London Borough of Hackney (Unfamiliar Faces, Vegan Anarchists, and Autumn Smell)
20 Ottobre 2009
Hackney is a lovely place. A little scaring, but I guess it’s only because I’m a newby, and I can’t recognise people’s attitudes by their faces yet – as one can do when is familiar with a place. It will take time. And I’m not used to so many black people around. It’s not a racial judgement, mine: it’s a realization. It’s kinda weird to wander around these white fancy terraced homes, and seeing old black people talking/smoking at the front door of them… I mean: this is the stereotype we have of Jamaica, not of London! But still is nice. And they all great you!
Greeting people you don’t know seems to be the easiest and most common thing here. I began a walk of the neighbourhood in late morning yesterday, to meet up with Brigida in the afternoon, and walking down the street to reach the local shopping area to buy some food I was greeted by all the people I saw without knowing them: a woman at the front door of her house, an old man while mending his car, a young guy riding his bike, the dustman who was sweeping the street. This was so weird!
After a few blocks, I eventually reached ‘my’ place: the Pogo Cafè, the meet-up point of the anarchists/squatters of the area – vegan, gluten free and definitely laid-back. With lovely people inside, sharing experiences about squatting and travelling, or talking about any issues, or simply sitting on a couch and reading. Brigida and I had lunch there and could grasp some words form the tables around (you know: we are anthropologists, always spying other people’s lives) – definitely nice ones!
We ended up with a long walk, reaching another nice street – Broadway Market, where on Saturdays there’s a vegetables & fruits market – full of fancy people, where you unpredictably feel ‘home’ even if it has nothing in common with the one you left in your hometown.
And again, walked through London Fields. The leaves mixed with the wet ground produced an autumn smell, and reminded me of many other good moments in my life – like a time warp where time bends on itself.