Listen to a Londoner = Interviews with Londoners
If you live in London (born here or abroad), and would like to volunteer to be interviewed, email me at email@example.com.
Suzi Brown is a well-travelled Londoner who was born in Iraq, grew up in Lebanon and settled in London. She is the founder of Mama Brown’s Pop Up Experience, has a light installation by a Saudi Arabian artist in her dining room and believes in cooking good food and bringing together people from all walks of life.
This interview ties in with the launch of Garry’s latest book, Urban Art: The World as a Canvas. Having spent many years as a photographer, Garry is now heavily involved in bridging street artists in the UK with international opportunities and bringing artists from abroad to paint in the UK. He also talks about the history of his family and their connection to the Docklands and the story behind his own arts group, Fitzrovia Noir.
Settling in to a new life in London, Kyomm, originally from Uganda, has made some interesting observations in her first year here – one of them to do with Potatoes! Kyomm blogs at Vow. Move. Live.
Julie Falconer is a London-based travel writer and consultant. She writes an award-winning travel and lifestyle blog, A Lady in London, for which she has traveled to over 90 countries. Julie’s writing has featured in the National Geographic Intelligent Travel Blog, Time Out, Lonely Planet, and other publications. She also lectures and teaches classes on social media and blogging. You can read her blog at http://www.aladyinlondon.com.
With his entrepreneurial spirit leading the way and the help of the government’s start up loans scheme, Mark Corbett has been developing a cool new project – London’s first pop up private members club called The Vault.
Meet Ivo, the London Director of the National Trust (a charity that is 117 years old)! I’ve picked his brain about some of the Trust’s newest projects that are targeting London’s younger generation in an effort to shake off their slightly dusty reputation. They have some loads of exciting events coming up as part of The London Project, a new initiative to do just that.
When Anastasiya moved to London a few years ago from Ukraine, not only was she always freezing but she found out she was pregnant with her first child. Now, she’s coping with the weather just fine, has a baby son and runs the social networking site London Parents to help others make sense of it all and find connections.
Marawa the Amazing
Meet Mawara the Amazing, hoola hooper extraordinaire, with a colourful collection of heels, fancy outfits and epic hair. Read on to find out how many hoops she can hoola at once, about her experience volunteering at a circus school in Nepal and where she goes to cut all that hair.
Alex is an award winning reporter, writer, filmmaker, blogger, community manager and rock star, but without the money, fame or musical talent. He’s also the Senior London Community Manager for Yelp and knows many of the most fabulous hidden gems in this massive city.
Jay is the owner and director of Neighbourhood hair salon. Bringing a pocket of Shoreditch cool to Earl’s Court, Neighbourhood not only has a quirky interior complete with antlers and copies of Wallpaper magazine, it’s a lot of fun to get your hair cut there!
Meet Jamie Morrison, internationally renowned captain of the England polo team. The sport is in his blood, stemming from his father who started the Royal Berkshire Polo Club taught Jamie how to play the game that turned into his career.
President/CEO of CAPA International Education, which organises study abroad experiences for American students, John has lived in London for more than 20 years. The first visit was on his own study abroad programme with SUNY Oswego, his alma matar, upstate New York.
Meet Pheobe, a 20-something model from Bath who has lived in London for just over a year. Below, she talks about her modelling career in New York and London, where she likes to shop in London and her favourite place to dance up a storm on a Saturday night. She blogs at London Model Life.
Henry Cruickshank and Jess Luper
Meet Henry and Jess. (Nope, as much as they look like brother and sister, they’re not related!) Together, they write the creative London Living blog which celebrates its one year anniversary on December 1. Here they tell us about their favourite blog posts over the past year, what this new E20 East Village neighbourhood is all about and some of their recommendations for food and drink away from London’s tourist traps.
DJ, mum, blogger, photographer and born and bred Londoner, meet Hatty Uwanogho.
