Last week, I met with a friend on the infamous Brick Lane. I used to enjoy the eclectic nature of this part of the city, heading there after school for a halloumi burger and giant wedges, but now I’m just not too sure.
One of my favourite things to do is people watch so a mish mash of market stall holders, quirky outfits and self-confessed attention seekers made for a great day out. But as I travelled from West to East, I felt a little overwhelmed, or perhaps maybe even a little underwhelmed. Having lived in London my whole life, loving every second of it, I have to say I felt somewhat unwelcome. It was almost as if, if you weren’t wearing a tatty woolly jumper and some form of ankle boot, you weren’t cool enough to shop in this part of town; something I didn’t appreciate.
On the other hand, the street food smelt and tasted as amazing as usual and the general vibe was comparable to a mini Notting Hill carnival with loud speakers and people dancing for no real reason, something I wish the streets of West London embraced more than once a year. I even managed to spot one particular lady in an all-in-one leopard print leotard which made for an excellent post-Halloween costume (although I’m pretty sure this wasn’t her intention). You have to wonder though, are these people truly expressing their eccentricities or are they just posing for the East? Or is it a hedonistic playground for those who wear suits all week long? Either way, it is undeniably entertaining.
When my neck of the woods used to resemble a Jack Wills catalogue, I was embarrassed to say that I favoured West over East London, now I’m proud to say that I do. Our independent coffee shops are just as great and we have an individual style of our own too. People say that it can be a little pretentious around here but when looking at the new generation of Hoxton hotties, I think there’s a little inverted snobbery being bandied about, only it’s disguised behind an effortless attitude. I don’t want us to break out into guerrilla warfare over different lifestyle choices however. As always, I love when us Londoners come together and it’s the strange and wonderful flavours of human that dwell in the city that make it so perfect. I think I’d just like us westerners to embrace a little more of the freedom you get in the East and I’d like those edgy easterners to not shy away from a stroll through Portobello every so often; you might be pleasantly surprised. Variety is the spice of life and we’ve got the opportunity to embrace it in the capital. So use that oyster, hop on a tube and discover some hidden gems at least half an hour from your natural habitat.
I’m not entirely sure what the Pet Shop Boys were getting at but I’m going to go with the notion that East end boys love West end girls. And you know what? I don’t blame them. We wear bloody great shoes.