My Highgate: Playwright Cosh Omar wants estate agents banned from high street
10:00 25 March 2014
Cosh Omar, 44, is an actor and playwright who lives in Gladsmuir Road, Highgate. The father-of-two rose to prominence in 2004 with his play The Battle of Green Lanes and is now writer-in-residence at the Theatre Royal Stratford East.
What brought you to Highgate?
The 143 bus. No! In truth, Highgate was always an area that I loved travelling to from further north where I grew up. Once I moved out of my marital home I wanted to relocate here knowing this is where my children would visit me and therefore also get familiar with an area that I’ve always loved.
You have a day off to spend as you wish in the area, what would you get up to?
If it’s a glorious sunny day I’d like to have a little pub crawl with a friend or two and build up the numbers as we go along, starting with some great food at the Red Lion & Sun and then work our way through a number of other watering holes ending up in Kenwood House café for desserts. And then the night begins!
What makes Highgate a special place to live?
What really does it for me is its location. To the north you have Crouch End or “pushchair city” as I like to call it. To the south you have Hampstead with its social concerns and politics. To the west you have Finchley and the slow sober creep towards the stuffy safety of suburbia. And then you have Archway sitting to the east like an embarrassing member of the family. And sitting in the middle, high enough to give you the best views of further afield, is Highgate.
Is there anything about Highgate which you would like to see changed or improved?
Yes! I would have a rule stating no estate agents would be allowed to set up shop on the high street. Yes, I know everything is up for grabs for the right price but this should all be confined to some dark backstreet. The high street is purely a pretty façade for our self-inflated bubble.
A film is set to be made about your life. Which actor would you choose to play you?
Surely, this is one gig that I must land?! Well, I’d like to think that it’ll be some young talented handsome man who is about to start school somewhere and has some ambition to become an actor; because it’ll be some time before I’m done saying what I’ve got to say for people to then make a film about me saying it.
Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?
The person who has inspired me the most is Christopher Hitchens but sadly I never got to meet him, even though it was heading that way but then he sadly died. However, the person I did get to meet on a few occasions and is without any doubt one of the most inspiring, was Tony Benn.
If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?
That’s right, folks! Finally, I’ll shut up!
Cosh Omar was in conversation with Tim Lamden