Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.

Samuel Johnson

A friend of mine

A friend of mine shared a song with me once.

He knew for sure I’d like it – at once and multiple times – that I’d treasure it and add it to one of my Spotify playlists.

That I’d listen to it on repeat.

At once and multiple times.

A friend of mine shared a song with me once and he knew I’d make an all-around experience out of it, of the different beats, parts, sounds, words. That I’d picture a moment of my life at once, if not multiple moments, multiple timelines of things I’d wish had happened, or hadn’t happened. That I’d sit in contemplation on one of the Underground’s filthy and dusty seats on a late night journey to north London scanning the emptiness of the middle carriage, slowly jerking my head to the top and down back to the doors, watching people chatting and laughing while hopping on and off the train and feeling heavy-hearted for no freaking good reason; or recalling when she let me down, when I tumbled to how my professional career wasn’t a fit, dreaming of becoming a rockstar, of succeeding just once. If not multiple times. That I’d stumble inside out myself feeling like a real shit because that song would awaken my beats, parts, sounds, words. He knew it would happen at once. In fact, multiple times.

A friend of mine shared a song with me once and he’d feel like a real shit – he’d feel exactly like I feel. He knew for sure he’d make an all-around experience out of it because he’d make an all-around experience of my different beats, parts, sounds, words. Of my multiple moments. During bad and good times. At once and multiple times.

He knew for sure I’d like it, the same way I knew for sure he’d be my friend.

At once and multiple times.



Jim
The Britalian Post

Don’t be a stranger

How many people do you meet every day in London? 

And I’m not talking those one-off randomly met people but buddies you actually interact and regularly share a bunch of meaningful moments with. So, probably, not that many?!

One who lives in London must be prepared to making new acquaintances all the time, new friends, sometimes a new love, as much as to seeing them suddenly set off for good. Think of a colleague leaving the office, a friend relocating in another city or out of the country, a relationship that ends with no ill feelings, or simply a pleasant acquaintance moving on, going places, other places, even in the same town. And with the city being so broadly spread, you as a Londoner are very aware that you’re not going to see them as much as you used to. And it lets you down.

“Take care of yourself, and don’t be a stranger.”

They all become strangers eventually, if not all, most of them. You’ll have lived some beautiful moments and experiences together, you’ll have created a bond, you’ll have shared some of your inner thoughts and feelings that you’re maybe still unsure of or simply haven’t fully bloomed yet – just because time wasn’t enough. You’ll have concentrated all your efforts in that little amount of time because there’s no right amount of time you should wait for to expose yourself to that person. Even if they eventually become a stranger. Or you do.

You promise yourself you won’t make the same mistake, that you’ll be more cautious next time. But you’re a Londoner and you’ll fall into the same loop once again. 

It all starts on a random Friday night at your local pub; you meet them and get to spend the night together, then the weekend. You discover how much the two of you have in common, or more, that they are such a surprise you couldn’t hope it to be. You understand each other from the very first minute, and before you realise it, you know you don’t want them to be strangers. So when the farewell time comes and they’re about to hop on that train, you will not want to lose them, and you’ll come clean, quietly, stammering: “I love you.” 

How many people do you meet every day in London? Hundreds, probably thousands. They might all just be strangers, or they might as well become a wonderful part of your life. 

Truth is, there will never be a right time to give it try, and you may never be going to see them again. That one might be your last time, they might be the last strangers you meet. 

They might as well be your last, one, true love. 



Jim
The Britalian Post

How to be successful in job interviews

Looking for a new job is a job in itself!

In London, with the job market being overly competitive and moving at the speed of light, you can’t expect to land a new role without a hitch. From the initial online search, browsing similar or preferred titles and locations that are easily commutable, to filling out forms, answering questions, drafting cover letters and so on, the whole process requires a lot of time, effort, patience – and the outcome is still very likely to be negative. When recruiters get in the way, things turn even more interesting. And odd. I’ve already covered this last bit in another post called The recruiter’s love story – do give it a read if you fancy.

Since I’ve been in the market for a long while and experienced all kinds of job interviews, hiring managers, focused questions, live tests, etc., I thought I’d put together a list of tips, potentially helpful to anyone who is job hunting in this very moment.

