The Most Londony Film Ever

Considering that walking around certain parts of London in the rain is the single most depressing thing you can do in the world apart from visiting Dover, it scrubs up well in photographs and on film (although my heart sinks whenever Hollywood shows the city as being some kind of quirky village; check out ‘Night […]

To Stay Or To Go?

My partner says he never heard the word ‘inside’ used to mean at home before he came to the UK. It’s true, we grew up thinking of us as being at home and everyone else as foreign. I blame the Victorians. I arrived back in Barcelona feeling virus-filled and exhausted, but after watching people in […]

How Edgy Is Your Neighbourhood?

Estate agents are forever looking for the next run-down area that can be gentrified, but certain spots defy what used to be called ‘Yuppification’, particularly in London, where post-war housing estates created no-go areas of criminality. For years I lived in Kentish Town, a slightly down-at-heel spot inhabited by council tenants, nurses, writers, artists and […]

Yet More London Books!

I can’t imagine how the Kindle will ever cope with books like these. iPad apps are already providing interactive cookbooks, but London guidebooks are collectable and designed for ease of use when walking about. Here are three new volumes about the city. London’s Hidden Secrets by Graeme Chesters has a page designated for each find […]

Unchanged Parts Of London

Walking behind Southwark Cathedral and what’s left of Borough Market, I came upon Thrale Street, which appears to have missed the wrecker’s ball and would be a good place to film a period movie. The area around here is still a Roman Catholic enclave, so there are schools, churches and nurseries amongst the abandoned buildings […]

Leicester Square, Twinned With Afghanistan

This is how Leicester Square looked during the strikes of the seventies. It’s not much different now, except that tourists have replaced the binbags. Actually, if you look carefully you’ll see that the surrounding buildings were a lot nicer then. Now, thanks to excessive plastic signage, the rampant spread of outside drinking areas, takeaways, mimes […]

That’s Not London Is It?

I have a hangover. It’s my own stupid fault, obviously, so I’m looking at quiet places in London where I can do some proofing in peace and an atmosphere of calm. Here are the London Buddhist Centre, the Battersea Park Peace Pagoda, Leighton House and the Neasden Temple. London’s multiculturalism has never been more pronounced […]

Synchronised Reading

I have the very bad habit of walking and reading – I do it as I pass through the tube tunnels and along the river. I was finishing a novel about Sir Francis Drake as I walked around this corner and for a moment thought the damned thing had leapt off the page, forgetting I […]

I Live In The Wrong City

I typed ‘Summer in London’ into Google and this is what I got. Then I typed in ‘Summer in Barcelona’ and got this. Last year, I took the cover off the barbecue twice, but wasn’t fast enough to beat the rain. Summer in London lasts for six weeks. The kind of weather we’d call summer […]

Arguing In Public

I spotted this little row heating up on the side of a building in North London, and was quite intrigued by the fact that someone should mention spam fritters in a put-down! (Click to enlarge)