LAURA CRAIK

Our ar­biter of style on rein­vent­ing life in the cap­i­tal, shirt­less dads and the dig­nity of Angie Bowie

London Evening Standard (West End Final B) - ES Magazine - - Upfront -

CAP­I­TAL CHANGES I live in a house, a very big house in the city. Well, fairly big. Big enough. And I love it ten­derly. I didn’t in­herit it: I worked hard for it. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank my stars for that house. Be­cause we all work hard, don’t we? But we don’t all own houses. Or even boxy, mildew-rid­den flats. There is only one rea­son I own a house and it is this: I was born at the right time. Be­yond my qual­i­fi­ca­tions, my work ethic, my salary and my abil­ity to save a de­posit by for­go­ing Prada shoes, my age is the defin­ing rea­son that I own a home.

De­spite the govern­ment’s best ef­forts, own­ing a prop­erty re­mains a pipe dream for most young Lon­don­ers, no mat­ter how hard they work, or how gilded their qual­i­fi­ca­tions. When the very peo­ple who should be forg­ing Lon­don’s fu­ture strug­gle to af­ford to live here, you be­gin to won­der just who ex­actly this city is for.

What are we leav­ing for those be­hind us? The prop­erty lad­der has been re­cast in solid gold, with pavé di­a­mond in­sets. You can’t get on this golden lad­der: a wealthy in­vestor pulled it up be­hind him, right af­ter he pur­chased a £5m Knightsbridge pen­t­house off-plan.

Thank­fully, Lon­don­ers are re­source­ful. New ways of liv­ing have sprung up — in shared, open-plan spa­ces that turn into so­cial hubs af­ter hours (‘I don’t go club­bing any more — no need to, when we can shift our fur­ni­ture back and dance in our own front room,’ says one twenty-some­thing friend). New ways of work­ing have sprung up: ba­si­cally, park­ing your­self any­where that has Wi-Fi. And new ways of pro­mot­ing your work have evolved, thanks to so­cial me­dia. When I first moved to Lon­don, one of my favourite stores was a space called Hy­per Hy­per, on Kens­ing­ton High Street, which sold clothes by young de­sign­ers. They wouldn’t be able to af­ford the rent now, which is why the city’s pop-up shop and restau­rant cul­ture is so im­por­tant. Thank God for the pas­sion, de­ter­mi­na­tion and re­source­ful­ness of the peo­ple who still flock here, keen to make a con­tri­bu­tion to the most ex­cit­ing city in the world.

I want to live in a di­verse Lon­don, not a so­cially cleansed one where those who can’t af­ford to eat at Sexy Fish are shipped out into the nether­world, torn from their com­mu­ni­ties by

Mak­ing their way Twenty-some­things

in Lon­don

One and only Louis Tom­lin­son and son Fred­die

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