December 7, 2020

Living the Cheapskate life: podcast host & Roundhouse programme manager Melissa Murdock on Mile End, museum foyers & more

Melissa Murdock is the co-host of The Imposters Club podcast which helps you fight the voice in your head telling you that you aren’t good enough. She's also a senior programme manager at the Roundhouse, the iconic Chalk Farm venue, where she designs empowerment programmes for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers.

Melissa Murdock

1. I rest my head in…

Enfield (for now). My husband and I are currently on the hunt for a house, wish us luck!

2. Where’s the cheapest place you’ve lived in London? And the most expensive?

The cheapest is the one-bed flat in Enfield (Zone 6) where I live now and my travel costs aren’t much higher than when I lived in Zone 3, which means I have more money for going out - yay! The most expensive place was my last home I rented in east London (more on that in the next question).

3. Have you had any disastrous London rental experiences?

It’s a London rite of passage, no?! Let me take you back to about five years ago when I lived out my childhood dream and rented with my best friends. We lived in east London in the affectionately named ‘Mile End Mansion’. To be fair, it was big but also very old and very very cold. The floors were sloped so my chest of drawers remained open at all times, there were mushrooms growing out the ceiling and we had to clingfilm up the windows to avoid the breeze on our faces whilst we slept.

We had very little money so we couldn’t afford to keep the heating on all the time; I remember one night when my housemate went to sleep in a beanie and faux fur coat. You gotta do what you gotta do...

However, I look back at that home with such rose tinted glasses as even though we had a cold for two years straight, it also hosted the best house parties and memories of my mid 20s. 

4. Where’s your favourite place to eat for cheap?

Markets! They form part of my bond to different areas of London and are great for delicious affordable food, the only problem is making a decision...

I remember the delicious Pad Thai stall outside the Central School of Speech and Drama in Swiss Cottage that I used to visit multiple times a week whilst I was doing my masters degree, and there’s Magic Falafel from Camden Market, which I’m currently missing whilst working from home. I also love Broadway Market and Lower Marsh Market

5. Your perfect no-spend London day would involve…

Walking. I love walking, coffee in hand, friend by your side - setting the world to rights amongst the beautiful backdrop of London. This is how the idea for my podcast, The Imposters Club, came about - my friend Sinéad (who also lived in the Mile End Mansion) and I would come home from work, make a coffee and walk around Victoria Park while dissecting every aspect of our lives.

A good walking route is: Embankment to Monument, cross the river, then walk from Borough Market to Southbank.  

6. Have you ever had a free Pret coffee?

Yes, and when it first happened I thought I was the most special person in the world (easily pleased). In my early 20s I had a theatre company and every time we’d rehearse we’d get a 99p filter coffee from Pret and every so often they’d give it to me for free. Maybe the trick is to look like a struggling artist?

7. What’s your top London ‘hack’?

Foyers! Ever need somewhere to sit and not spend money?

The National Theatre is the best place for meetings and they do great coffee. Walking around the Royal Opera House is like being in a museum, with costumes and props from shows dotted around the venue.

8. If you were mayor for the day, what would you change about London?

Homelessness.

9. What’s the biggest London rip off?

The London Eye (not that I’ve been) but there are so many amazing places to see views for free and not whilst being trapped in a glass ball with random people. Some of my favourites are Primrose Hill, Franks Cafe, Netil 360 or Sky Garden.

10. If you were going to splurge in London, what would it be on?

This is easy: FOOD. I love eating out, and I especially love a dinner with a view. My ideal afternoon would start with a matinee show. I saw Tina, the Tina Turner Musical BC (before covid) and it was ah-mazing. Then I’d go for dinner so we can talk about the show we’ve just seen and then maybe cocktails and home! This has got me mourning pre-covid life! 

11. What are your favourite small businesses?

There are some amazing charity shops in London. There’s one by London Fields station and I often pop in on my way to visit my friend in Homerton. Ground floor is homeware and upstairs is clothing, I have got some gems in there including a gorgeous vintage cream blazer.

12. In three words, what makes someone a Londoner?

Finding your places.

The Imposters Club (co-hosted by Melissa Murdock and Sinéad Kennedy Krebs) is available to listen to on Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Recent guests have included Flo Perry, Betta Lucca and Yvadney Davis. Follow them on Instagram here.

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