"Colonial times" in N16 MagazinePosted: August 15, 2000
This gem featured in the “N16 magazine”, a free mag with adverts for upmarket restaurants and various “witty” pieces:
You could rename N16 “Colonial Times” because that’s the truth of it. Or “How to turn a working class area into your local village”. Your rag makes me puke! It’s a pat on the back for how successfully the middle classes have swarmed in. And your obsession with the 73 bus! Sure, it’s big and red and maybe a little fantasy gets projected – but for chrissakes it’s just a bus! You walk around Hackney like it’s an old curiosity shop. The letter in your last issue said it all – “an interesting cultural mix of people who appear to live alongside one another harmoniously”. We’re not schoolchildren or there to entertain some fantasy.
A woman said to me in the park once that she wouldn’t let her kids watch Postman Pat because there weren’t any black people in it, and I looked around the playground and all I could see was “wellys” (people from Tunbridge Wells). You’re either squatting and calling yourselves anarchists, or just plain buying up the place. You talk as if it’s a community without acknowledging the fact that you destroyed an ailing community to get what you want. A friend was outcast from a playgroup because she wanted to send her kid to private school. One woman said “I’d rather send my little Harry to a Stokey school and rub shoulders with thieves than send him private”. You strut around like you’re street hip. You even get Ali G’s jokes, but it takes a bit more than sticking little Milo in an Arsenal shirt to be a fan.
Please excuse my lack of grammar, only I’m not pretending. Put that in your e-mail and freebase it!
Yours most angrily
PS Have a lovely Festival
IWCA reply to above letter
I agree with what D Kidmon wrote in the last edition of N16 – your magazine should be renamed “Colonial Times.” It is a magazine for people who spend holidays “up the Dordogne in a camper van” (p18) or like Sally Watson (p8), who you quote as saying that she is having such a problem finding a private nursery for Georgia and Tabatha that she “may have to move to Highgate just to find one.” The problem is that the Watsons will be replaced by more rich young people who will move in and continue to take over what pubs and cafes we have left, and show off to us about it in the pages of N16. Your coverage of the mobile phone mast issue could have been based around the magnificent resistance put up by the Tenants’ Association at Hawksley Court, but instead gives them just three lines compared to the Council’s two paragraphs, while worrying about the effect on house prices.
As a political organisation we wouldn’t put it the same way as D Kidmon, but he is talking about the effects of the “social cleansing” of Hackney. As the middle class takes over more and more of the Borough, the IWCA will continue to seek to involve and represent what is still Hackney’s working class majority.
Anyone wanting to get in touch can contact us at Box 48 136 Kingsland High St, E8 2NS, or you can look at our web site on www.hackneyiwca.fsnet.co.uk
Peter Sutton, Hackney Independent Working Class Association