My London: Olly Alexander

Emily Phillips
·3-min read
 (Niall Clutton)
(Niall Clutton)

Home is…

Stoke Newington. I’ve lived alone for the past couple of years. I’m single, so I can have gentleman callers finally.

Where do you stay in London?

Sea Containers London because it’s really glam. The spa is underground — I had a lovely massage, a nap in the napping room, a steam, nothing too invasive — and time disappeared, which is what I’m really craving.

Sea Containers spa
Sea Containers spa

Where do you go to let your hair down?

I used to go to Metropolis, and I’d do a full circuit of The Queen Adelaide, The Glory, The Joiners when she was open. But now I’m a bit of a hermit. Post lockdown I’m going to be wild and say yes to every invitation.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

More community gardens. I’m not sure if it’s ethical, but they’d have petting zoos, which would be great for people’s mental health. Give everyone an animal friend, like a comfort pig.

What’s the best thing a cabbie has ever said to you?

Once I was in the back of this cab and I was feeling sad about a song I was writing, and he said, ‘Olly, even if you make a bad song, the next one will be good.’ I’ve remembered that. I thought it was shit. It did turn out to be a top 10 single so it wasn’t all bad.

Which shops do you rely on?

I love a shop called Mysteries in Covent Garden, it has lots of new age spiritual stuff. For all your metaphysical needs, shop at Mysteries. Gay’s the Word, an amazing LGBTQ bookstore in town. And Le Labo for divine-smelling things — if you want to splash out, wash your sheets in its Santal detergent!

Gay’s the WordAlamy Stock Photo
Gay’s the WordAlamy Stock Photo

Have you ever had a run-in with a London police officer?

Not really, apart from avoiding them at protests!

What’s your London secret?

The Parkland Walk from Finsbury Park to Highgate. There’s a lot of good house envy along there.

Who is the most iconic Londoner?

Amy Winehouse. I was a huge fan and my mum was, too.

The most important thing you’ve learnt during lockdowns?

How to hula hoop, which has been fun and good for my health. I’ve got a weighted hoop and I’ve got into watching YouTube workout videos where they do squats with it.

Where would you recommend for a first date?

I actually did go on a date to the Planetarium once — Greenwich is stunning to walk around and go through the park, there’s a nice museum to learn about planets, and then you can sit and look up at the starry skies.

Greenwich ParkAlamy Stock Photo
Greenwich ParkAlamy Stock Photo

Which podcast are you currently obsessed with?

Against Everyone With Conner Habib, who’s an activist and talks to figures of the counter-culture about radical, political and spiritual ideas. I also like the BBC science podcasts — they just calm me down and make me feel safe.

Last thing you googled?

I’m going to look: it was ‘what is the council tax in Hackney?’

Who is your hero?

Rihanna. I didn’t fully stan her until she did Anti, it was so phenomenal, but she’s grown into such an amazing entrepreneur, fashion icon, business person and she looks like she has fun with it.

‘Starstruck’ by Years & Years is out now