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Growing up in the suburbs of big cities, I was never happier than when I was 'in town'. Hanging out in the local shopping centre, hunting down weird bargains in Chelsea Girl and Miss Selfridge that no normal people wanted to wear, or clubbing with the other strange creatures of the night, who also loved Killing Joke and The Slits and got abused by the Townies for backcombing their hair and wearing clothes from second hand shops.
There was a small shop in one of the back streets in the centre of the Northern town I lived in as a teenager, that sold hippie and punk clothes. The local art students hung out there and my suburban 6th form friends thought it was weird, but I so wanted to enter that strange world of arty alternative folk, who didn't fit in. I desperately felt the need to escape the confines of small mindedness and people who's ambitions were to get a job in the local bank or 'ger engaged'. Living in the suburbs just didn't do it for me, I knew there was a big wide world out there waiting for me.
Moving to London as 22 year old fashion designer, I would get goose bumps wandering around the city on one of my many trips to the belt manufacturers or zip suppliers. I couldn't believe my luck, I was finally where I felt I belonged and I still to this day, 26 years later, get a thrill when I cross the river at sunset, wander round Brick lane on a summer Sunday, or find myself watching a dance performance in a car park in Kings Cross!
But what I really love about London is my local community. Diverse and unconventional, arty and alternative, yet as friendly as any village, but without the boring conversations about what day the bin men come (although we do have them sometimes!). Apologies to those readers who live in villages, I love the countryside, it's just not for me!
I love that I can step out of my door and there are eight Indian restaurants, one Mexican, two Thai, too many Turkish to count, one Japanese, numerous pubs, parks, interesting shops and people from every corner of the world. It stimulates and inspires me on a daily basis. At weekends I never have time to do all the things I write about on this blog, but there are always options; from shopping in Knightsbridge, to dog walking on Hackney Downs. Take that away from me and I am instantly transported back to those teenage years, stuck in the suburbs, thinking it was all going on somewhere else, without me.
I worry that my kids have it all too soon and see anywhere else (apart from New York) as boring and 'why would you live there'. Perhaps they need to have the desire to escape to succeed. Or maybe they will just have that innate confidence that born and bred Londoners seem to have, because they know, it's quite simply the best city in the world!