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?
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