Tuesday, 5 April 2016
Up the Junction
It's clear that quite a number of the village set and those in the environs are worried that the 'Stow is too far up its own fundamental for its own good. Some people on Twitter are openly suggesting we're heading down the S bend.
It's partly due to the gentrification that appears to be unstoppable. Traditional Walthamstowites (that is people who have their own place and have been here for more than 6 months) feel that the place is losing its "Je ne sait quoi"; its "raison d'être" even its "Joie de Vivre".
This is quite understandable. One minute you're buying your bottle of £4.99 plonk from the local supermarket run by a family from Lahore, and the next you're paying top dollar for a lovely little number grown on the banks of the Douro in a shop transported from Upper Street. It's confusing.
You step out into the street expecting to be run over by a black Bimmer pimped to the nines, driven by a young estate agent and find yourself apologising to the very nice family tricycling to the Farmers' Market because you didn't realise you were in Mini-Holland.
Walthamstow and popular culture is fine. MacDonald's, Nandos, and Pizza Express are what the Stow was all about. That and the Fried Chicken Cafes. But now: we have shops selling craft beers, gins produced down the road in Hackney and Japanese Whiskies for God's sake. We're going to the dogs...Which is another thing. Our once famous dog stadium is now a blur: just a "run of the mill" affordable homes estate at around £400k a punt.
We're even being consulted about doing up the Mall. The Mall is crap but it's our crap. We don't need any Mayfair private equity fund telling us what shops we should be shopping in.
Before you know it we'll have a Neal's Yard, Miller Harris and Penhaligon's...just when they've gone out of fashion. We didn't expect much in Walthamstow. We were happy with the scraps thrown from the top table. The excitement when TK Maxx opened in our Mall.. .well, it brought a tear to the eye.
Now, if the Parma ham is just so so there's a Twitter storm before you can say Chianti Classico Riserva. We now have a sour dough pizza parlour -which everyone raves about. It's an import from E5 - naturally. What's wrong with E17 pizza parlours..nothing that a food inspection wouldn't sort out.
No, it's time to reclaim E17 for E17enders. Time to call a halt to fancy pastries and hand made chocolates and artisan this and that. We need to get back to Walthamstow's roots; back to the good old fish and chips, and a saveloy and gherkin on the side and a couple of pints of mild and bitter, white bread and marg.