That said, assuming that you’ve followed the application process correctly, that you are a great match for the job and you’re invited in by the company for a first-step meeting, here’s a bullet list of first-person experienced advice on how to be successful in job interviews.

1. Look decent

Like…seriously. 

Don’t show up looking like a vagrant or a tramp – have some decency. 

By researching the company online, you can pretty much understand the type of environment you’re dealing with. If it’s formal (like a job in the City of London), there’s no other remedy than suiting up and choking to death with a refined tie. If it’s informal, a pair of jeans and boots along with a suitable jumper, cardigan or a casual shirt will do the job. In other more informal cases (a creative environment for instance), you might pass with a pair of trainers and a hipster outfit.

This doesn’t have to be a fixed rule but I remember this guy coming in for an interview at the company I was working for, where the work environment was super chilled and easy-going, all suited up and carrying a briefcase. Whether he thought he was interviewing for a role in a bank or a law firm, he looked old, probably older than he was, and boring. Really…boooooring!

Now, about your face.

If you’re a guy, shave! If your beard looks like a bunch of hairs ripped out of your butt and stuck onto your cheeks, just shave it all. If you have a nice and thick beard instead, you can either shave it short or keep it long if you manage to give it a neat shape.

Same goes for your hair. 

First of all, wash it. Please, do wash it! Oily scalps and messy hair are immediately noticed. It’s also a matter of personal hygiene that nobody will openly question but that could be a downside for the interviewers. You’ll realise it when they start peeking at your head thinking that you won’t notice. 

Jerks!

2. Do your homework

Gather information on the company, on the whole business: what they do, how long they’ve been in the market for, their online resonance. Do some research and surf their website inside out. Once you have all the details it’ll come easier to formulate questions and respond to theirs. Also, come up with reasons why your experience aligns with what they’re looking for and why you’d be a potential fit for the job. Companies appreciate that a lot – and it’s a clear sign that you are sincerely enthusiastic about the business and the job itself. In fact, you might want to show interest in the role as well as spark their interest in you.

Take it easy though. Don’t go there boasting but give the interviewers a chance to understand that you have your own ideas and projects in mind beforehand so that you can somehow drive the conversation and prove them you’re more than worth the job.

Then maybe you’re not but, I mean, they don’t need to know, right?

3. Be honest

This should probably top the previous two points. 

Don’t talk crap! Crafting lies, or inflating things, is a sign of weakness and dishonesty. Even if you’re to give yourself a bit of credit for your past achievements, you don’t need to show off. On the other hand, the majority of people can spot the difference between a candidate with relevant experience and a blagger. Other times instead, you’ll be dealing with some rude and ignorant piece of shit! In that case, well, how about fuck them…?!

Anyway, be proactive, smile, be honest and humble: you’re interviewing for a job you like. 

Hopefully.

. . .

If you follow the 3 points listed above by the word, you stay bold and up for the new challenge, there’s no way you’re going to be unsuccessful in any job interview.

Or you might as well fail miserably. 

Because the truth is, despite what the amount of recruiters and hiring managers out there say about best practises for job interviews, there’s probably no correct path to follow to be successful. 

Sometimes it’s a matter of luck. Sometimes you’ve approached an opportunity that seemed to be right in the wrong moment of your career – you still don’t know what you’re looking for next and probably the company doesn’t either. Some other times, it’s a matter of big numbers: out of the many roles you’ve applied for, somebody will be happy to take you on board. 

Looking for a job is a job in itself. Our whole life is a job in itself, and you might want to be successful in life rather than in job interviews. You might want to be eager to leap out of bed when your alarm goes off in the morning and not smash it to pieces, rush to do stuff, live your day at your best and always feel satisfied. It’ll all be just about whether you’re happy.

Because happiness is worth way more than money and finding whatever “perfect” job. Your whole life is worth more than that. And you’ll probably have hundreds of job interviews but only one life to do something you really love doing.

But then I mean, whether you get a job or not, it’s your life…so honestly, who fucking cares?!

Jim
The Britalian Post

The social compromise

A captivating style, an alluring outfit, is something that many look to achieve – even if it means wearing those ball-squeezing skinny jeans (ouch!) that pump up your butt and define your legs.

The clothing you choose is more or less the upshot of what you like wearing and what makes you feel like you look good. But this “looking good” changes according to the circumstances you find yourself in.

For this reason, based on the situation, “looking good” becomes a social compromise.

Aware of appearances always coming first, that Essex girl knew a thing or two about social compromises. In fact, she had to dress up for work – but in her daily life, she would opt for ripped jeans and brazen hoodies. According to her friends, that just wasn’t adequate for a lady, and she‘d have to show more flesh if she wanted to be noticed. Then, I mean, if someone needs to take an accurate look at your boobs before even hearing you pronouncing your name, just make sure it’s worth agreeing to that social compromise.

As a result, appearances lead us to act accordingly: by adapting our look to different circumstances and to what people would want us to look like. We get so deeply influenced that, eventually, all that is left of us is nothing but pure appearance.

Even that Essex girl had to take a step back, follow her friends’ wise advice and abide by that social compromise:

“If you don’t like what I’m wearing, you can just go fuck yourselves!”

Jim
The Britalian Post

Things you can do with £1,000

How to handle your money is probably among the most difficult tasks ever.

You never know whether to save, to invest, or simply have fun with it. Some people say it’s a matter of responsibility – of being an adult and build a solid base for the years to come. I believe it’s only a matter of priorities – I mean, the money is yours so you get to decide what to do with it – and perhaps you may just want to take it easy.

For instance, say you have a spare £1,000 coming from heaven – a tax return, a bonus at work, a genie granting a wish (why would you wish for just 1k?!) – and you can do whatever with it, what would you go for?

Assuming that you just want to live life as it comes, I’ve come up with a short list on the things you can do with £1,000.

Take your crew to The Guinea Grill in Mayfair

Have you ever wished to have a classy dinner you couldn’t normally afford? Then The Guinea Grill is the one for you! Their wide selection of meats and their expertise on steaks make of them one of the best steakhouses in London.

But you wouldn’t go there by yourself, would you? You could use a celebration (an important date or recurrence) and squander your money on quality food. So say that you may want your crew to join you – eat till explosion, drink till demolition.

Any other place you fancy going? Please just share away!

Commute with Uber for a week

Aren’t you tired of commuting with public transports every single day?

Fine, transports in London are second to none but with all the unexpected disruptions, the rammed carriages, the trains terminating before your stop, the stink and the heat, and all the times you’re smashed as fuck and you need to get to the other side of the city, it would be nice to get your ass just driven around.

And that’s when Uber comes handy! Recently, with their 1.5/1.6/1.9/2.1 surcharges, Uber has almost become more expensive than Black Cabs. That said, you need much money if you want to rely on Uber for a week and a £1,000 will surely do the trick.

So download the app, sit your ass in the car, and enjoy the ride!

Spend 2 nights at the Shard

Ok, in my entire life in London, I’ve never been at the Shard. I’ve walked past it and paced by the entrance but as soon as people began looking at me like I was some kind of a creepy bum, I’ve always quickly bowled out of their sight.

Yeah, the Shard is a real luxury! And if you wanna be there, you can’t go with empty pockets.

I have no idea of how much a room with a city-sight view may cost but I suppose you can spend 2 nights there for £1,000.

I picture spacious rooms, elegant decor, airy windows that give onto the Thames, and a fascinating outlook on the City of London. I picture a vast selection of breakfast, fresh and professionally cooked food, and then swimming in the pool on the top floor with a glass of bubbling champagne.

I’d go for it!

Play it at the Casino in Monte-Carlo

Don’t know about you people but this is something you might want to do once in your life. You can either get to win money and entirely change your life, or simply realise how poor you are.

In fact, this is Liam’s and Graham’s pick among the things they could do with £1,000.

They happened to have that individual amount out of savings and decided to go do shit with it. Liam and Graham are two simple and regular chaps from Whitechapel (East London). They are true-born Brits, communicate with a slang that only an expert cockney would be able to decode, and they are used to spend most of the time with their mates down at the pub watching football.

They don’t expect much from life. They appreciate what they have – being friends, doing fun stuff around the city – and they promise themselves that none of them will ever leave the other’s side. They’re dreamers, music aficionados, beer experts, and they always run short of money. More importantly, Liam and Graham are there when they need each other.

Anyway, they’re off to Montecarlo – all dressed-up and ready for the posh night. They make a stop at the Café de Paris near the casino and have a few drinks while watching the World Cup – Brazil was playing if I’m not wrong.

