London is an empty stage, a blank canvas and a full book all at the same time but the art that London has truly mastered is it’s chameleon ability to be constantly blending, changing, standing out or having subtle hints of magic around each corner or in a looked over nook or cranny.
This adventure had me put on my London magnifying glasses and spot the subtleties that marry and dance together to make a place of combined chaos and harmony. With pay day not close enough ( a perpetual problem of any 20 something) and my sister down for the weekend, my adventure had to be a frugal sort of thing rather than tea at Claridge’s/Savoy/The Ritz (hopefully this will eventually feature as an adventure sometime soon of my bank account permits). Luckily Time Out came to the rescue and we decided to go on a walking tour of East London.
Meeting near Old Spitalfields the tour, headed by the brilliant Ben Slow who is also a graffiti and street art artist, not only told us about the rich history and culture of the migrant communities that imbibed so much of their culture onto the streets of East London, but also opened our eyes to minute details that make it such a rich tapestry of London culture. He also described how corporate companies like Subway, Mcdonalds and other chains, as well as THE CITY were threatening the uniqueness of this part of London which was largely a centre for family run businesses- some of which had been there for more than 60 years and would destroy the soul the place possessed.
From solid brass figures cast from real pigeons to street art worth thousands on the side of grotty looking flats by world famous artists like ROA, even though the sky remained persistently grey, Brick Lane, Old Spitalfields and Shoreditch were like streams of colour shook out of aerosol cans refusing to be rubbed out by the lack of sun.
The tour lasts an hour and half and gives you a great historical insight and visual treat for the eyes too. It’s an instagrammer’s dream and if you fancy it, Ben will even recommend where to get a good curry if all that walking has left you a little peckish.
If you fancy an amble on the East side, book a tour here