If you want to know about music in London then Emily is absolutely your go-to guide. As a radio producer she’s worked on all sorts of music shows in a career that’s taken her from London to Wales, to Jamaica and back to the hallowed halls of the BBC’s London HQ. If you enjoy new music and listen to the BBC’s Radio 1 or 1Xtra you may have heard her work.
Her current portfolio includes MistaJam and Target‘s brand new Saturday night shows and she also produces shows with reggae legend David Rodigan. She also writes and produces the occasional episode of her own radio comedy Two Birds One Phone.
Emily and I started going to music festivals together as teenagers, and we were exposed to all sorts of weird and wonderful world music – her passion for gypsy music and African beats has only grown since then, which makes her a rather wonderful DJ if you’re ever lucky enough to catch one of her sets around Brixton or Dalston.
As a local resident she can tell you where to buy the best fresh fish in Brixton market, which of the latest pop up restaurants is overhyped and which ones are worth your time – you can find her on Twitter @emilydust.
My favourite place for cocktails: Zetter Townhouse. I love this place – it’s like drinking in an after hours library. The menu changes quite regularly but the Flintock (made with gin, gunpowder tea tincture and dandelion burdock bitters) should give you an idea of their style. One night sitting by the bar I got a full explanation of their homemade tinctures and bitters. Great for an end of the night tipple.
A place more people should know about: Rowan’s bowling alley, Finsbury Park. Forget faux 50s chic and overpriced White Russians; if The Dude lived in North London, this is where he would actually bowl. I grew up nearby so it’s an institution for me and I’ve had some extremely random late nights out here over the years. I came here on New Year’s day once and ordered a platter of fried food which turned out to be entirely beige.
My favourite place to go dancing: Notting Hill Carnival. Carnival is my favourite weekend in London, no question. Samba dancers, soca floats, huge soundsystems… it’s basically the best bits of London rolled into one, and you get to bring your own rum. There’s something amazing about being in a huge crowd dancing to drum and bass outside a posh mansion at midday on a Sunday. I always try and check Sir Lloyd’s and Channel One. And that’s to say nothing of the dozens of after parties, including my favourite Deviation – usually an absolute roadblock.
My favourite place to go record shopping: Sounds Of The Universe. Even though I get a lot of music sent to me already, I often spend way too much money in here. There’s everything from hip-hop to 70s West African funk to upfront white labels. The best new releases all have written descriptions and their affiliated label Soul Jazz has produced some excellent compilations so even if you don’t know anything about a particular record or genre you’re bound to come out with something!
My favourite market: Brixton market. Although I grew up further north along the Victoria line, I’ve lived in Brixton for several years. By day I love browsing everything from African fabric to spices, soundtracked by the music from the stallholders along Atlantic Road. In the last few years, Brixton market has changed beyond recognition and is the heart of the neighbourhood’s (not uncontroversial) gentrification. Its evening license means at night you’ll see queues of foodies waiting for tables. Go to Franco Manca for the best pizza in London, Seven for cocktails, Etta’s for amazing fish, Santafereno for massive portions of Columbian fare or Happy Dumplings for mountains of delicious dumplings.