It was, in coffee shops of all sizes and variants, that our imaginations seemed to really come alive, thrown into greater relief by dint of the creative environment we inhabited. They were places of leisure, places of conversation - places of work, I noted, watching heads bent studiously over textbooks or poring over sketchbooks.
So the top London places? I don't drink animal secretions, so with a hearty screw you to those establishments with gourmisan-pretensions and a refusal to serve anything other than full-fat bovine breast milk, I present my own humble guide to the finest vegan and omnivore-friendly brews in (East) London.
When I moved into my current rented flat in Forest Hill the area was reasonably cheap and had no coffee shops. Now, seven years later, it has at least five coffee shops, a deli and several boutiques. On top of that it's also on the East London Line on the overground. All of this has pushed rents up by over 50%.
DJ Yoda, Maximo Park, James and the Inspiral Carpets stopped by for a cuppa. We said we'd close at 10pm each night but things were still swinging at 3am the next morning. Nick Heyward was a revelation - we only knew him from Twitter - and he brought about an amazing singalong that 250 people crammed into a log cabin will never forget.