Which part of London would you like to live in, and why?
I'm happy where I am in Hackney. Before that I lived in Brixton for nine years. It's important to me to live amongst a mix of people, cultures and languages. Besides various African and Caribbean communities, Hackney also has many Kurdish and Turkish people. I found some mind-blowing Turkish chocolate biscuits which visitors can't wait to devour.
Is there anywhere that you have never visited in London and keep
The Tower of London. I did get myself there once, but it was closed.
What is your worst transport story?
Actually, I haven't had one in a while in London. I'm often travelling with Mateda, who's nearly two, her pushchair and a whole crowd of her furry friends, and bus conductors in Hackney are wonderful. Notting Hill Tube station was heaving during the carnival, but a young guy got up for me and Mateda, and another couple carried her pushchair all the way to street level.
What is your closest brush with crime in London?
I was stalked on the way home from the Tube and attacked from behind when I was nearly home. It frightened me a lot and I took karate lessons for nine months to help regain my confidence. I have been frightened for my life about six times in my whole life. It's always men. My sister and daughter were surrounded by a gang of youths a fortnight ago. She was punched in the face as one took her bag. I had to have my locks changed. Self-defence for women is not compulsory in schools and that is the biggest crime.
Nominate your most romantic spot
Top of Alexandra Palace at night on New Year's Eve, watching fireworks go off all over London with a glass of champagne in my hand.
What was the last film you saw and where?
Four Weddings and a Funeral, Kensington Odeon.
Where did you last eat out, who with and why?
Last night at the Quality Chop House. . .progressive working class caterers, it says on my bill. They are in Farringdon Road, EC1. I didn't go alone, but I'm saying no more.
Have you ever been banned from anywhere?
No, I'm far too well behaved. But the chef had to come out of the kitchen last night and threaten a table of City types who looked to be having more fun than was really necessary over bangers and mash.
Have you ever seen anyone famous on the streets?
Kirk Douglas outside Knightsbridge Tube. And the other day I thought I saw Robert Vaughan (Man from UNCLE), standing outside Marks & Sparks in Hackney.
What would you change about London?
If I could wave my wand, I'd put a roof over every head. I'm concerned too about the amount of homeless struggling with mental disorder now that the Mental Health Act has pushed many people out of long-stay homes and onto the street. Not long ago, I narrowly missed being hit by a large unwashed man who looked panic-stricken. I shouted at him but realised later he must have been frightened of me because I was standing behind him waiting to pass a queue on Dalston Lane. Community care is an empty concept because there isn't enough money in Hackney to provide it.
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