Londoner’s Diary: Brixton needs change to keep it fresh, says Skin

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Skin Skunk Anansie  (Getty Images for Dior Men)
Skin Skunk Anansie (Getty Images for Dior Men)

Welcome back to the last Londoner’s Diary of the week. Today, Skunk Anansie singer Skin tells us that seeing posh hipsters in Brixton isn’t necessarily all bad as Soho House opens a new venture in Brixton. Later, Shaun Ryder tells us about his honey habit, and Munroe Bergdorf speculates about the notion of a trans James Bond. In SW1A, Michael Cockerell recalls one eyebrow-raising interview with ex-PM Ted Heath.

11:35 , Robbie Smith

SKIN, the Brixton-raised Skunk Anansie singer, says she is feeling optimistic about private members’ club Soho House opening an offshoot studio in the area this week, despite concerns about the ever-growing gentrification movement.

“Soho House Brixton... gentrification is now complete,” singer Denai Moore decried to her Twitter followers, but Skin says seeing an increase of “trendy people” and “hipsters” is no bad thing.

“They’re much better I would say than a lot of kind of private members clubs… They’re quite funky. It’s important to say that if Brixton doesn’t change it will go stale,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Labour MP and lifelong Brixton resident Florence Eshalomi is cautiously optimistic. She remembers her friends avoiding Brixton when she was younger and hopes that even more investment will lead to more visitors.

“I’m hoping Jay Z and Beyoncé are in town — saw them yesterday — they should come to Brixton,” she tells us. But the MP tells us it is important the Soho House brand isn’t entirely exclusive and do their best to engage with the local community and support local artists.

Nonetheless, she won’t be rushing to join, citing her salary of £82,000 as the reason why. “I don’t actually think I can afford membership.”

17:23 , Robbie Smith

Lilian de Carvalho and Boris Becker (Dave Benett)
Lilian de Carvalho and Boris Becker (Dave Benett)

TENNIS ace Boris Becker posed with girlfriend Lilian de Carvalho at the Golden Vines wine fine awards dinner at Mayfair’s Annabel’s. Actors Rosie Day and David Jonsson also joined the celebrations. Across town, actor Helena Bonham Carter and musician Bobby Gillespie cut gothic figures as they were hosted by designer brands The Vampire’s Wife and Cave Things at the Royal Albert Hall where they watched performances from Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

SW1A

16:23 , Emily Prescott

NADINE DORRIES says taking the mantle of Culture Secretary meant she was forced to abandon the early morning soothing tones of Classic FM and listen to the news via the Today programme instead. But she came up with a solution and she’s back on the good stuff: her Alexa is primed to switch back to Classic FM from 8.30 every morning. Bliss.

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DOCUMENTARY maker Michael Cockerell counts Ted Heath among his most trying interviewees. “Have you got the usual list of boring questions?” Heath asked. Cockerell, whose book Unmasking Our Leaders runs the gamut from Heath to Thatcher, asked afterwards if the questions were indeed boring. “Oh yes, and infinitely more irrelevant.” Heath responded. Ouch.

Bergdorf: It’s time for a trans Bond

15:23 , Emily Prescott

Fighting for rights: Munroe Bergdorf attends The Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2021 at The Roundhouse on October 06, 2021 (Getty Images)
Fighting for rights: Munroe Bergdorf attends The Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards 2021 at The Roundhouse on October 06, 2021 (Getty Images)

Munroe Bergdorf tells us that Carrie Johnson’s support for the LGBTQ+ community needs to be backed up with actions from her Prime Minister husband. “I would like to see people walking the walk... we’re about 30 years behind the gay rights movement so you know we’ve got a long way to go,” the model and activist says. One suggestion for improving visibility: a trans Bond. “Anyone can be Bond so why not? I think more different kinds of Bonds would be a great way to continue the franchise.” Hear, hear.

Ryder’s new habit is excess all areas

14:23 , Robbie Smith

Getting buzzed: Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays performs on day 1 of the Isle of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park (Getty Images)
Getting buzzed: Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays performs on day 1 of the Isle of Wight Festival at Seaclose Park (Getty Images)

Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder tells us although he has stopped using hard drugs he still has an addictive personality. For instance, in an attempt to get healthy, he cut out sugar but was left with a new vice. “Everything I do I do to excess,” he told us ahead of the launch of his memoir How To Be a Rock Star, explaining: “I ended up on the Manuka honey, just eating jars of it.” Well that’s one way to get a buzz.

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