So what's so special about living in London W11?

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The Independent Online
The list of famous Notting Hill names goes on and on - just as the price of properties there goes up and up.

Martin Amis put the West London enclave on the des-res map in 1989, with his his descriptions of Ladbroke Grove's seedy pubs and crumbling terraces in his novel, London Fields.

Now, in the words of Tania Kindersley, a Guinness heiress whose latest novel, Goodbye, Johnny Thunders, is set in Nineties Notting Hill: "It's so trendy, I'm surprised they haven't fenced it off and started charging an entry fee."

Well, they almost have. Aromatherapeutic acupuncture at the Good Health Clinic; Pesticide-free pesto from Planet Organic; fois gras pancake at Kensington Place; pounds 150 membership of the Cobden Club; and a few trinkets from Graham and Greene. Take your choice. It all racks up.

W11 is a celebrity ghetto. From the Gate (Notting Hill) to the Grove (Ladbroke), the streets are stuffed with household surnames. Damon Albarn, who says Notting Hill has had a big effect on him after reading London Fields, lives there with his girlfriend, Justine Frischmann, singer with the group, Elastica.

Taking up the slack where Sloane Rangers left off, the inhabitants have been variously labelled "Portobello Princesses", "Notting Hillbillies" and "Trustafarians" who meet Rastafarians, most apparantly at the Carnival.

Landmarks such as the Gate cinema, by Notting Hill Gate tube, and Portobello Market, are long-standing. But the splurge in snazzy residents has seen a corresponding rise in fashionable joints to meet their every need.

The Cobden Club, a kind of Groucho's-goes-West, a refit of the upstairs of the Cobden Working Men's Club, on Kensal Road, is a late-night watering hole for local members, such as Jade Jagger, Honor Fraser, Rifat Ozbek, Malcolm McLaren and Emily Lloyd.

If all the fans of Planet Organic, the area's answer to eco-friendly food, swept the super- market aisles at the same time, it would be quite a party. Sean Connery, Jarvis Cocker, Emily Lloyd, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Ruby Wax, Elizabeth Shue and Terence Stamp are among those who may have been tempted to try the sweet green wheatgrass juice, at pounds 1.35 a thimble, as a Sunday morning de-tox.

Notting Hill is also a haven for people who work - rather than star - in the media. Jonathan Dimbleby, Michael Jackson, Dominic Lawson, Clive Hollick, Jeremy Paxman and Alan Yentob all live there.

Richard Curtis, who wrote Four Weddings and a Funeral, Emma Freud, Mariella Frost- rup and Sally Brampton share an office on the Portobello Road, and Richard Branson's home and offices are on Holland Park Avenue.

It is not the first time that Notting Hill has provided the backdrop to a film. Recently, Jack and Sarah featured shots of Ladbroke Grove, but earlier precedents include: Nicholas Roeg's film, Perfomance (1970) starring Mick Jagger and Anita Pallenberg; A Hard Day's Night (1964) with the Beatles; Absolute Beginners (1986), the adaptation of Colin MacInnes's novel, starring Patsy Kensit and David Bowie; and Otley (1968), with Tom Courtenay.

The peace camp in Hanif Kureishi's Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987) is situated under the West Way and the studio in Blow-Up (1966), starring Vanessa Redgrave and David Hemmings, can be found on Princedale Road, off Holland Park Avenue.

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