Whilst the overall impact of the Olympics and the Thames Gateway plans could be pretty grim, Penny Rimbaud’s disgruntled diatribe against Gillett Square (Issue 30) is somewhat misplaced and peculiarly stand-ofﬁsh. Perhaps he just had a bad night.
Not only does he now romanticise the old car park (he certainly didn’t when it was there) and, despite his support for the New Vortex Jazz Club, it seems he hasn’t found out about the work that is going on to address his fears for the future of this new square in Dalston.
Come off it, Penny: don’t write us off. You know there is plenty else to play for and ﬁght for here!
Regards, Adam Hart, Executive Director, Hackney Co-operative Developments, Member, Gillett Square Partnership
I read with interest Victor Ardern’s ‘Press Watch’ article in the last issue of N16. It concludes with ‘the day when the sound of City lawyers discussing leveraged buy-outs over a Starbucks Caramel macchito (sic) may be upon us sooner than we fear’. Sorry, Vic – bad news, mate – us City lawyers are already here. However, this City lawyer (and – I would guess – most of the other City lawyers who live in Stokey) actually likes Church Street exactly as it is and has no desire for the big corporate names to take over (a la Upper Street). And as one of the ‘fortunate few’ I am happy to distribute some of my hard-earned to the local shopkeepers, bar owners and restaurateurs. I’m guessing that Victor’s comments were tongue in cheek (?). I do, however, know of a gym instructor working in Canary Wharf who was thinking of moving to this area. He came over one evening with a friend to check out Church Street and they went to a local bar for a beer. The gym instructor remarked to his friend that he liked the area but didn’t think he would be able to stand the commute to Canary Wharf. One of the bar staff overheard and interjected ‘we don’t want your sort around here, anyway’ – and he then clariﬁed that by ‘your sort’ he meant ‘City workers’. Nice and welcoming, then – and a comment that sums up a certain type of Stokeyite who seems to view anyone who works ‘in the City’ as being on a par with Satan. So, chaps – here are some facts for you.
1) A job can be just a job – it needn’t necessarily deﬁne you as a person. Most people who work ‘in the City’ are not rabid, right-wing, money, power and status-obsessed Gordon Gekkos
– and the few that are would be fairly unlikely to be living in Stokey.
2) The vast majority of people who work ‘in the City’ don’t actually earn the outrageous sums that you read about in the papers.
3) As for being amongst the ‘fortunate few’ – true, there are still a few ‘old school ties’ around in certain areas, but the City is generally a meritocracy where intelligence and hard graft count for a lot. If you are a brainless, upper middle class twat, then you are unlikely to have a career ‘in the City’ because a) you wouldn’t be able to hack it and b) if Mummy and Daddy have already bought you a nice ﬂat in London to live in then you don’t actually need to do a difﬁcult, stressful (but relatively high-paid) job.
So the next time you see someone in the locality wearing ‘their ofﬁce uniform’, rather than sneering at them why not try adopting the kind of liberal, open-minded attitude for which Stokey is justly famous – and give them a smile. They’re probably pretty similar to you – just trying to earn a living.
A. City-Worker, Stoke Newington
It was with some trepidation that I watched a guy dump a load of plastic piping and a mound of gravel at the Church Street entrance to the Cemetery early this week. Once again, it seemed that the roads would be dug up. Well, it has been at least six weeks since the last time!
Sure enough, work commenced on Wednesday, though it was the pavement this time. However, the reason I am writing is not to add to the seemingly never-ending stream of complaints about Church Street’s permanent road works. I am actually writing in praise of the three-man crew who have been working on this job over the last few days. Not only have they been tirelessly slogging away in the record-breaking heat, but they have shown a dedication and pride in their work that I have never before witnessed in road workers.
The ﬁrst thing that brought them to my attention was that on the very hottest day of the year, when most road crews would have knocked off at 3pm after completing their 6th tea break, these guys were still working away at 6.30pm. On ﬁnishing for the day, they packed away all their equipment, swept the pavement and made sure safety barriers were in place.
The next morning I was unable to sleep due to the heat and woke at 5.30am. At 6am they were back! Quietly busying themselves in preparation for the day’s work. 6am! When was the last time you saw any workman start that early?
Once again, they put in a back-breaking 12-hour day, showing those who noticed how to really work as a team. Whilst one used a digger for the trench, another would lay the pipes and the other would follow behind re-laying the pavement as they went. I was so impressed I went over to tell them what a great job they were doing and to take them a cold bottle of water. They smiled, and in perfect English said ‘thank you very much’. You mean I didn’t mention that they are all Eastern European! Well, you didn’t really expect them to be English did you?
Jeremy Praill, Church Street, N16 Dear N16