Day Out

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The Independent Culture
I would almost never go out in the morning, it's quality time for writing. The very idea of going out before lunch is anathema to me. I make up for this every six weeks or so by organising a grand lunch for a group of writers who all live in or around Birmingham, people like David Edgar, Andrew Davies and Roy Fisher. We meet at the Chung Ying (021-622 5669) and it's usually a convivial and bibulous occasion. We mainly gossip but there is sometimes quite a fierce argument about some issue to do with writing. It is very informal, we sit at a round table in the corner and have dim sum and house white.

In the afternoon I would go to my tennis club, The Priory in Edgbaston where I live, and either play tennis or, if the weather was unpropitious, have a swim and a sauna. I have become quite addicted to saunas.

In the evening, I might go to the Birmingham Rep or some other theatre but I tend to do most of my theatre-going in London where I have a pied-a-terre. I might go to one of the multiplex cinemas in Birmingham. I should really go more often to the new Symphony Hall which is quite superb, but I normally prefer to listen to music in the car.

Birmingham has some of the best ethnic cooking in the country. I frequent Henry Wong's (021-427 9799) a good Chinese restarant in Harborne and the Maharaja Indian (021-622 2641). There's a French cuisine restaurant called Sloans (021-455 6697) which I'll go to if it's on someone else's expense account. I'm not a pub person, but I go to The Green Man in Harborne when my father comes up from London. He prefers the beer and finds our pubs more salubrious. Birmingham is a lively city really, and a much more humane place to live than London.

David Lodge narrates 'The Way of St James' for 'Everyman', 10.25pm Sunday 12 Dec BBC1

(Photograph omitted)

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