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24 September 2014

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You are in: London > People > Celebrity stories > Harvey Goldsmith interview

Harvey Goldsmith

Goldsmith was once a pharmacy student

Harvey Goldsmith interview

He loves the Royal Albert Hall, mooching around Portobello Road and buying bagels in Brick Lane. Read and hear more as the impresario and promoter talks about the best and worst of London life...

He's known as the man behind Live Earth, Live Aid and Live 8, but there're many more strings to the Goldsmith bow.

The Edgware born impresario has worked with Dylan, Springsteen and Pavarotti and cut his promoting teeth in the days of silk-suited managers and the big package tours of the 1960s ("I had a job trying to convince one venue that Deep Purple would be the only band on the bill... but I managed it.")

Starting out as a pharmacy student at college in Brighton, Goldsmith was quickly voted on to the Student Union there and charged with running a music club. In a matter of weeks he  found himself on the finance committee because "so much money was coming in that I knew music and entertainment were my life."

In the course of his conversation with BBC London 94.9's Robert Elms, he reveals himself to be passionate about the city and unafraid to rail against petty bureaucracy and the kind of daft decisions that "drive everyone doolally".

Goldsmith also tells us his all-time favourite concert bill would include Bruce Springsteen, The Who and Led Zeppelin, and that the venue to look out for in future years is the new O2 Centre in Greenwich, which used to be known as... the infamous Dome.

Your favourite neighbourhood?

"Marylebone. It's where I choose to live now and I love it."

Royal Albert Hall interior

Favourite building:The Royal Albert Hall

Your favourite building?

"The Royal Albert Hall. It's a great venue and there isn't a bad seat in the house. It's as vibrant today as it's always been."

Most hated building?

"I'm thinking venues again... definitely Earls Court or Wembley Arena."

Best view in London?

"The view from the top of Parliament Hill Fields on Hampstead Heath."

Favourite open space?

"Regent's Park. It's a very elegant park with the theatre, the lake running through it, and so many activities from golf to tennis to boating of course!"

Most interesting shop?

"I love shopping actually, don't have a problem with it. I'm very fond of Alfie's Antique Market in Church Street, just off the Edgware Road."

Favourite restaurant?

"The Caprice. They know how to look after you there. My other favourite place is the bagel shop in Brick Lane, the all-night one."

Most memorable night out?

"Millennium Night. We put on entertainment with fireworks for three million people and I'm very proud of that."

How would you spend your ideal day off in London?

"My ideal day off involves staying at home, catching up with all the papers over a coffee and doing nothing at all... preferably in bed!"

Portobello Road Market

Portobello Road and its market stalls

Where would you take a visitor to London?

"If it's a nice day then Portobello Road for the market, the cafés and all the places you can eat, hang out and watch people. It's a great street and always a lot of fun."

The worst journey you've had to make in London?

"It's the bit coming from east London to Oxford Street around Centre Point. What you've got there is the worst set of traffic lights together, which flow against each other. It's a silly thing that just needs adjusting, but it drives everyone there doolally!"

Your personal London landmark?

"It's unusual because it's on top of a building. The Roof Garden above the old Derry & Toms store in Kensington. It's a tropical jungle and garden in the middle of town with fully formed trees, the most incredible plants and flowers and even flamingoes."

Your favourite fictional Londoner?

"Has to be Sherlock Holmes, another London boy. I love the Baker Street connection, even though he never actually existed!"

Favourite London film, book or documentary?

"I think one of the funniest films is The Lavender Hill Mob, but I don't think many people today will remember it. Then again, purely because there's so much of London in it, the Bob Hoskins film The Long Good Friday."

Which time period in London, past or future, would you like to go to?

"Easy, the Industrial Revolution and just after, into the period of the Victorians. It's when they were building places like the Royal Albert Hall and all the great museums in London. Fabulous!"

last updated: 04/06/2008 at 17:37
created: 24/04/2007

You are in: London > People > Celebrity stories > Harvey Goldsmith interview

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