In 1984 I took part in a photographic project called A Day in the Life of London, in which hundreds of photographers went around taking photographs of, yes, London. A selection of the results were to be published in a big glossy book. It was all very exciting.

I decided I wanted to take photographs of the old part of Highgate Cemetery, which was normally quite difficult for members of the public to get into; I’d visited it as an art student ten years earlier, and wanted to see it again. But somehow things went wrong. I ended up with a small entourage, which wasn’t what I’d had in mind at all. As I walked around in the drizzle, I was trailed by not just by a producer from a TV programme (Riverside, I think it was called) and a photographer who kept photographing me taking photographs, but a representative from the Friends of Highgate Cemetery who kept bossing me around. For instance, if I stopped to take pictures of a broken statue, she would say things like, “Oh no, don’t take pictures of that, it’s broken,” and try to shoo me along.

In the event, the photographs I took just weren’t very interesting, and none of them ended up being used in the A Day in the Life of London book, which was a blow to my self-esteem and embarrassed me hugely, though at the time I pretended it didn’t. But I appeared on telly nonetheless, even though they managed to spell my name incorrectly. It was my first ever TV appearance, unless you count my being a member of the audience in something called Seeing Sport when I was about ten.

<p><a href=”″>ME BEING PRETENTIOUS IN HIGHGATE CEMETERY</a> from <a href=”″>Anne Billson</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


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