I haven't been down in that London for oh, nearly a year. How I've missed it. I'm a country boy at heart I suppose, but the Big City always draws me in and I have fond memories of my three year sojourn in Bedford Park. The early doors sessions around District Line pubs, the playing football in my flat at two in the morning to Led Zeppelin (the neighbours waved me goodbye with alacrity) and yelling hello to Richard Briers and his dog every morning as I ran to the Underground. Yesterday, as I sat in traffic, red stop lights reflecting on the rainy streets, it all came back. The art nouveau Blackfriars pub, The Seven Stars in Carey Street, the Inner Temple, black cabs, girls scurrying with umbrellas and the wondering if I had time for a quick Sercial in Gordon's or a slow Harvey's in The Ship & Shovel. I didn't, but as I moved up below the pigeon haunted turrets of the Holloway Road I realised I hadn't photographed anything. As the traffic came to a halt I snapped this without getting out of the car. I know, I could be anywhere, but I wasn't. I love stuff spilling out of shops onto the pavement, and this was very North London. Except for the Gourock Ferry sign in the window, which brought back the memory of sharing the journey over the Clyde to Dunoon in the 1960s with my family and an occupied coffin, put down on the deck in front of my brother's Ford Anglia. I rang the shop up about the sign. It's £85, but this is that London.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)