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Top five signs of London gentrification

By Time Out London contributor

Nathan James Page

1. Workshops for skills you will never need

On Tuesday nights, the sound of whittling echoes down the high street as a dozen disenchanted account managers spend the evening learning a useless craft. Forget your MBA, because where has it got you, really? What you should really be doing is setting up an artisanal Blu-Tack-carving workshop, or bringing back the lost art of quilling. That, or taking up muay thai so you can punch your way out of the prison your life has become.

2. Pubs in carparks

It’s Bank Holiday Monday, and a man in Cutler & Gross specs leans awkwardly on an upturned barrel in the local industrial estate. His girlfriend shivers on a plastic crate nearby with a faraway look in her eye, dreaming of her hot water bottle and the unread Nina Stibbe novel on her bedside table. Have they been locked out of the house? Are they trying to buy speed? Neither: it’s a craft brewery open day! Watch out for the cronut porter – it’s got bits in it.

Nathan James Page

3. Organic bloody vegetables

Gone are the days of complaining about the price of a pint: a farmers’ market has opened by the station. You wouldn’t get change from a fiver if you bought an aubergine at this joint. Your local MP visits to lend her support. But as she walks round slowly, her eyes fill with tears, and if you listen closely you can hear a funeral march playing as they bury this community and set up an organic sausage stall on its grave.

4. Useless off-licences

You know you’re in a terrible offie when all you want is a can of lager with a bison on it and all they’ve got is £35 malbec, gin that costs more than your last pair of jeans and beer brewed in an otter. Plus, they don’t stock ANY cigarettes. Or Ting! And when you ask for ice, the guy just laughs. Someone call the off-licence regulator (OfOff ?): these charlatans need to be shut down.

Nathan James Page

5. Coffee with names

The minute you have to specify anything beyond ‘white’ or ‘black’ when ordering a coffee, it’s game over. As soon as ‘flat’, ‘cold brew’ or anything in bloody Italian get in on the act, your rent will triple, and you’ll be deported to whatever godforsaken suburb still serves Nescafé. Fear the fancy coffee shop, people, fear it.

By Ellie Broughton, who, in many ways, is her very own personal sign of gentrification

Illustrations: Nathan James Page

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