Harry Potter, Famous Dads and Stoke Newington

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 and I reluctantly told him about my new job with MTV.

“Very interesting.” he said “My daughter was in the music industry.”

“Oh, really,” I responded.

“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… Emma Button from the Spice Girl? Like, Baby Spice?”

“Yeah.” A green light, he put the van back into gear.

“They did quite well for themselves.”

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.”

Heading into Marylebone, 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 . “I never even went in when they had 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.

This isn’t exactly my new house, it’s a house on my street that looks nicer than my house, so I thought better to put its picture up.

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.

20 Comments Add yours

  1. cabbagetalk says:

    How cool yet so odd, from the sounds of it Trevor was definitely playing it cooler than you. I have just moved from my first house there was a pub on the street corner. I don’t think I ever stepped foot in the pub. It was more of an issue than a pleasure. But that may have been down to the noise of the Harley’s the patrons rode.

  2. philly89 says:

    Very funny story!

    Yes baby spice, the best spice is if you ask me.

  3. Def a full blown alcoholic! xxx

  4. M. R. says:

    Nice story! – but there’s tragedy ahead, I fear … You’re not going to be able to buy any more books! Of course, you may already have a firm policy of rissoling one before buying another …?

    1. Don’t worry, I have a 2 variations on a plan-B: a) dispose of bed to make room for books. b) Buy more shelving. To be honest, I’m leaning more toward option a.

      1. Alice says:

        Who needs a bed when there are books!

  5. Alice says:

    This is quite the anecdote, very amusing.

    Maybe, if you are very lucky, the local pub will be full of scary people that make it uncomfortable to go in there – to spare you from an inevitable alcoholics death.

  6. kiwiadrift says:

    (Random drive-by commenter here — found you through the daily prompt pingback thing.) Anyway — crazy cool story about your moving help guy, haha, that’s neat. Your new neighborhood sounds nice — pub close by, seems comfy. I loved visiting London and how walkable it was, and I like the -idea- of a convenient neighborhood like that, but being from Los Angeles I’m just so used to having my space! Someday I’ll move. 😉 Great story, thanks for sharing.

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  8. I’m really glad I found your blog through the Daily Post. My own is about the move to London I’m going to make in September and I’m still very excited and mystified by London. So I’m very interested to read the blog of a seasoned Londoner with such interesting posts. I look forward to making my way through your back catalogue!

  9. Su Leslie says:

    🙂 great story. Trevor sounds very cool and much better than most of the people I’ve ever paid to help me move house.

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  11. Anne says:

    May i Know this is which street? which street did you see daniel radcliffe?

  12. espeegeeone says:

    The Shakey – one of London’s finest [last time I checked] – with nice walled garden @ back for the summer.

  13. Asymphonical says:

    What I’m surprised about is the fact that Emma Bunton’s dad helps people move house? Surely she’d have set him up with something more fun to do!

    Great story though 🙂

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