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Living in London is just something you get on with. In both senses. If you don’t settle into its rhythms, numb yourself to the crowds, the indifference and the mess then it can actually be quite a nice place to live.

I’ve lived in London for eight years and tomorrow I leave. I’ll continue to work (and drink) in the city,  but I’ll no longer reside (and drink) in the capital.

I came in December 2006 to work for Harper Collins, a job that lasted 2 and a half years before Murdoch decided to cull a third of the staff thanks to recession. “I didn’t get into publishing to take the Murdoch shilling.” I remember Victoria Barnsley boasting during one of the company’s many team talks. She was more than happy to let good people go cos James Murdoch told her to though.

During this time I lived in a post council flat in Tufnell Park. It reflected London’s usual capacity for culture clash with millionaire authors and politicians living to the west in Dartmouth Park, careerists who couldn’t quite let the good times in Camden go camped-out south in Kentish Town, the small businesses and entrenched Irish communities of Archway to the north (watched over by that Brutalist masterpiece Archway Tower) and to the east the poverty of Holloway Rd entirely disconnected to the glamour of the Emirates Stadium.

The beauty was I lived right on the crossroads. A decent Chinese,  a decent Indian, apparently an outstanding Ethiopian (which I never cared for) and a little Italian in which I once saw Rob Newman eating fish. Pubs were split three ways. The Junction, a wholehearted stab at middle class respectability thrived on endless Sunday lunches and pints of Wandle. Take your friends, take your parents, always order organic loaf with olive oil to munch on. Bar Lorca (now I think a rock bar) a Spanish themed bar with paella, cocktails and good lager. Finally, The Boston. Cheap, cavernous,  ribald and edgy. An Irish pub whose opening hours were as laid back as the majority of punters who’d arrived at 10am and we’re horizontal by 6 in the evening. A club, a function space, a haven for Arsenal fans wanting to watch a 3pm away game in comfort… and secret. A place to enjoy yourself 360 days of the year, a place to let your American girlfriend order at the bar in the run up to St Patrick Day lest your English accent cause a scene with the hard drinking republicans happily singing anthems about killing British Army personnel.

In the end the flat was out-grown. A murder in the car park behind our flats (we never saw our electricity-stealing neighbour again and we became good mates with Camden CID) prompted us to move on. That was to Walthamstow, but it will have to wait. I’m out of battery.

 

 

 

 

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