Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It [NOOK Book]

Overview

Five years in the making, Londoners is a fresh and compulsively readable view of one of the world's most fascinating cities—a vibrant narrative portrait of the London of our own time, featuring unforgettable stories told by the real people who make the city hum.

Acclaimed writer and editor Craig Taylor has spent years traversing every corner of the city, getting to know the most interesting Londoners, including the voice of the London Underground, a West End rickshaw driver, an ...

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Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now--As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It, and Long for It

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Overview

Five years in the making, Londoners is a fresh and compulsively readable view of one of the world's most fascinating cities—a vibrant narrative portrait of the London of our own time, featuring unforgettable stories told by the real people who make the city hum.

Acclaimed writer and editor Craig Taylor has spent years traversing every corner of the city, getting to know the most interesting Londoners, including the voice of the London Underground, a West End rickshaw driver, an East End nightclub doorperson, a mounted soldier of the Queen's Life Guard at Buckingham Palace, and a couple who fell in love at the Tower of London—and now live there. With candor and humor, this diverse cast—rich and poor, old and young, native and immigrant, men and women (and even a Sarah who used to be a George)—shares indelible tales that capture the city as never before.

Together, these voices paint a vivid, epic, and wholly original portrait of twenty-first-century London in all its breadth, from Notting Hill to Brixton, from Piccadilly Circus to Canary Wharf, from an airliner flying into London Heathrow Airport to Big Ben and Tower Bridge, and down to the deepest tunnels of the London Underground. Londoners is the autobiography of one of the world's greatest cities.