They see all these rich people around them – I mean those people you can tell they’re loaded just by looking at them. And the girls…wow…just another level. They can’t wait to enter the casino and ask for the bill: £76 for 4 drinks, that’s really insane.

They make their way into the casino, pay the ticket, enter the main hall. Wow! This real?
They don’t even approach the main tables, they well know those are way out of their league. Or pockets. So they have a beer, finish watching the game, and then sit at the machines. They don’t really lose too much money, in fact they win 18 and 8 cents respectively. They would surely frame those bills.

They’re out and up for more drinks, so they make their way down this stairway that leads them to this super posh place called Buddha Bar: shishas, relaxing music, incense, soldier-like staff. They get a table outside and Liam takes a look at the drinks menu.

“Dude, we might have a problem…”, says Liam goggling, “the average price for a bottle of wine is around 200 quid!”

“You fucking kidding, mate?!”, asks Graham smirking. “Alright, look for the cheapest booze.”

That’s what Liam does and orders a £45 bottle of rosé.

They suddenly notice these two tremendously sexy chicks sitting at the near table. The girls start peeking at them, giving looks and interested smiles. Did I mention that Liam and Graham are two good-looking chaps? Yeah, that’s a fact.

So they start wondering about approaching these girls and how to make a move, considering that they come from completely different worlds – if not for the appearance, definitely for the amount of cash. They wonder about how fucking awesome would be dating them – get to sail on their yachts, travel the world, have a taste of that rich life, get to know people who matter. They wonder how this could change their lives, and they want to make it happen.

Relying on the manners and presence of a proper English lord, Graham goes to sit with them. Liam (who looks just like a street cockney) joins right after.

They make conversation: the girls are from Ukraine, have 2 mobiles each, text with a lot of people. Upon the guys asking what they do, the girls say they mainly enjoy life, travel a lot and chill. They seem to have established a connection with the girls – Liam and Graham are now so impatient to get to know more.

One of them types something on her mobile and shows it to Graham, his eyelids stretch to his forehead and looks at Liam stunned. She turns her mobile towards Liam and here’s what’s written: “Do you want to come to our hotel?”

Liam and Graham have the same thought. The two simple chaps from Whitechapel are about to experience a type of lifestyle they’ve barely heard about through the TV news or read on papers. They’re about to be paid back for all the strains, the hard times, the monotony of a life they’ve happened to live. All is so unreal – all is about to happen without them even seeing it coming, or expecting. They’re beyond themselves, they can’t believe they’ve hooked up with two beautiful rich girls and that dream of experiencing a wealthy fast-paced new life is suddenly coming true. 

Then she types something else and shows it to Graham. His expression changes completely. She shows Liam the phone again with a giggle. Just one thing is written: “£1,000.”

“Oh, shit!…”

So they decide to leave. They call a taxi to go back to the hotel and when the car comes, they realise they’ve run out of cash. So here starts their counting of the leftover change, coin by coin, and with the last 10p they get to the amount to pay the driver.

What a night!

In most cases, if you decide to play your £1,000 at the Casino in Monte-Carlo, you’re very likely to realise how poor and miserable you are.

. . .

How much money did they spend on that trip? Nobody knows – probably way more than £1k, even if they didn’t accept the ladies’ “sweet” invite.

The truth is Graham had booked that trip for his soon-to-be bride’s bday, but since they had broken up earlier that month, he decided to take Liam with him instead. Not the best replacement but definitely better than losing the money. And honestly, when you’re simple chaps from Whitechapel and you’ve grown up not expecting much from life, a crazy night in Monte-Carlo with a mate can help cover up that big gap that somebody’s left right there. Right where it hurts the most.

It was never about the money – it was never about the £1k, nor about Liam’s scrounging a free holiday. It was about being there when a friend was drinking his sorrows, about trying to adjust the world while his was already ending. It was about acknowledging that things could have gone differently – that they could have been born rich, elsewhere, perhaps having never met each other. And while drowning in a pint or two down Whitechapel, the latter is what scared them the most, because that world – for how broken, cracked, messy, raucous it was – was still worth more than £1,000.

Thanks to Liam’s and Graham’s story, we have one big learning. Among the ones above, there’s now one more item we can add to the list of the things you can do with £1,000:

Hook up with top-class prostitutes

Jim
The Britalian Post

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