Every city has that split – the Rive Gauche Versus the Rive Droite. Uptown versus downtown – East Saar Road Versus West Saar road – it’s just how things are.. London’s very much the same, West London and its manicured gardens clean street and lovely preserved architecture versus East London’s piss stained alleys, graffiti and ethnic folk mixing it up with the artistes and addicts..
I live in central London, but to my friends out west, the E before my EC1 postcode clumps me in a grouping relating to the outer edge of modern civilization. And to be honest with you, that suits me just fine.. you see there’s lots of things I like about the east that you just can’t replicate, just like there are some fantastic parts of west London that you can’t find anywhere else.. this is not a critique or a comparison, it’s merely a tribute to the things that make me love anything with an “E” in the postcode..
The fact that…
Fashion is definitely born in east London and slowly starts to make its way west getting more and more toned down. Skinny jeans, over the top hairstyles, vintage outfits that making Notting hill feel a sell out, waxed up and wacky mustaches, sunglasses, pasty skin, no batted eyelids unless its to approve your look, fashion photographers roaming the streets, yes it’s hipper than hip. my favorite neighborhood couple are constantly dressed as though they’re stuck in a time warp from world war II but with a little bit of today’s edge: I see them in my supermarket with their perfectly time stamped hairstyles and matching era outfits - you just don’t find that anywhere else.. the caveat to this is that everyone you pass by looks like they’re a member of some indie band and office suits carry the same looks as endangered furs, but, I’d still rather this abrasive clash of unison then anything else..
The history just makes you want to soak it in: London’s one of those towns that’s got history in every crack and side street, but to me, the grime and gristle of London has more charm than it’s glitz and glamor. It’s all right Sherlock Holmes was meant to live on baker street and they weren’t exactly sure where because they switched the street numbering.. JACK THE RIPPER caused mayhem in whitechapel and that does intrigue me. Dickens based a lot of stories in my hood, that contemporary art in London really took a defined shape thanks to its east London denizens.
The crack addicts and alcoholics have well thought out stories with props when they ask you for money. It’s not just, excuse me can you spare some change, it’s a, hello, I lost my money on the bus coming to the eye hospital (he produces a patient admission card from two months ago) and need money to get back home.. or my personal favorite the arab guy who’s in a wheel chair because of bombs falling from the sky.. Weeks later I find him boozing it up with another bum all cracked out trying to stand up.. classic.. hats off to the prop..
The Music and Parties in the east rock : now this bit is completely my personal opinion, but it’s my piece so I’m quite happy to throw my vote out there. Getting to the location is always a bit dodge, with random questions being raised over the safety or legality of the venue.. but that’s soon replaced by the head bobbing and gushing over the fact that James Murphy is ripping into the microphones.. yes daft punk is playing at my house, my house.. and although I could say the ego’s checked at the curb side I have to say the crowd can be a little difficult and indifferent.. Also, special mention goes out to the pop up clubs (double club last year and the pop up pirates this year) that can only find space and licenses to throw their parties this side of town.. shazaam
the food cravings don’t stop. London’s a big town, and food is generally good if you know where to go (special mention to the taqueria on Westbourne grove).. from the Gastropubs that cook up the best 7 hour roast lamb shoulder or the goose fat chips, the pizzas at story deli, to the lamb chops at the original new tayyabs and all it’s graduates (Lahore kabab house and needo), to my secret sushi spot by a disillusioned nobu chef (aren’t they all?).. The food stalls of brick lane, borough and broadway markets with the food (mrs rants and her love for the raclette at borough market –its good) the hangovers that have subsided thanks to the variety of taste-ables to satisfy your pangs..
so that’s my love for the east