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If I were in London right now, I’d… love to see London through the eyes of Londoners*. And so, I interview them.

This time Londoner and friend Fiona Rutka

How long have you been living in London?
2 years

Where are you originally from and what brought you to London?
I’m originally from Toronto, Canada. I moved to London for graduate school – to train to be an easel painting conservator.

I get around London…:
a) … with my eyes closed – I really know every alley…
b) … still carrying my A-Z guide with me where-ever I go.
c) … in a cab.
d) Other: …

Definitely ‘B’ and with a monthly zone 1 & 2 tube pass.

What are things you’ve never done in London that are high on your to-do-list?
Swimming in the Hampstead bathing ponds; going to Richmond park; Hampton court; east end gallery openings, the first Thursday of each month (free booze!).

Your latest London-discovery (shop/restaurant/museum/whatever) everyone should know of/go to:
Brecknock Road, in Kentish Town. I went there for the famous cobbler ‘Classic Shoe Repair’ and discovered that the street is full of independent organic shops and grocers.

Imagine, you feel like getting tired of London: what place/area/sight will always convince you otherwise and why?
Trafalgar square (cheesy and predictable, but it still feels epic to me!); and Hampstead Heath in the summer (on a sunny day).

If you could change one thing about London, it would be…
That it cost less to rent a flat!

Apart from “home” what place in London is best to charge your battery?
Hampstead Heath (on a jog). I’m boring and repetitive, I know!

When is London most beautiful?
On a warm sunny day – everyone is just riddled with the Vitamin D.

Where can you get the best view of London?
Primrose Hill, at night.

Cycling in London is…:
Scary & exhilarating! I’ve only done it once in a residential area. I loved it, but I would be terrified to do it anywhere more central.

What, according to you, is the best song / poem ever written about London and why?
Eddy Grant ‘Electric Avenue’ – it makes me want to dance! It describes a prominent market street in Brixton and specifically to a 1981 riot. The street has gradually been gentrified into areas where ‘cool’ and young people hang out, which I feel quite conflicted over, much like my enjoyment of the song – seemingly fun and frivolous but with a serious subject matter!

The most interesting /funny / bizar fact about London you wanna share…:
Apparently the cockney accent is becoming extinct…

Thanks Fiona, for sharing your thoughts and London-knowledge with us! Looks like I have to pay Brecknock Road a visit soon…

Electric Avenue – Eddy Grant:

More information on Cockney slang, it’s extinction and how you can improve your Cockney:

Rhyming Cockney slang – Jack Jones, £2.50**
The Bible in Cockney – Mike Coles, £4.49**

* Londoner – a person either born and bred in London, or living in London for a significant number of years.
** Prices according to amazon.co.uk

All questions © Tess van der Staal, Amsterdam 2012