My Highgate: Wine shop manager Jonathan Claviere on high streets, dates in Waterlow Park and talking to the ghost of Karl Marx

Jonathan Claviere, manager of Spirited Wines

Jonathan Claviere, manager of Spirited Wines - Credit: Archant

Jonathan Claviere, 33, has been manager of Spirited Wines in the heart of Highgate Village for just over a year. The Frenchman is no stranger to the village’s resident celebrities, including Monty Python star Terry Jones, who have been known to pop in to peruse the shelves.

What brought you to Highgate?

The first time I came to Highgate it was to check out this little shop I had been told I might get the management of. The Fair in the Square was happening that day. It was a great first contact with my future daily environment.

What’s the best memory you have of the area?

I think my best memory of the area was this time I went on a date with this lovely lady. We walked around Waterlow Park not knowing what was coming next. It was sunny and very romantic.

How has Highgate changed since you moved into the area?

A few families moved out and others moved in but I still feel the same atmosphere. Relaxed and slightly out of the world. Even on a rainy day it feels special.

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What would you change about Highgate?

I do not think I would change much. I might want to add an outdoor cinema in The Grove on summer nights or maybe an underground bowling alley under the same Grove...

If you were editor of the Ham&High for a day what local issue would you champion?

I would probably challenge the ratio of big chain stores around the High Street. Not that I mind but it feels a bit peculiar for such an unusually characteristic area.

What makes you smile on your way home?

The ride down the hill feels long and gentle. It gives you time to enjoy the quiet of Highgate at that time of the day just before diving into chaos again. Almost like a theme park ride after a long day of work.

How would you spend your perfect Sunday in Highgate?

Sitting down on a bench in Waterlow Park reading a book I would say, then walking down the hill to see Karl [Marx] and ask him what he thinks of all this.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

Terry Jones puts a smile on my face every time I see him.

Where in the world would you twin with Highgate? From my French perspective I’d say it feels a little bit like Montmartre in Paris, only a little bit.

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

He was a nice man. He did not like that adjective.