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Description - Londoners by Craig Taylor

Here are the voices of London - rich and poor, native and immigrant, women and men - witnessed by Craig Taylor, an acclaimed journalist, playwright and writer, who spent five years exploring the city and listening to its residents.

From the woman whose voice announces the stations on the London Underground to the man who plants the trees along Oxford Street; from a Pakistani currency trader to a Guardsman at Buckingham Palace - together, these voices and many more, paint a vivid, epic and wholly fresh portrait of Twenty-First Century London.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781847083296
ISBN-10: 1847083293
Format: Paperback / softback
(200mm x 130mm x 30mm)
Pages: 448
Imprint: Granta Books
Publisher: Granta Books
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2012
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Book Reviews - Londoners by Craig Taylor

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Book Review: Londoners by Craig Taylor - Reviewed by (23 Aug 2012)

Craig Taylor is Canadian, but after living for several years in London and growing attached to the place he began to ask "What is a Londoner?". It seems that there are almost as many answers to that question as there are people living in London but my favourite is that " a real Londoner would never, ever, ever eat at one of those bloody Angus bloody Steak Houses in the West End". I like it, firstly, because I grew up in London before there ever was an Angus Steak House in the West End; and secondly, because I have never, ever, ever eaten in one. However, I am sure there must be some Londoners who have.

In search of an answer, Craig Taylor interviewed some 200 people all over London and even some who had left London to live elsewhere. He interviewed anyone and everyone, from those in high places (and not just workers in the office towers at Canary Wharf but also high office holders like the Under-Sheriff and Secondary of London), to a street sweeper, a manicurist, and, of course, one or two taxi drivers. Tourists, immigrants, those who love London and those who hate it; teacher, squatter, Wiccan priestess, hedge-fund manager, currency trader, a couple who live in the Tower of London (try ordering a take-away Pizza from that address!), people in the arts, market traders, nurses, all have a voice in this book. We hear their language, their opinions, their likes and dislikes.

Even as a Londoner, I learned things I didn't know before and had glimpses of life in London which I hardly knew existed. I learned, for example, that around the back of the Planetarium, just off Baker Street, there is a block of flats with a whole set of train parts stuck into the top of the building. And I learned that according to Mistress Absolute, a dominatrix, London is one of the kinkiest cities in the world. I was fascinated by the funeral director's account of the changes in his profession which immigrants to his local area have caused; and by the career change which brought London its only black, dread-locked, female plumber. I was also intrigued to hear from fast-talking, fashion conscious "Smartie", an East-Ender who conned his way onto the bank's market trading floor by making up his c.v. and who reckons that half the traders in the futures market (the best ones, of course) were originally barrow boys who "came from market stalls...were rough and ready...edgy...streetwise, and "who could add up numbers easily".

There is such variety and so much interest in the eighty accounts in this book that it is hard to pick out favourites. It is, in fact, just like London: full of life and spirit, full of the varied people who generate energy and excitement, and full of ordinary people who keep the whole city running. The sub-title of the book says it all: The Days and Nights of London Now - As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It and Long For It - Londoners.

Copyright © Ann Skea 2012 Website and Ted Hughes pages: http://ann.skea.com/


Author Biography - Craig Taylor

Craig Taylor is the author of two books, Return to Akenfield and One Million Tiny Plays About Britain, which began life as a column in the Guardian newspaper. He is the editor of the literary magazine, Five Dials. Born in Edmonton, Alberta, he grew up on Vancouver Island. He now lives in London.

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