Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you want to be interviewed, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Always looking for new volunteers.
Abbey Stirling, 32
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.
LLO: How long have you lived in London?
AS: Twelve years almost to the day. I moved here from Australia (where I lived after leaving my native New Zealand) in the spring of ’98.
LLO: Tell us a bit about The London Word, what it’s all about and how it started.
AS: Like many great things it all began at the pub. A mate and I were letting off some steam over a pint back in 2007. We were both working for an American website at the time, and our contrasting cultures and clashing views with the US office caused no-end of conflict. So, feeling disheartened by our jobs and believing London was misrepresented, we branched off on our own, taking with us everything we’d learnt from that experience.
Now, three years later, we have a team of about 30 contributors who publish articles on a daily basis. Readers can absorb daily postings on culture, food, drink, fashion, shopping, health and wellbeing. We interview a variety of colourful Londoners, from DJs, actors and musicians to tattooists, chefs and sportsmen.
But what I find the most rewarding is when readers voice their views, either via our Speakers’ Corner section or by commenting on each other’s posts. It’s heartening that people make an effort to get some online banter and debate going on our little site. It shows they’re passionate and they care.
LLO: What sets it apart from other London sites?
AS: We never try to compete with other London sites like Time Out, although we’re certainly inspired by them. I think what sets us apart is that we provide a platform for ordinary Londoners to articulate their opinions, good or bad. We’re not a listings site, we’re an editorial-focused webzine where Londoners can express their experiences, whether it’s a nasty trip on the tube, or an amazing gig or restaurant they’ve been to. We encourage everyone to make themselves heard – in a colourful and eloquent fashion!
LLO: What’s the most unique London discovery you’ve made since the site started in 2007?
AS: Personally, after interviewing Cryptozoologist Neil Arnold, I’ve discovered some things about Highgate Cemetery that have both deterred and intrigued me.
LLO: Which Londoner would you most love to interview on the site and why?
AS: David Bowie would be my dream interviewee. He’s a London boy at heart and I’d just like to be in the same room as him. I think that’s a good enough reason!
LLO: What’s the best thing about living in your postcode?
AS: I can walk pretty much everywhere from N1. All of the places I like to go – Camden, Shoreditch, Dalston, Stoke Newington and the West End, are all within walking distance. Sometimes I walk along the canal to Camden, which is really therapeutic. And most of my friends live in the vicinity, which is a bonus.
LLO: If I only had one night in London, where would you send me to eat and drink?
AS: Mildreds, on Lexington Street in Soho, is my favourite place to eat in London. It’s vegetarian, which has put off a few of my carnivore friends, but they’re literally eating their words after the first course.
LLO: Is there somewhere in London you’d like to explore but haven’t had a chance yet?
AS: The Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons.
LLO: Favourite place or activity to pass a summer evening in the capital?
AS: Atop Primrose Hill with friends and wine.
LLO: Describe your perfect day in London.
AS: A market, any market. London’s markets are so vibrant and chaotic but relaxing at the same time. I love going to Borough Market and then popping over to the South Bank for a stroll. Going to Columbia Road market on a sunny day is London at its best.
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