London is so vast, so fascinating, so full of life and things to observe. London is an experience. London is ever changing and evolving. In a way it’s like being at a cultural ‘all you can eat’ buffet…! Where do you start? Which bit do you see first? Well, having now experienced a Bullshit London Tour firsthand last night, I can safely say this would be a great appetizer for anyone new to London, AND anyone that’s lived here their whole life.
I arrived early at the front of St. Paul’s Cathedral where the tour kicks off every Thursday at 7pm, and just as the website says, the tour guide was VERY easy to spot. Quite a crowd had gathered for the first tour of their 2015 season – about 30+ ‘grown-ups’ looking for a good time and some serious BS. From what I could make out, the crowd consisted of a few couples and a large group of office workers adding a touch of originality to a leaving party. Many were already in quite high spirits, and adult beverages aren’t frowned upon (as long as you drink responsibly).
After a quick head count to ensure nobody will be left behind and the ‘legalities’ are taken care of (you’ll have to take a tour to find out what that’s all about!) the tour quickly jumps into high gear and the BS starts flowing like a Monsoon river in the rainy season! Some of the comedy is intellectual, but still very accessible to those without an Ox-bridge education, but mostly it is sharp, edgy, and downright silly, with the participants having to dodge the odd pun or two!
The tour trips along at quite a pace, and Reuben Williams (the creator of Bullshit London back in 2013 and the main tour guide) keeps the narrative lively and the group buzzing. Before you know it you are discovering ridiculous facts about The Roman Renaissance Movement of the 1800s… the new Russian Quarter of London… tales of the London Mermaid… and the spot where Queen Victoria exploded… amongst other things!
Taking about two hours to complete, it’s a good job for the drinkers that there’s a halfway stopping point and ‘toilet break’ location en route. This also allows the crowd to familiarize themselves with each other, chat about the jokes and gags, and generally allow their minds to soak in all the Bull.
For those readers that know nothing of Bullshit London Tours, I should add a little word of explanation at this stage before you get completely lost. These aren’t your average, boring city tours with a stuffy, old historian-type guide who knows it all and loves the sound of his own voice… no sir, no indeed… this is more a walk on the wild side… the type of tour of the cool kids on the block that want ‘in’ on what’s really going on. If you’re the kind of person that never gets invited to parties, or hear about things after the fact, you probably won’t even be reading this, let alone go on a tour! As their website (www.bullshitlondon.com) states they will show you “the kind of London that would have happened if Monty Python had been elected Queen.” The landmarks are real, but the facts about them are completely made up.
In three years, Williams has managed to grow quite a cult following, and the tours get bigger and bigger each year. The participants range from stag nights and office parties, to Australian tourists, along with locals just out for a bit of fun. When I asked him the largest group he’d ever taken round, he said it was close to 60 people for a special event. Confident, charismatic, and well versed in BS, Williams is the perfect host for a fun night out in London.
I certainly got my tenner’s worth of bullshit last night and have a thoroughly brilliant night.