Dr. Lewis Halsey
Dr. Lewis Halsey has lived in or around London for most of his life and works as an academic at the University of Roehampton. Here he talks about the changes he’s noticed in London over the years, what it’s like to cycle to work every day and a different way to view renting before buying if you’re interested in stepping onto the property ladder like he did a few years ago.
I came across Emma through an article she wrote on London’s East End in my favourite travel magazine, Afar. Now her priority is the Olympics. She has been a journalist for 12 years, and lived in London for all of them. Her special interests include cricket, theatre, film and, most recently, bluegrass music; as deputy editor of the Observer magazine she tries to write about any or all of them whenever she can get away with it.
This is James. He kayaks to work sometimes (can you tell?). He also has a fabulously entrepreneurial spirit, co-owns Stickyboard – a virtual London community noticeboard site – with his brother and is on a search for 100 Great Things About London. When he asked me to contribute, I asked for an interview. We met at Sacred Cafe on Ganton Street where James bought me an Earl Grey tea entertained me with stories of man dates, a giant tunnel where kayakers dare not paddle and 1940′s swing dancing parties.
Fancy going on a treasure hunt around London? Tom Williams has been creating since 2005, through his popular project A Door in a Wall, sending players to ringing phone boxes and footballer’s flats (some pictures of events below). Not a bad way to discover something new. Of course, this means Tom knows lots of London’s little nooks and crannies (and therefore, London’s little secrets).
Carolina landed in London in November, a bit bleary eyed and nostalgic for what was formerly home. She’s Colombian American and loves Chai Lattes. During the day, she works in finance and at night she can be found blogging at GirlHabits or working out at Crossfit Thames.
Kiera (from Kiera’s Cakes)
If you have a notorious sweet tooth like me, you’ll be happy to meet Keira, maker of fabulous cupcakes. She loves making and decorating cupcakes so she’s turned her hobby into a business called Keira’s Cakes which she runs out of her home near Canary Wharf.
Novelist, film producer, fashionista, rock n’ roll queen, journalist, Ibiza party girl, teacher, DJ, editor, stylist, poet, traveller and, most importantly, born and bred Londoner, this is Kirsty Allison…
Mariano is a born and bred Londoner. With an emphasis on social integration in everything he does, he loves to engage people through teaching English language, giving salsa dance lessons and playing vallenato accordion. He also runs Latinos in London Ltd.
Lisa is a northern lass from the French countryside who is integrating into London’s Colombian community. She’s trying to get used to overcrowding and living like battery hens whilst growing very fond of cultural diversity, chips and Primark!
Betsy is a city girl at heart and is proud to call London home for the forseeable future. She works in development in the performing arts, sings in a chamber choir, loves the expat blogging community, and intrepidly explores the best (and worst!) that London has to offer. Her boyfriend wants to you know that although she is assimilating very well to life in England she once fell asleep at a cricket match at Lord’s.
Steve likes street art, graffiti, punk music and taking walks with his camera. His website Art Of The State shows off some stunning images of London’s most impressive street art and all sorts of other London-y stuff (it’s a perfect place to procrastinate, but don’t say I encouraged you).
Chelsea is a freshly qualified teacher who, for some reason or another, choose to relocate from the friendliest country in the world to East London.
Agne has travelled all over the world including time living and working on a cruise ship but she likes London enough to have called it home for a year now.
Ellen Burney is a London-based fashion journalist who has written for titles including Vogue, The Guardian and The Sunday Times. She is currently on a ‘six-month city sabbatical’ and living in Rye, East Sussex with her partner and their one-year old daughter Doris.
Paul is a born and bred londoner. Having lived in Central London his whole life, he spent his childhood within a 15 minute walking distance of Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. His favourite thing to do in London or anywhere else is to hang out with his friends on a Saturday afternoon watching the football, or spend it with his lovely fiancee going around all the markets and shops.
