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Metropolitans: John Dunning, PR and author

Photo: Matt Hass

I have… lived in London for 13 years and I love it. Growing up in South Africa, London was as real for me as Gotham city, or Atlantis – but it was a place I could actually get to. It hasn’t disappointed me. London can be a cold bitch, but once you have won her over she is endlessly fascinating.

The area in London I call home is…Hampstead, North London. It is the spookiest neighbourhood in London – all gothic piles and narrow and leafy lanes. When Dracula sent his coffin to London, he sent it to Hampstead. Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde was written there, Sylvia Plath gassed herself down the road… It feels like an island in a way. Very inspiring.

I’ve got to have a meal at…Jin Kichi, Hampstead. Great, unpretentious Japanese food.

I tend to get my threads from…I’m not a big clothes man, but I wish I was. I always end up blowing my money on a first edition H.P. Lovecraft or old magazines. I love Albam and A.P.C tho, and tend to go there if I’m flush. Uniqlo is good for basics too. I need a stylist who can put in the hours for me.

To enjoy London’s nightlife,  you should…stay at home – in North London. Walk the lanes at night. Black cape not negotiable.

If I was mayor, I would… realise I had been brainwashed. I have no interest in holding a public office like that. It would be so excruciatingly boring! After growing up in South Africa, politics make my teeth hurt.

My favourite spot to check out art is…Tate Britain. The visionary and disturbing work of Richard Dadd housed there still packs the same punch it had the first time I saw it years ago. I like the general atmosphere of hushed Victoriana.

I’d kindly tell a tourist to…Get the hell out of my way on the escalators on the Tube.

The things I miss when I leave London are…the endless inspiration and information. The ability to be a part of a social scene, or be anonymous – the gift of a big city.

Finally, my soundtrack to London would include…

”Celebrity Skin” by Hole– I used to listen to this as a waiter and imagine Courtney Love as the 50 foot Woman attacking Centre Point. I’m still optimistic she will.

“Modern Man” by Arcade Fire – the state of modern men today. Accurate and moving.

“Oh You Pretty Things” by David Bowie – because London is full of fit men :-)

John Dunning’s graphic novel Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtowers is available from June 2nd through Walker Books.


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