Some spaces create their value through aesthetics and visual presentation, attracting a visitor with an interesting interior and posh atmosphere. Although, probably everyone would agree that it’s not the only element, making us visit and go to some places all the time, meet with your friends and new people, communicate or engage in some exiting activity. I would say that you can very clearly distinguish formal space from informal. Informal spaces are often the most pleasant for young creatives – here, you don’t have to worry that you are crookedly sitting on the ground with crossed legs, that armchairs and sofas are very worn and dusty, that everyone is smoking inside or that you will get a suspicious look, while simply saying hi to somebody you don’t know.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of such spaces, they don’t have official papers or status. Such spaces simply exist because of the help of the enthusiasts, who live by what they do and do what they live for. If you were to come up with an idea to open an informal space, probably the best place for that now would be Berlin, where property prices and the law base let the most unexpected inclusions appear within the city. Meanwhile, London is trying hard as well, however, sometimes you need to fight here too. This time I present an interesting creative community space in Hackney.
Our visit of The George
“The George” once was a pub in Hackney district, in London. Later this area, even though it’s situated in the second zone, which is very near the city center, was sort of forgotten, abandoned, sparsely populated. Here, various minorities began to build up, Victorian houses were finally occupied. Because Hackney is in east London, the renting prices are a bit lower here and exactly these prices pushed the youth to begin settling here and creating the buzz in the sleeping streets. These days, it is very lively atmosphere in Hackney, around 3 million people live here, the area has its own newspaper, a lot of small business shops, which delight with their colorfulness and originality. Some people say that a vast majority of artists and the underground are settled in Hackney. Some time ago it was Shoreditch, which is now richly settled with various galleries, stylishly dressed youth, niche creative commodities shops and graffiti drawings noticeable on every step.
“The George” was simply rented out by seven friends, who decided to live here. The space itself maintain the pub, has an old fashion bar and several lamps, however, everything is crumbled down, abandoned and is precisely in such condition, which created a great atmosphere to improvise and mess around. So, these friends settled in, began to organize parties and spread the word of mouth about it.
Not worrying too much about the publicity of their home, the hosts began to organize concerts, workshops, gatherings, lectures, theater repetitions, yoga activities etc. A lot of people got interested in this space, so all the time one or the other came here with his idea to put something together and to invite local community to take part. On Mondays and Tuesdays the youth from surrounding houses gathered here with a glass of wine and jazz. Sometimes you could get surprised by a senior virtuoso unexpectedly playing the piano or some extraordinary voice taking microphone. Everyone in this space positioned themselves very dynamically – some with a blanket on the ground, some beside the little table, some were trampling dance steps besides the scene.
An abandoned “The George” pub became that space, which in my opinion is the most real and lively, unrestricted bydeadlines or opening hours – chaotic, dynamic and most importantly honest. Such spaces are highly important for its creativity, warmness and liveliness.
However, as I already mentioned London is not Berlin and that is why sooner or later there had to appear some difficulties. The main problem suddenly became the owner of this space, who decided that he will demolish this authentic pub and make nine flats that will later be rented. Well, all of us know that the Olympics are coming, so it is not a big surprise. However, it hasn’t happened so yet because local community started collaborating and collecting all the possible arguments to stop The George from closing. In addition, they launched a petition and started new website.
What will happen to “The George” is still not clear, however, it’s certain that we need creative spaces like that. Well, lets wish the owners good luck and enthusiasm to get their ideas going!