Thoughts on Life

Brick lane, cultural contrasts

Brick lane is famous for it’s Indian restaurants. Historically it’s a Bangladeshi community. This makes it an interesting spot to walk around. In addition to the restaurants you can find market stalls and Indian sweet shops.

Brick lane also hosts food markets at the weekends. There are a number of intersting stores too; vintage fashion, art, vinyl etc.

It’s an area where you can often see something interesting. I recently spotted a London cab converted to a coffee stand.

When walking around an area like Brick Lane it’s nice to see a lot of independent businesses and very few chain stores.

I remember visiting London in the late 80s/early 90s. The cultural vibe in Camden was so strong; the markets, the greasy spoons, the old vans and cars. There was a sense of wheeling and dealing. London has homogenised a lot since then. It’s difficult to find a spot without a Pret/Starbucks/Costa.

On my last trip to Tokyo I had mixed feelings about seeing a cafe chain from London open in Omotesando. On the one hand it’s nice to see an international vibe, on the other hand it’s a little sad to see the same places everywhere.

I’ve always been a fan of suporting local culture, and small businesses. But I have to admit there is something homely about being able to have a Starbucks no matter where I am in the world! It’s quite comforting when you need a break.

East London also features a lot of street art. It’s ever changing and adds a dynamic feel to the area. It’s common to see a lot of people taking selfies in front of street art.

There’s an interesting juxtaposition there. Presumably street art is about making an individual statement. Selfies feel like the opposite.

Is it unfair to judge selfies as lazy and boring. They tend to follow the same set of rules in terms of make-up, camera angle, expression, lighting.

By taking a selfie in front of street art the subject is borrowing the uniqueness of the street art to make their selfie more individual, which then makes the street art selfie perhaps even lazier than a regular one?

3 replies on “Brick lane, cultural contrasts”

It is an unfortunate development in our opinion too that cities have genericized. Just look at the shopping. They are always the same chain outlets in every mall. Smallholders find it extremely hard to survive with rising rents and what not. And as entire neighbourhoods get made over, we lose these with little in the way of getting them back. How do you think to support them?

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I’m not surprised you would also feel this way Mel & Suan.. It’s a hard thing to change, one thing I’ve see is small creative areas of independent shops, but these tend to be hidden away in lower rent areas… How to fix the main shopping streets and busy malls… Hmm, I think government should take a roll to say property owners must allocate certain space to local independent businesses.. And maybe there is a cultural awareness training in schools about protecting local culture… Promoting entrepreneurship could also help… Lots of ideas but hard to implement!

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