A very jolly fellow I encountered on Brick Lane.
I walked down from Victoria to Westminster and got on the tube to Aldgate East. I’d bought one of those London Day Tickets for £12 so I was determined to get some value out of it. London sucks money out of you like nobody’s business. Whitechapel Gallery was closed; it’s never open when I’m there but maybe 9.00 am was far too early for them. Artists traditionally don’t get up early. They’ll be complaining they’re short of funds soon ! I thought this time I’d walk from Brick Lane and back into the city, the reverse of what I did last time. At the end of Brick Lane there are two 24 hr bagel bakeries. You can’t beat a fresh smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel. Well you can, but ya know what I mean. I got one in a bag for lunch.
In the old Truman Brewery complex is a really trendy big shop called Rough Trade. It sells indie vinyl LP’s, t-shirts and arty books. I like arty books. Chesterfield hasn’t got an arty book shop. In the corner of the shop was a photo booth, four photos ( self images ?) for £4 and most people seemed to have stuck theirs to the wall around the booth. Sod that ! I was taking mine home. What I liked about the postcard sized set of images was it says ‘Rough Trade in the top corner of each image. It looks quite trendy but I don’t know why. I bought a book I didn’t know I’d been looking for, the book ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith. It’s about her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. (My brother gave me the book ‘The North ( and almost everything in it ) by Paul Morley so that’s two books I’ve got to read now). I asked the young bloke ( with fashionable beard and floppy haircut ) behind the counter if they had any Chester Himes ( Rage in Harlem) books but he’d never heard of him. I told him to “well check him out, they’re very funny” and to his credit he wrote the name down. “While you’re at it” I said ” look up Edward Abbey his book The Monkey Wrench Gang”. He thanked me and wrote it down and for a brief moment I felt young and trendy again for the first time in years. The irony of Brick Lane is that it used to be where the Jews and Huguenots lived. The Jews made their wealth and moved out to Golders Green and the Bangladeshis moved in. You can still see Jewish symbols on the buildings now if you look closely enough and these are now occupied by Muslims. I left Brick Lane and made my way into Spitalfields before I was tempted to buy a nutella bagel for lunch dessert and really bugger up my arteries !