Sunday, 9 August 2009
Lewisham’s improvement seems to have stalled. For a while there it looked like the place was going upmarket; Yates's closed down, thus forcing the local hoodlums to move all their drug dealings to the McDonald’s, and meaning that at midnight on a Saturday the high street was no longer full of drunken louts throwing up into litter bins and bimbos scuttling about on precipitous high-heels threatening to scratch each others’ eyes out, along with a van load of cops quietly sighing into their riot helmets that they wished they were out catching the real criminals.
Instead we had the One Bar, which offered complicated food and was lit by candles. A little oasis of class. It’s still there now, but the candles have gone and there’s a vast plasma screen showing football . So Dylans remains the only decent pub in Lewisham.
When I lived in Kensal Rise, the place was being visibly gentrified; offies, bookies and launderettes were closing down to be replaced with wine bars that looked like book shops and book shops that looked like wine bars.
Unfortunately Lewisham seems to be on a downward trajectory. Because in the last few months they’ve opened another fried chicken shop on the high street (and there’s another one on my jogging route between Lewisham and Greenwich).
Not to knock the fried chicken itself, which is a guilty pleasure, but the presence of so many friend chicken shops – sometimes next door to each other, or opposite each other – is a bad socio-economic sign. It means there’s a lot of people in the area who can’t afford, or who don’t have the nous, to not eat unhealthily. It means lots of takeaway boxes and plastic bags littering the surrounding streets. I’m looking at you, 'Chicken Cottage'. I’m looking at you, 'Favorite Chicken'.