Ken Livingstone on his daily routine, zookeeping and hitchhiking
The former Mayor of London talks to Jessica Salter about his routine since losing the election, his involvement with the London zoo and hitchhiking around Africa.
Ken Livingstone, 67, was the first elected Mayor of London, a post he held from 2000 to 2008. Livingstone joined the Labour Party in 1968 before becoming the leader of the GLC in 1981 and later a Member of Parliament. After two terms as mayor he unsuccessfully stood against Boris Johnson in 2008 and again earlier this year. He lives in north London with his wife, Emma, and their two children, Tom, nine, and Mia, eight. He has three grown-up children and one granddaughter, Sky, three. On Tuesday Livingstone talks to Timothy West in the interview series Living the Dream, on Sky Arts 1 HD.
Routine After I lost the election there was nothing in the diary and it has been like a traditional retirement. I do the gardening. I’m out every day if it’s not raining, and I help my two elderly neighbours with their gardens, too; there’s a little bridge at the end of my garden into theirs. I do the weekly shop – I love getting bargains in the supermarket. For the first time in 30 years I’m able to just sit and read the paper all the way through.
Weight I’m at the lowest weight I’ve been for 30 years. There are braces on all my trousers because they don’t stay up. Politics is not a healthy lifestyle. Now I take my dog, Coco, for a 50-minute walk every afternoon and I watch my portion sizes.
Books I grew up in a house with very few books. The first books I bought were part of the ‘Complete Guide to the Animal Kingdom’ series and I bought them with money from my paper round. The last one to come out was Living Amphibians (pictured below), in 1961. I’ve bought books all my life but now the house is full – last summer I got rid of about half. As mayor I never had the time to read, but now I do…
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