Alastair Campbell, Novelist and Political Animal

The former Spin Doctor in chief might have turned his back on politics for a new career in writing -as well as fundraising for research into leukaemia- but his tireless blogging and occasional scuffle (see Adam Boulton on Sky) proves than an old Labour bruiser will always remain so. Here, the man once described as “the real deputy Prime minister” talks to Chic-Londres about “his” London.

What is your earliest London memory? I was 12, with my father, and had come on a visit where I was competing in a bagpipes contest. I found London too big.

Where do you live? In Gospel Oak, because it is almost central and close of Hampstead Heath.

What do you miss most when you are not here? Running or cycling in the Heath and Regents Park, as well as my neighbours: I have good neighbours.

How would you describe London in three words? Vibrant, multicultural, challenging.

What do you think makes London special? The mix of nationalities and the mix of old and new.

Which is your favourite district? Hampstead.

What is your favourite shopping destination? I hate shopping but if I have to name one shop, it has to be Simpson Cycles in Kentish Town.

What is your favourite park? Hampstead Heath.

Do you have a favourite restaurant? La Casalinga, an Italian restaurant in St John’s Wood.

What is the best place to party in London? I am not a party animal.

Where do you go when you want to relax? To the cinema.

What is London best kept secret? Its clocks.

What have been your most memorable nights in London? The birth of my three children at the Royal Free Hospital, as well as Burnley beating Spurs in 1987 and Chelsea in 2009.