BLOOM: Uncommon London

By Shannon Brien

What can’t you say about London, the city that goes from sleaze to grandeur in less than a heartbeat. This historically empirical town is the epicentre of all travel into Europe, where you can reward long hours of work with a long weekend in an Italian town.

You may be able to experience the London Eye but not many people will ever experience London through the eyes of a local. Uncommon London takes tourists by the hand on an evocative, sensory and varied journey drawing on real stories from Londoners.

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London isn’t arranged in any discernible order. There aren’t the gridded certainties of Manhattan, or even the geometric triangulations of Paris. London is, rather, a network of villages and towns that over a millennia have bled into each other. 

To use the term guidebook would be to place it alongside Lonely Plant, DK and Rough Guides on the bookshelf, its rather an experience book, providing anecdotes of great experiences within the city. The book is sorted into four sections, each offering a different insight into these ‘network of villages’.

Relate: Camden – Tariq Goddard
In what is referred to as the ‘last survivor of a dead epoch’, Goddard tells a tale of a Camden long gone. A Camden that was dictated by the working class who established the pub based music scene that it is now renowned for. Today it has become a box to tick on the ‘Things to Do in London’ checklist, with an abundance of walking tours and organic coffee.

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Review: Essex Girls Do/Not Exist – Michael Fordham
“The Essex Girl is a chip-shop, clopping slapper schnarfling badly cut coke and buzzed up on five quid Pinot Grigio”, her main aspirations are fine dining, even finer cars and fifteen minutes of fame. The Essex Boy merely serves to provide his girl with all her desires. “The fact that she doesn’t exist is as obvious and true as the fact that she does…she is as real as the city itself, and as unreal as any of its imaginings.”

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Recreate: Lord’s Exactly, Cricket – Tom Fordyce
The incredible 125 year old ground is a contrasting space within an expensive town. Each stand represents the different characters you are bound to encounter at any match; the boisterous ones in the Tavern, suits on the Mound, and polite spectators in the Grandstand.

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Reroute: Soho Amble – Alistair Rae
“You really have to spend some time ambling around the area to begin to appreciate the rhythm of Soho,” which Rae asserts is caused by it being the junction of Oxford St, Mayfair, Piccadilly and the ever vibrant China Town, bringing you an uncommon insight into the commonly toured area.

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This experience book brings you an extraordinary look into what is sometimes viewed as an ordinary city. Uncommon London has the ability to send you back to where you came from with stories as wild and as unusual as those that are bound in it’s covers.