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Editorial Reviews

Sarah Lyall
Craig Taylor had a rough time when he first moved to London from Canada a dozen years ago…But something about the city got under his skin, so he resolved to push beyond his own experience and take its measure. Happily for us, the result is Londoners, a rich and exuberant kaleidoscopic portrait of a great, messy, noisy, daunting, inspiring, maddening, enthralling, constantly shifting Rorschach test of a place…And though countless excellent books have been written on the city, this is the one that best captures what it's like to live in London right now, through the words of the people themselves—just as Studs Terkel did for Chicago in his oral histories years ago.
—The New York Times Book Review
Booklist
“Highly engaging. . . . Bursts with charm, edification, and life.”
Guardian (London)
“Splendid. . . . A remarkable volume [of] countless funny, terrifying, epic stories.”
New York Times Book Review
“A rich and exuberant kaleidoscopic portrait of a great, messy, noisy, daunting, inspiring, maddening, enthralling, constantly shifting Rorschach test of a place. . . . Delightful. . . . In Taylor’s patient and sympathetic hands, regular people become poets, philosophers, orators.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“Remarkable. . . . Essential. . . . Enlightening. . . . Londoners offers an impression of the city’s people, a way to understand their motives and fears and the simmering rush. It captures the combination of quiet desperation and boundless optimism required to live [there].”
Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Fascinating. . . . Makes you want to join Taylor in “The London Chase.”
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
“Engaging. . . . A treasury of compact vignettes from voices that are rarely heard but come closer to the truth of the city than any travel brochure or official document.”
Newark Star Ledger
“Impressive. . . . A scintillating oral history.”
Chicago Tribune
“From Brixton to Piccadilly Circus, a fascinating oral history of contemporary London.”
Londonist.com
“The best book about London in at least a decade. . . . Masterful. . . . A cracking and insightful read [that] will still be widely enjoyed 50 years from now. Treat yourself . . . you really are investing in a classic.”
Very Short List - The Observer
"Immensely enjoyable. . . . Reminded us of Studs Terkel’s best books."
Time Out London
“A remarkable new book that celebrates the city’s endless diversity. . . . Five stars.”
Newsday
“Whether or not you know London, whether or not you love it, this book is for you. . . . A polyphonic hymn to the Big Smoke.”
Oona King
“A thrilling portrait of the city. . . . Enchanting. . . . I feel I almost learned more about Londoners from this book than from being a Londoner for more than four decades. . . . Too good to miss.”
David Nicholls
“An epic portrait in eighty voices that shows the city to be just [as] Dickensian as it has ever been.”
Diana Athill
Londoners is a wonderful book—I wanted it to be twice as long.”
David Shields
“Samuel Johnson said, ‘When you are tired of London, you’re tired of life.’ Craig Taylor is tired of neither London nor life, and this book is a gorgeous, utterly irresistible—even addictive—ode to both.”
Lucy Worsley
“Ambitious [and] creative. . . . A book to deepen your relationship with London and make you fall in - or out - of love with it all over again. . . . I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it.”
David Rakoff
“Craig Taylor is the real deal: a peerless journalist and a beautiful craftsman. He’d be a household name already if he wasn’t so modest. He’ll be one anyway in due course.”
The Observer's Very Short List
“Immensely enjoyable. . . . Reminded us of Studs Terkel’s best books.”
Library Journal
Fans of Studs Terkel's insightful oral histories will be delighted to discover a successor in British writer Taylor (One Million Tiny Plays About Britain). His collection of conversations with contemporary Londoners emerges from five years of work, an original total of 200 interviews, and more than 300 AAA batteries for his recorder. The end result is a perspective on London as diverse and fascinating as its denizens. This is the kind of book one can dip into at leisure. Divided into sections such as "Arriving," "Earning One's Keep," and "Feeding the City," the book features conversations with a dominatrix who declares, "London is one of the kinkier cities in the world"; a nurse who discusses the seasonal nature of treatments required in her clinic; a "skipper," whom U.S. readers would call a dumpster diver; and a rickshaw driver who comments on the often sleazy side of Soho. VERDICT More than a collection of conversations, this book brings London to life as it is—ever changing, ever eternal, ever unforgettable. A delight! With the 2012 Olympics coming up in London, this should be a popular purchase. [See Prepub Alert, 8/22/11.]—Janet Ross, formerly with Sparks Branch Lib., NV
Kirkus Reviews
A Canadian playwright and literary-magazine editor ponders the love and hate for London, sifting through hundreds of interviews with the denizens. Living for a time in the city, Taylor (One Million Tiny Plays About Britain, 2009, etc.) is clearly fascinated and fond of the place and those who manage to thrive there, even if he is still mystified by who is and isn't a "Londoner." With 32 boroughs (New York only has five), London is truly a city of villages and takes its postcodes very seriously. Cleverly, Taylor organizes his masses of voices by "people who worked with the stuff of the city." His subjects include a male nurse; a street photographer; a nightclub door attendant; a manicurist who offers her singularly wise take on the strata of society; a personal trainer who tries to smarten up his clients but finds the shoulders and the alignment give out immediately; the black actress who got tired of being cast as a slave and now plies her trade as a plumber; a beekeeper atop the Royal Festival Hall; a gay man who depicts the best cruising spots; the female voice of the London Underground who reveals that even the officials couldn't decide how to pronounce the stop "Marylebone." From the well-heeled Pakistani currency trader near his office across from Bank station to the transsexual "skipper" ("forager for waste food in the skips") on the streets in South London, the stories are alternately poignant, uplifting, amusing and sad. A nicely polished oral history--good reading just for the vicarious kicks.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062096937
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/21/2012
  • Sold by: HARPERCOLLINS
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 187,011
  • File size: 1,023 KB

Meet the Author

Craig Taylor is the author of Return to Akenfield and One Million Tiny Plays About Britain, both of which have been adapted for the stage. He is also the editor of the literary magazine Five Dials. He lives in London.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xiii

