My London; SIMON GRAY the Playwright Can Be Found Observing the Human Drama in the Bars of Hilton Hotels and at His Table at Kensington Place

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Where do you live and why?

Holland Park. My wife Victoria has lived here forever and I moved in to be with her, so it was never really my choice.

How long have you lived there?

Fifteen years. We are very settled here but my publisher is moving next door so that may be a reason to relocate.

What are your favourite home comforts?

My bed, which I've had for 15 years, and my desk, which was a present when I was 20. I don't buy things for myself - I hate shopping.

What are your extravagances?

Eating out and smoking more than I can afford.

What would you do if you were Mayor for the day?

Build as many decent, secure public lavatories as possible.

What is your life philosophy?

Evade and avoid.

Do you have a favourite pub?

I think most modern pubs are foul but I do like the lobbies and bars of Hilton hotels.

What items are in your winter wardrobe?

The same items as last year and the year before.

I have no idea where I got them. If I can help it, I avoid shopping at all costs, and when I do get dragged, I never notice the names of the shops.

What are your current projects?

The usual - trying to finish a play and start a book. The play is about Dickens and his mistress but I haven't thought of a title yet.

As a good friend of Harold Pinter, what was your reaction to him getting the Nobel prize?

I was very pleased for him. I hadn't thought it would happen but, two weeks before the announcement, my wife had foreseen it. Despite her prediction, it still surprised me.

What is your routine for writing each day?

I start at 2am and stop at dawn when I go to bed.

I have a study to hide in at home and in Suffolk.

Do you prefer Broadway or the West End?

Broadway without a doubt. They pay ten times more than the West End - there's no comparison. …


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