10 years ago Mike quit his job as a graphic designer to become a full-time childminder. Being a man, his career choice is often met with stigma.
Film Maker: Peter Kelly
Questions & Answers
- What's your first memory of London? I was born at UCL in the borough of Camden. My nan lived between Euston and Regents Park, so we spent alot of time in Regents Park and Queen Marys gardens. My first memories would be playing around the Triton fountain in the gardens. I love that fountain, fond memories.
- What do you miss when you're away from London? I really love our iconic skyline. It makes me feel proud of my city. I know when I'm flying into one of our airports and see the Thames swirling through London town, I'm not far from home.
- What's your favourite neighbourhood? I love my neighbourhood! [Lewisham] I work locally so I know quiet a few locals to have a natter with as well as shop owners etc. The people who live in my street are great, some have lived in the street for 40+ yrs. I love that! they must have seen alot of change.
- What's your favourite building? That's a hard one. I could happily pick something like Battersea Power station or St Paul's Cathedral, but I have to go with the Natural History Museum, I've spent so much time there, and love it everytime I go.
- What's your ideal day out in London? Although I love Central London, its too formulaic. I love the old book shops of Charing cross road, or wandering around the streets of Camden. But jumping on my bike and cycling the canals and riverways is definitely up there, stopping for a pint in one of our many awesome pubs on the way. Walking through one of my local rivers is good fun too.
- What's your ideal night out in London? It's got to involve music and food. maybe a gig at one of the cities many venues. The smaller and sweatier the better. Followed by late night street food and a late tube home. The best place to see londoners at their best is on the late night tube!
- What's your most hated building? Too many to mention. Most of the crap that's going up around us at the moment. Iconic doesn't mean tall and gaudy.
- What's the best view in London? I love the view where Drakefell Road meets Kitto Rd in SE4. I'm normally in the car so you only get a fleeting glimpse but you see the Tower of London/Walkie Talkie (see Q.7) and the Shard as well as all the rest. The view from the top of Greenwich park (Rangers house side) is beautiful too, but I'll go with the view from either Primrose Hill or Ally Pally. I know they're on the wrong side of the river, (im a S.E. Londoner) but they are pretty awesome views.
- What's your favourite open space? Green space-wise I would have to say Beckenham Place park. It holds fond memories for me as a child, and I take my children there as much as possible. Rivers/woods/ open space= natural bliss.
- What's your favourite bar, pub or restaurant? If I'm cycling I'll just go in a general direction and stop when I find something. To take in the city, a lovely walk is from Surrey Quays to the London Eye. You take in so much of London that way. Always finish with a walk through Leek St for a graffiti fix then to Lower Marsh St for a beer. Its thirsty work being a Londoner.
- What's the most interesting shop? In a time where we have all become lazy and do our shopping online, this is a tough one. But if it was about where would I spend my money and since I love music I would say All Ages records in Camden, or maybe one of the stalls at Camden Market.
- What's your favourite place to hang out? Browns of Brockley for coffee, then jump on my bike, cycle around sucking up the atmosphere of S.E./E./S.W London then, back to Deptford to meet my family for dinner at the Full Nelson.
- Where would you take someone visiting from out of town? I think that we would have to go to the 10th floor of the Tate Modern to suck in the view. The shard is all well and good, but the Tate is free and it has some great exhibitions on at the moment!
- What's the worst journey you've had to make in London? Everyone will say the same thing. The Tube at rush hour.
- What's your personal London landmark? The Undercroft at the Southbank Centre. In the 90's I spent a lot of time there with friends skateboarding. It has been one of London's most iconic skate spots since the early 70s and it should continue to be so. It's also a wonderful piece of Brutalist architecture.
- Who's your favourite fictional Londoner? It would without a doubt have to be Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses. The quintessential Londoner from the 70's/80's.
- What's your favourite London film, book or documentary? American Werewolf in London. Superbly shot, showing of london in the 80's and Routemasters in all their glory.
- If you could travel to any time period in London, past or future, where would you go? 17th Century London. I would just make sure to stay out of the path of the Great Fire or the Bubonic plague outbreaks!
- For you, who is the ultimate Londoner? Michael Caine born in Rotherhithe. More than 100 films under his belt and a top cockney accent to boot. Or maybe Robert Elms. His knowledge of London is amazing. Plus he wrote for The Face and NME.