A Note About London xxxi

Prologue Simon Kushner, former Londoner 1

Part I

Arriving

Kevin Pover, commercial airline pilot 7

Raymond Lunn, on arriving from Leeds 9

Jane Lanyero, on arriving from Uganda 18

John Harber, a tourist from America 19

Farzad Pashazadeh, on arriving from Iran 22

Getting Around

Emma Clarke, voice of the London Underground 29

Nicky Dorras, taxi driver 34

Emily Davis, cyclist 36

Craig Clark, TfL Lost Property Clerk 38

Noel Gaughan, driving instructor 44

Nick Tyler, civil engineer 47

Seeing the Sights

David Doherty, on Buckingham Palace 53

Bruce Smith, on Big Ben 62

Philip and Ann Wilson, on the Tower of London 66

Tim Turner, on "Londin" 67

Earning One's Keep

Ruby King, plumber 71

Kamran Sheikh, currency trader 74

Mary Forde, publican 82

Ruth Fordham, manicurist 84

Loving One Another

Alina Iqbal, a love story 91

Peter Davey and Milan Selj, a couple who met on Parliament Hill 98

Mistress Absolute, dominatrix 99

Jay Hughes, nurse 102

Getting on With it

Nikky, Lindsay, Danielle, students 105

Paulo Pimentel, grief counselor 107

Liston Wingate-Denys, personal trainer 111

Smartie, Londoner 114

Part II

Continuing Your Journey

Peter Rees, City Planning Officer, City of London 125

Davy Jones, street photographer 132

Joe John Avery, street cleaner 136

Jill Adams and Gary Williams, bus operations specialists 140

Paul Akers, arboriculturalist 144

Elisabetta de Luca, commuter 149

Gleaning on the Margins

Sarah Constantine, skipper 153

John Andrews, angler 162

Mikey Tompkins, beekeeper 167

Christina Oakley Harrington, Wiccan priestess 169

Feeding the City

Adam Byatt, chef 173

David Smith, Director of Markets, City of London 178

Peter Thomas et al, New Spitalfields Market traders 181

Climbing the Property Ladder

Ashley Thomas, estate agent 199

Robert Guerini, property owner 204

Stephanie Walsh, property seeker 208

Nick Stephens, squatter 213

Mike Bennison and Geoff Bills, residents of Surrey 216

Putting on a Show

Henry Hudson, artist 221

Martins Imhangbe, actor 224

Laetitia Sadier, singer 230

Rinse, rapper 233

Darren Flook, art gallerist 237

Going Out

Dan Simon, rickshaw driver 243

Daniel Serrano, cruiser 249

Emmajo Read, nightclub door attendant 254

Smartie, Londoner 259

Part III

Making a Life

Jo the Geordie, who stayed in Newcastle 271

Stacey the Geordie, who came to London 274

Getting Along

Ed Husain, commentator 281

Abul Azad, social worker 286

Nicola Owen, teacher 289

Guity Keens, interpreter 297

Lucy Skilbeck, mother 302

Keeping the Peace

Paul Jones, home security expert 307

Colin Hendrick, police officer 310

Nick Smith, eyewitness to the London riots 320

Mohammed Al Hasan, suspect 323

David Obiri, Jeremy Ranga, Keshav Gupta, barristers 325

Charles Henty, Under-Sheriff of London 331

Barbara Tucker, protestor 334

Staying on Top

Stuart Fraser, Chairman, Policy and Resources Committee 339

Toby Murthwaite, student 341

Paul Hawtin, hedge fund manager 343

George Iacobescu, CEO, Canary Wharf Group PLC 350

Living and Dying

Alison Cathcart, Superintendent Registrar, City of Westminster 355

Alex Blake, eyewitness 360

Perry Powell, paramedic 365

John Harris, funeral director 373

Spencer Lee, crematorium technician 380

Departing

Michael Linington, seeker 385

Rob de Groot, antique-clock restorer 388

Ethel Hardy, old-age pensioner 392

Ludmila Olszewska, former Londoner 394

Smartie, Londoner 396

Kevin Pover, commercial airline pilot 398

Acknowledgments 401

Index 405

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 30, 2012

    I loved Craig Taylor's "Londoners", and was sorry when

    I loved Craig Taylor's "Londoners", and was sorry when I was finished! Mr. Taylor has done exhaustive oral histories from people of all walks of life, and from all sorts of viewpoints. I especially liked that not all of the people he included adore London: the stories are broadbased and diverse. (Note: this is not a travel guide. I think that should be quite obvious, but I'm noting it just in case.)

    If you're at all interested in modern London--or interested in the people of any large modern city---this book is a must-read. I loved every minute of it, and will reread it soon. Highly recommended.

    9 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    Loved this book!

    Great writing, wonderful stories about myfavorite place to visit

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 22, 2013

    A Decent Read

    it is broken into small bits which make it a great read for dr. office visits or a quick read in bed before going to sleep. the author left the characters words as they spoke, which gives a flavor of the culture in which they came from. some characters are more difficult to read than others and probably would be just as difficult to listen to if talking to them. it keeps the book interesting.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Wolf its Clara-Belle, I got into trouble because I was suppose t

    Wolf its Clara-Belle, I got into trouble because I was suppose to be studying but got caught on my nook....... I will be back in two weeks.... the 10th or 11th not sure. i am sooooo sorry ): Wait for me please....

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    Clara-Belle

    Whats going on?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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