Urban Walkabout inspired an impromptu visit to Shoreditch, an area synonymous with ‘hipsters’, who can occasionally be seen living up to the stereotypes all too often placed upon them. The area is frequently met with an eye-roll and perceived as over-rated by those who ‘don’t get it’.
Many criticise the Shoreditch brand - the skinny-jeaned, fully bearded individuals with an instilled belief in their innate cool-ness. Some people claim that the area is increasingly becoming bland, possessing nothing more than creative wannabees funded by mummy and daddy. This aside, it cannot be argued that what Shoreditch is founded on is genuine creativity and raw talent. The place itself organically grew out of the creative seed...
Being there is always an experience in itself, and it’s hard not to leave feeling inspired. Something will have always changed by someone eager to express something - ‘Je Suis Charlie’ - case in point.
The original creatives have undoubtedly been priced out of the area, but they've left behind an ever-evolving open air gallery, one sprawling street canvas, one great exhibition.
The question is, is this all that Shoreditch is now, an exhibition? A spectacle? Something to look at, rather than be involved in? Is it merely a pilgrim destination for cultural tourists?
Whether this famous Hackney district will still be worth a visit in 10 years time is anyone's guess; the fear being that planned developments will rip the existing soul from the area. For now it does still attract a number of innovative start-ups and creative-minded individuals.
Today it is still at the forefront of trends, bringing the concept cafe to the local platform around December last year with it’s Cereal Killer Cafe. In doing so it has attracted criticism, with national press reacting in disbelief at the price of a bowl of cereal and rolling their eyes yet again at another ‘fad’ doomed to lack longevity. Hoards of people are still queuing outside a month in - a sign that there are people 'krave'-ing the experience.
Further north, just off Kingsland Road and towards Haggerston stands Draught’s, a board game cafe which opened in November last year thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. In a world where everything is so unavoidably technology-centric, the value of the simplest idea cannot be underrated. With an hours wait for a table on Saturday afternoon, I doubt it’ll be going anywhere too soon.
Time will tell.