MUSWELL HILL PEOPLE
Those of you who think that London is a dull place will have to think again. Chris Mann, who has worked in Afghanistan, all over Europe, covered the Falklands and the Gulf war, believes that London is the most exciting place to be.
Chris is originally from Scotland and there is only a slight trace of an accent after spending so many years abroad. After seven years in Highgate, Chris and his family now live a few miles away in Muswell Hill.
The younger members of the Mann family Holly and Nick, both attend local schools and have been, very recently, joined by a new baby. "Haringey's schools are much maligned - and quite wrongly," says Chris. "The schools in this area are excellent. This is a great place to bring up children - there are good facilities and plenty of space."
"When you travel around, you realise that London is probably the only major city in the world where you have so much green on your doorstep. We often visit Queen's Wood, watch the cricket in Priory Park in the summer and there is nothing the children enjoy more than racing their bikes round the duck pond at Ally Pally. It's all right here."
As editor of News Direct 97.3FM, the country's first rolling news station, Chris has responsibility for delivering 24 hour live news.
In twenty years as a journalist, he has worked for many news media including CNN, TV-AM, BBC TV's Business Breakfast and Channel Four. News Direct 97.3FM is just over a year old and has already - according to Chris - proved itself to be the news station for London.
At the start of News Direct, Chris said it would be a return to "old fashioned journalism". Despite the more glamorous image of television, he says he does not miss being on-screen.
"Radio is a very intimate medium. It touches people in a way that television and the press don't. We cover everybody's news, locally and nationally. Radio rests on the most important element of communication - listening. I still write and do the occasional piece of television work, but there is something special about radio."
"I've travelled to many places but I can eat food from almost any country in the world right here. Not only that, but I think you get the best here, too."
It is hard work getting the name of Chris's favourite restaurant. "I don't know if I want to tell everyone that," he says. "I might not be able to get a table, next time I go! We're regular visitors to Lokzen Chinese restaurant, as well as the Village Bistro and Florians in Crouch End. My wife and I had our first date at the Village, so meals there - at least once a year - are compulsory."
"Muswell Hill used to have a reputation for not having too many good pubs but that's all changing now. The area has developed a lot and it's good that there seem to be people moving in with young families. "There's a good mix of people which gives the area a bohemian feel. There are lots of actors, writers and so on, but there are also people like me. I like to think of us as the Muswell Hillbillies!"
"Ally Pally is the one thing that I would like to see developed. It has a special significance for me as a symbol of the birth of radio in this country. I think that's a heritage that we should make more of locally. We often take friends up there who are amazed at the buildings, the space, and the view."