Brick lane is where the City ends and East London begins. I walk and notice that the walls are covered with murals. The walkers are wearing the most vintage type clothes – they seems to be drawn from the 80’s.
People wearing ‘Spencer’ jackets with shoulder pads, shirt-style ‘new romantic’, Levis Strauss jeans, model 501 sausages often in the ass, el charro belts, hair or long but shaved the back and front side. I savour that colour, the style that goes from punk to vintage to hippy: known details such as the muscles are ighlighted, and worn over jeans for women, sleeveless jackets also.
All proudly show off the fantastic Converse. These are my favourite shoes! The vintage shops are in perfect harmony with the people. I admire those bright colours coming in the windows, that for a moment I forget the gallery and suddenly I found it in front of me. I realize it simply because it is the number they had given me for the appointment, but the exterior is impersonal, almost invisible; its inscription hidden by the gate. The gallery is very similar to where I exhibited in Rome, with the difference being that in Rome the rent for a personal exhibition was 200 euro for ten days, instead the cost of one of the four walls is 500 pounds for two weeks . She kindly notes me that this is a very lively place, full of artists and I realise that the sale of the paintings is not just a dream. I list the availability times and take into account that the offer maybe to exhibit in September.
Exiting the art gallery I go to the end of the road and I enter curious in a bookshop, where on the ground floor as well as catalogues of publishing houses, there are advertisements for events, concerts and advertisements of the neighbourhood. I read, I am intrigued; what is Brick Lane.
Sunday it’s the best day to enjoy the Brick Lane lifestyle; it’s when there is the market from 4 am to 2 pm. Founded in the eighteenth century as a market for the farmers who came to town to sell their products, now you can find everything : fresh fruit, used bicycles and the discs from the 60’s.
It’s a shame that it is not open until Sunday. The area, however, isn’t touristy at all. I don’t meet that many Italians who live in London. I am not surprised that none of my friends know about here. Perhaps the locals want to keep that little ‘British …’. Going further the smell of curry fills the streets and I seem to be catapulting in the film “to be Slumdog Millionaire”
This area was in fact, the culmination of many immigrants, that today forms a vibrant community; from Bangladesh in recent years, even before there had been the arrival of the Jews, and the Huguenots who fled from France. But this is far from multi-cultural tourism – it is a creative scene, full of galleries, sculptors, designers, artists and pubs, tea-rooms – quite different from the Victorian style we think of.
I enter in one of these tea room. I welcome the ‘Urban Style’- tigers, tribal symbols, mermaids, are tattooed drawn on the wall and the bartender, asks me what I take to drink. He looks like the bar- arms covered with tattoos and the vest makes you imagine that the tattoos are not only to the arms.
In addition to tattoos on the walls there are photos, shown with a name, the size and the price, so I ask if I can show my photos. Despite his rugged appearance, the guy is very nice and wrote me the email address and phone number of the person in charge of events, then pulls two beers, and wishes me good luck for the exhibition!
Just opposite is another local FIKA! It‘s a Swedish restaurant! It seems like a coincidence! Walking up to the counter in the bar, where a beautiful blonde girl with braids is arranging a barrel of beer.
Hej Hej-! – I say with a 32-tooth smile and waving goodbye as if I’m Pocahontas and Captain Smith, when she looks up to the counter!
She also greets me but when I’m continuously saying, “har mar bra? “I understand she’s English because she looks at me in a confused way. I told her that I’ve been in Scandinavia, I’m a photographer and I would love to do an exhibition about Scandinavia in their restaurant.
She was enthusiastic about my project, but as a humble worker, she asks meto contact the owner by email.
I have an appointment with Mark at Liverpool station, this time it is not difficult and I don’t need the compass-Iphone. In fact, since the end of the road, Liverpool station is straight ahead!