Practicing what we preach, a few weeks back we were sitting in one of the last about independent places to hang out in London – Randall & Aubin – having a glass or two of the red stuff and wondering what ‘side-street’ things we wanted to look at this month. Anyway, we got on to talking about how everything is so ‘samey’. Where almost every high street or shopping mall is identical and you could be in Shanghai or Salisbury – apart from the weather that is. Global brands persist and we’re in danger of losing our individuality; our creativity.
But the desire for some kind of individuality grows stronger with every passing year; and not just among the so-called younger generation. People of a certain age also hark back to times when things seemed simpler, more original.
Self-identity is weirdly subjective. Is it what we feel like on the inside or what we look like from the outside? Or a combination of both? Either way, generally, we tend to develop our own identity in response to a combination of our level of self-confidence and how we think we want other people to perceive us.
One thing we’re sure of is that old is the new young and young can be pretty retro. People come in all shapes and sizes. Size zero isn’t so hot anymore and a size 16 is definitely on the up. Beards, tattoos, piercings, hair-styles or just something a little less radical. We all strive for some kind of individuality.
What we’re asking at Number 3 is what people are actually looking for. Is it to conform with a particular ‘tribe’ or the search for a real alternative based on your own level of self confidence or the fact that we actually don’t give a shit what other people think.
The margin between gaining that uniqueness or falling into the style trap of the so-called sophisticated retail outlets is a narrow one. Part of our mission is to spend a hellovalotoftime looking for the places that (almost) no one knows about.
The once dilapidated areas of Spitalfields, Bermondsey and Brick Lane are now highlights for anyone looking for something a little more ‘off-beat’; but be quick. Rising rents and the virus of big brands means that soon enough, they’ll fall victim too.
Sticking with the Shoreditch vibe for the moment and when Hollywood just doesn’t do whatever Hollywood is supposed to do – we’re not sure, get yourself over to the Close-Up film centre, in Sclater Street, E1. We’ll be reviewing our visit to Close Up soon, so keep your eyes peeled.
Over in the Blues Kitchen in North London, met with Ben Cooper from the American indie band Radical Face, before their final European tour. We talked about how people from different cultural backgrounds share similar emotional feelings through music, the relationship between personal experiences and art creation, as well as beautiful things in a sometimes ugly world.