Tom is the blogger we’ve interviewed this week, who is determined to prove day-after-day on Tired of London Tired of Life, that you should never be bored in London.
If you had to describe your blog in less than 15 words how would you do it?
One thing a day to do in London.
Why did you start blogging?
Last autumn I started to feel a bit down on London and convinced myself that I had done everything there was to be done. Of course, I hadn’t and I remembered the Samuel Johnson quote that he who is tired of London is tired of life. There is an endless list of things to do, and I felt this needed to be shared with people who, like me, felt they’d done it all. So I set out to try to do that.
What about London inspires your blog?
It’s just the sheer volume of opportunities on offer, and the vast range of different things which exist within the city. For someone like me who feels like they are wasting time when they’re under-occupied, it’s perfect. There’s always something to be doing, and if you think there isn’t you just aren’t looking hard enough.
What’s your favourite post you’ve ever written – your favourite day in London to date?
I really love 19 Princelet Street, and it’s so sad that it is in such a poor state. I was lucky enough to stay a couple of nights at 13 Princelet Street, which is a holiday-let, a few years ago when my octogenarian grandparents decided to take a week’s holiday around Brick Lane. That house is owned by the Landmark Trust charity and it really shows what could be done. The planned Museum of Immigration and Settlement could be a great addition to the area but at the moment the building is so delicate it’s barely open. Those houses are worth a huge amount and I’d hate to think of it just being sold through lack of funds.
Have any cool London opportunities come your way because of your blog? Or if not, what’s on the wish list?
None as yet, but for me the site marks a personal effort to be more productive. One thing I constantly reflect on is that there are people in life who do things and people who can’t be bothered. It’s all too easy to let yourself drift into the latter category.
I’d love to get involved with other London bloggers in raising the profile of their work somehow. There’s so much passion out there for the city which people would be interested to see, but don’t realise it even exists.
Would you feel more or less connected to London, would you have missed out on things without your blog?
I think having to write things down certainly switches you on to the city, and makes you think about what there is to do and what is actually worth doing and what isn’t. It has also encouraged me to make an effort to seek out new things about London, and given me an excuse to amass an ever-growing library of books, leaflets and articles about the city.
How has your blog connected you to another community of bloggers in London? The world?
Mostly via twitter , as I am shy about ‘networking’. That said, I am trying to make more of an effort.
I’ve also had a few people from around the world taking up my offer to write them an itinerary of what to do on a trip to London. I know from visiting other cities that it’s too easy to get caught in an exercise of tourist box-ticking which doesn’t tell you anything about the people who live there.
It’s hard for people who’ve just stepped off the plane to know anything other than what it says in their guide book. It doesn’t tell you there that you can learn a lot more about the English by spending the afternoon in a good pub than you can by visiting Madame Tussauds, and that Leicester Square should be avoided like the plague.
Tell us about another London blogger you like
I always like to know what’s on in London so I like people who are able to tell me. Since the demise of the excellent Londonfreelist I think Freelondonlisting, IanVisits and LondonSE1 are the best around for that.
What’s the most underrated thing about London?
The river is frustratingly under-used. You meet people who have lived here for 20 years and have never been on a boat because it costs £4. It’s not just for tourists you know…
And for some general London chat…Where do you live and why do you love it?
I live on Old Street, just off Hoxton Square. When I moved down the aim was to live as centrally as possible as cheaply as possible and so my flat is tiny. Having said that, it’s great to be handy for local pubs and galleries, to be so well placed for walking or cycling anywhere. It’s near to some great weekend markets, and it’s good to be a stone’s throw from Brick Lane, Angel, Hackney and the City. I also – sometimes – love my morning ride through the middle of the city to work in Westminster, though fighting with buses at Blackfriars and on the Embankment detracts from this on bad days.
What’s your favourite place in London?
It’s not in London…it’s 100 miles away, but it’s my favourite place and I would not be doing my duty here if I didn’t mention my home town of Stroud in Gloucestershire somewhere here. Sure it’s not in London, but Stroud is one of the most beautiful places in the world. At the heart of five valleys in the South Cotswolds and bordered by 500 acres of common land, open to the public all year long. It was one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution and has given birth to great sons of Stroud like author Laurie Lee and the organic movement. It also has Britain’s best farmer’s market and one of the highest concentrations of artists and craftspeople anywhere in the country. It makes a great weekend break and is only an hour and a half from Paddington by direct train.
What do you know about London that noone else does
Did you know there are portakabins on the roof of the Houses of Parliament? If not, that.
Have you ever been sick on the tube?
Thankfully, no. I like to think that my days of being sick through drinking are in the past, though I have had some bad experiences with my flatmate’s collection of unbranded Eastern European spirits.
Anything else we should know?
1. Bikes are allowed on the District Line at weekends off peak and after 7pm.
2. Gordon’s Wine Bar does a Sunday Roast
3. You can book a free guided tour of the Houses of Parliament just by contacting your MP – you can fnd who that is here, if you don’t know.
4. London’s best samba band, the Paraiso School of Samba, holds a drumming class on Wednesday evenings at 8.30 at the Space near Old Street. Dance classes are also available. Visit