Sunday, 9 January 2011

Believe in the Spraycan

Yesterday I went West. Today I roamed closer to my home in Hackney, exploring Brick Lane and even fitting in a quick trip to my favourite Sunday destination: Columbia Road.

In my Notting Hill fantasies I wear designer clothes and drive a mini. When I think about my ideal East London pad, however, it is a very different image. A converted attic flat near Brick Lane, it would be filled with flowers from Columbia Road and quirky art work. In fact, seeing as this is a fantasy I can ignore my lack of artistic talent and say that I would be an artist too. I would wear colourful bits and bobs picked up from vintage fairs and markets and live off noodles and sushi. These two imagined worlds may be very different, but to me they are equally appealing.

It may be a trek from my college in Sheperd's Bush, but I love East London. Where else do vintage shops and market stalls flourish so abundantly? Where else would you see dandies wearing top hats and bow ties or girls braving the elements without tights in the name of fashion?

After smelling the flowers at Columbia Road this morning I headed to Shoreditch, walking to Brick Lane through flea markets where the odd gem hid amongst the debris of bicycle wheels, grubby looking dolls and single shoes (who buys a single shoe?).

At Brick Lane a vintage market had me nearly parting with some of my student loan for an emerald green 50s prom dress (I eventually told myself that food was probably more essential than 50s dresses). After the hideous overpricing of vintage outlets in Topshop or stores off Oxford Street, it was refreshing to see coats and jumpers for £5 and sparkly evening dresses for £15.

Wandering can be tiring work: at lunch after finally deciding between the many deliciously scented food stalls I opted for pumpkin curry and noodles and sat in the cold sun people watching.

In the afternoon it wasn't vintage clothes, but graffiti, that caught my eye. As soon as I spotted one spray painted walls it seemed graffiti was everywhere. I was soon following graffiti down side streets and around corners, the illicit art works leading me through the labyrinth of streets surrounding Brick Lane.

Now I'm back in my flat, warming up and getting ready for an early start and my first day back at uni tomorrow. But I couldn't think of a better way to have spent my last day of the holidays.


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