Search

My West Hampstead: Award-winning music journalist and author Charles Shaar Murray

17:00 17 January 2014

Music writer Charles Shaar Murray selling his books, CDs  and records at West Hampstead Market. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Music writer Charles Shaar Murray selling his books, CDs and records at West Hampstead Market. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Award-winning music journalist and author Charles Shaar Murray, 62, became well known for his antics while writing in NME and OZ magazines. Since moving to West Hampstead in 1998 he says he’s been “on his best behaviour”.

What brought you to West Hampstead?

After leaving the Islington shoebox-in-the-sky, which I’d inhabited for 25 years, I sought somewhere quiet but not remote, funky but not actually dangerous, and artsy but not pretentious.

Now I’m comfortably settled in leafy West Hampstead, and will need to be forcibly removed, kicking and screaming.

How has the area changed?

I mourn the disappearance of so many proper shops selling proper stuff, like the butchers, fishmongers, electrical stores and “boring hardware store”.

If you were guest editor of the Ham & High for a day, what one local issue would you most like to see reported?

I’d focus on the way the council seems to be rubber-stamping planning permission for so much high rise luxury apartment building, with little or no consideration for affordable social housing or additional parking facilities, let alone the unique character of the neighbourhood.

What is the area’s best-kept secret?

My Hothouse Project: Journalism As Craft And Art course, of course! Unabashed plug!

But also, a great bookshop – West End Lane Books, locally sourced free entertainment at the Brioche, historic musical echoes from the 1960s in Broadhurst Gardens.

Here’s to hoping the late Doris Lessing’s former home in Gondar Gardens rates a blue plaque sometime soon.

Which other place in the world would you twin with West Hampstead if you could?

It’d be a toss-up between St Ives in Cornwall and New York’s Greenwich Village circa 1968.

If you had to write your own epitaph, what would it say?

Still pondering mine, but considering, “I think I can do it better. Can we try that again?”

Charles Shaar Murray was in conversation with Paul Wright.

Latest News Stories

07:00
Porn star Rebecca More. Picture: Television X.

A porn star who was threatened with legal action by Camden Council if she entered the borough as part of a “sex tour of the UK” has slammed council bosses for overreacting.

Residents of Quadrant Grove won what could be a landmark decision. Residents from left are Andrew Bache, Nicole Segre, Len Whiting, Khursheed Singh, Lynn Whiting, Barbara Thorndick, Lucinda Sturgis. Picture: Dieter Perry

Residents of a tiny street in Kentish Town have given hope to opponents of basement builds across London after winning what could be a landmark victory against their neighbour.

12:22
Anyone setting off fireworks or Chinese lanterns on Primrose Hill will be arrested, police have said

Camden police have reminded those planning to make the trek up to Primrose Hill on Bonfire Night not to bring their own fireworks or Chinese lanterns over fears they could set light to nearby homes.

Yesterday, 11:41
Retail guru Mary Portas has written to Eric Pickles to protest against offices-to-homes conversions. Picture: Matt Crossick

Mary Portas, Alan Bennett and Dame Joan Bakewell have joined fashion and digital business leaders in warning relaxed laws making it easier for offices to be converted into housing are “threatening to destroy many vibrant, mixed use communities forever”.

Most read news

Apple’s CEO has used an editorial piece in the US to come out as gay.

Party leader Nigel Farage and Ukip are to feature in a spoof Channel 4 documentary.

It’s not just a bit warmer, it will be eight degrees warmer than is normal for this time of year.

Rushing towards the bear for a photo is not the done thing!

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition