Our favourite London personalities

It’s that time again for the AIL List, where we pick our favourite people of the moment.

London Focus

Cara Delevingne
Model
Cara Delevingne is everyone’s favourite model right now. It’s impossible to escape her – she’s on magazine covers and advertorials fronting campaigns for Chanel, Burberry and Mulberry; walking the catwalk for Topshop at London Fashion Week and being papped partying all over town with pals Rita Ora, Rihanna and Suki Waterhouse. She’s also Britain’s most charismatic model since Kate Moss, and presents an image that’s a far cry from the carefully manicured appearance of many celebs. Whether she’s dancing for the photographers as she arrives at the GQ Men of the Year Awards or dissolving into drunken fits of giggles at a basketball game with now ex-girlfriend Michelle Rodriguez, Delevingne is earning her supermodel kudos and having a hell of a lot of fun in the meantime.

Matthew Herbert
Composer, producer, DJ
“Pioneering” and “avant-garde” are a couple of adjectives often used to describe Matthew Herbert’s varied output over his 20 year career. He’s probably best known for his habit of sampling every day sounds to compose epic pieces of music - often with political commentary, such as on One Life, where bleeps sampled from a hospital incubator machine represent the deaths of people in the Iraq war. The bleeps themselves were sampled from the incubator that kept his premature baby alive. At the time he said “the NHS - which is something I happen to believe in - spent somewhere between £250,000 and £500,000 keeping my son alive. The government is spending vastly more on that killing people in another country who I have never met, and who I believe also had the right to remain alive." These words are especially poignant now that Britain’s health service is under threat, so it seems fitting that we would feature him in our If I Ruled London series, where among other things he said that “one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in London was the state welcome to the royal family from Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia who is responsible for so many awful things in the Middle East in terms of funding of arms, funding of terrorism, and promoting a really intolerant version of Islam. And just to see someone riding in a golden coach down the Strand with all the pomp and circumstance legitimising that… When you think of the arms deals and the amount of people who have died as a result, it feels deeply, morally abhorrent.” Read the full interview here.
\n\nSam Claflin
Actor
Sam Claflin is our next big screen heartthrob. He’s pointed out in interviews that he still manages to walk around without being mobbed by fans as, unlike his character Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, he doesn’t walk around with his shirt off, however this that won’t last long given that the role has helped him amass almost half a million Twitter followers. His most recent release is The Riot Club, where he plays a posh sociopathic member of a university club based on the Bullingdon Club, of which Messrs David Cameron and Boris Johnson were once a part of. Their hijinks range from drinking games (not your average games mind, these involve a blindfold, maggots, vials of urine and several other body excretions) to unashamedly trashing restaurants safe in the knowledge that their trust funds will pay for the damage. Claflin sought out the part as it gave him the chance to play a character very far removed from his own, and hopefully proving to his Twitter fans that he’s more than just a pretty face. \n\nLucy Inglis
Historian, author
Lucy Inglis’ area of expertise is the Georgian area, specifically Georgian London. Her first book, Georgian London: Into the Streets, was published last year, and this summer she released City of Halves, her first fiction novel aimed at teens. Her award-winning blog is the largest body of work on eighteenth century London, and in it she talks about everything from the rise in popularity of the pineapple to the development of the St. James’s area. However we particularly like it when she delves into the most colourful aspects of the era, like the nightly shenanigans and sexual peccadilloes of the city’s inhabitants. So naturally when we interviewed her we wanted to focus on the shadier side of things, but importantly we also learnt that “Georgian London puts modern London in the shade: anyone or anything deemed controversial now has an eighteenth century equivalent who took far bigger risks, achieved more, suffered more, or was more debauched.” Bear that in mind when you post your next selfie, TV reality slebs.

We also like…
David Byrne, formerly the frontman of seminal American new wave band Talking Heads, has written a musical about Imelda Marcos called Here Lies Love. It’s running at the National Theatre till January.
Steve John Shepherd is better known for his turn as the psychopathic Michael Moon in Eastenders, but he’s now starring in Albion, a play about the rise of the far right in the UK, showing at the Bush Theatre.

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