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Why I love Shoreditch

October 17th, 2011 · No Comments · Diaspora, OPINION, PEOPLE

Street Art: Shoreditch by Night

Vincent Roman – Why I Love Shoreditch

There are so many reasons why I love Shoreditch: the braggards, the hipsters, the charity mums, the Sunday flower market jaunters. Shoreditch is not just a pastiche; it is a living organism that with every day awakes, kicking and screaming to life, reminding the world of what a unique, if somewhat troublesome child it is.

But for all the reasons I love Shoreditch, there is truly only one that pins my heart to a hoarding on Great Eastern Street, announcing to the passing crowds of out-of-town commuters and lorry drivers alike that this is the place of my soul; and that is the sprayed up, pasted-over and fucked-up walls of the hallowed triangle and its periphery.

For as many years as I have worked in the area, and eventually come to live in, I have been inspired to document the activities of each and every ne’er do well that sees fit to climb out of bed at a god-forsaken hour and crawl through the darkened back streets and passages for the sake of their art, for ‘as the city sleeps, the walls they weep’.

Who could forget the likes of Paul Le Chien and his 3 metre high penis adorning the side of Starbucks by the Old Street roundabout, or the street conversations starting with ‘love don’t pay the rent’. It’s these piffy statements on life according to the Shoreditch triangle that make it a unique spot in London, with the soon to be gone Foundry at its heart, which hopefully won’t take the spirit of the ‘Ditch with it as the inevitable wrecking ball hits.

It may well be that the council, alongside developers, is taking a heavy hand to the ‘hood, and the graffiti contained therein, but Shoreditch was, and remains, the place in which Banksy cut his teeth in London, and which saw his ‘battles’ with Eine. And of course, when other battles ensued, and the likes of Damien Hirst threw the legal book at a ‘young upstart vandal’, the crews closed ranks with their own, and fought back!

Despite the negative effects of gentrification and the mass of graff that marks out the railway lines on the way up north, or that spans the walls of the Regent’s Canal and other quarters, I still like to think that Shoreditch is the spiritual home of graffiti in the capital. And with the likes of Cept, Sweettoof, Gold Peg, Mighty Mo and the rest of the Burning Candy crew still plying their trade, alongside upcoming stars like Malarky, the walls of Shoreditch are very much alive and singing!

From the earliest times, when hordes flocked to the Curtain Theatre at the London city limits, till the ever present moment, Shoreditch has been a creative force in the beating heart of London, and graffiti is just another beautiful facet of that. Graffiti and street art might be one man’s scourge, but it means so many things to so many different people. And to me it makes Shoreditch the inspiration that it is, and is very much part of the place I have come to love and call my home.
Vincent Roman

Vincent is a full-time Shoreditch resident, part-time graff head, and some-time troublemaker living within the confines of the proverbial Hoxditch ‘loony bin’. Whether shooting graffiti or sipping Allpress lattes, he can be found wandering through the streets with his own inimitable blend of East London swagger.

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Shoreditch by Night

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