done!) of Tallinn, and i noticed how everyone is normal looking. Because almost everyone does sport of some kind (or at least the girls live on coffee and cigarettes to stay slim) and they eat normally, and there are few fast food outlets. Then I looked around in Buffalo as a typical US place outside California, and the average person is overweight. Its about 40% diet- since its full of sugar and additives and prozac here. But the most important thing is at least the Opportunity to do some sports. Beaches are good, lakes, mountains, or even non-crappy weather. Then we can all stay outside instead of sitting home playing online poker.

Ok on this basis, i'm packing my bags for Honalulu !

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