diamond geezer

 Friday, May 15, 2015

Dear Londoner,

I am pleased to be able to confirm your membership of London Above, the lifestyle brand for the discerning Londoner.

As a member of London Above, the capital is your oyster. You can dine in it, play in it, shop in it, even own part of it, because you're one of the privileged ones with the capability to consume. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Membership of London Above is available only to those with the wherewithal to contribute in a positive way to the economic life of the capital. Our members are defined by their ability to retain a measure of disposable income after housing costs and all the bills have been paid, leaving them free to enjoy the many delights the capital can afford. Whilst the less fortunate dream of being able to save up enough for a flat and a big night out, for you this is weekly reality.

For you a morning cappuccino is a ritual, rather than an occasional luxury. For you the property pages in the paper are for perusal, not for flicking past. For you a West End theatre ticket is always a possibility, rather having to make do with another boxset night-in. For you a cocktail can be a regular tipple, rather than making do with bargain basement lagers from the local corner shop. For you a taxi remains the better option for getting home late, rather than squeezing with everyone else onto a hellish nightbus. Because for you a cushion of money helps to lubricate your way through London, which is the way it's meant to be enjoyed.

It's reassuring to know that London Above has millions of members across many older age groups and from all walks of life. Some were born into this status, via the parental home in an inner London terrace or a semi in the outer suburbs. Others moved in from outside, landing the plum job that enabled them to take their first steps on the capital's housing ladder. Some were damned lucky, buying their own property in the days when that was actually possible and riding the rising tide of ownership ever since. And others simply married the right person, or had the right parents, or knew the right friends, but that's fine, because London Above is an unequal opportunities organisation.

To make best use of your London Above membership, we urge you to keep an eye on the special offers available in our two in-house publications. The Evening Standard is always filled with news and features for the London Above community, as well as products and services on which to spend your hard-kept cash. Meanwhile Time Out's weekly pages provide an encyclopedia of venues and locations at which paid-for entertainment can be enjoyed, and include all the latest essential must-share views on how best to support such important campaigns as Pop-Up Mexican Organic Doughnut Week.

Please be aware that your membership of London Above can be terminated at any time. A redundancy letter, the sudden breakdown of a relationship, a significant rent rise - all of these are possible reasons for overnight expulsion from the elite. One day your finances are secure, the next you're drawing together plans for budgetary survival, and suddenly that mid-afternoon sourdough pastry is starting to look unwise.

Rejected members are automatically transferred to our sister organisation London Below. This works to provide opportunities for economically challenged Londoners by offering suggestions and tips for living within one's means, be that in outright poverty or in borderline breadline conditions. Cutting back on evenings out is only the beginning, with options for struggling Londoners including downgrading your regular supermarket, reconsidering your gym membership and moving in with friends to share an overpriced/undersized apartment because that's the only way to keep your head above water these days.

Some former members prefer instead to transfer to communities outside the capital, such as Stevenage Above or Hastings Above, or more likely Hastings Below. Living standards beyond the boundaries of London are often much lower than those within, hence those left financially ineffective by the pressures of metropolitan life can often carve out a mediocre niche for themselves in the provinces. But please be aware that cultural life beyond the suburbs lacks both depth and flair, that haute cuisine dining options can be severely limited, and that hipster-operated cereal cafes are in dangerously short supply.

Thank you then for your continued membership of London Above. And let's continue to refashion the capital in our own image, welcoming those with the necessary purchasing power and casting out those no longer able to keep up. But be warned that the price of membership continues to rise with each passing year, and that one day even you may be forced to wave the flag of surrender and depart. Because we live in a divided city, an uneasy mix of Above and Below, so best hope you can cling on to your right to live here for as long as possible.

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