Toby Young is to Move to Acton

And the insults are already flying

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Yesterday's Evening Standard warned Acton to 'watch out'. According to the newspaper, Toby Young is moving here. The author of How To Lose Friends and Alienate People has written an article in The Spectator about his prospective move to our much-loved/loathed neighbourhood. At one point, he says that Acton is "the cesspool of West London".

True to form, he will already have upset some Acton residents with his less than ecstatic review of the place he currently intends to call home.  

He relates his one-man crusade to talk up Shepherd's Bush, where he currently lives, in order to "boost property values so that I can afford to move somewhere else." His first choice, Notting Hill, is off limits, but his initial investment means that "I can now afford to move to another neighbourhood."   He continues: "unfortunately, that neighbourhood is Acton.  

"When our third child was born in June, my wife and I realised that our two-storey terrace house simply wasn’t big enough. We thought about moving to Boscombe Road — one of the few streets in Shepherd’s Bush with decent-sized houses — but then discovered that the cheapest property for sale on that street is £1.5 million."  

According to Mr Young, "for the past 50 years, Shepherd's Bush has been the bottom rung of the metropolitan property ladder." Now, guess which neighbourhood occupies that exalted position? Acton. Apparently, an estate agent who showed the Young family around the area said that "Acton is the new Shepherd's Bush." In other words, Acton has taken over from Shepherd's Bush as "the cesspool of West London."  

Presumably, the estate agent wasn't from Foxton's who frequently refer to Acton as Chiswick W3 or Ealing W3.

The man who relishes his role as a sacked employee and loser of friends goes on to say that as soon as he moves to Acton, he will "embark on a relentless drive to re-brand it as a leafy, middle-class oasis — not so much the new Shepherd’s Bush as the new Chiswick, "and that he intends to start a local website - called - where he can post "glowing" reviews if a deli or a gastropub opens in Acton.  

He fears that moment may be a long time off: after spotting "an organic coffee shop" on one of his trips to Acton, he decided to return to the area to explore it properly. "I pulled up outside the coffee shop, hoping to start my tour with a nice organic latte, but there was a notice in the window saying it had closed down. Evidently, there aren't enough middle-class people in the area to sustain a single decent coffee shop."  

Perhaps it's time for Toby Young to come to Acton again. Or to start reading in order to become acquainted with its numerous gastropubs and cafes. He may even have to queue for his organic latte.

September 14, 2007