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M@ is probably the most London-obsessed person in the world, reaching parts of the capital others can’t reach, while mixing up slogans from beer commercials. In the cause of exploring London, he has waded along the buried River Fleet, spent the night in a haunted plague pit, caught a lung infection by climbing Soho’s tallest steeple and walked along the tracks beneath Leicester Square at 2am. M@ has lived in Blackheath, Borough, Greenwich, Weybridge, West Hampstead, Fortune Green and Chalk Farm. Thanks to the capital’s obscene property prices, he’s since gone into exile in what he optimistically refers to as “The Future London Borough of Elstree and Borehamwood”. It’s just a bit west of Barnet, since you ask.
Lindsey grew up on the London to Brighton commuter route and wound up in the capital by academic misadventure. Now resident on the upper rungs of the Green Lanes ladder her favourite things include Sadler’s Wells, Ally Pally, urban wildlife, long London walks for idiosyncratic reasons and the 141 bus.
Dean hails from a small outpost due south of the River Thames, an unmapped speck of greater London famed for a bowling alley, a Sixties office block and little else. His lifelong dream is to buy a farm in Patagonia and raise pygmy goats, but until that happens he can be found hovering around Hackney telling any poor fool in earshot about the holistic benefits of swimming in London Fields lido on a cold winter’s morning.
Rachel was born and brought up in Leeds but made a break for the capital at the dawn of the Millennium. She’s lived in Golders Green, Camden and Muswell Hill, and now resides in Hither Green. She likes weissbier, is terrified by the size of her backlog of unread books and is on a mission to spread a love of parkin throughout the south (it’s a cake.) Her favourite bits of London are Greenwich, the view from Waterloo Bridge, Konditor and Cook and the British Museum – and not just to use its loos. You’ll find her furiously pounding the keyboard about booky stuff, comedy and anything that piques her delicate lefty sensibilities.
Before moving to London, Zoe tried living in Liverpool, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Rome and Madrid. Just to make sure. Part popular culture geek, part history nerd, Zoe cried a tiny bit the first time she saw the inside of Shakespeare’s Globe. Aside from being with her brilliant husband, family and friends, Zoe is probably happiest in a quiet auditorium (theatre, cinema, whatever) when the lights have gone down, and the show is yet to start. In that moment, she believes, anything can happen.
Beth was born as a country bumpkin and adopted London as her home town in 2000 after moving to Alexandra Palace. The next few years were spent shuffling about between north and east London until she discovered the outer reaches of the Central Line and alighted somewhere near Epping Forest amid the sound of cow bells and Range Rovers. News, transport and motoring are her favourite things to write about but she has also developed a thing for flash fiction. She also likes cars, the seaside, films and reading books. She’d like to like going to the gym but actually prefers to sit in the garden with a G&T.
Jonn grew up in Romford, spent four years on the Old Kent Road and now lives in Islington, so in the event that Britain ever has a class war is properly screwed. By day a mild-mannered editor with a magazine publishing firm, by night he contributes to titles including the New Statesman, the Guardian, and Smoke: A London Peculiar. He writes for Londonist mainly so that he can pretend that walking around the city staring at bits of it counts as ‘work’.
Dave grew up in one of the southernmost suburbs of London, but he doesn’t like to admit it, having spent most of his adult life living on the Isle of Dogs and, more recently, in Clerkenwell. His favourite parts of London include Greenwich Park, the South Bank, Holland Park and the British Library – forming between them the four corners of an irregular concave inner-London quadrilateral. His interests include good beer and mild pedantry. Dave joined Londonist at the beginning of 2006, contributing anonymous nonsense about pigeons, bogeymen and lap-dancing clubs. Several years on, he’s still hanging around, poking his nose into various trivial or beery postings.
Sally hides her Essex origins remarkably well, notwithstanding a fondness for cockles and a tendency to dance round her handbag when out clubbing. For the last fifteen years or so she has been living in and loving Peckham. In fact she is pretty smitten with most of London, although she has recurring nightmares about the North Circular. In between writing her third book and blogging, she runs a very silly, bright yellow corner shop and interferes with her husband’s import business. Her interests include food, and cats, and yoga, and owls, and red wine. Sally’s icons are Silent Bob and Modesty Blaise.
N Quentin Woolf
To a boy under a duvet in the commuter belt of the 1980s, the voices of Robbie Vincent and Clive Bull on LBC (‘on the line is Babs from Bermondsey’), the Radio 4 shipping forecast (‘Cromarty, Forth, Tyne’) and traffic updates on GLR (‘backed up to the Hangar Lane gyratory’) seemed like incantations from another dimension, a big pulsating dimension called London, where everything that mattered took place. Now older and hairier, NQW is a writer and broadcaster, and the power behind Londonist Out Loud, a weekly show all about London, in which he gets to cast some spells of his own. When not exploring London with a microphone, NQW is to be found running groups for writers (in Brick Lane, the Strand and the South Bank – see website), or holed up in café somewhere, tapping away at a laptop, talk radio burbling away merrily in his ears. Listen to Londonist Out Loud on iTunes.
