I’m not much of a cook but boy do I love a cook book. This tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe by Robyn Lea (Assouline, £32) is both a feast for the eyes and the taste buds with rustic recipes and equally delicious images.
When I was growing up, there was nothing less appealing than the idea of suburbia, being stuck on the fringes, peering in on the action. If you lived in the suburbs of London, your main life goal was to get the hell out as soon as possible. In fact, I grew up in West London, but in a way that had its own feeling of torpid detachment. I was desperate for the seedy exotic bright lights of Soho, at that time the epicenter of creative cool and a glowing beacon of potential. Potential of what exactly, it didn’t matter, just something more exciting than my mundane teen (non)existence. In that sense, you could even say that being a teenager, wherever you live, is like being in an alternative suburbia. So near to where you want to be – independent, in demand – yet so far.
Now, in a funny volte-face, London is turning inside out. The outskirts are becoming desirable destinations with endless construction sites and transport-links-in-progress that represent fresh, gleaming possibility. In turn, the centre of London is emptying of locals, as our beloved pubs, caffs and nightclubs are bulldozed for behemoth Shards and Gherkins. Should we stay or should we go? Or should we simply retreat into the safe suburbia of our nostalgic imaginations…?