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point of view

The Ballad of Peckham Rye By Kate Greenhalgh

E

ven if you didn’t receive a Ladybird Book of Irony this Christmas, you must be aware of The Hipster phenomenon by now - young men looking like W C Grace, with a bit of Dalai Lama thrown in. The other day, I was very excited to see an actual hipster in Wimbledon - we must be at a really late stage of the curve for that to happen. He was walking a pug through the Village, in an immaculate tweed deerstalker. (The pug I mean, obviously.) But the hipster himself was presumably one of those unusual birds which twitchers go mad for - blown off course by El Nino, an aberration rather than a trend. How stupid of me. Wimbledon is too far west for hipsters. They have all migrated east, taking our children with them, like ket-bunned pied pipers. At first I was quite proud to have children who, if not hipsters, were firmly on the hipster spectrum, dabbling in pottery courses in Hoxton and home-made beard tonic; until I realised that with the authentic lifestyle, comes the authentic location. The kids have moved to Peckham. Have you tried driving to Peckham? Even on a reclaimed pennyfarthing, it’s a trek. The zeitgeist in my day, after pushing safety pins through our earlobes, was to become a Sloane Ranger, and aspire to Fulham. What have we done? Our city has hollowed itself out, and the youth have gone East. They have not gone to Fulham, which would be more convenient for their mothers. And we know who to blame for this. Us.

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feb-mar 2016 | darlingmagazine.co.uk

We have presided over a property price supernova, rubbing our hands with glee, nimbying out any affordable development, until, with faces falling, we watch our own children disappear over the horizon, lured by the prospect of a flat they can afford. Even those with interventions from the bank of mum and dad are going, because who wants to live away from friends in Nunhead, New Cross, Hackney and Clapton? Until Hipsterism is over and we see the rise of the neo-Sloane, get used to living in a deserted West London gerontocracy of ourselves. There’s only one thing for it for me - come to terms with the excellent 26 minute train service to Peckham Rye; or, they do say, nearby Dulwich is very nice for downsizers...

Profile for darling magazine

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