Tim lives in Brixton, works in Angel and cycles pretty much everywhere inbetween. Working in the arts by day and as a journalist and blogger by night, he is interested in all things cultural, especially classical, jazz and world music. He is also interested in scribbling about all aspects of city life, from architecture to local politics. Tim’s favourite bits of London include the Brockwell Park lido, the Saponara deli in Islington and the Old Royal Naval College.
Caroline grew up reading books about London and was delighted to discover that the truth is indeed stranger than fiction. She loves many things about the capital and is particularly interested in its history, art, opera, food and drink, although she tends to find that most of the former can almost certainly be improved by the addition of the latter. Her favourite London moments have been flying down the Thames in a helicopter, seeing 20,000 semi naked women heckle soldiers at the Chelsea barracks and rowing around a sea of punch on a giant rubber garnish.
Franco was born in the northern outskirts of Enfield but has since migrated inland. London has been part of his life now for longer than almost anything else: any band, any other city, any girl. When not being a dark, swarthy Sicilian stereotype, he can be found exploring London’s cultural underbelly especially fringe theatre, cabaret, comedy and burlesque plus the occasional restaurant
Known to many simply as ‘scouse’, Andy moved to the capital around four years ago and now calls Clapham Junction home. Ensuring he is always has something to do, Andy presents a weekly radio show and dabbles in journalism and photojournalism with work published in The Evening Standard, The Independent, Daily Mail and Private Eye. Often seen in pubs screaming at a footballers on TV, Andy also has blind faith that “next season will be the one for Liverpool FC !”.
Tabish is a born and bred Londoner having lived, studied and worked in London all of his life. The love of London comes from the fact that you can never be bored as there’s always something to do. He can mainly be found in art galleries and museums but he is also a big fan of cinema, TV and most sports – though wishes there was enough time to read more.
Ben moved to London a few years ago having grown up on the South Coast (Chichester, to be exact – pretty, Roman but not a lot going on) and gone to Uni in Portsmouth. After a short while living ‘behind’ Goodge street in a very central but slightly illegal kind of a way, he found a home in Kennington and loves its closeness to just about anywhere, its great transport links, the plethora of pub options, and the fact that it’s a little bit quieter than Goodge Street.He’s slightly food obsessed (read: greedy) and more keen on sherry than it may be wise to admit. He “works” as a freelance food writer with a few webby bits thrown in for good measure. He’s definitely a ‘south of the river’ person, but would be loathed to go too far. Citing Lower Marsh, The Cut, East Street Market (off Walworth Road) and The South Bank amongst his favourite places he’s (shock horror) not adverse to a bit of Elephant & Castle either.
Reared in Devon, Jemma always had her heart set on the sparkly streets of grubby London. Now she runs a community Hub in Westminster, makes strange choreography (often in trees), tutors for the Royal Academy of Dance and teaches spinning. She has explored much of London through frequent house moves and all manner of jobs, including managing a gym in Spitalfields, lecturing at Laban, maintenance therapy for disabled children, and coordinating older people’s dance for Open Age. Some things that float her boat are immersive performance and dance, visiting other continents, being near water, cosy cafes with good vegetarian food and second hand markets.
The teachers at David’s Teesside school said nothing sensible would come from listening to those noisy indie-pop records and writing silly stories. They were probably right, but a former career as a full time DJ and being a freelance music journalist has been a lot of fun for him. When not listening to, writing about and talking to (often terrible) bands from his Islington home David tends to eat cheese, drink London gin and procrastinate. Since moving here in 2007, David has scoured nearly every venue to find the new Pulp. He hasn’t yet, but isn’t planning on stopping, and he’s still amazed people actually let him write about it, including The Line of Best Fit, Quietus and The Independent. A real-life trained journalist, he knows shorthand and everything.
In his ‘Vidavski’ capacity, Doron originally qualified and worked as a music lawyer in Manchester before re-training as an actor. Graduating from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (in his ‘Davidson’ capacity), he moved to London a couple of years ago. His favourite London spots tend to change according to and depending on the availability and quality of the cake on offer. Current thumbs aloft go to the Victoria & Albert Museum (good lemon drizzle effort), Earl’s Court’s Finborough Theatre (where the lack of sweet baked goods is more than made up for by the excellent dramatics), and Broadway Market.
Currently based in Shoreditch, Ruth is on a one woman quest to find the best scotch egg in town. The only distractions from this are meandering around the city’s many galleries, finding comedy in strange places, and running up the equivalent of a small country’s national debt in the odd cocktail bar or two.
