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This is Part 2 of our interview with Joel Hopkins, director of Last Chance Harvey, which is in theaters now.
ANGLOPHENIA: What’s your favorite neighborhood in London – one that people may not be inclined to visit?
JOEL HOPKINS: I got very excited wandering around the Borough Market. Lots of very good restaurants have opened up around there. Really great produce, and a lot of restaurateurs go there to buy their produce.
Definitely the east of London is more progressive and newer things are happening there. I may be slightly late to this, but Hoxton is the equivalent to [New York’s] Williamsburg in that, after it was discovered, it has lost a bit of its specialness. Artists moved in there and found affordable spaces to have studios, and it became a hit with restaurants and bars. Columbia Road Flower Market in the East End is great. Brixton is nice. It’s slightly off the beaten track. Very multicultural. It’s a bit like going out to Jackson Heights in Queens. Brixton has a big West Indian community and a big Indian community.
I do think London is huge. I’ll go down a street in London and think, I’ve never been down this street before in my life. Whereas in New York, after awhile, I felt as if I’d been down every street there. London has more wiggly streets to discover, and I’ve lived in London most of my life.
ANGLO: How has London changed as it has become more multicultural?
JH: I don’t feel like London has changed much. When I was growing up, it always felt fairly multicultural. What I noticed, after being away for 12 years, is that there is just more of everything. It’s just busier – more people, more people who have come from abroad. Definitely you’re conscious that London, much like New York City, is a stepping stone from a lot of places. I am enjoying being closer to mainland Europe, and being able to, very quickly, experience another country and culture and language. In New York, that’s harder to do.
ANGLO: What would you say is the most romantic location in London?
JH: Well, we filmed a lot on the South Bank, and I must say I really love it down there. I loved it as a boy, and it has only gotten better. I find it very romantic. I grew up in the north of London near Hampstead Heath, which is a very big park in London, but it’s not a pristine or manicured park. It’s more like the countryside – woodlands and rolling hills. It’s very romantic on a summer’s evening. There’s a lovely place there called Kenwood, which is a old stately home, and it has a bandstand next to a pond. They have concerts during summer evenings – jazz concerts, classical concerts.
ANGLO: What is your favorite live music venue in general in London?
I went to see something at the Roundhouse, which is in Camden Town, and that’s a beautiful old, Victorian building where trains used to come in and turn around. Now it’s been turned into an arts and music venue. It’s a lovely space.
JH: How about a restaurant recommendation?
While I was editing my film in Soho, I got really keen on this place called Andrew Edmunds. It has a private club there and a restaurant on the ground floor with really good food.
ANGLO: A good local pub?
JH: There’s a gastropub in West London called the Havelock Tavern with really good food. St. Johns is great as well.