BIMM Cities

My London: Roisin O’Hagan

15th October 2018

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How would you summarise London?

London is a city full of history, music, business, and opportunity. There’s a bit of everything in London. I love that you can wander anywhere and find yourself somewhere completely different and new within minutes.

Do you remember the first gig you saw in the city?

My first London gig was Taylor Swift at the O2 Arena on her Speak Now tour in 2011. Her early music will always have a place in my heart and has inspired my own songwriting, so that was a show I’ll never forget.

And the last?

Lily Moore with support from Plested at Omeara (such a cool little venue.) The next London gig I’ll be going to will be Counting Crows at the O2 Arena – I have to mention that because they are my favourite band EVER.

If you had someone visiting for 24 hours, where would you take them?

I’d take them to some of the museums and to see the obvious places like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and the London Eye. But I’d also show them the contrasting places such as Denmark Street, Shoreditch, and Camden. I’d end the day at one of the quirky little Camden music venues like Green Note or The Monarch.

What would you say is London’s hidden gem?

I definitely haven’t found even half of London’s hidden gems yet, but there are a few I have stumbled across which are really special. Neil’s Yard in Convent Garden is worth seeing and the light tunnel between King’s Cross and St Pancras is cool for photos. Also, I’m good at getting lost and one time I was at Tower Hill and was trying to find my way onto Tower Bridge (I really am that bad at finding my way around) and ended up in a lovely little part I now know is called St Katharine’s Docks. It’s a really pretty little marina right by Tower Bridge with lots of little cafes and restaurants.

The best for…

A quick pint? Old Street Records.
A night out? I’m not a nights out person, but, if I was going to go on a night out, the Nash Nights UK events look really fun and quirky.
To see new music? There’s new music absolutely everywhere. The Common People open mic nights are great. Also, gigs hosted by Talentbanq, Belles & Gals or Never Fade are worth checking out to see up-and-coming singer/songwriters.
Grab a coffee? Caffè Nero. Plus, they playlist a lot of small, unsigned artists in their cafes.
Brunch? Has to be Wetherspoons for brunch really. There are lots of *nice* Wetherspoons pubs in London though!
Dinner? If you’re a student, whack that student discount out at pretty much any chain restaurant in the prettiest places in London. For instance, there is a Zizzi at St Katharine’s Dock at Tower Hill which has such a beautiful view at night overlooking the marina (30% student discount Sunday to Thursday. Go, go, go!)
Takeaway? Pizza Pilgrims is AMAZING.
Venue? Roundhouse is a great venue for bigger gigs. For smaller gigs, all the famous little venues that are often side rooms or underneath pubs such as The Troubadour, Green Note, Water Rats, The Bedford in Balham, The Finsbury and countless others.
Taking a time out? The View from The Shard is great on a clear day. Or, sitting in/walking through any of the big parks such as Hyde Park or St James’ Park.
Clothes shopping? The vintage markets and shops in Shoreditch are really similar to the Brighton ones. Also, obviously, all the main places like Oxford Street, Carnaby Street, Covent Garden.
Vinyl shop? Rough Trade East. Simply because I haven’t been to Rough Trade West.
See art? National Gallery, Tate Modern and the British Museum.

Author

Sarah-Louise Burns

After studying Ba(Hons) Photography, Sarah has worked in Social Media Marketing since 2013 - she's now part of the BIMM Social Media Team, and is photographer for the Who, What, Why series.