My London: Vick Hope – DJ and Broadcaster

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Vick Hope is the Capital FM breakfast host with Roman Kemp and presents 4Music trending Live every day too. Vick also writes, edits, produces and presents all her own documentaries, recently exploring racism in the fashion industry.

Vick speaks six languages, has a degree from Cambridge and in her spare time helps with a project called Akwaaba. Her Slenderman Killings on Channel4 recently made the Guardians Pick of the day. Vick has also worked in countries such as Buenos Aires, where she covered Latin American current affairs, arts and culture. She also wrote for The Argentines and Time Out Buenos Aires and it was here she was snapped by by MTV beginning her presenting career on entertainment shows for their international channels.

We caught up with Vick Hope for the latest in our ‘My London’ series.

 

Favourite neighbourhood:

I live in Dalston and will totally accept the clichéd-hipster-twat title because honestly I feel like the jammiest person in the world, I love it there! There’s so much to do come day or night, rain or shine, food from all over the world, clubs open til 6, yoga on the lane, Ridley Road Market, such a fantastic atmosphere and a really interesting and diverse mix of people. It’s getting fairly extortionate, which unfortunately is dampening that, and I really hope a lot of the small businesses that have been here so long won’t fold or be pushed out.

 

Favourite place for brunch:

There’s a café-restaurant called L’Atelier on Stoke Newington High Street that does wicked food: they serve breakfast all day, with some truly scrumptious chilli flaked avocados, eggs, smoked salmon – all the usuals, but spiced and seasoned to the next level. It’s a really chilled out place, with a cool DIY-workshop-meets-stuffed-birds-in-kitsch-cages themed décor (sounds bizarre, yes, but honestly it works!), just round the corner from my house. They also whip up excellent smoothies and have a nice selection of wines…hey, it’s 10am somewhere!

 

Best coffee in London:

The Place in Canonbury is my boyfriend’s local café, so we go there a lot in the mornings after I stay at his and a cuppa there is the perfect start to the day. The staff are awesome, the coffee exquisite, it’s bright and airy with communal tables, and we’ve had a bunch of cheeky little celeb spots as quite a lot of actors, comedians and writers seem to like working there – I’m a massive nosey gossip so high excitement every time.

 

Favourite gallery or museum:

Obviously this completely depends on what exhibitions are on, but I’d say the Saatchi Gallery has put on some of my most recent favourites, including a really compelling showcase of Soviet propaganda juxtaposed against some pretty horrific and illuminating photographic depictions of the Russian reality. On a lighter note, the Museum Lates are always so much fun: sipping a beer and busting some moves while taking in themed experiments at the Natural History Museum is definitely my bag.

 

Tell us a secret:

Walk down the pavement in the middle of the road on Oxford Street. I am of the I-want-to-punch-slow-walking-people-in-the-back-of-the-head school of thought, so unless I actually need to enter one of the shops, walking on the crowded pavements is my idea of a nightmare. I actually have no idea why more people don’t use that middle pathway, it shreds so much time off your journey. Secret 2: why bother going to fancy salons when the legends at Ria Beauty in Kingsland Shopping Centre will thread your brows to perfection for 4 quid, and give the best, longest lasting manicure I’ve ever experienced?! Exactly.

 

Favourite place to shop:

Vintage all the way. I spend an inordinate amount of time in the Beyond Retro store near my house in Dalston, especially when they throw their massive garage sales and cut the price of everything (but beware the claustrophobic atmos, lengthy queue and need a for super sharp elbows to get your pieces). The vintage shops down Brick Lane never fail to deliver and for charity shopping, Traid is just the best – they really curate their stores so well to the demographic in each area they’re located: so you can go to the Hackney stores and find some hipster vibe retro sportswear, stonewashed Norm Core mom jeans and Nigerian & Ghanaian fabric wrappers, but pick up bargain second hand Chanel in Chelsea.

 

Favourite place to find inspiration:

The Southbank Centre is incredible. The events and festivals they put on really are world class, from their Africa Utopia week in September, to hosting Women Of The World and the World Press Photo exhibit, and so much more, all year round. I don’t think I’ve ever gone there and come away not feeling inspired by something I’ve seen, whether or not it was even something I set out to take in that day, and even if it was something small like watching the youth dance groups practicing together in the lower section, or catching the end of a free talk, or eavesdropping on the creatives who use the space as their day-to-day office, or just having a cocktail on the outdoor bar they open during the summer and taking in that breathtaking view.

 

Best London destination for a date:

I had a sweet date rock climbing at the Castle Climbing Centre in Finsbury Park one Valentine’s Day, second probably only to my favourite date ever just down the road at a little family-run Ecuadorian restaurant on Holloway Road called El Rincon Quiteno where the ceviche was epic and the old man singing til late in the night just for us was the most gorgeous kind of cliched. This said, I’m very much describing the best date destinations for me… (Slightly) More objectively, Sadlers Wells (to watch my favourites The Alvin Ailey Dance Company) followed by dinner at Moro on Exmouth Market; a fresh fish bonanza at Prawn On The Lawn in Highbury; or an evening of cocktails on Broadway Market are all winners, depending on how far into the relationship we’re talking.

 

Favourite park:

Victoria Park for the fireworks, Clissold Park for the deer, Primrose Hill for the people-watching, Highbury Fields for the memories and London Fields for the craic. Craic’s most important though.

 

Favourite food market:

I think I’d be hard-pushed not to say Borough Market here, I mean YOU CAN SLURP OYSTERS AND CHAMPAGNE AND SAMPLE ALL THE CHARCUTERIE YOU COULD EVER DREAM OF FOR GOD’S SAKE. Nothing beats Borough Market. For everyday food shopping though, Ridley Road Market has been a dream to live next to, I can get all the proper African ingredients for any of my family’s Nigerian recipes, fresh meat, fish and veg for a fraction of the price you’d pay in supermarkets (especially the obscure ones), and I’m a huge fan of bargaining with vendors, so it’s the ideal shopping experience. My housemates and I have really got into entertaining from a selection of Israeli and Syrian cookbooks, so the Turkish supermarket at the end of Ridley Road is an absolute dream for the particularly specialist produce.

 

Your sanctuary in the city:

My back yard. It’s small, but it’s south-facing, and since I moved to London from Newcastle 6 years ago I’ve come to realise that finding outdoor space of your own is like gold dust. Being able to have people round to ours to eat and drink outside as late as we want, or to sunbathe topless as soon as the Great British weather throws out a freak heat wave are simple pleasures, but they’re ones which -after living in a slew of shitholes in the big smoke- I’ve learned to truly appreciate. Private, outdoor space of one’s own. Pure bliss.

 

What inspires you?

On Sundays when I’m not working I volunteer at a project in Hackney called Akwaaba. It’s a social drop-in for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants at all stages of the immigration process, and I work primarily with the children’s group. I’ve been with these kids for two years now and they constantly inspire me a huge amount.