Sunday, 15 September 2013
These mags are fighting it out to win the affection of the uber cool in one of London's uber cool mega villages. (Ed: a "mega village" is a concept that only estate agents and shifty property developers understand).
In North East London, the happening is happening. And "In the Stow" and "The E List", style magazines "haute couture" is reflected in the vibrancy that is ......Walthamstow.
I wouldn't begrudge you your sigh of disappointment, your finger tapping of annoyance. "Walthamstow!" I hear you fart. Islington possibly, Hackney, maybe, Stoke Newington at a pinch, but dreary, dirty, impoverished Walthamstow - you have got to be having a laugh.
Well, no actually.
The inhabitants of Walthamstow are so convinced of its greatness that it's called "awesomestow". With the William Morris museum winning the UK's museum of the year competition we're all convinced that South Kensington is second best. We must be one of the few inner London borough that's having a new 12 screen multiplex and a 1930 picture house side by side.
We have more Guradian readers per square inch than anywhere else, and more BBC employees than you can shake a stick at. Walthamstow seems to breed architects like cockroaches in a Bronx tenement. The Council has had some success in expelling the 'roaches from the festering fast food places that belie 'awesomestow's aspirations as the world food centre of London.
But back to the mags. These are really high value production items. We're talking witty writing, intelligent comment, high quality graphics. Which is, of course, what Walthamstow has in bucket loads. Young creative people who can't afford to pay half a million for a 2 bed flat in Hackney, but can just scrape the £400,000 for a 3 bed Edwardian house with a garden in Walthamstow.
And who produces these magazines. Two estate agents.
One has just arrived from nowhere so to speak. They opened up for the first time just as the market turned up. They were smart, clean, intelligent and knew the area. And they launched the magazine "The E List". Every house received a copy. In no time they were selling the most expensive properties in Walthamstow.
The second agent proudly proclaims they've been here for 30 odd years. Their mag is bigger, well written and comprehensive.
If all the agents climb on board then we'll be a foot deep in glossies in a week.
Nice you might think. The area's on the up, which is good. And it is, more money in the area, middle class pressure on the services to improve, and a general regeneration of sweaths of wonderful houses that have been left to decay.
Except reading the mags you'd not know there is a large Asian population, or chronic overcrowding and poor housing in the area.
There are ghettos in 'awesomstow and they're occupied by the property owning, job secure, 35 hrs a week with a pension middle classes.