Peggy Lee Loves London – Book Review

What must be London’s most unusual guidebook has just landed on my desk – Peggy Lee Loves London.

peggy lee loves london book reviewWritten by Katrina Leskanich (of Katrina & The Waves) and Sher Harper it’s a whistle-stop tour of the two authors’ favourite London spots, aided and abetted by the Peggy Lee of the title, who happens to be Katrina’s toy poodle!

Exactly as you’d expect, Peggy Lee Loves London’s 136 pages cover many of the city’s tourist traps (Chinatown, Portobello Road, Camden Market and the like) but it’s the more unusual ‘inside baseball’ venues that are really intriguing, some of which are even a revelation to the Londoneer.

For example, there’s a page on Alfie’s Antique Market on Church St in Marylebone which occupies four floors of an old department store. Focusing on 20th century design, as well as furniture you can pick up clothes from way back in the ’60s and there’s even a hairdressing salon on the premises that specialises in retro hairstyles. On the culinary front, the authors pick up on Franco’s Take Away, an Italian sandwich bar and restaurant that has occupied its premises on Rivington St in Shoreditch for decades – apparently it is the place to go for Italian comfort food that’s just like mamma used to make.

If your shoes need some serious attention, there’s a page dedicated to Cobblers on White Horse St in Mayfair. Again a long-established family business, they’ve had the likes of Madonna and Patrick Stewart cross their threshold in the past. There’s also tattoo advice, with Katrina and Sher favouring Flamin’ Eight Tattoo Studio on Castle Road in Kentish Town – Owner Naresh Bhana trained in Polynesia and Japan and offers original body art based on traditional Japanese and European styles.

What’s new, you might say – aren’t there lots of London guidebooks around these days that take a slightly off-centre look at London? That may be true, but this particular volume has a secret weapon that sets it apart from the crowd – each facing page of Peggy Lee Loves London carries an image of the venue or place to match the text, and every single one features Peggy Lee posing! She stands majestically in front of the Barbican, looks wistfully off into the distance on Hampstead Heath and manages to look every so slightly drunk sitting behind a table at the Blind Beggar pub on the Whitechapel Road. She even bounds excitedly towards the camera outside City Hall, or she might be running away from the Mayor – I’m not sure…

For dog lovers, or indeed for anyone who wants a light dusting of gentle humour to go with their continuing education about London’s diverse destinations, Peggy Lee Loves London is the guidebook for you.  You can pick it up on Amazon for just £8, or at any of the usual outlets across town.