Sunday Outing December 07 2013, 1 Comment
We left the safe mono-culture of Barnes in South-West London, (apart from all the Swedish people) and headed East to multi-cultural Shoreditch on the mysterious Overground train that passes though Pekham and other exotic places.
Columbia Road Market
We stride out towards Columbia Road market and the first thing I discover is Dragana Perisic’s shop and a smiling Dragana. Delighted to see each other after years and to see all the very individual well cut clothes and accessories she makes. I’ve been to the Rochelle Canteen a couple of times recently but this is the first time in ages I’ve been to this area on a Sunday and I must have walked straight past before.
Me and Dragana
Also in Redchurch Street is Labour and Wait which sells traditional home products. Everything is beautiful and very nostalgic but I find it’s a bit like Muji, I love it all but never buy anything, as I just don’t really need it.
Angela Flanders Perfume Shop
The top of the flower market is a forest of Christmas trees, leading on to a jam packed sea of people with armfuls of berried branches and mistletoe. We squeeze down what feels like a tunnel, behind the stalls along the shop fronts. If it hadn’t been so crowded I would have liked to mooch around more, but Tim was on a coffee mission so I was swept past a blur of shops selling what seemed like very similar vintagey baubles and decorations. I am a bit baubled out after a shopping trip to Petersham Nursery last week and so it wasn’t too hard to resist. But I went against all my dietary restrictions and had the most DELICIOUS smoked salmon and egg beigel with poppy seeds. I vow to come back when it’s less busy, and explore more.
Enough of Christmas mania. We wandered through the housing estate down to Brick Lane and I wondered why the balconies and front gardens weren’t all spilling over with plants. There were a few mini jungles but I saw a lot of pots with grass and dandelions in. I like to think if I lived here I’d be out every Sunday buying plants. I did think the council bins outside everyone’s house were inspired though, in bright pink, not the normal blend-in green.
We rested a while in Kahaila Café looking out at the masses of people passing by, trendies, locals, tourists. Brick Lane does still seem to be a true mix of people and cultures and this street more than any in London perhaps has changed with new influxes of refugees, starting with the Huguenots centuries ago who built the beautiful houses around Spitalfields. My ancestors were silk weavers and my surname Blezard is Huguenot so I always feel a kinship when I’m here.
There is an unbelievable amount of street food from every country in Brick Lane, which I’d have loved to have tried, maybe someone should organise a tasting tour.
I buy an oversized mohair jumper in Religion and then we go into Rough Trade who sell only non-mainstream music and a lot on vinyl. Also books like Nick Cave’s lyrics and Suggs’ autobiography, which I don’t think I’ll be reading.
Heading back to a mystery treat in Central London we just had time to pop into the Whitechapel Gallery (which is FREE) to see Sarah Lucas’s retrospective which I was surprised I really liked. Seeing all the work together and photos of her made a strong impact and I felt I got it, which when I saw a documentary about her years ago I definitely didn’t. Down the District line at Aldgate East and out at Embankment - I don’t know where we are going. I’m hoping it might be ice skating but as we walk down St. Martin’s Lane Tim shoves me sideways into the Coliseum, it’s a matinee, the final performance of Madam Butterfly by Puccini, wonderful! I thought I’d missed it. Feel very plainly dressed as quite a few people have chosen to wear, maybe not consciously, Japanese blossom type prints. It’s sold out, not the variety of people in Brick Lane but still a broad selection and all ages. A great performance by Dina Kuznetsova as Cio-Cio-San and stunning lighting, design, costumes. Heart-breaking, gut-wrenching music, I had a good blub, totally falling in love with Butterfly’s child - played by a puppet, brilliantly operated by three puppeteers. Pinkerton, what a cad!
Walk over Hungerford Bridge past the coloured lights of the Southbank to Waterloo and back home to Barnes on our usual train. I must say, London is brilliant.
Unto This Last Furniture Shop
Shoes hanging above the street
Labour & Wait
I'm not sure what goes on in here but it looked really nice
I think tower blocks have great patterns
Graffiti reflected in mirror windows
Brick Lane Barber