Search

Q&A: My Gospel Oak

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 February 2018

Archant

Mental health campaigner, author, and former Labour communications chief Alastair Campbell has lived in Gospel Oak for over two decades

What brought you to Gospel Oak?

My partner Fiona has lived all her life on the same page of the A to Z (apart from the two years in the West Country where we met as trainee reporters). We started at her parents’ in Abbey Road, then bought a flat in Belsize Park, then a small house in Oak Village when Fiona was first pregnant. By the time she was pregnant for the third time we moved to a bigger house and have been here for 24 years now.

What makes Gospel Oak unique?

The mix. On one side of Mansfield Road are owner occupied middle class houses leading up to the Heath. On the other is one of London’s biggest council estates. And, on the whole, people get on. For a London high population area it feels like a proper community.

You have a day off to spend in Gospel Oak, what do you do?

Take my dry cleaning to Top Choice, then get my hair cut at Palushi’s, Malden Road. Drop something off at Sunflower and Poppy picture framers next door. Lunch at home - stuff from Giacobazzi’s. Go for a long run on the Heath which is one of Britain’s greatest treasures. Early film at Everyman Belsize Park. Dinner at Chez Bob next door or Mimmo La Bufala South End Green.

What part of your current roles do you enjoy the most?

Campaigning on mental health for Time to Change, fighting Brexit, including through Ham&High’s sister paper The New European, and writing books. I have my 14th out this month, a novel about football and terrorism in the 70s and I’m having a lot of fun with my co-author, former Burnley striker Paul Fletcher. They say you should never meet your heroes but our friendship disproves that.

If you were the editor of the Ham&High, what would you focus on?

I’d crowdfund to buy a big red Ham&High bus with ‘Boris Johnson is a liar, save the NHS, stop Brexit’ on the side, and drive it all over London, parking it every night outside his house. I’d also have twinning arrangements with towns in the Brexit heartlands, hear what they say, try to persuade them.

What’s the thing you’re proudest of?

Professionally helping Labour win three elections and delivering investment in schools and hospitals, and peace in Northern Ireland. Personally my children Rory, Calum and Grace, who are living proof that good local State schools - Gospel Oak primary, William Ellis and Parliament Hill - give you a better, more rounded education than anything in the private sector. And I am proud of the leadership role my wife Fiona has played in local schools, and still does years after they left.

Who is the most inspiring person you’ve met?

Nelson Mandela. Every time the hairs on my neck stood up. Locally I am going for Tessa Jowell right now. We went to Scotland with Tessa and David, her husband, over the New Year and it was truly inspiring to witness her courage and her determination to use her illness to help others.

What are you looking forward to for the rest of this year?

Promoting the novel. A BBC film I am making about depression. Burnley doing well. Helping to persuade the country to change

its mind on Brexit. And trying to get my favourite Scottish folk band, Skipinnish, to the Roundhouse.

• SATURDAY BLOODY SATURDAY

by Alastair Campbell and

Paul Fletcher is published by Orion on Wednesday February 7

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

The temperature nudged the mercury towards nearly 30c as the man sat down on a bench, sited between Grace Road’s evocative pavilion and the sight screen.

Middlesex ended day three of their County Championship match at Grace Road on 82-3, 299 runs adrift with only seven wickets remaining.

Yesterday, 17:15

Hampstead voted overwhelmingly to adopts its neighbourbood plan in a referendum yesterday.

Disability campaigner, Olympic torchbearer and Shepherd’s Hill resident Pamela Moffatt has died at the age of 80.

Yesterday, 17:00

A day before the fun day, Highgate will take on Finchley at Shepherds Cot in the Middlesex County League Premier Division

Yesterday, 16:33

Brazil and Costa Rica were winless in their opening matches at the World Cup and were both hoping for their first victory of the tournament at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

Middlesex bowled Leicestershire out for 186 in their second innings on a baking hot afternoon at Grace Road, to leave the visitors facing a challenging target of 381 to win.

Yesterday, 15:54

Teddy bears will be cascading down from St James’ Church once again on Saturday, as part of the fourth annual Midsummer Muswell festival.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Londoners seeking high quality houses for sale within easy commuting distance of the capital are being advised to look north to St Albans’ prestigious Gabriel Square development.

Preparing your child in advance for school will go a long way towards ensuring the very best start for your child.

After over 50 years in the acting industry, and a decade of unprecedented success delivering outstanding part-time performing arts tuition at her weekend Academies across the country, Pauline Quirke returns to her roots to create even more opportunities for young performers in North London.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read Hampstead & Highgate stories

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now