Battersea

Part-time pooches for time-poor dog lovers

There are few things nicer than walking a dog and I'll happily borrow a friend's canine for a stomp around the park. Sadly like many nine-to-five officer workers, renters and cramped townies it wouldn't be fair of me to own a dog. This is a shame. I grew up with dogs (a mutt called Ziggy, then a Jack Russell called Mini) but haven't had the joy of walking my own since leaving home 10 years ago.

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Face of a nation: Iain McKell challenges our notions of beauty with

Iain McKell has documented the tribes of gritty modern Britain – the skinheads, punks, Blitz Kids and rockabillies – with understated ease. Yet when I go to meet him, I find the photographer in the incongruously leafy environs of Kensington. His house, despite the polite suburban setting, is a seething archive of his work of over 30 years, in which time he has contributed to influential magazines such as Italian Vogue, The Face and i-D.

Soif, 27 Battersea Rise, London SW11

EM Forster once wrote an essay called "Battersea Rise". It was the name of the house where his great-aunt, Marianne Thornton, lived, a very grand place somewhere among the huge Edwardian mansions around Clapham Common. The Rise itself never had many pretensions, however. It's a strip of London's South Circular up which, in the 1960s, enormous car-transporter lorries used to run through the night and make the houses shake.

'Miracle' in Battersea: Francesca Kay has turned from the enigmas of

In recent English literature, genre and custom tend to compress the roles and thoughts available to the people of inner-city South London. Thanks to a tradition that swings between satire and miserabilism, they may figure as victims or villains, emblems of class divisions and demographic shifts, or (you suspect, in the near-future) the sullen tinder of riot. For spiritual crises, dark nights of the soul and searing flashes of grace or grief, fiction often calls at a swankier address. But not always: Graham Greene in Clapham, or Muriel Spark in Peckham, have found ecstasies and epiphanies in the sort of postcode where Essex cabbies rarely choose to drive after dark.