Ah, London. What a metropolis. A bursting at the seams super city that is home to over 8 million people. And, while everyone is unique, there’s still a few groups that you’re bound to find in London.

So here are a few of the most common London superheroes and shakers. Feel free to make a little bingo board for yourself and tick them off as you find them.

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1. The Daddy-owns-my-flat dwellers

Find them: Shoreditch

Superpower: Hiding how much rent they actually pay.

Gentrification has well and truly taken over in the East end of London. The notorious Kray twins with their bruising knuckles and perfectly sartorial styling would have something to say about the current trendy Shoreditch-samurai sporting occupants of the now trendy Bethnal Green. But they’re long gone, and so the organic coffee grind goes on. And while most of London is planting pennies in pots trying to grow money trees, the East has slowly been bought by the rich and leased to their kids, who are using the rent savings to buy craft beer. All in the family at its most smirk-inducing, you’re likely to find the smug new Eastenders dining out on Daddy’s credit card while joining in on the conversation about how horrid the housing market is.

2. The divided Brixtoners

Find them: Brixton

Superpower: An invisibility cloak over the whole suburb.

While Brixton once gave birth to David Bowie who rocketed his way outward and upward and brought fame to the relatively forgotten suburb, it arguably has lived in its own niche bubble ever since. Those that grew up in the area swear by it as London’s most unknown fun factory, while the rest of London treats it with patronising head pats. The people that lived there were fine with that, as they continued to enjoy their Caribbean food and fresh fruit from the market and odd gospel singing. Then one day, a drunken rich Londoner fell asleep on the Victoria line and ended up in Brixton. Unsure of his surroundings, he simply decided to set up camp there. And the gentrification of Brixton began. So now Brixton consists of those that remember Brixton as the lovable hard-as-a-coffin-nail home of the bourgeoisie, and the new Brixton, which laments the poor people cluttering up the market with their pink furry phone cases.

3. Contemptuous Tube riding traders

Find them: Bank station

Superpower: Talking for hours about the benefits of mutual funds.

Chat to anyone who lives in London and chances are they know a trader. They may even know two, or even more. A leech of traders, I think is the collective term. Growing and sucking on the greed and wealth of the one of the biggest cities in the world, some of them are racking in well over six or even seven figure salaries, which means they shouldn’t have to catch the Tube with the rest of us mortals. Unfortunately for them – and us – they do. They begrudgingly step on the train at Bank station with their legs bowed, their alligator leather brogues pointed outwards and their arms tucked tight so that the commoners can’t touch their tailored suit. They’re the ones with the look of utter contempt emanating from their grossly overly moisturized pores. A look that’s meant to convey that they bought and sold your salary ten times today, but which looks remarkably similar to a look you’d wear if they’d just read a pamphlet on how to look like you have a granule of a likable personality. Also they sniff a lot. Ask your mum why.

4. The disorientated shoppers

Find them: Oxford Street

Superpower: Getting lost and finding unexpected bargains

Shopping is hard. So very, very hard. With the crowds, the differences in sizing, the prices, the crowds, the bright flashing lights, the looks from shop assistants who know I can’t afford anything, the crowds…I’m actually not sure how I have managed to amass enough clothes to wear in a week. This professional push and shove match takes place daily across malls and high streets in London, but never in such a visceral ooze as in Oxford Street. Resembling an upmarket bazaar, the streets and surrounds are lined with familiar brands and mannaquins with better stying and a physical appearance than me. The streets themselves are rammed with poor defenseless tourists lured in by the meaning-well travel guides that insist that this is where London shops. Combine that with the wealth of other Londoners there and it’s no wonder there’s such disorientation, bewilderment and utter panic. Then when this is compounded by the peak hour rush of people who happen to work within working distance of Oxford Circus tube – which shuts down due to overcrowding every couple of days – it’s basically the Bay of Pigs. It’s a massacre, with the designer dressed sheep being led to the changing room slaughter.

5. The oohing and ahhhing amazed tourists

Find them: At the Big Ben

Superpower: The ability to be the centre of their own universe and completely ignore everyone else.

Every day what seems like zillions of people flock to London to see…the Big Ben, I guess? Maybe the London Eye? I dunno. Maybe that pub where Jack the Ripper sank pints before brutally mutilating a bunch of brasses? Whatever, the point is they come, and they come in droves and they come prepared. Armed with the latest cameras, bamboo length selfie sticks and backpacks more at home at a crime scene than a romp around the streets of South Bank, the tourists wander aimlessly around looking sky high to take photos they’ll never look at again, and then down again to follow the map that will take them to the next irrelevant landmark. They’re relatively harmless. Like birds. But also pretty annoying. Like birds. And don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to love about London – the popular landmarks are not it.

6. The suburban city commuters

Find them: To or from Waterloo Station

Superpower: Killing three hours on the train in the morning and in the evening.

