When Love Bang/Super Ayi Cleaning team went to London last month, we stayed on our friend’s couch in an ex-council flat near Victoria Park, right on the edge between Hackney-Wick and Bow. Post codes in London are kinda like city blocks (or census tracts) in a big American city, especially in terms of gangs and their allegiance to certain neighborhoods.
Apparently the area we stayed in was pretty hood like five years ago, and walking around the Roman Road Market (chicken shops, gambling spots, bodegas) at night still felt sketch. The sun goes down, all the shops close, and the streets empty out till the block feels like Resident Evil 2. One night a car full of dudes pulled up on us in an old Honda with no headlights and we thought for sure we were about to get robbed/stabbed but nothing happened.
E3 nothing like Shanghai, that’s for sure. You could walk for fifteen minutes in E3 after midnight and not find an open convenience store, but you might find some trouble. Still though, I like this neighborhood. It’s real, and not-yet gentrified. Two pounds bought me a much-needed winter hat that some hipster girls in Shoreditch thought was really fashion. However, by the looks of the “Artisan Waffles” for sale on the edges of the Roman Road Market on a weekend morning, this place may look quite different in five years and that hat may cost like fifteen pounds.
Reverse culture shock is the strongest. Really weird, after five+ years in Asia, to see a working-class street market with all non-Asians working and shopping there. Like, bargaining with a 70-year-old white guy over the price of a cheap hat.
To the best of my limited knowledge, this is the ultimate Bow E3 track, by Eski boi Wiley. He shouts out Candy Street, which is right next to where we stayed. Shout out to Alta for putting me onto this track.
Wiley – Bow E3
I don’t understand the “no ball games” signs everywhere. Yeah balls make noise but what else are kids gonna do? Maybe that’s why there’s so many youth stabbings in the UK.