My London: Baxter Dury

·3-min read
 (Tom Beard)
(Tom Beard)

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Hammersmith. In the Eighties a new record deal helped my dad [Ian] buy a house overlooking the bridge. I live there now with my son. It’s an amazing gaff, the emperor’s suite in a Victorian block.

Hammersmith Bridge (Alamy Stock Photo)
Hammersmith Bridge (Alamy Stock Photo)

Ever had a run-in with a London police officer?

Many times. Once after I stole some sunglasses from Boots in Kensington High Street I was taken to a cell for so long the head of CID gave me some cake and showed me pictures of her new kittens. I was 13.

Most iconic Londoner?

My favourite Londoners, and I really don’t know much about either, are Lionel Bart, who was famous for writing Oliver! — just because he was brilliant but melancholic. And Joseph Bazalgette, who built the sewage system 150 years ago and stopped cholera. Although he probably wasn’t even from London.

Lionel Bart (Denis Jones/ANL/Shutterstock)
Lionel Bart (Denis Jones/ANL/Shutterstock)

What clubs did you go to when you were younger?

I hung out with the hippy kids from Holland Park School. We were going to nightclubs by 14: Mud Club in Tottenham Court Road and the Opera House run by Philip Sallon. I used to ring up and pretend to be Dad, but he would know it was me. I didn’t have the prowess the other kids had to get in, I was a bit potato-faced.

Best gig you’ve done in the capital?

The last one we did, at South Facing Festival in Crystal Palace. I did lots of expressive costume changes, a bit like an avant-garde Fathers 4 Justice.

Where would you recommend for a first date?

The big wheel. The carbon wheel, the footprint wheel. The London Eye? Yeah. You can just sit there awkwardly for 22 minutes with some other awkward tourists. If you time it right… I did it once, probably this time of year, just as dusk came. A blanket of darkness, and then there’s suddenly a light blanket across London. It’s the most incredible thing I ever saw.

The London Eye (Alamy Stock Photo)
The London Eye (Alamy Stock Photo)

Favourite hotel?

I don’t know if I’ve ever stayed in a hotel in London. Only like this place on Hammersmith Broadway, the most disgusting place. It was in Covid times and I had to stay in the vicinity of the house when it flooded. There was one guy in a tower block and it was really a bit The Shining, the whole thing. It was horrible.

Favourite restaurant?

An Italian called Il Portico on Kensington High Street, where my son Kosmo and I go every other week to have dinner with his grandad. He’s 84 and full of incredible anecdotes about his life in the film industry. The owner makes sure we always have the same booth and it all feels quite like a gentle version of The Sopranos. The food is always incredible. And they always call all of us Mr Korda, which is [his son’s grandad’s] surname, and also a very famous film-making name.

Il Portico (Alamy Stock Photo)
Il Portico (Alamy Stock Photo)

What are you up to for the moment for work?

I’m looking forward to a variety of projects as I’m becoming a multimedia tsar. Maybe I’ll write a play called Wild Bore, starring [Benedict] Cumberbatch.

Baxter Dury Best Of, ‘Mr Maserati 2001 to 2021’, is out 3 Dec on Heavenly Recordings

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