Unbeknown to most, London actually has a greater part to it. Yep, that’s right. It extends west past Kensington and Fulham and further east past West Ham. South and North as well, but I can’t be bothered researching where they go. Knowing London extends beyond Clapham Common blew my mind when I heard it, and when I first travelled to Richmond it seemed like one of the biggest adventures in the world. Who lives in these green pastures? Who would subject themselves to such a commute? Well, it turns out a heck of a lot of people. And there are a lot of trains that take them there. Admittedly these trains do take a little bit of time and cost a bit more money, but hey, when you’re a suburban home dweller you need the space for your playgrounds and large dogs and casseroles. They’re more difficult to spot because once 5pm hits, they beeline for the train station. Which means you won’t see much of them after work hours. During the day however, they’ll happily tell you about the carefree parking situation and warehouse-sized Waitrose they enjoy.

7. Eton boys and Essex girls

Find them: Chelsea

Superpower: A smugness that could peel paint

It’s quite a shock coming from Australia and hearing terms like “old money”. Old money to me was always just what my grandma put in my birthday card. Old to Australia is anything that predates the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Anything after that is modern and anything before is prehistoric. But, it turns out that old money is what happens when families make fortunes generations ago and that money is then passed onto the kids. Who then spend the family’s hard earned pounds in in Chelsea bars while wearing Ralph Lauren popped collars or designer dresses. They tend to be talking about the latest legal precedents or horse saddle varnish or chinos or something, so it’s best to rattle them by asking if Oxford is a good school.

8.  The delay the clock adult-childs

Find them: Latest gallery open in Angel

Superpower: Reflecting questions at family gatherings about why they’re not married yet.

Time has a way of speeding up when you least want it to. One second you’re building futuristic houses out of Lego and shooting friends with finger lasers, the next minute you’re looking at overpriced real life bricks and mortar houses in real estate windows and trying to get your jollies off regarding terms such as interest rates and equity. Luckily, if you’ve got a Peter Pan complex, you won’t be alone in London. The city is flooded with late twenty- early thirty-somethings who are desperate to starve off adulthood. However, these are some of the best people you can know because they will literally do anything to keep the sounds of the ticking biological clock out of their heads. From decorating biscuits to look like Lionel Richie – “Lionel Rich-tea! Get it? GET IT?!…don’t let me age” – to drinking elaborate cocktails out of snow globes, they’re the ones who’ll suggest the most niche activities and be your plus one to just about anything. But like a dog wearing human clothes, their overzealous zest is all at once uplifting and strangely disconcerting in large doses.

9. The “you might know me from TV” semi-famous celebrities

Find them: I saw Stephen Fry in Covent Garden once, so let’s say there.

Superpower: Ego.

While the term England’s Hollywood will never stick – because it’s awful –London is truly one place where you’re likely to see a range of mid to high range celebrities just wandering the street. The beauty is that if you’ve ever lived in the UK, chances are you’ve passed some of these guys and girls in the street and not even known who they were! For every Stephen Fry, there are a lot of BBC presenters, or Channel 4 reality stars who are only famous in England. So if you’re not from there, you’ll be able to confidently ignore them and crush their inflated egos without even knowing it! If someone points them out, introduce yourself and say their name wrong. Just to keep them grounded. Isn’t that right, Chris Bevan?

10. Tube riding connoisseurs

Find them: Changing lines at Green Park

Superpower: Knowing the best carriage to get onto for a speedy exit at every station.

The Tube is equal parts amazing, frustrating, anxiety inducing and bizarre. The underground network can get you virtually anywhere in London in less than thirty minutes. It’s truly a marvel of engineering and, if you live in London, an almost invaluable piece of infrastructure. But, like so many things in life, when you’re comfortable, it seems easy but when it’s foreign it can seem complicated and impenetrable. A labyrinth that requires careful navigation, some people have become experts, knowing short cuts between stations, cutting and weaving like sports stars and leaving those in their wake for dead as they bounce from Northern Line to the Central Line across to the Jubilee Line, shaving precious micro-seconds from their BP and picking up the Evening Standard as they tap out with contactless technology and emerge from the maze unscathed and victorious. What a bunch of pros.

11. The fiscally rotten cash criers

Find them: Anywhere cheap.

Superpower: Wiping out their savings account in a single bound.

London can be separated into two categories: those with pounds for days and those who have to refinance their bike to eat at Pret A Manger. Everyone knows London is expensive, and it also has a lot of food and drink venues that us hedonistic culinary vultures want to get amongst. This is a particularly vexing problem, because while some high flyers are Scrooge McDucking their way to Samba Sushi every other weekend, the fiscally challenged are desperately trying to find loopholes in Tesco meal deals. And while they might not have the most money in the world, they somehow make it work and will know all the ways to squeeze the most out of every penny.


About the author

Martin FlemingI’m an Australian writer who left his country after the cost of beer hit double figures. I’ve spent the last six months travelling the world and was most recently tricked into hiking the Inca Trail in Reeboks. I blame Tinder glitches for my loneliness. I like sharks.

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