Stewart Lee, comedian
My favourite place in London is Brydges Place off St Martin's Lane, which is the narrowest alley in London. It always stinks and is usually running with streams of human urine. At its thinnest point it is 15 inches wide and it is hard to avoid splashing in all the urine.
I go out of my way in order to walk down Brydges Place whenever I am in central London as it makes me feel like I am in an exciting old city of yore and I always take visiting friends and relatives along it to show them the real London.
First dates, when i was young and single in the ’80s and ’90s, would succeed or fail based on my companion's enthusiasm, or lack of it, for the alley, which I always took them too, and which supposed could be described as a kind of vertical sewer. I saw a hedgehog running along Brydges Place in the early ’90s, amazingly, and it was drinking some of the urine which was still hot.
In the Britpop era I saw Neil Carlill of a band called Delicatessen urinating in Brydges Place and during grunge I saw one of the women from L7 squatting down in a doorway there. I really liked L7 but it would have been inappropriate to ask for an autograph. I imagine The Earl of Rochester probably urinated in Brydges Place too, back in the poetry days.
In about 1989 when I was really broke I found £12 on the floor in Brydges Place. I spent £10 on presents for my mum and my nan and gave the rest to a homeless man.
Last Christmas, when I was the fattest I have ever been, I was going along Brydges Place at night drunk, and it was quite a squeeze to get past all the urinating men without pushing up against their buttocks so I decided to lose weight and now feel a lot healthier.
Brydges Place has been good to me over the years. It's given me money, laughs and health warnings. We've lost the 12 Bar and all the cool record shops round Hanway Street. I hope Brydges Place doesn't get all gentrified and carries on stinking up the area.