What better time to start reading this book than a train journey back to the Midlands from the big smoke? I’d spent the day supping champers and devouring hot dogs with my friend who lives in Watford. My friend who, when I lived in London, was my partner-in-crime in many a cocktail supping night out.
As I sat on the train, rapidly making my way through the book with a knowing smile on my face, I could still smell London in my hair, on my clothes. I could still feel it in my veins.
The book touts itself as ‘The Days and Nights of London Now – As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It and Long for It.’ And in true Hammerite fashion the pages within deliver exactly what it says on the tin (or cover, in this case). Even the prologue (which I often skip) is a delectable account of the author’s own experiences of London. What follows is stories not only about the city, but about life in general. The books kicks off with an airline pilot recounting the iconic view which he gets every time he lands at Heathrow. There’s history in there, The seedy underbelly of London is explored. Bits that if you’ve experienced London you’ll know only too well (the Asda which Sarah Constantine describes is the one I used to shop in when I lived in Tooting Bec) but you’ll also find astonishing anecdotes about things you’d never even consider (like the account from the aboriculturalist).
Let’s face it. If you’ve visited London you’re either going to love or hate the city. Either way you’ll find something for you in this book. And if you’ve never been? You’ll still be fascinated by the clever, colourful stories interwoven to give an overview of how this fabulous city functions.
Fabulous rating: 5/5