Famously, Hotblack Desiato ('& Co') are a firm of upmarket estate agents based in Camden and Islington. They have a spartan website at http://www.hotblackdesiato.co.uk/ and are not to be confused with Hampstead-based 'Hotblack Dixon & Co', who I believe were formed when Mr Hotblack and Mr Desiato split up (with the latter retaining the 'Hotblack Desiato' name).

In both cases, you have to be fairly well-off to afford one of the houses they represent - prices start at around £175,000 and go up into seven figures. You can telephone them on 0207 216 0260.

Also, Hotblack Desiato is a rock star in Douglas Adams' 'Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' multi-media project. He appears in the Restaurant at the End of the Universe and says nothing, because he is spending a year dead in order to avoid paying tax. Adams named the rock star after the estate agents, who were based near to his home in Islington. Their signs are fairly common, and are occasionally stolen in the dead of night by deranged Douglas Adams fans. According to a friend of mine who has rented a house from these people, the Hitch-Hiker's connection is mainly brought up by foreign students.

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