10 of the best Islington interviews

13 Nov

Everyone on Islington Faces Blog has a story.  But who has the best story? As the interviewer I find it impossible to judge (well, there are more than 60 interviews about people who live or work in Islington on this blog) but I’ve picked 10 of my favourites for you. Happy reading, happy sharing – and do click on the poll. Interview by Nicola Baird

Alan Banks: milkman and Islngtonfacesblog ebook cover star.

Alan Banks: milkman and Islngtonfacesblog ebook cover star.

Alan Banks, milkman/spaceship driver (19/10/12) – What stories the milkman has about streets after dark. It’s a whole other world out there.

Martin Zippo Burton's clown is the top row, in red.

Martin Zippo Burton’s clown is the top row, in red.

Martin Burton, circus founder (29/04/13) – A fascinating interview in a circus wagon with the master of circus stories. Not only did my family sit in, I also had a cabinet of curios, mostly eggs painted with particular clown’s unique face make-up, staring at me.

“My ex-partner used to have a van by the swimming pool. He felt trapped in the van – it’s a small space and it can be boring. But I love this job. You meet people and kids. I wouldn’t be in a boring job. “I don’t do much in the winter – I look after the house and be a 100 per cent mother. In summer I spend more time on Highbury Fields than in my house.” “The mini ice-cream van on the steering wheel is a present from a little boy who gave it to me for my big birthday on 25 April. I want to get another as there’s a shop on Upper Street selling vintage toys but it’s hard to get there.”

“In summer I spend more time on Highbury Fields than in my house.”

Tina de Freitas, ice cream van lady (17/7/13) – Tina talked to me in her ice cream van on Highbury Fields. I was so touched when she rang me months later to check if I was safe after being sent a fake SOS email, allegedly from me asking for money following a (fake) holiday emergency.

Sai: “Everything is near in Islington”

Sai: “Everything is near in Islington”

Sai Gulam Bi, grandmother (28/7/12) – Imagine having to move countries in order to marry the husband you’ve never met before? Sai did this in the 70s, and there are many women in Islington who know what this feels like.  A lovely lady.

JK: came to Islington aged seven and a half. He's still here.

JK: came to Islington aged seven and a half.

JK, from Accra to Archway (18/1/13) – We spent hours watching our kids play chess and gradually got talking…

Screen Shot 2013-07-24 at 16.08.38Nina Marcangelo: Alfredo’s cafe family (24/7/13) – My one-time colleague Rita suggested I spoke with her mum who grew up at a famous cafe on Essex Road. She’s in her 70s now but this interview was so popular that it went viral – with 2,000 views in one week and more than 90 Facebook shares. You must read it!

Ron Pace: "I've had horses all my life."

Ron Pace: “I’ve had horses all my life.”

Ron Pace, horseman (18/7/12) – This is the first interview and the inspiration for the whole islingtonfacesblog.com concept. Ron is my hero – a man who knows so much about animals (especially Welsh cobs, bantams and racing pigeons) but who grew up in the heart of Islington. The house he was born in near Kings Cross was flattened by bombs in World War Two.

Angela Sinclair-Loutit: "I'm a pacifist, but quite aggressive."

Angela Sinclair-Loutit: “I’m a pacifist, but quite aggressive.”

Angela Sinclair-Loutit, pioneer spirit (22/9/12) – Astonishing linguist with a career few women, especially one in her 80s, have managed. She even drove vast army trucks across the old Yugoslavia as part of the XX.

stanley Smart: poet and mechanic who was once trapped under a lorry in xx.

Stanley Smart: poet and mechanic who was once trapped under a lorry in xx.

Stanley Smart: mechanic and poet (7/5/13) – I’d been told he’d arrived her on the Windrush, but actually he came to Islington 10 years later. A man who loves words as much as he loves tinkering around with cars.

Marco lifts up the loose floorboards to reveal a 400 year old mummified cat - put there for good luck.

Marco lifts up the loose floorboards to reveal a 400 year old mummified cat – put there for good luck.

Marco Wouters, flower seller  (5/6/13) – I popped into his shop by Islington Green to buy a gift and noticed the beams were really old. Turned out it’s the oldest house on Upper Street and even boasts a 400 year old mummified cat, bricked up into the walls of the house for luck. During the interview Marco got on to his knees and removed the floorboards so my 12 year old daughter and I could get a proper view of his bit of Islington history.

Over to you

If you’d like to feature on this blog, or make a suggestion about anyone who grew up, lives or works in Islington please let me know, via nicolabaird.green@gmail.com. Thank you. 

If you liked this interview please SHARE on twitter or Facebook. Even better follow islingtonfacesblog.com (see menu top right).

This blog is inspired by Spitalfields Life written by the Gentle Author.

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2 Responses to “10 of the best Islington interviews”

  1. The Unbelievable Mr X November 18, 2013 at 10:29 pm #

    Nice idea to do this 10 of the best series – will finish reading them in next few days. Thanks!

    • homemade kids November 19, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Hi Mr X, thanks for taking the time to read this post with 10 of the best from islingtonfacesblog. There’s a lot of content in these ones, but I still very much love the first interview I wrote with Ron Pace. After that it’s impossible for me to rate them! Nicola

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