|Shepherd's Bush - Plenty of Chicken Shops. Photo: Wikimedia Commons|
He is also a prolific writer, the far-from-idle author of books on everything from "How to be Idle" to "How to be Free". So is he right? Is Notting Hill dead, and Shepherd's Bush truly alive?
It wasn't so long ago that the FT described our neighbourhood as "a tangle of unprepossessing Victorian streets clustered around a dystopian vision of the traditional village green", and Shepherd's Bush Green itself as "a windswept traffic island ringed by kebab joints and mobile phone shops". Now, Hodgkinson suggests that this is all history. Today we are the face of multi-culturalism, full of life and vigour thanks to the huge demographic changes that have occurred in recent years.
So who is right? Is Shepherd's Bush just the unappetising filling between leafy Chiswick and elegant Holland Park (as The Daily Telegraph memorably put it back in 2006)? Or are we really the new trend-setting London neighbourhood, home to hipsters and media types?
Well, maybe. There is no doubt that The Bush is changing - and for the better. But we're surely not quite there yet. Hodgkinson stops just short of selling us as the latest London destination for the achingly hip and fabulous. As he himself puts it, "when residents refer to the area as ‘Chez Boo’, or themselves as ‘the Bush-eoisie’, it’s never without a trace of irony."
Shepherd's Bush has come a long way even in the five years since I moved to the area. But Notting Hill it ain't, at least - not yet.
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