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London Pop Culture

Your London playlist could include anthems such as "London Calling" by The Clash, or you could go all soft and folk with Ralph McTell’s "Streets of London." Wander across the river to "Waterloo Sunset" by The Kinks before "Going Down in the Tube Station at Midnight" with The Jam. Go to the end of the line with Pulp’s "Mile End," and listen to their Bar Italia when you get back to Soho, slipping in Kirsty MacColl’s "Soho Square." The Pet Shop Boys’ "West End Girls" still holds good and Lily Allen sums up a few pertinent points in "LDN," but you might prefer Ella Fitzgerald’s slinkier "A Foggy Day" or "London Belongs to Me" by Saint Etienne.

On your reading list try "Tom Jones" by Henry Fielding, "Vanity Fair" by William Makepeace Thackeray, and various tomes by Dickens. Read Patrick Hamilton’s "Hangover Square" for a picture of long-lost, prewar London louchness, and Anthony Powell’s "Dance to the Music of Time," a 12-book portrait from the 1920s to the ‘60s. Then there’s Sam Selvon's the "Lonely Londoners," Graham Greene’s "The Confidential Agent" and "The Secret Agent," Martin Amis’ "London Fields," and Ian McEwan’s "Saturday." Meaty non-fiction reads are "Lights Out for the Territory" by Iain Sinclair and "London: The Biography," by Peter Ackroyd

Films you also have aplenty. To name a few: "My Fair Lady," "The Ladykillers" and "The Lavender Hill Mob" (Ealing Studios), "The Long Good Friday" starring Bob Hoskins, and "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels." Then there is "Withnail and I," most of Mike Leigh’s films ("Vera Drake," "Naked," "Happy-Go Lucky," etc), "Wonderland," directed by Michael Winterbottom, and "Sweeney Todd," directed by Tim Burton. To see how London would look without the people, watch Danny Boyle’s "28 Days Later."

 

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