Martin Payne, born in Barking but left with a family move at age 2, returned to work in London following a work re-location. He describes himself on Twitter (@MWPayne) as “Accountant on weekdays, Murderer at weekends, a Plinthian, and an occasional Gorilla … oh and I steward at the Globe / usher at Tristan Bates Theatres…”.
Gail Haslam is a writer, editor and blogger who also tries to fit in crafty endeavours when she has time, or the supplies threaten to take over the house again. At the moment she’s a social media consultant for a chocolate company, and does realise how lucky she is.
Esnayder is the manager at Latin American restaurant, Sabor, in N1, with six months travelling the length and breadth of South America (all but Paraguay). After growing up in Colombia, he has now spent nearly two decades in London.
Natalie has a BA in English, BSc in geography and MA in publishing; She loves English literature and her outlet is writing. Her favourite gelato is found in London at Gelato Mia in Notting Hill (dark chocolate and Biscotto). She loves the theatre and when she was younger, wanted to be Christine in Phantom.
Cemay has just moved back to London after seven years in North Cyprus and is very excited about it! She can’t wait to introduce the delights of London to her husband Berat and son Onur, as well as the newborn they are expecting any day now.
Daisy Coole is a jazz and session musician who has temporarily swapped touring Europe for organising the biggest and best cupcake extravaganza this country has ever seen. Cupcake Camp London will feature thousands of cupcakes and raise money for the North London Hospice, who looked after Daisy’s father until he died in March 2010.
Will Peach is a confused writer/journalist turned teacher, who hails from England’s West Country but wound up in the bosom of East London. He rambles on at his blog over at www.willpeach.com. There you can also find some of his weird design projects. Apparently he looks quite like Owen Wilson, but he doesn’t like to be told this.
Wilfredo Arturo Diaz Ardila
Wilfredo comes from a small town called Mogotes near Bucaramanga in Santander, Colombia. He talks to us for this week’s Listen to a Londoner about his life in the UK, where to find a Colombian experience in London and about a product called panela that he plans to import from home.
Writer, relationship guru, alfresco sex junkie and sometimes basset hound thief, Kerry Hiatt talks to The Little London Observationist.
Fr Stephen Wang
Fr Stephen Wang is a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Westminster, London. He is Dean of Studies at Allen Hall seminary in Chelsea, where he also teaches philosophy and theology. His latest book is Aquinas and Sartre: On Freedom, Personal Identity, and the Possibility of Happiness, published by Catholic University of America Press. He blogs about culture and faith at Bridges and Tangents.
Mary lives in Battersea. She’s an interior designer by day and a London dating guru by night. She set up the Great Date Guide to help give Londoners inspiration and advice on where to go for a great date in this fantastic city.
K Anderson plays ‘lesbian music by a boy’ – confessional, conversational songs about the important things in life – getting older, bad sex, and needing a special someone in your life who can shave your back hair for you.
Steve is a writer and researcher working in the cultural heritage sector. He writes audioguides and museum interpretation and is currently writing a book about what happiness means to us in a modern context. He blogs at www.steveslack.co.uk
Singer-songwriter and sometime conceptual artist Owen Duff was born in Northern Ireland, grew up in Hull and now lives in Hackney, East London, where he makes songs and videos. His latest project is the EP ‘Under’, which is a set of songs inspired by living in the capital.
Professor Femi Osofisan
Oh! See how the stage drums are welcoming Professor Femi Osofisan. He is a renowned playwright, poet and novelist with the pen name “Okinba Launko,” who has won the Folon-Nichols Award, ANA prize(s) for literature and poetry, regional Commonwealth poetry award, City of Pennsylvania Bell Award for Artistic Performance and several other awards and appointments spanning several continents. He has published over 50 literary works, and has also been part of the revered literary story of London.
Michele Gorman is an American writer, and now a card-carrying Brit, who has made London her home. Her debut novel, Single in the City, charts the misadventures of 26-year-old American Hannah who, upon moving to London, blunders her way through life and love amidst a population who doesn’t always see the funny side of her cultural misunderstandings.
