My London: Emma B

Broadcaster Emma B shares her thoughts on 7/7, Jamie Oliver and her perfect London day out…

Being in town on 7/7 was life changing. Everyone felt part of a big family suddenly and got really defiant about an attack on our city. In many ways it was an incredible day for standing together. I felt “at home” that day very acutely.

I love Soho, and being right in the middle of great coffee and meetings and huge diversity. But I love the South Bank as well, with all the arts and culture and the river as a backdrop.

On my perfect day in London I would… get the train in, so no need to worry about Congestion Charge or parking. Straight to Charing Cross, walk up to the National Gallery; cup of tea and a magnificent cake in the Portrait Gallery tea shops; over to Liberty off Regent Street to lust over handbags and gorgeous nothings; gig at the Royal Festival Hall; dinner at the OXO Tower and home.

What makes London unique? People. Our tolerance of such a diverse melting pot of attitudes, cultures and beliefs is something I’d fight long and hard to uphold.

Jamie Oliver is just a bloody nice guy who cares. And Kenny Everett was the man who made me want to be a radio DJ; a genius.

The parks in October are spectacular; most of the summer tourist madness has died down and you can get from A to B without wanting to kill someone!

I have never been to Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons. It’s a uniquely democratic thing to do and I’m proud that we live in a place where anyone can do that.

I love both recent London mayors in their own way. Ken Livingstone has London in his bones and truly cares about it as a city and as a home for millions of people. Boris is everything flamboyant about it; he’s the “chin up, it’ll be ok because we have tea” approach that Londoners are really good at.

I love the beginning of Great Expectations when Magwitch is escaping across Hackney Marshes; bleak and powerful but stunning as well. Lily Allen got it spot on as well…Dickens and Lily, she should be chuffed with that!

Some of the lesser known parts of the river, east past Greenwich towards the Thames barrier, are really spectacular. It’s a very different perspective to quaint west London on the Thames; amazing bird life, great structures and a real sense of what London was like when the Thames was a fully working river.

As a music lover, really really there isn’t anywhere else like London where you’ll get to see such a mountain of great live music in some of the most wonderful venues; huge and intimate in equal measure.

If the tube was subsidized to the same extent as public transport is in Europe everyone would use it. The fact is there just isn’t enough room for everyone driving into central London. It’s horrendous driving in London. I assume all cab drivers are on Prozac. It must be the only way they survive every day.’

Listen to Emma B on Smooth Radio, Sundays from 2 to 6pm.


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