The new London is a dream that strangers are dreaming in your bed.
January 10, 2015 4:54 AM   Subscribe

 
Nobody chronicles the texture of London drinking culture in the age of the AirBnB demographic, from Gak Pubs to 'Spoons, as accurately as Vice.
posted by colie at 5:12 AM on January 10, 2015


That's a brilliant article, full of great pull quotes and actually sensible in its outlook that hating on moustached white people drinking cocktails won't solve London's gentrification problem, but is great fun.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:10 AM on January 10, 2015


"London's problems will not be solved by beating up people who drink Martinis, or by banning craft beer and reinstalling Carling taps, or by giving out David Simon books to everybody who runs a pub's social media account. They'll be solved when we try to solve the bigger problems in the city, surrounding rent control, local priorities and community integration. A place like the Bonneville is merely the olive on top of a whole cocktail of evil."
posted by knapah at 6:38 AM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Notable is the crass, neo-thatcherite triumphalism of places like Job Centre and The Advisory; “ha ha”, it seems to gloat, ”this was your space, but now you're gone forever to Hoboland or wherever it is the poors go, and we're drinking jam-jar cocktails under your job board”. The fact that, within two years, the bar and the block around it will be demolished to build a high-end-retail-and-residential-development owned by Emirati sovereign wealth and lived in by sociopathic luxury-item salesmen doesn't help.
posted by acb at 6:40 AM on January 10, 2015 [19 favorites]


This is really interesting, even as someone who knows nothing about London. I'd love to see a similar article by natives of New York, DC or heck anywhere that has a bunch of bars that have popped up in the parts of town that used to scare the weasel suburban kids (myself included).
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:42 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


surrounding rent control

It will never happen. Rent control is Socialism, and Socialism Is Always Wrong. Besides, no government would even think about expropriating the Stakeholders in this way; it wouldn't even get as far as needing a formal warning from the Remembrancer.
posted by acb at 6:42 AM on January 10, 2015


Clive Martin wrote a brilliant vice piece on suburbia talking about similar things, london for sale yuppies welcome, and I felt this article was great for skewering the same but it was a shame that he only touched on the bigger issues at the end. I wish he'd expanded on his admission that cussing hipsters will achieve little to nothing because to me it points to the false dilemma of gentrification - it's not a choice between pretentious, monocultural hipster enclaves and authentic working class communities, it's a choice between a government that gives a damn, invests money in local services, devolves power and controls rent, and rapacious private development that will come for the soul of everything within spitting distance of a TFL stop. Hipster cussing, cultural conflict and social regulation is just the easiest click bait for the chattering classes vice included, so I'm looking forward to the day Mr Martin lavishes the same wit on land taxes and council funding.
posted by doobiedoo at 6:49 AM on January 10, 2015 [14 favorites]


related: Fuck Your Pop-Up Shops
posted by lalochezia at 7:22 AM on January 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the gleeful repurposing of social service spaces. The Job Centre had me thinking "well that's a little... tacky?"; The Advisory had me at full-on "yes, that's repulsive".
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 7:59 AM on January 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


Great piece.. I've only been here a bit over ten years but is this ever true:

"I thought about how for many people London is a city of memories that have been taken away from them. Places they'd loved torn apart in the name of creating something "better", something better that is resolutely not for you"
posted by Erasmouse at 8:11 AM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Villages are not being burnt down. Families are not being summarily shot. Cemetery markers are not being ripped out of the ground and used to construct highways. Say what you will about gentrification, but it is not a fucking pogram.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:14 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


This isn't all London. Places like Kentish Town, up towards Holloway and back to the Camden/Chalk Farm line, remains hugely mixed in every way and with lots of the up side of urban living. You can get a mosque, a rockabilly/metal/goth theme pub and a Seventh Day Adventist chapel within a fifty metre radius, all equally heavily used and making for entertaining pavement theatre on a Friday evening.

Still helllish if you're poor (and the Coronet on Holloway Road is a Wetherspoods Experience for the whole family!), but if you want to see how London carries on as a place to live it's not bad. Gentrification keeps trying to[push up from Upper Street and now (gawd 'elp us) King's Cross, but it lacks the willpower. The whole area has been going up and down like a politician's zipper since Victorian times anyway.

(Fun Fact: Hitch-Hiker's Guide was written in a flat just off the Holloway Road. As soon as the royalties came in, of course, Adams fled south of Highbury Corner.)
posted by Devonian at 9:02 AM on January 10, 2015


It will never happen. Rent control is Socialism, and Socialism Is Always Wrong. Besides, no government would even think about expropriating the Stakeholders in this way; it wouldn't even get as far as needing a formal warning from the Remembrancer.

Yet in the formerly British cities of Hong Kong and Singapore, 50% and 80% respectively of the population lives in public housing... noted bastions of socialism, both those cities though.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:07 AM on January 10, 2015


Holloway-born emigre reporting in: what Devonians says is true, but there are probably less than half as many pubs in the area as there were 20 years ago.

The main reason hipster 'gentrification' does not spread further up the Holloway Road is that the Victorian housing stock in the side streets is still heavily council owned. You get terraces that contain long strings of council homes, with some larger post-war blocks filling in the bomb damage; these are still lived in by families on low incomes. The area also contains places like the Andover Estate, where many residents are too busy plotting exhausting crack wars to take a break for cocktails.
posted by colie at 9:17 AM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why do I feel like I'm reading Dan Ashcroft writing for Sugar Ape?
posted by threecheesetrees at 1:36 PM on January 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wasn't SugaRAPE a thinly veiled VICE?
posted by acb at 1:50 PM on January 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Dan Ashcroft's Rise of the Idiots looks like a documentary now.
posted by colie at 2:15 AM on January 11, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry, that was entirely the wrong link. Meant this.
posted by colie at 7:26 AM on January 11, 2015


related: Fuck Your Pop-Up Shops

That was a good read; thank you.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:44 AM on January 11, 2015


Incidentally, I'll take any Irish pub round Dollis Hill and Willesden Bus Garage over any one of these twatfarms all day long and twice on Sundays.

When Brixton went bang in 1981 this little fool wasn't even a gleam in his father's bollock yet.
posted by genghis at 12:51 PM on January 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd love to see a similar article by natives of New York, DC or heck anywhere that has a bunch of bars that have popped up in the parts of town that used to scare the weasel suburban kids (myself included).

I've tried in DC, but to tolerate a night out at those bars requires so much defensive drinking to stave off the heartache and the cognitive dissonance that I come home in no shape to write.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:12 PM on January 11, 2015


In the garden, I got stuck into a Sierra Nevada and a Scotch egg,
I always feel weird when I read about Sierra out of the west: in my mind its still this moderately successful brewery up the road. Its weird, weird, weird to read about it abroad.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 6:31 PM on January 11, 2015


I was thinking of posting this to the front page, but it's probably better off here: London's Poor Fetish (that's the author's full-length version, via a trimmed version at The Baffler). Starts as he means to go on, with a quote from Zižek.
posted by Grangousier at 12:32 AM on January 14, 2015


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