Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Justify my love

I attended 4 birthday celebrations in 3 days over the weekend. They were for friends from very different social groups and I subsequently met many new people. Over Friday night to Sunday afternoon I went from Clapham Junction to Chelsea, back to the safe haven of W12 before hitting Spitalfields and then Ladbroke Grove.

Despite consuming my body weight in wine, beer and gin I have one lasting memory. In meeting these new people I had to justify my love of living in the Bush on no fewer than 3 occasions. It appears that Sloane Rangers, EastEnders and even our neighbours in W10 can't understand why I would choose to live in Shepherd's Bush. To the Sloanes it was the idea of being out of guffawing distance of King's Road, to the arty farty trendy bendys of the East there was the biggest misconception of the decade that Shepherd's Bush was Notting Hill and they couldn't cope with the idea of all that money and lack of warehouse conversions. More understandably the Grovers begged the question why live there when you can live here? Well my answer to that one was the Congestion Zone.

Two of these individuals were men that I was mid-flirt with (on separate occasions) when they started laying into my beloved Bush (ahem). One was Chelsea Boy, the other an EastBender. I quickly found myself falling down a slippery slope into a big rant defending W12. My main argument, and not the best flirting tactic I've ever used, was to explain I loved the Bush precisely because it's not like where they live (one being too white and elitist, the other being a little self-obsessed and full of inverted snobs). Surprisingly Chelsea Boy was happy to accept this in the same jolly way that he prefers deck shoes and red cords to Converse and jeans. However it was the more easy-on-the-eye and interesting gentleman from East London who was most stubborn in accepting that Shepherd's Bush had much to offer its residents. I even drew parallels with his preferred area of East London as I explained that it was rough around the edges, deeply diverse and you could buy a semi decent bagel at anytime of night. I think actually what he couldn't accept was that Shepherd's Bush isn't the place to be seen; it isn't cool. It is the BBC, it is where Antipodeans accumulate and copulate, it is a line in the opening theme of Only Fools and Horses, it is an out-of-the-way music venue and it is full of very odd people roaming the dog poo, chicken bones and vomit ridden streets all day every day. I guess he has a point - what is "cool" about any of that?

My final thought is this. If you spend your life choosing to live somewhere (or do anything) because it's "cool" doesn't that suggest a shallowness about your personality and what you aim for in life? Isn't it better to choose to live somewhere because it's practical, interesting and real? I love living where I live because it's all of those things and then plenty more. And that to me is pretty cool.

P.S. I got Chelsea Boy's number. EastBender got mine but he can whistle all the way from Hoxton if he thinks we're going on a date anytime soon...


  1. I like W12 because it's *real*. It's not too faux-arty like the East End, it's not too posh like the South, and it's not too street like the North West.

    Plus it's incredibly convenient for me - and if I want a bit of posh, I just nip down to Hammersmith or Chiswick.

  2. Totally agree with most of that.

    For me, its the fact that we have almost everything we need right here in W12. Westfield pretty much negates any need to go to Oxford St or Knightsbridge for clothes, whilst the slightly less glamorous w12 centre has all the cheap options (Poundland, Morrisons, Peacocks, Argos etc) We have trendy pubs, and we have untrendy pubs. We have nice places to eat, and then we have the chop chop noodle bar and maccy d's. We've got a decent market while being a stones throw from the more trendy Portobello Market.

    What about transport links? Do you get better than Shep Bush? We've got a (newly refurbished) central line, hammersmith, city and circle lines, not to mention an overground station whilst we can feasibly walk to the district line at Olympia, or the Piccadilly line in Hammersmith. Both stations serve our two biggest airports very handily too. Or if you prefer, a cab from w12 to heathrow can be gotten for less than £20.

    We border the centre, whilst remaining central enough to know that wherever you end up in the west end. You're never miles away from Shepherds Bush.

    PS. Not to be a pedant but the line was actually in the CLOSING theme of Only Fools: "Trevor Francis tracksuits from a mush in Shepherds Bush...Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush, Bush, No income tax no V.A.T..etc :)

  3. Couldn't agree more. All my friends have just moved to Dulwich (apart from one sensible soul who's gone to Ealing). They say it's nice to have the trendy and the not so trendy (ie Peckham) mix but for the life of me, I can't see the difference between Shep Bush/Notting Hill/Chiswick combos. And why the obsession with living anywhere but a place that is useful and easy to commute from? I don't feel the need to link my personality with a place. It's so vain. And they only have the rubbish overground, not like our choice of multiple tubes!