There is always something you will never forget about your trip, and among them there is always something you are not going to talk about. I will tell you about one of the areas I have been exploring in London which I am never going to forget. You thought I would tell all my “secrets” to you people right? Sorry for disappointing you 😉
Let’s start to say that Brixton may be called by many as one of the most multicultural ghettos of London, located in the southern part of the city. Going out from the underground you will be in the middle of a unstoppable wave of people coming from all directions – which is actually not that different from the rest of all the streets in London – restaurants, shopping centers and street take aways, plus maybe different people singing outside the stop.
I was a bit curios about this interesting area and looked up some infos about it, among the others, here. Thanks to the little things I read so far, I could see how the almost abandoned district was once a rich area similar to that of the Swedish area Rosengård, where riots are happening and of which people are mostly aware and afraid of. The history of the Brixton district is a particular one, going from being a poor area, to one of development, then place of social riots and then again gaining a certain “respect”. By the way, Brixton got a population boost in the middle 1900s, but after it was bombed in WWII, living conditions for those who still were living there after the war were not acceptable. Social riots started and especially during 1981, Operation Swamp 81 led by the police aiming at lowering crime rates, permitted to arrest whoever was suspected of crime, leading to up to 1000 thousands arrests. Gentrification happened mostly from 1990s on, and in a few words, it has completely changed the aspect of this area, luckily still keeping the level of multiculturalism pretty high – most people living there are from the Caribbean. If you are curious about the term gentrification, you may be interested in reading this article “5 myths about gentrification“.
Even though I did not take that many photos as I thought I did, these three are more than representative of the place. The way from the metro stop to the market was surprising frightening beautiful attracting smelling tasty at the same time. People of all countries meeting in a way I am used to since I come from Italy, sitting on plastic chairs in front of their houses or shops, though immersed in a too poor situation than the one I had been used to from the previous days in London. Take away places formed by a little kitchen on the side of the street, as it was someone’s apartment kitchen, where you could see in through the open window and glimpse a big pan. For some reasons I felt I was in Thailand or India, even though I have never been there and the most population in Brixton did not come from neither those countries.
We went into the market, being welcomed by huge flags of every country in the world, mostly placed exactly close by the restaurants serving food from those countries. Going into the market, half of it – mostly the shops in the centre – were closed because of the night time, but restaurants and bars where open, creating the right atmosphere/balance (still looking for the right word for the Swedish “stämning” making you feel completely out of time and space, maybe on a dancing street in South America instead than a suburb in London. We heard some music and being the last night before traveling back to Sweden what do you think we did? We started dancing following this caribbean music, just in front of the stereo, in a street – between the 5th and the 1st avenue – where everyone was eating talking enjoying the music getting warm in a slightly chilly air of a September night. We danced starting from an empty dance floor that nothing was if not a cement path with a table by the closest wall, where we put our things and forgot the others. Funny as it gets, was to see a video of us dancing, published on the fb page of Brixton Market.
Little things about Brixton
In 2009, the Brixton pound was coined, in order to protect the variety of business and to higher the popularity of the area. I was really surprised by reading this, and wish I’d known about it before leaving from London!
Brixton is also the part of the city where David Bowie was born.
I will just say goodnight with a music video of the song “La Gozadera” putting together many countries of South America, showing flags and some streets which definitely made me think of the Brixton market. See you soon!