Friday, April 03, 2009

Blue-collar aesthetics and intermittent hipsterism

If you bump into some American tourists in Deptford High Street asking you the way to the Amersham Arms, you can thank the travel section of the New York Times.

No, unlike Brockley Central's story about anarchist barricades in Wickham Road (untrue I'm afraid) this isn't an April Fools prank - that was Wednesday. In an article 'New Cross and Deptford Attract the Hip' (22 March), NYT really does tells its readers 'The coming of New Cross and Deptford has been predicted for some time. It won’t be an easy ride. The area lies in an inglorious corner of southeast London; those with well-cushioned sensibilities need not make the journey. But with the unpolished location comes that most heady of urban ingredients: an edge. For now, these neighboring districts still feel more like eccentric outposts than uncut diamonds'.

Priceless. Along the way the Amersham Arms, Goddard's pie and mash, Bar Alchemy, the Bunker Club, The Deptford Project and the Royal Albert all get mentioned. I must take issue with the claim that the latter 'has been salvaged from the remains of one of the area’s most notorious dives'. That was The Paradise Bar, birthplace of the New Cross musical explosion way back in the early 21st century!

The article concludes 'Until the well-washed masses start arriving in larger numbers, this still feels a bit like London’s Wild West (southeast, actually), a boisterous concoction of blue-collar aesthetics and intermittent hipsterism. Perhaps some of the chaos will make it to the other side'.

Hmmm. Actually I think you'll find that we are already familiar with soap and hot water thank you very much. As for 'the coming of New Cross and Deptford', they have actually been around for quite a few hundred years already. (see also New Cross - New Shoreditch).


clarecoynewritenow said...

Huh! Interesting read, thanks for the alert. Talking of SE London events (that make it in to the NYT or otherwise..), can you let me know where I can find out about events that are going on at the former deptford police station this weekend...? I've had a good trawl, but not come across anything yet. Cheers

eleanargh said...

I'd just returned from New York when I read the article last week. As much as I love living in Deptford I'm hoping someone with a nice apartment in Brooklyn will now be inspired to swap...

Ben said...

What a wonderfully funny piece of writing. Thanks for passing it on.

I'll be sure to pop into the Amersham Arms next time I'm passing to ascertain whether their wood-panelled front bar does actually hum.

Oh, and "people in their 50s serving drinks in plastic glasses"? Where will this sweaty bohemian madness end!

Mnx said...

This was funnier than the NYT travel guide. They missed the classiest bit. I think the height of cuisine is Tony's Chip Shop on the New Cross Road, real chips and everything.

psst I'm going to Camden this evening. Must remember to wash first.