Clare Teal: Heartening actions by the everyday people after the riots

A VERY enjoyable Friday afternoon was spent nattering about the vocal talents of Anita O’Day, Sarah Vaughan and Carmen McRae over a microphone and a cup of tea with Moira Stuart as part of her new documentary series.

We were staying in North Soho specifically in an area called Fitzrovia. Full of quirky pubs, bars and restaurants it was no surprise to learn from the ‘20s till the present day it has been the stomping ground of many bohemians, artists and writers including Dylan Thomas, Quentin Crisp, Virginia Woolfe, George Bernard Shaw and George Orwell.

One of the noisiest pubs in the world, the Newman Arms, conveniently situated beneath our very hotel room window, is mentioned in Orwell’s 1984.

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Later that evening I popped into the Arts Show on Radio 2 to talk to Penny Smith about my upcoming performance with The John Wilson Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall on August 29 as part of the BBC Proms – to be televised by BBC2 on September 3 – can’t wait!

Because of said proms I am on horrible diet and exercise regime mainly consisting of no bad (or what I would call good) food, no caffeine and no alcohol. St Muddy who has no need to lose an ounce has valiantly agreed to go on this heinous diet with me for moral support.

After a super juice (I had the Cellulite Buster) we embarked on an eight-mile hike round Hyde Park, Green Park and St James Park, calling into the National Portrait Gallery for half an hour before heading back to get ready for the private gig we were performing that evening.

In bed by 11.15 with a cup of herbal tea and a wafer-thin diet biscuit. Early Sunday morning we walked out to the stunning Columbia Road flower market, then down Brick Lane (ignoring all the fantastic food stalls and bagel shops) and into Spittalfield’s Market. It was an awesome morning – London at its best.

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That evening, because of the riots we pre-recorded what was due to be a live set for BBC London. As these sickening riots spread it is heartening to learn that in every affected area everyday people are out on the streets brooms in hand clearing up, restoring calm and order to these communities.

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