East London Food & Culture

Catch dog-loving author Kate Spicer at Phlox Books

The journalist and film-maker comes to Leyton with a dolichocephalic friend in tow

If it’s not on your radar, you’re missing some top quality weekday shenanigans – cerebral and otherwise – at Leyton’s booze-tinged haven for bibliophiles.

Earlier in January, Club Soda founder Laura Willoughby popped by to talk about her instructive new book, How To Be a Mindful Drinker, while this week saw the inaugural monthly meeting of Leyton Writers Group, and tonight (30th Jan) it’s the turn of esteemed nutrition expert Annabel Karmel.

Next up in February is a cracker of a soirée, with lifestyle journalist and documentary film-maker Kate Spicer taking the stage to chat about her extremely readable memoir Lost Dog, out this week in paperback.

The premise is remarkably simple: Spicer is – to quote the blurb on the back -“a middle-aged woman trying to steer some order into a life that is going off the rails”. So what does she do? Adopt a lovable lurcher called Wolfy, a rescue dog found on the streets of Manchester.


And then the scamp disappears, prompting a #findwolfy social media campaign that’s backed by celebs and the media alike.

Coffee, wine, books, whatever: Phlox.  Photo: PR

We’ve torn through nearly two-thirds of the book in a matter of days, and have to say it’s an addictive, perceptive read: Kate sure makes for a self-deprecating and witty companion on a chilly January evening.

Bursting with colour, especially in the account of her no-holds-barred personal life, it’s also a refreshing and atmospheric portrait of non-romcom West London, from Notting Hill backstreets and cheery greasy spoons to long walks on the Scrubs (a little, we imagine, like our very own Wanstead Flats).

Pearls of hard-won wisdom adorn every page, from the insecurities of life as freelancer (yep, we feel that) and growing older (yep, that too) to the vagaries of love, friendships and womanhood. Not to mention the sheer rush of oxytocin engendered between mutts and their owners: it really is – as you’ll guess already – the most original love-letter to our four-legged friends.

Over at Phlox both author and – yay – Wolfy will both be in the shop discussing, as owner Aimee puts it, “the hilarious highs and heartbreaking lows of one woman and her dog.”

And if dogscapades themselves aren’t enough for all you canid compulsives out there, Chatsworth Road’s Pack & Clowder will be showcasing pet-friendly delicacies, too. Pass the pawsecco, bitches!

Yes yes, fur babies are welcome, as they always are at Phlox, although full disclosure: our adorable old Jack Russell will be firmly tucked up in her bed. Next time, Wolfy.

Kate Spicer talks about Lost Dog on Thursday 6th Feb, 8pm, tickets £5 (include a wine or beer on arrival), and available online here or in store at 159 Francis Rd E10.

Main image: Gerrard Gethings/ PR

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