Monday, 10 August 2009

4 Step Counter Gentrification Technique

Like a plague of locusts, the idle rich descend on East London. Gradually the greasy spoon cafés, illegal street vendors, charity shops and pre-pubescent drug dealers all fade away. The cultural curiosities that draw creative middle class youths to traditionally working class urban districts are eventually replaced by the standard high street familiarities that can be found in any town centre in the world. The intrepid art-fags who first penetrate these virgin slums are followed by wave after wave of vacuous cultural leeches, hungry for a drop of anything resembling authenticity. But their arrival drives up property prices, pushes out the communities that give the district character and finally attracts corporate conglomerates, eager to capitalise on the disposable incomes of the floppy haired dandies who parade about those once decrepit streets.

The nostalgic lamentations of native residents in areas such as Williamsburg in Brooklyn or Shoreditch in East London can hardly be heard over the relentless din of progressive indie rock music. With tears in their eyes they reminisce about an idyllic past, where the bare footed, junkie sons and daughters of violent alcoholics would save up a week’s wages for a jar of eels and a fix. They watch as their memories are trampled beneath the march of a thousand plimsolls and wonder if any of these bearded, bohemian barbarians realises the damage they’re doing. If they did they might consider adopting the counter-gentrification technique, a consumer method that relieves middle class guilt and aids the preservation of indigenous urban cultures. The counter-gentrification technique can be properly executed by following these 4 simple steps:-

1. Adopt Mock-native dialect.

If you live in East London, make an effort to watch East Enders and films with Bob Hoskins in. Learn to mimic the regional dialect and you will find the natives more receptive to your ideas and grateful that you have made an effort to understand their primitive ways.

2. Refuse responsibility.

Ignore the fact that you are part of the problem and dump your guilt on others. With your newly acquired native accent, ruthlessly criticise your fellow bearded wankers and maintain that it is they who are responsible for the decline of the local community.

3. Buy local.

Buy from local establishments. Eat Bagels not sushi. Go to the market not the supermarket and the local pub not some trendy wine bar. If you continue to put your money into the local economy then these traders will eventually become successful enough to get the fuck out. Then they won’t care how much you mess up their grotty little ghetto.

4. Pretend to give a shit

Lament the closure of local establishments. Engage in patronising conversation with natives in which you sympathise with their harkening back to the old days before all the immigrants and hippies ruined England. This is the final stage to relieving guilt and doing your bit to undo the destruction caused by your decadent youth culture.

Published: State of Play, 2009

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