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Metropolitans: Maya Simeon, Freelance Creative

Maya Simeon Metropolitans The Cultural Exposé

I am… a very multi-dimensional kind of person, but to try and define what I do, I guess it comes under the umbrella of being a Freelance Creative. I operate project by project, with industries I’ve worked in including music, TV, radio, film and theatre. I also organise and manage events and artists. London is like a mosaic as opposed to a melting pot, which other metropolitan cities claim. This is where London’s beauty lies and is probably its most unique selling point too. The diversity is distinct, not lost, and yet still contributes to creating a whole. Also, the way it’s always evolving keeps things interesting and I like the fact you can never get bored here! I’ve got a real passion for London and get a kick out of showing international family, friends and clients around my home city.

The area in London I call home is… I was raised South of the river, but have also resided in Islington, Camden and Hackney. I’m currently in the process of moving back to North London, but would like to experience living on the Westside too. Holland Park is a cool area, as its tranquil, but still close to the buzz of the city centre.

 I’ve got to have a meal at… anywhere that serves authentic (cooked in the drum) jerk chicken! I’m a bit of a die-hard fan and will travel far and wide for the good stuff. One year, I passed through Notting Hill Carnival JUST for that reason! Haha… There used to be a festival called Jerk Cookout which took place every summer in Horniman Museum Gardens and it was heavenly! Lemonia in Chalk Farm is one of London’s best Greek restaurants, while Ponte Nuovo in Crystal Palace serves amazing Italian. I’m also a stickler for Thai and Indian cuisine and I can’t forget dim sum and tapas.  My parents and grandparents (plus various other family members) were restauranteurs, which probably explains why I’m a bit of a foodie!

 I tend to get my threads from… independent boutiques, High Street and online stores, markets (Spitalfields and Portabello are two of my faves) plus a few one-off pieces by some upcoming designers I know.

To enjoy London’s nightlife, you should… Try something different! I advocate the ‘variety is the spice of life’ philosophy, have clocked up an endless list of alternative nights and am always on the hunt for new experiences. I guess it’s because I get bored easily, so avoiding the same old same old is a necessity.

 If I was mayor, I would… apart from slashing the extortionate public transport fares, expand train schedules to run later on weekends.  I’d really like to set up schemes which would enable underprivileged people to experience activities they would never usually have a chance to, from the arts to sporting events. Also, the general culture of rudeness bugs me! Londoners seriously need to learn how to be friendlier to each other, so I might have to introduce fines or some other way to eradicare that nonsense!  Also, in an ideal world,  I’d love to build a canopy over the city. The weather can really spoil the vibe at times, so having guaranteed warmth would be awesome! Of course it would be able to open on sunny days and when we need rain. Having seen Boris in action at Mayor’s Question Time, and being thoroughly unimpressed by his bafoonery, I would so revel in doing the job properly!

My favourite spot to check out art is… as a hobby photographer, I see art pretty much everywhere. I’m a fan of street art – from community murals to graffiti and the pavement re-creations of the masters’ classics you find in places like Covent Garden. In terms of more conventional exhibitions, whenever I hear of something that sparks interest, I’m there! …The Tate Modern is a great art space and their late night events make it a cool hang out spot too.

I’d kindly tell a tourist to… Invest in taking one of the bus tours, as it’s a great way to see the whole city. The history you get is really insightful too. I’d also recommend doing a waterways walk – along the Southbank, by the Regent’s Canal or around Docklands, then go to Parliament Hill or Greenwich Park for panoramic views. Oh, and if you want good fish and chips in central London, Fryer’s Delight on Theobald’s Road in Holborn is the place to go.

The things I miss when I leave London are… apart from the obvious one, being my peoples, being away from the multiculturalism here makes me glad to come home.

My soundtrack to London would be: 

Prayin’ by Plan B – simply because this creative genius is a homegrown talent ;)

LDN by Lily Allen –  this track expresses the familiar pros and cons of life in London town.

Bright Lights, Bigger City by Cee-Lo Green –  apart from the fact I absolutely love this guy’s voice, the song is vibrant and the title says it all really ;)


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