Looking down from the estate across to the other flats only to see cars, black folk – mainly Rastafarian – and few working-class white folk smoking joints, listening to reggae together. Fear never crossed my mind: It was instilled.
That stomach wrenching fear… You know the one that kills your appetite, comes with the heightened sense of anxiety: It would visit me after a while – because, I was told to watch out for those guys, girls; they are evil and they smoke weed, take drugs and are in gangs. obviously, because they were poor, right ?
And, of course, the Graffiti on Hackney’s decaying walls were a reinforcement of an “image” of crime and decay…
Do not be fooled by those images; do not worry, for they are the subsidized creation of our self-proclaimed lords. The “scary” gangs of (euphemism for poor people) have not an ink in these pieces of (f)art.
I found myself – accidentally – in Brick lane this past Friday. The anxiety was back: my body shaking, stomach brutally concerned with its digestion – a digestion without food.
The feeling was not different: But the people that I was supposed to be afraid of were not there – a new, different kind of ospesus was crushing me.
The drugs have not change, crime is normalized and the wind smells of betray dishes of the mid-east. but, it is a nice place, full of small coffee, burger and chocolate stores; “Lower upper-middle class” (George Orwell) white teen and young adults, acting the part of artistically blinding propaganda of gentrification; the fusion, the deliberate infection of the geographies’ culture in exchange of a fantasy , littered with new age nonsense and pseudo-intellectual idiocy.
Everything that makes one hesitant to give much importance to even entertaining the notion of purging clicked together with the Neo-liberal jack-shit of new building sites, coffee shops, ect.
Gentrification has made the place clean and beautiful – oh, supposedly. Jesus cries at the nonsense – if he had existed. Nothing has changed in terms of crime and mis-behavior: It has gotten worse – or better – however one sees it.
Reggae music is played loud, but it is not defined as disturbance; smell of ethnic food fills the air, but it is no longer disgusting or foreign; the teens drink, take drugs and smash windows, but they are merely being kids now.
I went from shaking to shivering… But, as I saw the last standing honor of the Jewish bagel shop, I realized I was not the one that will collapse on itself.
The destruction of communities in place of temporary nonsense of this sickening hipster culture (so called) will be felt when these middle-class artists feel the pain of the stick when their jobs as foot soldiers are over, the revolting existence of which has replaced something more real, more true in me: We know who the anxiety inducing ones are. Hint: It was never the local poor, white and black folk.
PS: The cops that were watching skater white boys chilling with the Rastafarian guys while the rich kids were trashing the place with drugs, alcohol fueled fights and idiocy: You are disgusting.