With the overdue arrival of dub step, smatterings of fixed gear bicycles and American style coffee shops – South London has officially become ‘Cool’.
And after living north of the river, suffering years of over-priced rooms in sprawling shanty towns and spending miserable mornings shuffling down the platform at Bethnal Green, I’ve leapt over the border.
I now live in a notorious neighbourhood where the West Indian population was once the dominant race.
Now, my flat and the people I live with are ace, but it’s hard not to note that the place is run by smug PR boys and marketing girls and other equally annoying people clad in Reiss and Abercrombie. It’s become a casualty of ‘Cool London’
Once vibrant, bohemian and gritty, the area where I live is a place where ‘organic’ has become a byword for food and not weed and skinny jeans and Mac Book Pros outnumber tracksuit bottoms and stolen iPods.
To many in my area, Starbucks means coffee and WiFi and not sweet bread and Rubicon, and new branches of Toni and Guy are forcing the weave wearing women of my ‘endz’ to contact the Peckham branch of the Black Panthers to get a petition together.
Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than getting some questionably cheap Morley’s chicken, served by an illegal who can barely count my change from a fiver.
Hell, I don’t even mind being screwed by Yardies at the bus stop after they’ve caught me staring at their blonde hair/gold teeth/white jeans/Ed Hardy ensemble. Really, I don’t mind.
But when I find myself slow-clapping people on fixed gear bicycles, I know there’s something deeply wrong.
This. Is. Not Cool – Fact. (Pic courtesy of www.lfgss.com)
Many people describe my area as having ‘great bars’ and being ‘so close to town.’
Yeah that’s great.
But London was and is a place of diversity and character; where you can go from north to south and still be amazed at the sights and sounds.
Identikit neighbourhoods are boring. Having lived in Hackney, Hoxton and Dalston are full of little middle class boys and girls from the ‘burbs, who jump on the train to London to live in poverty stricken areas, wear designer cast-offs and have stupid haircuts.
Why do they do it?
Because they think it’s ‘cool’
A word from the wise: Stop trying to make these once idiosyncratic spaces like carbon copies of your suburban Surrey towns. Go away and take your fixed gear bicycles with you.
♫ A Tribe Called Quest – ‘Award Tour’