Former chairman of Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips on why he loves Kentish Town
13:37 19 February 2013
Former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, 59, OBE, tells the Ham&High why he loves Kentish Town.
What bought you to Kentish Town?
Love and affection – my partner Helen lived here when I met her.
What is your favourite thing about the area?
In less than half an hour, I can walk to more than half my friends’ homes, get to a concert at the Barbican, or stagger round the ponds on Hampstead Heath and back.
What is the worst thing?
No-one will move out to let my friends move in.
Which is your favourite shop in the area?
Mehmet’s on Leverton Street – the only corner shop in the world where you can buy East End bagels, a Palestinian salad bowl and Ethiopian coffee and walk out with change from a tenner.
What is missing from the area?
If Blustons for gowns doesn’t cater for your needs, it would be great to have a first-rate clothes shop.
What makes you smile on your way home?
Children chattering in English, French and Somali.
If you were mayor for a day, what would you change?
I’d install CCTV on every street to find out who sneaks up the path every night to dump kebab wrappers and empty cans in our bins – and return it all to their front door.
How would you spend your perfect Sunday?
Run on the Heath first thing, when it’s just us and the dog walkers; brunch at the brilliant Kentish Canteen; jam with the band in the afternoon, finally cracking the riff on So What; watch sunset over London from the back windows; cook dinner of sea bream or mussels from Harry’s in Kentish Town Road; catch Homeland on TV and Counterpoint on radio; finish Hilary Mantel’s latest. (OK, I made up the band bit – I wouldn’t want to be in a band desperate enough to have me as its trumpet player!)
What tips would you give to somebody moving to the area?
Smile at your neighbours, they’ll smile back.
Where in the world would you twin with Kentish Town?
Kitty, the fishing village in Guyana, where I grew up. Here and there, nobody judges you by what you look like or where you come from.
If you had to write your own epitaph what would it say?
He tried, failed, tried again, failed better (Thanks to Samuel Beckett).