Luiz’s London Foodie blog is a well known resource for Londoners looking for a range of delicious meal options, light snacks or unbeatable cocktails. He shares some of his favourites for different occasions for this week’s Listen to a Londoner.
Ana Paula Picasso-Grandin
Ana is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil. She came to London nearly a decade ago and fell in love with the city. She started her blog Adventures of a Brazilian girl in London because she thought it would be a good idea to write about it with a Brazilian twist. (Note: Ana’s interview is currently a private post.)
Chris Holt is a former journalist and anti-poverty campaigner who now teaches yoga, mainly in south London. Since moving to London in 1994, she has lived in Bow, Bloomsbury, Clapham, Brixton and Streatham. She tweets as @brixtonyoga.
Wendy is a southern Tennessee girl with a sales and marketing background who loves to travel, cook, craft, take pictures, blog, (currently job shopping) and do just about anything if it’s fun. She’s is now seeing what Notting Hill and the rest of London (if not the world) has to offer.
Alberto “Pelos” Comesana and Xavier Izaguirre
These two Spanish guys came to London thinking they would have a great time, an easy life and maybe work a little bit. Instead, they had to work tons and combat their way through all the kinks London threw at them along the way. So they set up a website called Combat London where they help fellow Londoners to survive in the city without sacrificing fun!
Claire works in social media strategy and lives in Islington. She wishes that running everywhere, and subsequently being able to go to the pub in your lycra, was socially acceptable. She’s currently working on the Boutique Run and training for the Guernsey marathon in August. She’s set up a JustGiving page if you’d like to support her efforts.
A native Canadian, Marsha has lived and worked in London for the past six years. Her first book, 24 Hours London (Prospera Publishing 2009), was inspired by her love for her adopted city.
Janine Clements is a freelance journalist, travel expert and mummy blogger who has been living in London for 12 years. She has lived in Holloway, Maida Vale, Westminster and now Fulham, where she has lived for four years with her husband and 2-year-old daughter.
Abbey is a freelance arts and entertainment journalist living and working in London and Ibiza. She is the editor of webzine The London Word.com, and dabbles in feline frolics and fancy dress.
Jackie Kingsley and Michael Shamash
In this ever-changing city that is slowly being devoured by corporate coffee chains and high street shops, Michael and Jackie have frozen a few favourite London locations that have been lost to the times on their website, London RIP. They welcome and encourage others to reminisce and contribute their own loved and lost locations from London life.
Sue runs her own travel company for visitors to London offering tailor made tours and has lived in London for over 30 years. Before that, she worked in HR at the BBC for 18 good years but felt the need to try a different throw of the dice. She loves to travel and has notched up 50 countries so far but London is her favourite city in the world!
If you can find another native Kentuckian in London, you earn a cookie. Sarah came over in September 2008 to earn a Master’s degree in International Politics and Human Rights, and enjoys working for a children’s charity in Kentish Town.
Lia thinks that living in London can be either a blessing or a nightmare. For her, it’s been a great experience so far, giving her the chance to meet people of various backgrounds and therefore expand her horizons.
“Sasha” is in her early thirties and writes The Happiness Project Londonanonymously. The HPL encourages Londoners to live their lives by a set of rules shown to improve happiness; including being active, connecting with family and friends, doing charitable acts and learning new things.
Alex spends most of his time taking pictures, but he also enjoys riding his Bianchi, and his vintage Vespa. He loves exploring new parts of London and indulging in all that the city has to offer.
Colleen moved to London for her husband’s job three months after getting married in 2008. She’s a high school English teacher who is at present working part-time for a London relocation agency rather than duke it out in the city schools (hey, it’s not like she didn’t give it a try…), and while she wouldn’t recommend undergoing three major life changes in one summer to even her worst enemy, her and her husband have come to truly, ecstatically enjoy their new life together in London.
