Hidden Hackney: Inspirations Part Deux
You may remember my post on Portsmouth and how it inspires me, and here is part two of sorts. This weekend I spent a day back in my old hood: Hackney. Prior to my descent to the coast I was a firm Hackneyite. I lived in London Fields and Mare Street. I managed to dodge any appearances on Being A Dickhead’s Cool, Hackney Hipster Hate or Vice’s Do’s and Don’ts probably by the skin of my teeth, and frankly there were times when I deserved to be in there. That said, whilst I was there I loved it, and I’m not ashamed to say that – it gave me a million opportunities and I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t spent most of my mid to late 20’s living near the Murder Mile. Ever wanted to be in Grazia Style Hunter? – just take yourself off to Broadway Market on a Saturday. Drink with Kelly Ozbourne? (BTW she sounds just like her mum and I’m sure she bats for the other side secretly) – all perfectly feasible at the T*at and Mutton, a pub so wanky you would only get served if the staff liked the look of you. It was great for a while, but at some point, thankfully, you grow out of it and either you move elsewhere. Like Clapton, Stokie or in my case Portsmouth.
I had the chance to return as I was in town for the launch of Cate Sevilla’s excellent new weekly on-line TV show Pop Hive (first episode features VS fav’s The Broken Hearts – check it out now!) and happened to be staying with my friend and digital overlord Patrick Hussey. Patrick, when he is not being summoned by the Minister for Culture, lives in a rather splendid Art Deco building. The Strand building was built as ‘Hackney Electricity Demonstration Halls & Offices’ in 1925 and designed by J A Bowden. It was converted in 1995 into flats featuring a roof garden. A few metres down the road we decided to take a gander at St John at Hackney. A church has been on the site since Tudor times. The little house with the red doors has been a public mortuary for over 100 years. This area is just steeped in history. I also took a few snaps of the shellfish vendor by Hackney Central Station. One of the last remains of proper Cockney right there. In the same vein as my Portsmouth post, all these pictures were taken in a 200m radius, with my iPhone. I bloody love the diversity of this area of London. Its one of the few places in the world where truly ‘anything goes’. I even miss the Hipsters.