1. Gay Pride March, July 2003. In the summer of 2003 I was leading a group of Belgian teenagers around the city, when we came across a huge gay pride march. As moody teens, I half expected them to be a bit embarrassed or dismissive. But instead, they insisted on following the march and getting their hands on some of the giant OUT signs, which also referred to the occupation of Iraq. This photo, taken just around the corner from Downing Street, was also their idea. “Being gay is ok, being in Iraq is not!!!” shouted Wouter, a serious-looking doctor’s son from Mechelen.
2. Disgruntled man, March 2004. Speaking of protestors, this dour old dog caught my eye during a city walk the following year. Also just a stone’s throw from Downing Street, he was an interesting sight if only for the fact that the guy was completely mute and perfectly statuesque. In fact, I was tempted to go over and give him a poke to see if he’d maybe been planted there by Madame Tussauds.
3. Baker Street, December 2008. This shot was taken quite unexpectedly by a friend of mine while we were waiting for a bus at Baker Street. Most famous for its connection with fictional detective Sherlock Holmes, the crime-buster’s street address (21B) is also non-existent, much to the disappointment of curious tourists who haven’t done their homework. The street was named after the builder William Baker, who laid out the design in the 18th century. Famous Baker Street residents include novelist HG Wells and Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger. It was also the site of The Beatles ill-fated Apple Boutique in the late sixties.
4. Green Park, June 2010. There are few cities on earth than can match London’s array of gorgeous green spaces. As the smallest of the capital’s eight royal parks, what Green Park lacks in size it certainly makes up for in location, with a triangular spot next to Buckingham Palace, between Piccadilly and Constitution Hill.
5. Claridge’s Hotel, December 2013. Getting to interview movie stars for a living was a dream come true for me. One of the most memorable experiences came with the cast of Anchorman 2 at this five star hotel in Mayfair. Will Ferrell was friendly, albeit a touch odd and awkward and Christina Applegate more than a little prickly. James Marsden proved modestly self-deprecating and director Adam McKay genuinely warm and funny. “Your English is amazing!” he told me when the rep explained I was from a Dutch media company. But the pick of the bunch had to be Paul Rudd and Steve Carell, who proved highly engaging and playful throughout our chat. In the moments before the interview started, Rudd treated me to a handful of jellybeans, while Carell handed me a pink condom from what he referred to as the ‘‘fishbowl of protection’’.
For more on my hometown wanderings, check out my other 5s from around London.
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