‘Johnny Fox’ studied Theatre at Lancaster University and Journalism at City before realising there was no money in either profession and concentrating instead on interior design for investment banks. He lived and worked in other cities including Singapore, New York, and Moscow but has been a committed adoptive Londoner for thirty years. Living in Docklands is a perpetual anticipation that some infrastructure will eventually emerge or that the Jubilee Line and DLR will work one day, but the bend of the river seen on approach into London City Airport still gladdens his heart.His urban passions include theatre, singing, consumer terrorism, wine, architecture and London’s dark underbelly, and he’s written for everything from The Pink Paper to The Architects Journal. Here’s his personal blog.
Tom comes from the South Warwickshire countryside, but decamped to London in 1996 and now lives as close as is legally permitted to the platforms at Streatham station. He spends a lot of time walking in, across, around, over and sometimes under London has written a book about it, ‘London’s Lost Rivers: A Surface-Dweller’s Guide’. He also greatly enjoys theatre, which he reviews for Londonist; folkish music, which he reviews elsewhere; galleries, the Tube, cricket, maps, second-hand bookshops, and municipal libraries. He is also an urban policy researcher and freelance research consultant.
Victoria was born and raised in Edinburgh but turned traitor to her lovely homeland as soon as she damn well could, the filthy turncoat, firmly ensconcing herself in London’s beguiling bosom. Now a denizen of Shoreditch (with the oversized cable-knits and battered brogues to show for it), she is a freelance writer and sub-editor. She can usually be found making vague stabs at gracefulness in a ballet studio, stuffing her face with baklava, or anywhere there is free wine.
Working as an online copywriter gives John the chance to write about riveting subjects like software and go to meetings at Shoreditch agencies where he never feels quite cool enough to blend in. To keep things varied, he also covers music for Londonist. John grew up in Essex and lives in north London.
Janan was born and raised in London and has lived in Canterbury, Brighton and Tokyo, where she learned to speak Japanese. Her Polish heritage and experience in Japan make her something of a Japanese/Eastern European foodie. She is incredibly passionate about culture, travel, food, literature, music, psychology, Japan (clearly) and utterly adores big cities, especially London. Having worked as a flight attendant, teacher, and reluctant administrator, she currently presents a radio show on Hoxton FM and can often be found hanging out, sipping cocktails and fizz, in basement bars, pop up places, street food stalls or anywhere remotely interesting.
Gary started taking photos at the age of 8 because his mum wanted to keep him busy and out of trouble. Little did she know that he’d end up taking photos of strangers on the street, without their permission, and sometimes with confrontation. He tends to be invisible, but in those cases when he’s spotted, he lives by the quote from the renowned French street photographer, Henri Cartier-Bresson: “Aim well, shoot fast, and scram.” Originally from Los Angeles, he moved to London in 2010 where he can be found shooting on the streets.
Lise was born north of the border but went to school in Croydon. After a few years recovering from the trauma of this experience in leafy Cambridge, she returned to the capital to teach dance, manage dancers and to write for a number of arts and technology publications. When not loitering in darkened theatres or leaping around with hyperactive seven-year-olds, Lise loves travel, skiing and live music. She has lived in both South and North London and currently resides in Archway, although if you’re looking for a good pub in New Cross she’s still a good person to ask.
Originally a mining engineer, José has worked in several projects around the world, having discovered his interest for photography while he lived and worked in Peru in 2002. He hasn’t stopped photographing since. Currently living in London, José has become a passionate street and documentary photographer, portraying people and their culture through his camera. You can always find him on the streets, looking for a story to tell; and in the meanwhile, in a good old british pub enjoying a good ale.
Jamie is going to be completely honest with you: he doesn’t know how he got here. He means that both geographically and spiritually. But, now he’s here, he writes things and messes around with a camera. It keeps him happy.
Laura writes about dance and theatre. Brought up in Oxford, she moved to London at 18 and hasn’t left since. She lives in Nine Elms but spends most of her time in Covent Garden and the West End watching performances. She has a Master’s degree in Ballet Studies from Roehampton University and extensive experience as a dance teacher of both children and adults. Her writing can also be found in a number of magazines and websites including Dancing Times, Londondance.com and Dance International. Laura has two beautiful cats and a fondness for dulce de leche ice cream.
Gone but not forgotten
Rob Hinchcliffe, Mike Atherton, Kenneth Yau, Alex Dawson, Will Wiles, Laura Kidd, Craig Beaumont, Amity Reed, Drew Davies, Sian Meades, Ben Partridge, Mark Merifield, Francine Kizner, Dave Knapik, Kira Hesser, Jo Tacon, Julie Palmer-Hoffman, Paul Cox, Matt Crossick, Chris Coltrane, Phil Singer, Duncan Young, Alice Huzar, Neil Arnold, Chloe George, Jaz Cummins, Caroline Dickie, Pat Fogarty,Natalie Ujuk, Suke Driver, David Buglar, Talia Kraines, John Nugent, Libby Costello, Amanda Farah, Chris Osburn, James Upsher, Hazel Tsoi-Wiles, Jonathan Brown, Harry Urgent, Helen Babbs, Tom Jones, Nicolas Chinardet and Cat Wiener.