Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you’re up for being interviewed, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charlotte considers herself “just a wanderlusting shutterbug”. You’ll most likely find her embarrassing her friends by photographing restaurant dishes from every angle before she lets them start eating. A few of her photos are included in her interview.
LLO: Where are you from originally and what brought you to London?
CH: This is always a tricky question! I was born in China, and grew up between Birmingham and Hampshire. I moved to London for university, and now call it home. Bought my first flat this year.
LLO: Best part about living in your postcode?
CH: Diversity. I rarely sit a bus journey without overhearing a conversation in a different language. Now that I’ve moved into ‘Little Portugal’, maybe I should learn some Portugese from my neighbours.
LLO: In one of your latest blog posts about hanging out in East London, you wrote “Oh and dim sum. There’s always dim sum.” Where’s your favourite place in London for dim sum?
CH: My favourite places are Top Of The Town (in Chinatown) and Royal China (Baker Street). My favourite dish is called ‘xiao long bao’, which are steamed meat dumplings with a little soup inside. Can’t beat dim sum for a weekend brunch. Pic below –
LLO: You take some fantastic photography. Who and what inspires you when you’re set loose around London with your camera? Share a London photo with us?
CH: I like to get lost on purpose. I’ll take parallel and intentionally wrong routes to wherever I’m going – that’s how I discover new things. I’m also inspired by people, but often feel too shy to take pictures of them. Sometimes I tag along to protests… at least then I know they want to be seen!
LLO: Favourite quirky or unique London discovery?
CH: I’m a huge fan of Secret Cinema. They screen films in different locations around London, but won’t reveal the film until the credits roll. They transformed Alexandra Palace into a Middle Eastern desert for ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, with camels and elaborate markets. And they brought 1960s colonial Algeria to the Old Vic Tunnels under Waterloo for ‘Battle of the Algiers’. It’s incredible!
LLO: What do you do in London when the wanderlust sets in, but there’s no time or money for actual travel?
CH: The best thing about photography is seeing through the eyes of friends and artists from around the world. There’s so many inspiring exhibits and galleries around London all the time. We’re spoilt for choice, really.
LLO: Have you found a place in this city that always seems to make you happy? Where and why?
CH: Sitting on top of Primrose Hill never fails to calm me down. Everyone else there is equally chilled out, so it’s a great place to just breathe and take in the panoramic skyline.
LLO: London is a city where people constantly come and go. What advise do you have for newcomers to London?
CH: Don’t pronounce it ‘Lie-says-ter Square’ or ‘Holl-born’. Just kidding. My advice would be to take advantage of all the free and cheap things to do in the city. There’s enough going on to fill every weekend with something different. Have fun!
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