London for me has always been about Big Ben, London Eye, London Bridge, Trafalgar Square, et al. This was till I moved to the city in 09/2011, as a student. My first night was at a cousin’s accommodation on Old Street. Dodgy, was the first word that popped into my head as we approached this area. As soon as we reached her accommodation, I scurried up to the safety of three walls and a door with a lock. With concern for my my cousin, I fell asleep thanking my stars that I would be moving out soon.
The next night, bored trying to fight off my jet-lag, le cousin offered to show me around Old Street. Oh goody. With nothing better to do, I picked my lazy bum off the bed, dragged my legs into my stockings’ warm, deep tubes, strangled my throat with a shawl, strapped a padlock on my purse, and warily stepped outside. We decided to walk towards the pubs and restaurants. “That’s where all the excitement happens,” she said to me. Exciting.
And then there was graffiti. Usually graffiti makes me think rebels – the interesting ones. Maybe not the most correct thought, but in my defense, this was how this art came into existence in the first place. I think of their emotions and I think about what triggers them. There has to be a story behind these graphics. If only I could read these ingenious paint splashes.
Each wall had a different artist’s expression on it – laboriously sprayed from one end to another. Doors that came in the way of the artist, were made interesting with emotive graphics. Seems like the door owners were thankful for the exaggerated paint jobs, as none of them were dulled down with straight colours again.
Right then I mentally clicked on “like” Old Street.
It is not just the graffiti that had me appreciate this part of London. Old Street is vibrant, animated, pulsating. As I walked into the party that spilled out of pubs, Black Eyed Peas’ ‘Tonight’s Gonna Be a Good Night’ played on loop in my head.
Drunks quaked their vocal chords that was so much more in sync than Beiber’s. Skateboarders zipped through the staggering crowd, burst threw smoke clouds and skipped over vomit – all so naturally. People experimented with their wardrobe that made them look like fascinating beings with an edge. If only I had my native-american feather hat with me, I’d have something to show for too.
The street is charming – even with the gangsta looking ruffians throwing an I-own-you look at just about anybody. They had this in-explainable thing about them – I want to say aura, but that doesn’t fit.
If you have any intentions of TGIF, you can really show it on Old Street. I guarantee you, you will fit right in with the pompous rich, rough contented-souls, average working class corporate rats, friendly homeless, threatening bouncers, homely Thai restaurants, fine dining dim rooms, kebab shops, off-license stores, expensive funky boutiques, quaint bookstores, simple card shops – like a continuum of luminosity.
Did I mention how much I like Old Street?