After two-and-just-under-a-quarter years, I have finally bid farewell to my pokey box room flat in Chiswick, West London, and moved into an altogether different pokey box room in the bohemian neighbourhood of Stoke Newington, North East London. The move coincides with my recent finishing of David Foster Wallace’s magnum opus Infinite Jest (a book that has single handedly changed the way I think about literature) and a change in job. I am marginally proud to say that I now work for MTV – though, if I just met you and you asked what I did for a living, I would most probably tell you I work in media but in a very vague capacity (as anyone working in TV/Film will tell you, generally when you meet someone and they find out you work in that particular industry, you’re either accused of being the cause of all the world’s problems, asked to get them a part on a show/film or demanded to reel off the names of all the famous people you’ve met). The wholly unglamorous an genuine truth of the matter is that 99.99% of the people working in the industry – I should tell you – have little or no influence over the creative decisions made by broadcasting/cinematic companies, have absolutely no say when it comes to casting and the closest I’ve gotten to interacting with a genuine A-list Hollywood star was when I took this photo of the back of Daniel “Harry Potter” Radcliffe’s head:
In typically bizarre and very London fashion, my moving day was made somewhat more interesting by the van driver I hired to help me get my stuff across town. 10 minutes into the journey, the driver, Trevor, asked me about my job. As usual, I tried to weasel my way out of this awkward question with a few minutes of telling him vaguely about my work – more afraid of coming across as a ponce than a fear of him asking for a role on Jersey Shore. Trevor seemed like a no nonsense sort of tough London city guy – but he kept pushing the topic until I finally told him about my new job with MTV.
“Very interesting.” he said “My daughter was in the music industry.”
“Oh, really.” I responded, indifferently.
“Yeah, she did very well for herself, actually.” We slowed down to stop at a red light.
“That’s good.” I offered.
“You might know her, Emma Bunton. Of course, she doesn’t do much singing anymore. She’s mostly on the radio, Heart FM, I think”
“Wait…” My brain caught off guard “Emma Button from the Spice Girl? Like, Baby Spice?”
“Yeah.” A green light, he put the van back into gear.
Within a second, I had a million questions I wanted to ask this man but I had to play it cool, I’m an adult after-all.
“They did quite well for themselves.” Ice cold.
He let out a short chuckle.
“Yeah, not too bad.”
“Yeah, I think remember them. They had a few good songs, what was it, in the 90s, right? There was a lot more money in it in those days.” I must of sounded like an imbecile.
Heading into the Marylebone region of town, I commented as we drove by Madame Tussauds and its perplexingly long mid-day queue.
“You know, I’ve never understood the attraction of this place.”
“I know. Tourists.” He said with a tsk “I never even went in when there was a waxwork of my daughter in there.”
On our way through King’s Cross and Highbury we joked about a Spice Girls reunion, the troubles of buying a birthday present for a millionaire and how, during the peak of Spice Mania, Baby Spice was contractually obliged by the Pepsi company to never be seen drinking any other sort of carbonated beverage in public. This was, without a shadow of doubt, the most fun I’ve ever had moving house. Even though I wasn’t paying for the service, the guy even helped me bring my stuff up a flight of stairs once we had arrived at my new house.
A few hours into the neighborhood and I’m loving this part of London, the new house, the neighborhood, it’s fantastic.
After half a day of unpacking and cleaning, my room is now almost as I want it. I’m particularly happy with how my bookshelf is shaping up.
For the first time, I am living on a street that has a pub on the corner, this will either mean that my ingratiation into the heart of the community will be relatively seamless or that I’ll become a full blown alcoholic by the end of the month.
Here’s to this next adventure in foggy London town.