Gemma Cairney

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week’s Londoner is the fabulous BBC Radio 1 presenter and Tia Maria Dark Room curator, Gemma Cairney. Gemma might of been born in Birmingham but if the Daily Mail is filled with truth, she’s now officially a Londoner as she’s about and about all day and night…We caught some words below!

Where do you live in London and why?

I live in Hackney and have done for the past ten years apart from a year of misery in at the other end of the Northern line in Colliers Wood. I am obsessed with the different spaces people utilise, and transform into a dot to dot of extraordinary living spaces in Hackney. Houseboats, mirrorballed palm tree boasting live / work warehouses, Victorian conversions, car parks turned into jacuzzi parties, sprawling estates with lusciously planted porches. It’s becoming a little more sensible and too expensive now, but what drew to me to the East was that ANYTHING GOES energy.

When you’re not presenting on radio, what do you get up to?

I do everything I can to slow the pace of my spinning top amount of activity I do for work. Sometimes yoga sometimes a cocktail with friends. My friend Bri has invented a new exercise called ‘frunning’.. basically ‘fun running’ some people compare it too Phoebe’s approach to exercise in Friends, but we hold it in higher esteem. A good frun will be an hour of intermixing jogging, going down the slides, doing the bogle, and hugging trees in our local park to power ballards.

You used to be a stylist, where are your favourite places to shop in London?

I did mostly assisting which meant frenzied, last minute trips to Oxford Street to get whatever was missing form a shoot. It actually gave me the fear for busy, high street style shopping. I prefer too meander about any type of vintage shop. Brick Lane is good for a mooch. In my early twenties I lived on Cheshire Street and would head to Beyond Retro in my pyjamas and a £20 pound note to find my outfit for the day.


Where do you like to hang for cocktails and giggles?

If I’m in town I have been known to run for cover on Oxford Street and have one single long lasting cocktail in the bar at Claridge’s. If I’m in East, it’ll be my local pub The Crooked Billet in Clapton.

What was the last place you ate at that blew you away?

There are lots of fancy places in London to eat and I like fancy spangly evenings out. But I still find myself craving a Vietnamese in one of the many Vietnamese eateries to choose from on the Kingsland Road quite regularly. It’s just outright delicious. It’s obligatory to have salt and pepper squid and portion of summer rolls, it would feel illegal otherwise.

What would be your perfect day in London?

Being driven in a classic open top car on a sunny day, blasting some old skool garage and wearing some disgustingly huge cat eye sunglasses. Actually scrap that, an old open top bus instead filled with my friends, I did this for my friend’s hen do, we went over the bridge with a mega phone and a sound system. It was like our own version of a carnival float, it was so, so, so much fun.

Gemma Cairney is the curator of this year’s not-to-be-missed series of event’s, the Tia Maria Dark Room. For further details on the closing London party head to www.facebook.com/tiamariadrink.