What is London’s best-kept secret?
The other side of Primrose Hill… I know it seems mad to consider any part of Primrose Hill a secret as it’s constantly covered with semi naked bodies, dogs, kids, party goers, tourists, joggers, lovers and shout-at-the-moon loonies.
But… everyone seems to gather on the top of the hill (and spilling down) looking toward the city, now that is a wonderful and spectacular view but when the sun is going down in the west some of London’s best and most beautiful sunsets and skies can be seen from the backside of Primrose Hill. Not only that but they can be viewed and enjoyed in relative seclusion as the throng are all on the other side looking the wrong way.
Where do you go to chill out?
The honest answer is to the bottom of my garden where we have an enormous London Plane Tree from which from a very high branch I have a swinging chair, one of those sixties looking things in an egg shape. I swear it is one of the most peaceful places that I know. The thing is that it’s on the end of a very long rope so the swing is incredibly gentle and calming, lulling you into hours of blissful meditation… or more likely hours of snoring, dribbling, dozing sleep, but whatever you do down there it is a very chilled place.
What baffles you most about London?
The state of the roads, in particular with regard to bike riding (a can of worms here I know). I cannot understand why the powers that be don’t have some cohesive plan to sort out the roads and make them safe for cyclists (and motorists) to use. Those stupid cycle lanes that last for a few hundred yards then stop just drive me crazy, not only that but where they put them is in the most pot-holed, drain covered, dug up part of the road it’s mad.
Boris likes cycling; he brought us the “Boris Bikes”, yet expects vastly increasing numbers of cyclists to take to incredibly dangerous roads. Cycling is good for London and good for individuals but please, be forward thinking.
Who’s the most interesting person you have met in London and why?
Well this was a long time ago and he was a hero…I had gone to see the original Human league at the Nashville, an old pub music venue that was in the Fulham Palace Road (it’s still a bar).
I knew the League and had gone to the gig with the band. As they went on stage I went out to the front to get a drink and watch the performance. I had just got my warm pint of larger when there was a bit of a commotion over by the entrance, as I looked over I noticed that everyone else in the room were looking that way as well and very quickly as the gentleman was ushered to a safe place by the bar the whispers were loud… it was David Bowie!
The gig was great and as soon as it had finished I rushed backstage to notify the boys in the band that the mighty Mr David Bowie had been in the audience, but I had barely got in the dressing room when I felt a pair of hands grab my shoulders from behind and shook me excitedly… “They were fantastic, they were amazing, I love them” It was David Bowie.
He had followed me into the dressing room and was as pumped up as I was. As the band came off stage it was left to me to do the introductions. We all chatted, smoked fags and drank warm beer until the venue turned us out of the dressing room into a cold west London night. I said good evening to Mr Bowie and went home a very happy chappie indeed.
Where’s your favourite place for a drink?
The Albert on Princess Road. It’s a proper pub
What can’t you beat in London when you’ve got a hangover?
You can’t beat getting up late and going out for a long walk around Hampstead Heath. I mean the full walk, a good hour and a half, ending up at Kenwood House for a slap up breakfast with lashings of tea. And if you still haven’t broken the back of your hangover just go to the Magdala on South Hill Park and start drinking again… that’ll do it.
What gets you up in the morning?
A 9-year-old boy and a whippet, both demanding breakfast. I just have to be careful who gets the toast and jam and who get the butchers tripe!
What’s the first thing you think about in the morning?
Where am I supposed to be today?
What’s your perfect weekend?
I do love the weekend – no working,tea in bed, boiled eggs, toast, bike ride with Lindsay and Louie, pub lunch, sport on TV, meet friends for dinner, gin and tonic, laughing, red wine, laughing, red wine, sex.
What’s the biggest faux pas you’ve made?
Asking someone just the other day “who’s that really weird woman” only to be told it was his wife… ooops
What’s the last naughty thing you did?
I faked my son’s handwriting and did his homework because I lost a bet with him about how heavy clouds are. Sorry Miss Grey
Five words that sum up London
Vibrant, Massive, Exciting, Noisy and Beautiful
Heaven 17 play Shepherd’s Bush Empire on their Luxury Gap tour
Sat, Nov 3. 7pm
Tube: She Bu