The novelist and DJ now known as Annie Macmanus digs in to tuna spaghetti at Circolo Popolare and ponders Battersea’s pebble beach
Kensal Rise, where I’ve lived for 10 years, with my sons aged seven and four, and husband, Toddla T. I’ve lived all over London: Hornsey, Battersea, Streatham, Queen’s Park. I have a good sense of the city but I never lived east, which is strange.
Best meal you’ve had?
My most recent was in Circolo Popolare. You don’t even feel like you’re in London. It feels very special and now it’s my place, I bring everyone there. There’s this tuna spaghetti that I love and the lemon meringue pie is as big as your head.
Where would you recommend for a first date?
A date works best when you’re not sat staring into each other’s eyes. So a London park, grab a coffee and go for a walk. I discovered Gladstone Park in Dollis Hill in lockdown — William Gladstone and Mark Twain both lived there.
Which shops do you rely on?
I love a good high street clothes shop — & Other Stories and Arket, as well as Liberty for the opulence. There’s a place called Swanky for nails, lashes and brows in Kensal Rise. It’s very gossipy. And nearby is Sacro Cuore, an Italian place where we get food at least once a week.
Where do you stay when you’re in London?
For my husband’s birthday I got us a night at Chiltern Firehouse and it was a gorgeous experience. They put candles on every step and a tiny table on the platform with two Negronis and it was amazing.
Who do you call when you want to have fun?
Nick Grimshaw and our gang would definitely assist me in a night out. They go to Night Tales a lot
Where would you most like to be buried?
Paddington Old Cemetery, two minutes on a bike from my house. It’s ramshackle in a charming way. Very peaceful.
What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?
Reopen every youth centre and fill them with well-trained staff, run amazing programmes in the arts and football and for kids who’ve suffered violence and abuse.
What makes someone a Londoner?
I’ve been in London longer than I lived in Ireland. I enjoy living in this infinite, unknowable city. You know you’re a Londoner when you go over a bridge and don’t even blink at the view.
If you could buy any building and live there, which would it be?
I always ponder what it would be like to live in Hampstead Heath looking out over the ponds, or one of those huge houses in Highgate with gates and rose gardens.
Where do you go to let your hair down?
As I’ve got older, most of it happens when I’m DJing at a festival, but I used to love XOYO, it’s a little sweat box with a great sound system and amazing line-ups.
Who is the most iconic Londoner in history?
Boudica. Because: warrior queen. Great hair. I’d never even noticed the massive bronze statue of her
on Westminster Bridge right beside Big Ben.
What’s your London secret?
By St Mary’s Church in Battersea there’s a pebble beach and a lovely coffee van. It feels seasidey in central London.
Most important thing you’ve learnt during the lockdowns?
How much the parks are London’s lungs and how reliant I was as a parent of two boys.
Annie Macmanus’s book ‘Mother Mother’ is out now (Wildfire). Her show on Radio 1 finishes in July