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My London: Arinzé Kene – Evening Standard

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The actor beds down at the Ham Yard Hotel, meditates in Hackney Downs and is a big fan of east London’s stick men street art
Home is…
Hackney… for now. I live on my Jack Jones. I got a bit lonely during the pandemic but generally, living alone is a nice balance to what I do for a living.
Where do you go to let your hair down?
I go to the park. Hackney Downs is decent to just go and sit or meditate.
Hackney Downs
Where would you recommend for a first date?
I’m a massive fan of live performance so I would say Ronnie Scott’s. You get to watch some amazing live jazz, they have good food and drinks and it’s a beautiful setting.
People. Fashion. Power. Delivered weekly.
Which shops do you rely on?
Whole Foods. It’s got all the stuff I put in my belly. I spend the most money there. Also Vivo Barefoot for the most comfortable trainers.
What’s your favourite work of art in London?
The stick men street art — the artist is Stik. His murals are around east London and I love the one on Old Street.
The Old Street mural
What’s the best meal you’ve had?
In my mum’s kitchen in Hackney — she’s the best cook in London. There’s also a place called Cookdaily, a pop-up vegan Thai place that is amazing.
Where would you most like to be buried?
Kingsland Road. When I die, I will be haunting Kingsland Road anyway so I might as well get buried there, too.
What makes someone a Londoner?
Nothing. You can just choose to be one whenever you want. That’s the best thing about London — I took it for granted growing up.
Where do you stay in London?
The Ham Yard Hotel. It’s really pretty, you can have really nice coffee and food and it feels like staying in an apartment. It’s also close to the Lyric Theatre, so very good for nights when I don’t want to go all the way back to Hackney.
Who do you call when you want to have fun?
Michaela Coel. She does games nights at her house.
If you could buy any building to live in which would it be?
Hackney Empire. I’d also put on some amazing shows. It’s one of my favourite buildings and it’s just not being used the way it should be. I’d just live in the loft.
Hackney Empire
What are you up to at the moment for work?
I’m about to open a musical Get Up Stand Up! on Shaftesbury Avenue. I’m playing Bob Marley.
Who’s your hero?
My mum, who taught me patience and kindness. My professional hero is Bob Marley, who taught me how to be a rebel.
What do you collect?
Apparently, scripts. My agents are always on to me to read them — they’re piling up in my emails.
Which podcast are you obsessed with?
Revisionist History from Malcolm Gladwell.
What’s your favourite grooming spot?
I’ve never been groomed. I’m a bald man. I cut my own hair, cut my own beard, never had a manicure or pedicure. I’ll have to do it before I die.
What apps can you not live without?
Deliveroo. You have a lot of good healthy vegan options in east London. I use it whenever I’m too busy to cook.

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