Justin in Wandsworth is 41-50 and is a London Walks Tour Guide.
Film Maker: Nick Shaw
Questions & Answers
- What's your first memory of London? Getting lost in Heathrow airport at the age of 5. I was fascinated with the automatic doors at the entrance to the terminal & duly lost my parents. A message had to be sent out over the PA system.
- What do you miss when you're away from London? Decent coffee with fresh milk direct from a cow.
- What's your favourite neighbourhood? Tooting Broadway has everything - delicious food from all over the world, fantastic pubs, shops that sell everything under the sun & up the road on the Common, the largest pool in the UK - 92 metres long.
- What's your favourite building? George Gilbert Scott's St Pancras Station - the ultimate in gothic revival from the outside with the sleek Eurostar trains inside. London is all about contrasts & here we have the best example of the old & the new coming together harmoniously.
- What's your ideal day out in London? A trip to Hampstead Heath for a cooling dip on a scorching summer's day.
- What's your ideal night out in London? Cocktails in a fancy bar, a delicious supper somewhere followed by a great play or musical.
- What's your most hated building? St George Wharf Tower in Vauxhall - a monstrosity in it's dull conformity.
- What's the best view in London? From the Golden Gallery of St Paul's Cathedral. You can control how long you stay up there, the 530 steps means it is good exercise, plus they have just opened it on Sunday's & can go up for a bargain £6.00. It is the poor man's London Eye, yet superior in every way.
- What's your favourite open space? Richmond Park has it all. Open meadow, heath, woodland, majestic oaks, ponds, cycle paths, hills, bellowing, rutting deer, good cafes, ballet schools - oh & it's the largest open space in London by a mile.
- What's the most interesting shop? Harrods. It's not so much a shop as an alternate universe. More retail theatre than retail therapy. THE place in London to laugh at people taking themselves way too seriously.
- What's your favourite place to hang out? Any Samuel Smiths pub - particularly the Chandos in Trafalgar Square for it's location, the Princess Louise in High Holborn for it's Edwardian etched glass & different compartments plus Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in Fleet Street for it's Dickensian atmosphere. All the antithesis of the Free House.
- What's been your most memorable night out in London? Waiting 5 hours to get into Fabric. Obviously won't be happening again.
- How would you like to spend your ideal day off in London? My ideal day off from working in London is a day out of London - Visiting a National Trust property/ English Heritage site with a decent lunch in a good pub.
- Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? Depends on their interests. For somebody with no preferences, a tour around Westminster Abbey, a walk through St James' Park to Buckingham Palace, followed by a trip by boat down the Thames visiting the Tower of London. Then onto Greenwich followed by the gondola over the river & a Boris bike ride checking out the venues of the Olympic Park.
- What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? Every car journey! London is a nightmare to drive in almost any day - The cycle superhighway, Londoner's love of Internet shopping & getting their packages delivered to where they work not where they live, increased Uber, utility companies digging up the roads, sporting events, demos, building....... 23rd June 2016 was referendum day & added to all the above was mass flooding of roads & the Underground system. It was a definitely a bonkers day all round.
- What's your personal London landmark? For me the Palace of Westminster is London. London is a beast. A black hole. A dark star. Supreme & confident. Nothing epitomises that dominance as much as the oldest bicameral Parliament in the world.
- Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? James Bond obviously.
- What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? Book - London - The biography by Peter Ackroyd.
- If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? All of it - from the Romans to the 1980's, I'd want to do the lot. If I had to choose just one time period, it would have to be the 1660's - all the events that Pepys captured in his diary - the Restoration, the Enlightenment, the last visitation of the Plague (with a biohazard suit obviously), the Great Fire, Restoration comedy......bring it on.
- For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? My former MP Sadiq Khan. Early days still but he is shaping out to be the best mayor we have had by a very very long way - & a great ambassador for this great city.