If Mayor Ken had his way, we would need a passport to London. The M25 would act as a giant metallic barrier to the outside world, built from a wall of endless rows of abandoned cars stacked twelve high. Meanwhile, Tony Blair would declare Greater London part of the United States and driving a car within the confines of the London Orbital would become the exclusive preserve of high-ranking politicians and royalty. The rest of us would sodding well use public transport and be grateful for its existence - but only if we use an Oyster card, wear an electronic tag and don't mind being occasionally blown up.
As any hardened London-based videogamer knows, urban living grants all manner of hidden benefits to spending endless hours of your life on hot, heaving buses and (even hotter) tube trains. Not only do you get to spend an inordinate amount of guilt-free time playing with handheld consoles while you travel, they're also a great way of killing time while you're waiting for lost and late friends to show up. Without public transport delays, my Virtua Tennis stats wouldn't be half as impressive.
But living in a vast, sprawling Metropolis is one thing - visiting it as a giddy, wide-eyed newbie tourist is quite another. Unless you're accompanied by a savvy local, the chances are you'll haplessly fall into every tourist trap imaginable. Arriving at Leicester Square, you'll watch the street performers, get the tube to Piccadilly Circus (gah!), dine at Planet Hollywood, kick the dirty winged vermin at Trafalgar Square, gawp at Big Ben, block every pavement you can find and feel like you've 'done' London. The trouble is, acquiring the knowledge takes years. Even after a solid decade of living here, London constantly surprises you with things you can't believe you never knew existed. As 'they' say, bored of London, bored of life.