Like a particularly bad boyfriend you’re plucking up the courage to dump surprising you by getting in there first, Donald Trump has cancelled his state trip to London… and now I’m feeling oddly put out. How dare he? What gives him the right? And just who does he think he is?
Like a baby dressed up in an ill-fitting suit, The Donald has thrown his toys out of the pram because he’s taken against a building he’s not been to, in an area he has never visited.
In his finest phonics, the President of the United States of America tweeted: “Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for ‘peanuts,’ only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!”
I think the reason this smarts so much is because I live in that “off location”, which is more commonly known as south London. And it’s hard enough living here without the president joining the endless chorus of people clamouring to do it down.
Given the way some people bang on about it, you’d think we lived with dragons and that we’d only just been given electricity. Indeed, hating on sarf London – as it’s officially known round these parts – is a tedious and lazy tradition long upheld by people who can’t be bothered to expand their minds and leave their elite corners of the universe – usually north London – so perhaps it shouldn’t be such a surprise that Trump has used it as the excuse for not coming to the UK.
It’s almost as if he asked the brightest, most brilliant members of his team to come up with a reason that wasn’t “being too afraid to face protestors”, and all they could think was: ‘Well, dude, they moved the embassy to Vauxhall. That’s in south London, which is basically outer space. It’s almost Mars. They only just got a Five Guys there, boss. I hear they’ve still got smallpox. Are you sure you really wanna go to such an uncivilised place? They might put you in the stocks and pelt you with rotten theresa-may-toes.”
Well, I’ve had enough of this wilful smearing of south London. I can’t stand that good, decent Americans might read Trump’s tweet and immediately worry that their embassy has been located in the Victorian ages.
I mean, this is the place that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge choose to educate their first-born. If it’s good enough for Meghan Markle, as she proved on a visit to Brixton earlier this week, then it’s damn well good enough for him. And today, it is my mission to make a few things clear to the president about the much-maligned, much-misunderstood part of the capital that so many of us love to call home.
We have culture in south London… and not just the amoebic kind
Just up the road from the new US embassy site is a weekly cabaret night called Duckie, run by an inspiring collective who describe themselves as purveyors of progressive working-class entertainment – exactly the folk that Trump claims to be fighting for.
Indeed, it’s just the kind of place that a strapping man with a name like Rex Tillerson would be made to feel welcome.
If the president ever decides to cancel his cancellation, he should totally pop in – tonight, they even have a tribute to the president, in the form of a trans-Trump impersonator. Make no mistake: it is places like Duckie that are making south London great again.
The US Embassy has a Waitrose next to it
Which is essentially the British middle-class equivalent of building a wall.
It is home to one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world
Forget Notting Hill or Shoreditch. The coolest place in London is, officially, Tooting. Or, at least according to Lonely Planet, who last year named it one of the hippest places on Earth.
Trump, who is said to believe that exercise makes you die younger, probably wouldn’t appreciate the lido there, and he’d likely wonder why nobody had turned the common into a golf course. But on the plus side, Tooting is home to an above-average number of fast-food restaurants (his favourite type), in particular chicken shops.
There are plenty of opportunities for the president to make himself at home down south
…especially if he goes to Crystal Palace to see the dinosaurs.