Listen to a Londoner: Paul McConnell

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 littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk.

Paul McConnell

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.

LLO: As a born and bred Londoner, how has the city changed since your childhood? Anything you miss?
PM: The city has changed a ton. There is a lot more diversity now, with many different cultures, and its made london more of a melting pot. You really can get anything you like from any culture in the world in london.

LLO:Which part of the city are you most familiar with and what’s the best thing about it?
PM: I’m most familiar with central london as I’ve grown up within walking distance from Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. My favourite part of London is the Southbank and all the bridges that cross the thames – so relaxing and beautiful.

LLO: Best London discovery?
PM: Great family run Italian restaurant near Notting Hill called Ffionas. You have to be there early though because they only have 8 tables.

LLO: If you’re in the mood for some last minute live music, which venues would you check first to see what’s on?
PM: Brixton Academy have shows all the time where you can always pick up tickets on the day, or if you walk through Camden you’re sure to find something you like.

LLO: Tell us about a memorable moment that could only have happened in London.
PM: It has a be a marathon weekend which consisted of 3 live football matches, 3 nights out clubbing and about 3 hours sleep during all 3 days.

LLO: Know of any great little hole-in-the-wall pubs, restaurants or coffee shops that are worth stopping by?
PM: The Black Horse just behind Oxford Street is a great pub, great food, all fresh the same day.

LLO: If you were to leave London in the near future, what 5 things (people not included) would you miss the most about the city?
PM: 1.) Arsenal football club 2.) The London Eye (near where i proposed to my fiancee) 3.) Being able to hear Big Ben on a quiet night from my house 4.) Fish and chip shop on Sutherland Street in Pimlico (best fish and chips on earth) 5.) My mum’s roast dinner

LLO: Best pub to watch your favourite football team on match day?
PM: Either the Barley Mow in Vauxhall or Victoria’s Sports bar above Victoria station

LLO: What about a great venue to go watch some live sport (not necessarily football!)?
PM: Wembley or the Emirates Stadium, or Battersea Power Station where they have live festivals, extreme sports/extreme Winter sports.

LLO: Share a random London fact that not many people would know.
PM: The actual City of London is only 1 square mile. All other major roads such as Oxford Street, Piccadilly and Regent Street actually come under “The City of Westminster”.

Even though being the sovereign of The UNITED KINGDOM, Her Majesty the Queen is not allowed to enter the City of London with seeking the permission of its Lord Mayor.

Thanks Paul!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.

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The Sweetest Thing

U2 filled Wembley Stadium, the second largest in Europe, nearly to capacity last night. We stood quite close to the stage in the centre of it all, surrounded by 88,000 fans.

Brilliant performance, visuals and choice of songs – a good mix of old and new – and a generally charged atmosphere. The type of show that melts you into the music.

Bono’s political involvement doesn’t please everyone, but I think it’s great that he’s using his spotlight position to raise awareness of important issues. Among other bits and pieces he highlighted last night, he honoured burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

She was recently awarded Amnesty International’s prestigious Ambassador of Conscience Award, which Bono announced in one of U2’s Dublin shows from the same 360 Tour at the end of July.

Set list:

Breathe
No Line On The Horizon
Get On Your Boots
Magnificent
Beautiful Day
Elevation
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
Stuck In A Moment (You Can’t Get Out Of)
Unknown Caller
Unforgettable Fire
City of Blinding Lights
Vertigo
I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight (Remix)
Sunday Bloody Sunday
Pride (In The Name of Love)
MLK
Walk On
Where The Streets Have No Name
One
Mysterious Ways
——–
Ultraviolet
With Or Without You
Moment of Surrender

One incredibly cool moment was when the crows turned into the “Milky Way” and lit up the stadium with mobile phone lights.

I didn’t have my camera on me, unfortunately, but if you can find a photo of last night’s crowd (like the set image of the second video in the BBC link below) it’s pretty impressive!

Links:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8202230.stm
http://www.u2.com/news/title/going-crazy-in-london#

Youtube: