Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Favourite Blogs - Spitalfields Life

Dennis Server's House at 18 Folgate St

Spitalfields Life is a captivating blog by an unnamed 'gentle author' who introduces himself evocatively thus:

'In the midst of life I woke and found myself living in an old house beside Brick Lane in the East End of London.

Over the coming days, weeks, months and years, I am going to write every single day and tell you about my life here in Spitalfields at the heart of London. How can I ever describe the exuberant richness and multiplicity of culture in this place to you? This is both my task and my delight.

Let me disclose to you the hare-brained ambition I am pursuing, which is to write at least ten thousand posts about Spitalfields life. At the rate of one a day, this will take approximately twenty-seven years and four months. Who knows what kind of life we shall be living in 2037 when I write my ten thousandth post?
I do not think there will be any shortage of material, though it may be difficult to choose what to write of because the possibilities are infinite. Truly all of human life is here in Spitalfields.
It is my custom to walk everywhere in London and I discover things on my walks, so you will also find stories here from the many places that are within walking distance of Spitalfields.
The days go by quickly and I am always eager to discover more stories. It is through meeting more people and learning more about this place that my understanding will grow and this project will evolve. I am open to all approaches.

Every Sunday, I get up early and walk to Columbia Road Market, buy some plants and write a weekly report to create an account of the seasons at the flower market. Knowing that I must not disappoint you enables me to get out of bed and fills my garden with plants too.
Like Good Deeds and Everyman in the old play, let us travel together. I promise to keep writing to you every day and it will be an eventful journey we shall have together.'

The 'gentle author' - who I believe to be a man, although that simple fact is never made clear - has made good on his promise; a new post arrives each morning - beautifully drawn stories of people, shops, streets and buildings, filled with sympathetic insights into the lives of those he describes. I doubt whether any part of London has been so closely observed. For me, it's a mixture of Gilbert White and the prose of the unnamed writer who used many years ago to pen a weekly column for The Field. And although it began only in August 2009, it's already a masterpiece.

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