It’s East London innit

3 Sep

Today saw a day off work and a trip back to Spitalfields and my old stomping ground. Urban, edgy, arty and exciting, non? Well it would have been if it weren’t a trip to wait for the gasman at the flat.  After a coffee with my lovely and glamorous former E1 neighbour and a gorgeous boy (steady Mr C&P – he was only 5 months old), I headed to the flat to await being serviced (the boiler that is). As any visitors to Chez Flat 9 will know, it’s right on the street – no gravel drive, no symmetrical bay trees , just flat meets pavement, pavement meets flat. Plus it’s on the ground floor. Not somewhere you’d think you could walk around naked in – were it not for the mirrored windows. Now this presents many opportunities for the resident and the passerby. For the passerby, the flat is a convenient object to lean on, a handy corner upon which the local ‘ladies of the night’ can tout their wares (not so much now and I’m not just saying that because we need to sell the flat) and the mirrored windows are perfect for squeezing spots/picking noses/adjusting underwear in. Quite why passersby have no concept of the fact that people might actually live behind the window I have never understood. For the resident, the windows provide a perfect opportunity to watch the world go by without being seen – in our flat you don’t need television for entertainment. This was the opportunity I had today when forced to spend time in an empty flat with nothing but a gasman and a chocolate brownie for company.

Don’t get me wrong, I love east London and Spitalfields is a super area, but there are a lot of things I don’t miss. Here are those things I was reminded of today:

  • Winos holding mid-afternoon soirees on the only piece of green grass I can see from the flat. Tinny radio optional.
  • Dirty, dirty, dirty pigeons of a particularly dirty kind that live off fried chicken scraps (albeit halal) and probably also off whatever body parts the winos (above) shed.
  • The fact that people feel compelled to touch and remove parts of the flat simply because it adjoins a public highway. (How much did they get for the 4-inch piece of copper that used to be our overflow pipe?)

These things just don’t happen in St Albans, you know. Then again, in St Albans you don’t get to ride upstairs at the front of a double decker bus and pretend to drive (woohoo!), a community melting pot is a fondue evening with the neighbours and urban is the Woolworths end of the high street. But St Albans, that’s another post, innit bah.

2 Responses to “It’s East London innit”

  1. Paula September 5, 2010 at 9:01 am #

    How true everything that you have written. I can remember the spot squeezing one evening whilst we were having dinner!! The men calling out for the girls at all hours. As you say nothing like that will happen in St.Albans. Good luck with the flat.

  2. James Wilson September 8, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    Sounds like you haven’t been in St Albans long enough to probe behind the facade of middle class respectability into the dark heart of suburbia. Urban drug dealers/whores/winos/suits/serial murderers have nothing on middle class secrets and, remember, it’s always the one you least expect.

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