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Page last updated at 18:30 GMT, Wednesday, 23 September 2009 19:30 UK
Pete Waterman's London

The Coventry-born music mogul first came to London by jumping on a train at the age of eight, an experience that sparked an abiding passion for steam, model railways and the "amazing" city he calls his home.

Pete Waterman
Waterman, 62, masterminded the early pop careers of Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Rick Astley and Bananarama

What's your favourite neighbourhood?

Borough, where I live. I've been there over 40 years and wouldn't live anywhere else. I moved there when you could buy anything for about two bob and it was so empty there was no-one around after 6pm on a Friday night.

Your favourite building?

It's probably St Paul's Cathedral. I think it's a wonderful place. I'm into architecture because of my railway passion. My favourite station? Paddington, which I love.

Most hated building?

The new Euston station. It's not that I hanker after the past, but the old one was friendly. I think stations have to be friendly and functional, and I know that Euston wasn't particularly functional for a modern age, but it certainly wasn't what we've got now.

Best view in London?

The London Eye
The best view is from the top of the London Eye, reckons Waterman

The best view is from the top of the London Eye. I mean, what a city we live in. It's true. I've been all over the world and I always tell people that London is the most amazing place to live, particularly at this time of year with the autumn sunshine.

Favourite open space?

It has to be Regent's Park. Again, we've got some great open spaces in London, even in Borough High Street. There's a little park there around the back. It's an amazing place - how lucky are we?

Most interesting shop?

It's funny, I did think about this. There used to be a fantastic model shop in King's Cross, but not anymore. There's one on Parkway in Camden, Hobby Stores, which I know very well - it's where I get my paints and glue from now.

Favourite pub, bar or restaurant?

It varies. I do get a favourite and then it changes. I've got a local pub called The Gladstone, which is where we used to take Paul McCartney, believe it or not.

I also love Sartoria, a restaurant on Savile Row. You can't explain to someone just what a food revolution we've gone through in London.

Most memorable night out?

I've had some fantastic nights out, including some good ones at the Palace. It's not a nightclub from the 1980s, you know, but Buckingham Palace.

I once walked in and the Duke of Edinburgh was walking out, and he said to me, "Pete, you're here more these days than I am"
Pete Waterman recalls his visits to Buckingham Palace

You have to pinch yourself to be there, but this goes back to when I was one of the music industry's ambassadors, going to official things at the Palace, sometimes twice or three times a week.

I once walked in and the Duke of Edinburgh was walking out, and he said to me, "Pete, you're here more these days than I am".

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?

I'm going to walk around all the old churches. Don't laugh because I'm going to embarrass myself here: I've never been to Westminster Abbey in spite of telling myself I should pop in for a carol service or something, and I only live about two minutes away from it.

So if I had time I'd do all those things tourists do, the stuff that because we live here we don't do often enough.

Where would you take a visitor to London?

To the Imperial War Museum. It's an amazing building, great area, and for me it sums up London. It's more than just the war stuff, it's about family life and growing up in adverse conditions.

The worst journey you've had to make in London?

You can't live in this city without jumping in the car and getting stuck somewhere. I was going to the football one night, England were playing at Wembley, against Holland if I remember right, and I never got there.

I'm running up the road catching cabs and going nowhere. When this city gets gridlocked, you may as well forget it and go home.

Your personal London landmark?

St Paul's Cathedral
St Paul's Cathedral is a favourite building and Waterman's personal landmark

Again, we come back to St Paul's Cathedral. The minute you see it from a plane or something, you know you're coming home. Tower Bridge as well, that's another iconic place to my mind.

Your favourite fictional Londoner?

The Artful Dodger. I love him because he's your mate, isn't he? He's a small-time crook so you allow him to get away with it, because you know at the end of the day he's never going to be a really bad lad.

Favourite London film, book or documentary?

That's easy, it's the film Hue and Cry. It's London after the war, it's the London I knew from the 1950s, in black and white, not colour. It's filmed around where I live and I saw it as a kid and can't believe I actually live two streets away from all this now.

Which time period in London, past or future, would you like to go to?

I'd go back to wartime, during the Blitz. The people that got through it and had to muck through it, what a camaraderie that was. You don't get that spirit anymore. But don't get me wrong, London's a friendlier place after all these years, and still is.

Pete Waterman's Just Like The Real Thing: Modelling Railways is available now, published by Ian Allan

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