Rapper Dizzee Rascal on the best and worst of London life
Fresh from recording an unofficial World Cup song, 24-year-old rap star Dizzee aka Dylan Mills is to be a TV talent judge on a new Sky1 music series
He loves a post-rave drive over Vauxhall Bridge, eating a "bangin'" curry goat and roti in Crouch End and wants to travel 50 years into the future to say, Canary Wharf - what's that then?
Follow in the footsteps of one of the most famous young Londoners of his era as he reveals the best and worst bits of city life.
What's your favourite neighbourhood?
I'd say it was Bow, where I come from and where I feel the most comfortable whenever I go there.
But to be fair, these are the areas I hung around in my youth: Bow, Poplar, the Isle of Dogs, a bit of Hackney and Stratford and then eventually Lewisham and Deptford.
Your favourite building?
Canary Wharf means the most to me, from all angles as a kid. That was the highest building I could see from my bedroom, and when I came through the Blackwall Tunnel, there it was again.
I remember when we were about 14 or 15, we thought that thing on the top of it was like aliens and they were about to fly off. We'd blink and think they had lasers up there.
Most hated building?
Limehouse police station. Or Bethnal Green police station. Any one of them two. No hard feelings but we can do without them.
Best view in London?
Any of the bridges that go over London, like Vauxhall Bridge, either at night or on a nice sunny day.
If you're coming back from a rave and you've had a really good night out, and you're hyped up from it, that's the time. It feels like a movie driving over there.
Favourite open space?
Vicky Park, Victoria Park in Hackney that is. Because I grew up there. I also like going up that hill at Alexandra Palace and looking over. That's got a good vibe.
Most interesting shop?
Harrods in Knightsbridge was rebuilt to its current design after a fire in 1880
It's Harrods man. There's so much in there. You know the mad thing? Up to a couple of years ago I'd never been there. I was always doing my shopping in America, where I knew I could pick up good stuff.
Then I went to Harrods and I couldn't believe it. This stuff is mad over-priced. Like, how much do they want for that? It took me a while to realise there's other things in there as well.
Favourite pub, bar or restaurant?
I love going to eat at a place called Banners in Crouch End. The food is bangin'. I love having the curry goat and the roti. It's the best curry goat I've ever had in my life. It's so big you'll end up taking some of it home.
Do I get recognised? Yeah, a lot of the time. Sometimes you just want to eat or to chill, but for the most part I have trouble saying no to autograph hunters or people who just want a photograph.
It may be the one time that person is going to see me.
Most memorable night out?
I had a friend over from America and he was doing the Gumball Rally, so I met up with him and... no, it was the night before that (laughs).
We're at the club in these drop-tops and it was like a music video. There were girls everywhere and me dancing and bopping around...
Dizzee Rascal recalls his most memorable night out
I went to the Mayfair Hotel and was sitting there, chilling and talking to some ladies and they were with some other people and then blah blah blah, someone said something about going to this club called Cirque (off Leicester Square).
There was another guy there who owns a fleet of cars, like old school American cars, the ones you see in the rapper videos, the ones that bounce, and he says, we can go to the club in his cars.
So we're there and it's all fine. We're at the club in these drop-tops and it was just like a music video. There were girls everywhere and me dancing and bopping around, dancing from girl to girl.
It was a wicked night and the rest is history.
How would you spend your ideal day off in London?
I'd ride around town, hopefully find a nice girl to roll with me. If not, I'll go over to my mate's house and end up playing FIFA or Streetfighter or something. Simple, like that. It's pretty much what I do on my days off.
Where would you take a visitor to London?
My American friend, the one I mentioned before, had his wife with him so it was straight to Selfridges, central London, Trafalgar Square, all the touristy parts. That was what they wanted to see.
But I also took them over to see my Mum and to parts of East London. It was the day Michael Jackson died, that was the mad thing about it. But they had a good time.
The worst journey you've had to make in London?
Going into town in the rush hour. It all takes double the time. I've only been driving for two years... officially. I mean properly (laughs).
Your personal London landmark?
It's got to be Canary Wharf again. When I see it from South London it always gets me excited.
And the Dome as well. I've played there, with Lily Allen, and I like watching anything there, from wrestling to basketball to concerts. It's all proper man.
Your favourite fictional Londoner?
Holmes uses his fists as much as his razor sharp mind in Guy Ritchie's film
Sherlock Holmes. It's because I just watched that Guy Ritchie film. I was surprised, I didn't think it was going to be that good.
He could fight and I liked that element, and the pagans and the masons and all that stuff. I never attached that to Sherlock Holmes before, and it makes you look at London differently, seeing that underground world.
Favourite London film, book or documentary?
It's a film. Guy Ritchie again - Snatch. I liked Brad Pitt playing a traveller. I think he did well man.
Which time period in London, past or future, would you like to go to?
50 years into the future, so I'm going forward. In 20 years you'd still see remnants of now, but in 50 years' time it would definitely be something else.
There'd be buildings bigger than Canary Wharf so we'd be saying, Canary Wharf, what's that then?
And people will still be listening to Dizzee Rascal. That's why I'm putting in so much work now. I'm trying to make people dance when I'm dead.
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