We woke up late and after a breakfast of eggs and coffee we made our way to Brick Lane to see what we could find. It was a Sunday morning and the East End was alive with the rattle and chaos of the weekend markets. If you’re not partial to being pushed and shoved by strangers then I would advise you to stay away from this part of town around this time.
You can find almost anything on Brick Lane if you know what you’re looking for and every week tourists, artists, students and the more affluent city residents (i.e. people with more money than sense) come here in their thousands to spend some serious money on all manner of junk – vintage jewelry, goofy shoes, eclectic furniture, esoteric books, overpriced imported cereal, it’s all on sale here. The more scrupulous stall owners put a lot of effort into making you believe that the rubbish they’re selling is worthwhile and you can usually spot this kind of hawker from a mile off. They usually dress like idiots and are fairly handy with the spiel, but they’re not bad people and are just trying to get along in this world like the rest of us.
If you’re looking to eat a curry, then you won’t be long looking for one on Brick Lane. The street is lined with dozens of curry houses, but don’t let anyone tell you these are Indian restaurants. They are Bangladeshi establishments and proud. Although, a great many non-Asians don’t seem to know or care about the difference.
We go to Brick Lane more than we need and spend most of our time on the cheaper side of the market where the traders sell what I would call merchandise of questionable origin. You will find top end clothing and electronics on sale at very agreeable prices here. The traders on this side of the neighborhood do all their business in cash. They won’t let you take pictures, but if you don’t ask too many questions as to where their stock came from then you can haggle them down to a price that works for both of you. If you say something that they don’t like then they have no reservations about spitting and cursing at you, but they also have a steady weakness for charm and will try just about anything to get you to part with your money.
We didn’t buy anything on this trip but we did get to see some of the newest street art that has appeared in the area over the last couple weeks. The council has all but given up trying to clean this stuff off the wallS and the locals say that it adds some color to the otherwise rather gnarled looking urban landscape. My camera wasn’t working but herself was kind enough to lend me hers. I’m no photographer, but I know what I like and I did my best. I hope you enjoy.
I couldn’t tell you who painted what but I’m sure that if you look online for long enough, you can find out.