Californian artist and longterm K-towner Leslie Wilson-Rutterford founded the popular Dandy lion Market, which sells affordable art, crafts and vintage wares monthly at The Oxford on Kentish Town Road. The next edition, a “Ladyfolk” special on March 2, is a Get Together with Oxfam to celebrate International Women’s Day and support women living in poverty around the world.
When were you happiest?
Being a second time around mum. Also during the daytime, in my own space at home creating and making things.
Where would you like to live?
I rather fancy the area north of Leighton Road going towards Tufnell Park.
What is your favourite sound or smell?
The sound of children on the street, my friends’ voices, kindly shopkeepers.
What is your greatest life achievement?
Raising my two sons. As someone who didn’t take to motherhood easily, or naturally, I don’t think I was the best mum in the world with number one. I learned a lot by the time number two came along, and I now appreciate what I did and am so grateful to have them. I’ve since been endeavouring to make up for early shortcomings.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To be friendly, and not take out my personal problems on people I come across. Treat everyone as much as possible with respect. I can finish the day without regrets this way.
Decorating our newly acquired council flat while 8 ½ months pregnant.
What makes you unhappy?
Being taken for granted, inequality, unfairness and injustice.
What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
A much larger home. We were offered a tiny, crappy council flat because we were expecting, and they knew we wanted to be moved in before the baby came. Do I sound bitter?
What is your most unappealing habit?
Being a bit on the critical side.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Occasionally hitting Annie’s Bar or the Abbey for a late night bop.
Where do you hang out?
In the charity shops. This is also where I bump into most of my neighbours and local friends. It’s totally unrushed. Plenty of light. Nice high ceilings. Quirky objects to look at. No one cares if you stand there and chat.
Who or what do you hate and why?
I hate the encroachment of high street chains taking over the independent shops. I also don’t really like the end of the day. It’s when I’m in my stride and want it to last forever.
What’s been your best experience in NW5? Worst?
Bringing my beloved Dandy Lion Market from the Boogaloo in Highgate to my neighbourhood was a great feeling. To be running a business with the local community has given me new purpose and enthusiasm for Kentish Town.
What has your career taught you?
Always do my best. I apply skills acquired from childhood, past jobs, college, raising children and community projects with the same intensity. If I value what I do, others will, too.
What is your favourite dish and why? As an American raised in California, we had a great variety of ethnic and American cuisine available. The food here is also phenomenal with dozens of countries and cultures represented from around the world. I do really miss a good Mexican restaurant, however, one that makes it like they do back home. Chile rellenos, tostadas, re-fried beans and rice, jalepenos and jugs of Marguaritas. La comida mexicana es el mejor!
Describe yourself as an animal.
I think I quite fit my Chinese animal, the rooster.
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