Colin Marshall walks through Stratford, London with John Rogers, author of the blog The Lost Byway and the book This Other London: Adventures in the Overlooked City. They discuss how one should approach one’s first London shopping mall, a built phenomenon that has changed dramatically over the decades; his memories of playing soccer with rotten fruit in Stratford’s Shopping City; whether knowing the “other” London requires you to first know the standard London; how “ramble books” got him writing about unwritten-about places; the importance of feeling proud of wherever you live; the unshrinking “London Book” industry, whose robustness possibly owes to the difficulty of pinning the city down; comparisons with Los Angeles, where myths and easy definitions go uncontested; when Leytonstone went from part of Essex to part of London, and what that meant; the historical John Rogers, who got burnt at the stake; what constitutes his walking “practice,” which has earned him a reputation as “the drinking man’s Iain Sinclair”; the richer connection to the environment you feel when walking, and the aid to thinking it provides; how he first began blogging about his walks, and how the activity took on elements of journalism; his curiosity about London places and place names, and how walking facilitates the accretion of related facts into knowledge; his use of pubs as “third places” and of samosas as walking fuel; the Orwellian enjoyment of hardship; and his memories of riding the Docklands Light Railway into the sunset when he first came to town.
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