Favela Chic (wind-powered) Coffee Shop

We don need no steenking planning permission…


Only they probably did, on account of it having something to do with The Barbican… but Dalston? Brrr… I used to live there. Hampstead Heath it aint (I used to live there as well), and this is kindof the point. You simply wouldn’t be “allowed” to do anything like this in Hampstead. It’s innovating between the cracks again. It’s where the vitality lives.

And it is (or was (as far as property goes, all bets may be off)) indicative of part of the gentrification life-cycle. Hampstead used to be bohemian… cool people lived there, so not so cool but rich people wanted to follow, now you need to be rich to live there so the vitality has moved elsewhere.

It was Camden in the 90s (yup. lived there too) – now I’m not so sure. Money has moved in – though there are parts of Camden that will be forever shit-holes. Similarly West London (yup) – it was this fault line where fairly posh backed up against crack-ville… and as far as I can gather, it’s always been this way – well, as far as the 1960s at least, which is when history basically began.

Anyway, this thing reminds me of Glastonbury a bit – one year I was running this great big sales-tent thing with 12 staff and a cook, and the other hippie-retailers had thrown up this amazing bar made out of hay-bales – it was a really cool, professional/guerrilla drinking hideout… with the sort of exciting of-the-moment vibe that a proper licensed place (with “permission” from above) could only dream of. A temporary building designed for communality and commerce… built with the knowledge that in about 4 days time it would be gone.

This sort of guerrilla-retail isn’t that uncommon actually – back in the 90s people used to squat empty shops in Oxford Street – move in mob-handed with a truck-load of knock-off goods – usually t-shirts or backpacks etc… throw the whole lot up in the wee hours before retail start-of-play, then coin it until they got moved on. The markets in London were a bit like this as well. It amazed me how organised these people became – with their own sound-systems and scaffolding and security and lighting and whatnot.

Favela Chic is actually the most alive kind of chic – this is what the raves in the late 80s were about… but the big crunch – the thing that really needs to be worked out, is the relationship with violence, because anything illegal and successful is a magnet for organised crime.