East End Boys, West End Girls and the EDL

East End Boys, West End Girls and the EDL

East End Boys, West End Girls and the EDL

This weekend I went back to my teenage Mecca, the two ever-endearing sites of street culture; Camden Lock Market and Shoreditch (Spitalfields market). As well as bringing back a haul of discounted American Apparel swimwear (there’s a pop up shop at the old Truman Brewery 91 Brick Lane until the 15th of September) and about five new Morrissey t-shirts I came away with a sense of good will towards men and the reassurance that everything was going to be alright.

Why this cheery optimism from a girl with a bit of a cynical disposition you may ask? Well despite an aggressive EDL march through East London on Saturday which saw 150 members of the party arrested for not sticking to the preapproved march route, the deployment of 3,000 police and the absolute havoc it caused to public transport around the areas, these two divpockets of London which are shining beacons of diversity went completely unaffected by the unwanted disruption between Tower Bridge and Aldgate.

Coming from a pretty middle class town by the South Coast when I was younger my escapism from the humdrum came in the form of family days out in London, as my parents and Nan were born and bred in the inner city. Due to this my Dad has handed me down some nuggets of interesting but largely useless pieces of information about London and as a result of this a lot of my friend’s joke that I could probably make a better version of the tube map based on the locations of leading pie and mash cafes. (For anyone who’s interested the best pie and mash is in Shepard’s Bush).

When I used to stroll round the East end as a kid all my worries and cares kind of stopped mattering as much, as though I fell down some sort of wonderful rabbit hole or emerged from black and white into glorious Technicolor just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. It didn’t matter that I got teased at school for being the moody, awkward daydreamer because I had found somewhere so precious where all walks of life were accepted and actually looked happy.

Thankfully this looks as true today as it did ten years ago as this Saturday both markets were flooded with tourist, students and oddballs and even though I know that Camden and Shoreditch have always been associated with arty crews of misfits across the generations it’s still heart-warming to know that no matter how mad and judgmental this worlds gets, despite the ignorance that still prevails there are places where you can eat a salt beef bagel, pie and mash and a banging curry.

If anyone out there reading is interested in visiting these amazing tourist attractions but doesn’t have much of an idea where to start I completely recommended the Alternative London Walking Tour, it’s cheap and cheerful as you make a donation to your tour guide but unlike some tours of London that are mainly historical this alternative tour gives you a great insight into the graffiti and street art that is famously attributed to the East end’s character.

Now go have fun exploring!

Text:  Chanel Molloy