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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Baldrick's London knicker-twist

Arise, Sir Tony Robinson, to accept the Microgroove Award (2014) for the most easily missed non-sequitur on British radio in this year of our Lord, 2014.

The famous actor was being interviewed by diamond geezer Robert Elms for his weekly "Listed Londoner" feature on the BBC Radio London mid-day show.

Having talked at length about his favourite bits of London, his favourite buildings and open spaces, the Baldrick actor then asserted, without any particular irony, that he was a north London bloke through and through, and that in his opinion,  south London was something of "a contradiction in terms".

A question or two later, he is asked to name his favourite London film, book or play. He chooses John Lanchester's 2012 novel, Capital. The novel, he said, gave him an insight into the new London, the city of hedge funds and the meeting of extreme wealth and dire poverty, and of clashing ideologies.

So, Capital is clearly a powerful novel, the quintessential early-21st century London novel? But it is almost entirely - and very specifically - set in south London. South west London. Well,  Clapham, if you must know.

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