Lena Dunham’s ‘Girls’ is New York to its core, but what if it were set in London? Sonya Barber and Elizabeth Darke imagine how different the ladies’ lives would be on this side of the pond.
Living in London
Two of the show’s main characters, Hannah and Marnie, can somehow afford to rent a fancy brownstone apartment in Brooklyn – one of the hippest parts of New York. The London equivalent would be a Victorian terrace flat in De Beauvoir. But realistically, both girls work in the arts, so you can forget about living anywhere that plush; the best they could do would be a damp two-bed on a Homerton council estate. Their high-maintenance buddy Shoshanna would have a swanky new-build in Haggerston with a walk-in wardrobe, and British boho queen Jessa would be living the dream in Notting Hill, dahling.
Working in London
Hannah would intern at an art-book publishers, quit because she feels ‘creatively frustrated’ and then spend her days writing Tumblr blogs. She’d get a job eventually, but you can forget about those free snacks at GQ New York; in London she’d be on minimum wage at a magazine where her ideas are ignored and she’s lucky if someone offers her a mug of Nescafé. Marnie would be strutting around a swanky art gallery in Mayfair, and too-posh-to-wash Jessa would be bankrolled by her Cotswold-residing parents, occasionally putting in a few hours at the Cath Kidston shop on Portobello Road just for lols.
Partying in London
Brooklyn is basically east London, so the girls would be drinking negronis in Shoreditch, grinding to filthy R&B in Efes and drunkenly eating pizza at Voodoo Ray’s in Dalston. And that’s just on a weeknight. Saturday night they’d head to a warehouse party in Hackney Wick, our version of NY’s Bushwick; the journey home would involve four hours on three night buses while throwing up into a box of Chicken Cottage. In daylight hours, the girls hang at their buddy Ray’s café, which in London would be a hipster-magnet in Clapton, serving up hideously expensive slices of sourdough toast and flat whites you’d have to remortgage your parents’ house to consider ordering.
Loving in London
Marnie is looking for love, so would be relentlessly searching for ‘the one’ on Guardian Soulmates; Hannah would be swiping herself silly on Tinder, matching with short hipster men who work in the media or coffee shops. Either that or dating a flaky, out-of-work Rada graduate. Shoshanna, as a virgin, would be cruising Cuddlr, whereas free-loving Jessa would pick up bored, lefty dilfs at the park while she watches the kids she’s nannying.
Relaxing in London
While Shoshanna would spend her weekends bending at rooftop yoga sessions and Instagramming her avocado on toast, Jessa and Hannah would rummage around overpriced secondhand shops on Brick Lane. For dinner, the crew would queue for a table at the latest no-bookings joint but get bored and share half a chicken at Nando’s instead. Rather than heading to Long Island, they’d escape the capital with a daytrip to cultural Margate, resulting in one too many gin-in-a-tins on the beach. And if Hannah were to fall asleep on the tube (as she did at the end of the first season), instead of waking up at sunny Coney Island, she’d be in grey, grey Morden. Overall, probably better off in New York, girls.
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