Friday, August 20, 2010

They paved paradise

I had a full and busy day in London yesterday. I'm always amazed how things change in any place I go to and London is as fast changing as anywhere I know. I remember playing football in what is now the trendy Spitalfields market. There used to be a street market area behind Bishopsgate, which now looks like a very modern central business district. Shoreditch has come on some, the tube extension towards Stoke Newington is nearly there. The food court outside Euston station is a massive improvement - anyone remember Casey Jones Burgers?

But trendy media Soho was remarkable for how much it hasn't changed in the ten years since I regular stalked its streets. There are still newsagents and coffee shops that have always been there. I saw many of the same names of post-production houses and film labs too, which is a good thing. It's an area that could have gone like anytown, but London's position as a capital on the edge of the new has kept a very sharp and unique identity - where being different isn't just about shops and brands, but the industrial ecology of our capital city.

I like to trumpet the Manchester rhetoric as much as anyone. And I love my adopted home city like nowhere else. But it is always useful to get a sense of perspective and yesterday I did. For energy, ideas and innovation there is nowhere quite like London.

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