MUSWELL HILL PEOPLE
Robin Lustig has spent most of
his working life as a journalist, the majority of the time abroad. But buying Maureen
Lipman's old house in Muswell Hill cemented Lustig's roots in Haringey when he and his
family moved to the area from Highgate in 1982.
"The information given to us by the estate agents obviously included the address and the name of the owners - the Rosenthals.
It didn't register with my wife and I that it was actually the Maureen Lipman and the Jack Rosenthal. The pictures on the wall were the eventual give away!" muses Robin. The Lustigs soon settled in their new home. "Living here is probably the longest I've lived anywhere."
Robin has experienced the pleasures and anxieties of living and working in politically unstable countries, such as three years in Israel. From there, he covered the Lebanese civil war, as well as reporting on the Iran/Iraq war and the Intifada, the Palestinian uprising - time he describes as "interesting".
"What happens to a lot of people who work abroad for any length of time, is that on their return, they get 'itchy feet syndrome' and that's what happened to me. After12 years at the The Observer, I decided to become a freelance broadcaster."
Luckily, his feet didn't itch enough to leave Haringey. "The ambience of this whole area has changed over the past five years, for the better, I might add. It's the pavement life and cafe culture that has sprung up. There are more flats with lots of young people. It has made Muswell Hill far more vibrant."
His children have been educated locally. Josh and Hannah both attend Fortismere School. "We chose this house so the kids could walk to school. Josh is doing his A levels at Fortismere and he wouldn't think about doing them anywhere else."
"The great gales of 1987 blew our fence down and we left it down. With our two neighbours having children around the same age they could just hop over the gardens to play, so we knew that if they weren't at home they'd be next door or nearby."
"I love travelling," says Robin, "but I don't like being away more than 10 to12 days at a time. I was in Hong Kong for the hand-over. The people I interviewed were quite underwhelmed by it all. They knew that the Chinese army were not going to march in and take over.
"From there I went to Cambodia, just when the Khmer Rouge were raising their heads again. That was pretty scary watching the place go boom from our hotel room."
More recently Robin provided the commentary on the funeral of the late King Hussein of Jordan for the World Service. He has just returned from Nigeria where he reported on the first democratic elections after 15 years of military rule.
Robin works in White City and is an advocate for public transport, despite its problems and the length of time it takes him to get to work. On a good day, he walks to Wood Green tube station.
"Currently I present the World Tonight three nights a week, many moons ago it was the World This Weekend and before that I presented a programme called News Stand that went out after The Archers omnibus. It was said to be the most listened to current affairs programme, probably because people didn't turn off after The Archers."
Robin's latest radio programme Talking Point is probably unique. "It's an interactive global phone-in programme. I'm hooked up to the internet via a video camera so listeners also have the opportunity to see me on the web. The other exciting thing about the programme is the ability to continue the debate once the programme has finished."
Because of the business Robin is in, he would love see Ally Pally used as a broadcast museum. "I have narrated the commentary for a lovely video entitled The People's Palace - the history of the Ally Pally, which has been colourful to say the least. The video is always playing when I go into WH Smiths, to my continued embarrassment.
"Sometimes I do get a bit fed up with travelling across and through London - there ought to be traffic calming measures on my road - andI think about finding somewhere sensible to live. But my roots are firmly grounded in London and Haringey, On a sunny day with the flowers out in the park, coffee and a newspaper at the Seattle Coffee House, where else would one want to be? City life - I just love it."
Talking Point goes out on Sunday at 3pm on Radio 4.