I’ve been trying really hard not to just be against change and to appreciate the possible positive outcomes of gentrification… but it’s becoming an insane situation!
Originally from Turkey, I’ve been living in this city for 16 years and consider it as my ‘beloved’. I find it hard to just ditch or pass London on to wolves to devour. But what the hell is happening?
I am an artist. My life is just like hundreds of other artist friends: we hardly ever make significant sums of money, but we have always figured out ways to survive, to do our work and more. We ruled! We became involved in scene after scene, gluing communities together, carrying new sounds, styles, and expressions to people.
A scene could be anywhere, including condensed urban or affluent areas. You would get up, go out, and do your work. No one cared about how much you made; for a metropolis with such amazing history and culture, what we do is actually important.
Now, every day, another friend leaves London. Forget “low” incomes, people on even average incomes can’t afford to live in this city. And what’s the point in living in such hustle and bustle if living your passion can’t even cover your basic needs? It’s all become incredibly difficult.
I’m trying hard not to think or sound just like a miserable old cow, but my younger friends are also struggling in the same way.
I get it, fine! London is changing and one’s got to move on with their life. But then, every day it’s being built, I walk around the streets and it just looks like the Lego room of a spoilt child who can’t be bothered to put even a little bit of imagination into his toys because he’s got too many to care for. Grrr!
So, if we are all going, artists, low-income individuals, and families, and communities are dying, who is coming in? London, my beloved, you seem to be trying to dress yourself up, every day, in a rather new, tacky, unrecognisable way, but who for?
I am still trying to love you London. I find myself mostly in the little cracks, the breathing spaces where builders and developers have shown mercy to the people. Most of the underground art now seems to be happening behind a construction site, that last chance before the new owners come and claim them.
OK, come and have it, it’s yours. The rest of us, let’s all move to Berlin and help fast-forward London’s death. Or else, what should we do?
Article by Djanan Turan, musician and Londoner.
Main photo © Instagram / Djanan Turan