London’s not lacking much, as cities go, but a few more dashing chaps wouldn’t go amiss. Dan Jones is one of the precious few chaps in London who are already dashing, and he runs a blog, Jonestown London, which will help other chaps on their way to fashion gold. He’s picked five secret London spots for boys and girls alike to admire.
Goodhood’s Life Store (above)
Goodhood’s brand new Life Store is across the cobbles from their original shop, just off Hoxton Square. The tiny space is set out like a still life from an interiors magazine – a copper tubular desk tidy here, a spiders’ web print cushion there – with digital radios, notebooks and pen cases, iPad covers, blankets, fragrances. Everything here has a clever yet simplistic function, is mainly monochrome, all presented against natural wood, warm lighting and the odd WTF? item: a wooden llama, macramé pot holders, and a Titanium camping Spork.
Bearded Tom Bushnell, one-time Head Barber at Murdock Shoreditch, set up his own space in Bloomsbury with friend and session stylist Lee Machin last year. Their cutting room is hidden beneath a boutique on Lambs Conduit Street near men’s stores Folk, Oliver Spencer, Private White VC, and The Perseverance – a good pub. Inside, there are two barbers’ chairs, cups of tea, Tom’s excellent playlist, and sometimes a dog on a blanket. The pair also style hair for fashion shows, and editorial shoots for magazines like Fantastic Man and Another Man, and Tom’s been known to cut the hair of a certain Arctic Monkey, Alex Turner – so you’re in very safe hands. Haircuts are £35. Call 07500 062511 to book.
Idea Books’ secret reading room
Angela Hill and David Owen, the duo behind London book and magazine dealers Idea Books, have quite the empire; they stock Dover Street Market with vintage Vogues and Tatlers, Snoopy books, copies of Blitz, Interview and artful one-offs – Colette and Kenzo in Paris, and Marc Jacobs’ stores in New York and LA – all from their packed archive and HQ in Soho. You can apply for a private shopping session there – perfect if you’re a multimillionaire design director looking for inspiration, or simply in the mood to add to your vintage Playboy collection.
119 Lower Clapton
Just down from the vacuum cleaner centre and Danny’s Motor Shop (where there’s currently a special on anti-freeze) is 119 Lower Clapton – a brand new café. It’s freshly opened, but has all the makings of a brilliant new Hackney hang out. Basically, it’s not trying to be anything other than a really good café – the interior’s simple; the Hasbean coffee, made by barista Petra (espresso and aeropress) is great; there’s a nice strong African tea and loads of cake. Plus, it’s really friendly. The owner, Erica, is bringing on a chef in the next month or two, so the menu should develop further. I’m looking forward to it. Nice work, 119ers.
Mysteries’ Backroom Grotto
I’m a bit obsessed with this shop. My mum – a bit witchy at the best of times – used to pick up her Angel cards and runes here, and would bring me along when I was a kid. It’s full of dreamcatchers and chakra candles, New Age spell books, chunks of amethyst, and big crystal rods that look like mystical sex toys. It’s just had a smart renovation, but the Mysteries team have kept the best bit intact: hidden at the back of the shop is a babbling, twinkling water feature, covered in buddhas, beads and charms. It could be the cheesiest monument to other-worldliness in London – but it’s like irony and cynicism don’t exist. With joss sticks. It’s proper magic.