The Bespokist Society: Guide to… London is a carefully curated guide to the dreamiest, most hipster, creative places to go in our historic yet vibrant capital city. It embraces the artisan, the carefully sourced, the importance of experiencing. It includes interviews and features that bring to the fore the values of the team behind this pocket sized cornucopia of well hidden delights. As co-author Nastya Petrov advises in her introduction,
“if you’re bored of London, you just need to spend more money”
The guide is handily divided into sections highlighting the best places to be found in Central, East, West, North and South London. Here I provide just a a soupçon, a flavour of those that the authors have deemed worthy of the attention of discerning readers. I pluck these tiny tasters from the BS pages.
For those wishing to cleanse their inner bodies, Fecal Matters has branches in Soho, Marylebone and Notting Hill. These fancy ‘bottom parlours’ offer a choice of bowel-stimulating music followed by judgement free, refreshingly honest fecal analysis. Afterwards clients are sure to step out with a spring in their step.
Why not work out by joining former child cyclist Ed Whitworth’s continuous cycling jamboree? Simply download the app, day or night, to discover where to join the pack.
For innovative culture, The Coventry Theatre is hosting See It, Say It, Sorted – The Musical. As with all the best creative dramas inspired by government messages, the results are both informative and hugely entertaining.
Nastya interviews Roland Kim who wishes to cause a little disruption to the traditional dining experience at his V-Gastro on Liverpool Street. Roland challenges critics to find any other top restaurant that can boast zero food wastage. Who needs to actually eat?
Over in Knightsbridge is the minimalist gallery of internationally renowned painter and plasterer Nina Saviceu, who is also a vociferous advocate of left-handed rights.
In South Kensington, luxury hoteliers Ritz-Carlton have teamed up with Armani and Greggs to provide a unique, collaborative hotel experience. Amidst the opulent surroundings, piping hot platters of warm bakes and pasties are available day or night.
Visitors to the city may wish to join the Icelandic community in Hangar Lane as they celebrate the local courgette harvest with a wild festival of juicing.
Sours and Sweets in Brixton offer a bewildering selection of international bitters, including a range matured in casks crafted from ancient Californian Redwood trees. The sharp tongued service at this venue is refreshingly contemptuous.
The Old Penge Picture House provide imbibers with a bargain basement all-Scottish wine list, ideal for a boozy night out.
Celebrities love London where they can pretend to be normal people. As Max Fairbrother said of his latest trip to the city from his home in LA,
“Throughout my visit, they kept up this incredible show of not noticing me”
My favourite interview was with Thomas Sahko, human historian and urban wordsmith. When asked what he loved most about London he eloquently replied
“Every morning, I sip a ruby grapefruit juice on my balcony while looking out over the Stanmore skyline. I think to myself that under these leaden clouds, nine million souls are bobbing about on an ocean of uncertainty, yet each one is holding onto his own individual truths like a life raft. That thought gives me the strength to get through my day.”
He goes on to advise a first time visitor to seek out an old man and demand that he tells you his story.
The pages of this little guide are packed with ideas to facilitate days of dining, culture and vivid new experiences. It *may* be a parody but as Londoners will know, there exist actual venues that could be slipped in seamlessly.
Witty and entertaining – the perfect gift for your basic hipster.
My copy of this book was generously provided by fellow book blogger Paul Cheney, who writes as Halfman, Halfbook.