I’m a local artist and women’s football fan; I’ve worked in music most of my life, but in lockdown I focused on painting and selling abstract art inspired by scientific exploration, and I’ve been invited to visit the site of a nuclear fusion experiment in France to make some art inspired by their work. I was just elected to the board of Dulwich Hamlet Supporters Trust and I’m excited to get involved with the UK’s most special football club and the community it champions & supports. 

How long have you lived in the area?

I grew up in Bermondsey and moved to East Dulwich in 2010. Now I live in Sydenham but still spend lots of time in SE22.

What has changed most during that time?

The prices! Rising rents have pushed many people out – it’s sad for families who are rooted in the area.

What do you most value about the area/street you live in?

It’s so leafy that even on the greyest day it’s beautiful. Like much of south London, though prices are rising, I like that it’s not just home to people in one income bracket who only see their lives reflected back at them.

What one thing would you change?

I sometimes rue the steepness of the hills… but truthfully, I wouldn’t change anything. It’s pretty, convenient, friendly, multicultural, well-connected but also peaceful and very green.

What’s the one thing you couldn’t do without?

I’m grateful for my garden, though a hopeless gardener. On sunny days I paint or drag my squashiest cushions outside with a book & a cocktail; it’s like an extra living room.

The most famous person you’ve seen or met?

I walked into Richard Ayoade on the street I used to live on – direct collision. He was kitted out smartly in a dapper pink cord suit, which is exactly as you’d hope. It’d have been disappointing if he’d been in a ratty old jumper.

Describe your perfect weekend

Brunch at Cobb’s Corner café, then meet friends on Peckham Rye. I go to all the Hamlet women’s home games on Sundays and some of the men’s Saturday games. The women’s team joined last year and had an impressive first season, and the club’s so welcoming & family friendly. I’ll have drinks there after a match with friends, and catch their monthly comedy night.

What is your favourite place to eat?

Made of Dough on Bellenden Road for pizza & negronis, or Il Giardino on Blenheim Grove for distinctive Sardinian food – they do a penne al profumato which I cannot replicate – it’s like a smokier, richer amatriciana.

What’s your favourite place to go for a drink?

I’m a longtime regular at the Canning. I wish they’d bring the jukebox back though… I love the Hamlet’s bar (and am delighted that they sell limoncello – NEVER CHANGE.)

The best kept secret…

The tree swing in my favourite bit of woodland.

If money was no object..

I’d buy a big garden flat on Camberwell Grove, with a home studio to paint in, which would be lifechanging.

The book I’m reading at the moment..

Gloria Steinem’s Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. She writes warmly, fluidly and relatably, and the righteous anger’s coupled with the sense that we can do something about it.

My perfect holiday..

An extended West Coast roadtrip, visiting my best friend in Vancouver, exploring Seattle & Portland, watching my US football team OL Reign in Tacoma, rambling through forests, and meandering down the California coastline.

My secret ambition..

To build and open a music venue. I’ve drawn up the floor plans, I just don’t have any money.

Art: https://www.instagram.com/genwilliamsart/

This article first appeared in the October issue of SE22 magazine.