Joshua was roped into moving to London while on his way back to the States after 12 years of living in Scotland. He hasn’t regretted it since. He now works with his best friend from university in a tech company and spends his idle time dreaming about how to make the world a better place. One of these days he might just do something about it.
Lee is a guitar teacher from Streatham.
Lee is the plays in the Stayaways.
Lee likes cheesy beans and chips but NOT cheesy chips and beans.
Lee wears a size eleven shoe.
Catch up with Chris and keep up with his London adventures any time over on his excellent blog: http://tikichris.wordpress.com/
Chris is currently residing at the western front of the East End (otherwise known as Clerkenwell). He works and plays as a freelance writer and photographer. He has lived and travelled all over the world, but London is the first place where he ever truly felt at home.
Remember that recent post on Completely London magazine? I managed to get in touch with Donna - the editor of this new property publication that is cooler than your average property publication. She agreed to answer a few of my nosy questions. It’s a bit of a twist on the usual Listen to a Londoner posts, but she’s definitely a Londoner in the know! Here she talks about London’s secret river, tells us why Brockley is a cool place to live and lets us in on what to expect in the next issue of Completely London, out mid-February
Brought up the The Midlands, Flora always vowed she’d never live in London, but somehow after university she found herself job-hunting and flat-hunting in the city. Over two years later she’s still here and secretly loving it. She works in research for an engineering company, blogs about life in London (http://theaccidentallondoner.blogspot.com/) and fills up her precious free time studying for a Masters degree.
“Im an Australian living the life in London for a year so I can travel europe and see the world. I came here for eight weeks on a holiday last year with my best friend and loved it so much, I went home, sold my house and all my furniture, left all my friends, my boyfriend and my really great job. I’ve made some really good friends here so I’ll be sad to leave in only six more months. The travel bug has bitten me HARD! I didn’t think I’d love it here as much as I am, so when I do go home I’ll have to decide where I want to live forever. On a more personal note, I’m a shopaholic and a chatterbox! :p”
Ham started London Daily Photo with the idea that showing a reasonable photo and possibly interesting words about London added to the sum total of Good Stuff about. Four years later and he is still enjoying it, still struggling to fit it in with a job in the real world.
Sudakshina was born and raised in Hounslow, West London, till the age of 12 and she then moved to Kolkata, India, for further schooling. She then came back to London and graduated with a BA (2:1) Hons in New Media Journalism with Film & TV Studies from Thames Valley University, in 2005.
Rakeem Neil Peebles-Nazir
Rakeem is a journalist and writer who moved here, studied here and will, most likely, live out his days here; a naturalised Londoner, who discovered that it’s much more interesting to be Scottish somewhere other than Scotland!
Sean plays bass for Camden-based trio, The Stayaways, fills his bedroom with mahoosive amplifiers and his stomach with oddities from Borough Market. He enjoys fiddling with programming codes, oooh-ing and ahh-ing over planes, and spoiling his dog, Muddy. Oh, and don’t touch the hair.
Koushik spends his days cutting people up working as a surgeon in Chelsea. By night he likes nothing more than playing chess, pool and occasionally listening to loud funky music whilst driving his car around West London.
Luke works for a living. Hopefully that will change when TV channels want to commission funny comedy instead of drivel.
Lucy is from the most rural county in England but her soul is a Londoner. She likes tea, merry-go-rounds, walking along the Thames, lists, the radio, food and getting dressed several times a day. She works as an admin monkey at a language school in Bloomsbury.
Danny is a sound engineer from Northwest London. He doesn’t actually work, just gets paid to travel the world. He thinks he is the master of the card game called Shithead, but often loses to a certain American girl who will remain anonymous.
Dave is currently a student in his 2nd year at Cardiff University, studying Journalism, Film and Media. He enjoys films, music, new media and fine wine.