I had to make a list; then shorten it; then add to it; then shorten it again; sigh, huff, puff, frown, add a few more and look at it again. This is going to be impossible.
When Time Out London asked me to do a piece with my Top 5 Secret Spots in London, I felt a strange mixture of panic and happiness. I was at work, so I could not fully express either, so I just combined both: my feet did a happy dance under my desk while my chest was trying to control an incoming hyperventilation.
Pen, paper, and a few pages afterwards I was back at square one. What is a spot? What is secret in London? I opened every London app, website, map, newsletter and contact list I had. Secret spots; spots that are secret; spots with secrets inside. I started making lists of places that even though they were new, and relatively unknown, they did not really represent me. I don’t want to make a list just to list places; I want to make a list of places that are important to me. A spot that is secret; a spot with a secret inside.
And then it hit me. My secret spots are not going to be secret because they are not known; they were going to be secret because they contain a secret. They will be personal. They will be my secrets. I took a gulp from my (now cold) latte, bit the lid off the pen, and started writing the list again.
I chose the Cuming Museum because I really think that it is a collection of magnificent somethings; of objects that regardless of monetary worth, we’re valuable to the Cuming family. They meant something to them, so they mean something to me.
Hobbs is the only place that I can say I fully trust with my volatile reactions when it comes to haircuts (plus, the pulled pork sandwich really helps).
Homemade brought back memories of breakfast before work, good coffee, and bacon with Maple syrup pancakes. It had to be in.
The ‘There are no Prostitutes’ sign was not in my initial list. However, when I was trying to find another spot (I think people do not realise the extent of my lack of orientation), I bumped into it, and remembered how much it made me laugh when I first saw it; it was my first year in London, and for some strange reason, it added a little bit of magic in my view of this wonderfully weird city.
And finally Gay’s the Word is so close to my heart, and I genuinely believe that it keeps inside the best kept secret in London: Jim Macsweeney and Uli Lenart have to be discovered from anyone that enjoys an intelligent discussion, a good book and a hearty laugh.
You can read the full post here. Below you can find some more pictures from the spots that could not fit in the Time Out blog, but thought I would show you anyway.
I did not want to just make a list of secret spots; I wanted to share places, people and things that need to be discovered.
I really hope that you enjoy it.