Only a few weeks before my definitive departure from Brixton, after 10 years living in the same flat (I am only moving to Streatham Hill though, a few bus stops away from my current address); and just the weekend I am away for a hens do in Barcelona (whilst I am always home with the kids), a new scandal happens in our streets to which I am unable to assist in person.
It’s funny how it was already in my plans to write soon something about how the new trend has changed and is still dramatically influencing my neighborhood’s social life and landscape before Saturday manifestation that ended up in the smashing of a shop window of Foxton branch (estate agents), just in front of Brixton tube station.
For instance I wanted to share the following video of this comedians who perfectly captures what in my opinion is happening lately in the area:
I had also scheduled to publish the photo of my favorite delicatessen since I arrived to the UK, to denounce it is now facing high chances to close down by March 2016, since the rent of the arcades business spaces are going to double up next year, if not triple up, as per a new network railing imposition with the local council go ahead, only to make more space for posher cafes and chains in line with the renovation of the whole of Brixton market.
The thing is that those businesses were there much before someone (very likely some political) decided it would be a posher place to live in London in the recent future and they contributed for years to make Brixton an enjoyable neighborhood, not remembered only for the people that tried to sell you skunk quite shamelessly at the exit of the tube, whilst you were trying to get your bus.
Clearly I strongly embrace the ideas that lies behind the movement called Reclaim Brixton. One thing is refreshing the area for the people that have always lived there and staid even when it was a rough area to live in, as they participated in making it better. Another thing is purifying the ghetto only to turn it back into a clean posh area for the rich again, as before the Irish and the Caribbeans arrived. Too easy I say, the proof that money buys everything, even social trends like a district popularity. The real miracle would have been changing the mind of those who made it a dangerous place or isolate them by getting on board most of the other people in a project of behaving the right way for everyone interest.
However I have to clarify: I do not agree with the vandal act of destroying private property. But if I have to be very honest with you all, this is not for some kind of solidarity with what I consider the most lucrous estate agency chain there is in the UK, that I feel represents the living proof of a too free property market in this country, with very thin boundaries when it concerns legality. I have heard in fact from someone working from within the company they deliberately increase of a few tens of thousands the value of every property they put on the market and I know for a fact by having dealt with them in the past for some personal inquiries they generally lead their company with an extremely aggressive politic.
What I mainly disapprove is the fact that this event has now put the wrong light on the intentions of the movement. The message can be fair and right, if you deliver it the wrong way you loose your battle from the start, no doubt about this. On the other hand though I wonder: would have a lovely, politically correct big panel put against Foxton window been enough to express the exasperation of the currents on the past 2 years and get everyone attention on how serious is the situation getting nowadays?
I feel I am part of those people that are pushed away from Brixton as my rent has terribly increased in the past 4 years and when I finally progressed in my salary to be able to buy a flat I suddenly could not afford it in the area anymore, despite I feel this is my London and the place I want to stay, live, love, laugh, raise my kids, with its multi ethnicity and peculiar vibe. I did not want to move, to loose our kids’ mates, our local family; the facilities and the places I love; the night life just 5 minutes away from home when someone babysits my little ones… But when my husband and I saw the Speedy Noodle close down for a soon-to-be-open Foxton branch instead, we looked at each other with dismay and we said ‘game over’ as you cannot get more on the up then them.
So I am not saying it is OK to start a riot over Foxton shop window, however there is no surprise that this is the place that was attacked as it is the perfect symbol of the heartbreaking and reckless property speculations that is truly happening in Brixton in the past 24 months and that has a political effect on our daily lives. Let me finish asking you one question: why no one touched Heart branch who has been there much before the renovations spirit started? Feel free to live a comment to reply to my question.