‘This handy guide takes you to a London you’ve never seen…’ so reads the blurb on the back of this pocket-sized gem. The inviting description continues, ‘…a London of challenging Etruscan restaurants, edgy branding parlours, emoji hotels and hidden Icelandic communities; a London where 8-ply toilet paper is a thing.’ But sadly, these venues are all figments of mischievous author Jeremy Liebster’s imagination. The Bespokist Society Guide to… London is a spoof guidebook featuring weird and wonderful (and all completely imaginary) restaurants, shops and creative people. The 120-page book (by ‘fictional’ authors Jez Tepano and Nastya Petrov) gently pokes fun at urban trends and elements of modern living, from fitness fads and wellness to coffee culture and hipsters.
What we thought of the book
I was mildly disappointed to discover that the places and people that feature in this travel guide don’t actually exist in real life. After all, how fabulous would it be to meet ‘Darby’, a ‘remarkably engaging cat that is said to have persuaded numerous other London felines to follow a vegan lifestyle’?
And I loved the sound of The Yeast Extractors, a pair of roving sandwich gurus who ‘make the best Marmite sarnies in London’. The sharp observational humour is spot on. The entries may be fictional, nonsensical and often quite ridiculous, but the truth is they’re not a million miles away from 21st-century life – especially in our capital city. I would imagine this book would be most appealing to Londoners themselves or those who are familiar with the city. But, as only an occasional visitor to the capital, I still found plenty to make me giggle. However, I’d advise against reading it over a meal, especially the entry about Fecal Matters, a chain of ‘fancy bottom parlours’. And, who knows, maybe in a few years’ time we’ll see emoticon-themed hotels and hipster versions of working men’s clubs springing up across the city?
How much is the book and how can I buy it?
About the Author
The Bespokist Society Guide to London is a work of fiction written by born and bred Londoner, Jeremy Liebster. Somewhat surprisingly, Jeremy is also a city lawyer – formerly at DLA Piper and now a General Counsel within a large private equity group. Jeremy is utterly obsessed with travel books and although he might poke fun at urban fads, hipster fried chicken is his guilty pleasure. He also has an unusual interest in clothes hangers.
What is The Bespokist Society?
A social collective with a passion for the curated and the bespoke. Like the impressionists who forged an artistic movement in the fin de siecle coffee shops of Paris, The Bespokist Society began in a biospheric winery in Norbiton in 2013.
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* We were given a copy of the cookbook for free in return for a feature. All opinions are our own.