News / City Life

We asked a northerner for her take on Somerset House’s ‘North: Fashioning Identity’

Curlers and Chips, Yorkshire, 1965, Sunday Times Magazine © John Bulmer
© John Bulmer Curlers and Chips, Yorkshire, 1965, Sunday Times Magazine

As part of the Time Out Reader Takeover, our Newcastle-born reader Emmie Harrison explains why she’s excited for Somerset House’s new exhibition, and offers a northerner’s guide to surviving ‘down south’

Black bogies. That’s the first thing a northerner notices when they move to London. Then it’s waiting 40 minutes in the rain for brunch. And finding out that asking someone for ‘ket’ is something very different (it means sweets to Geordies, okay?). Nothing prepares you for moving to London. You start thinking a fiver for a pint is ‘dece’ and the smallest home comforts are impossible to find. Even Greggs has a section on its website as to why it doesn’t sell stotties here.

Pink lipstick,1983 © Tom Wood

The north isn’t well represented in London, but news of Somerset House’s new show warmed my northern cockles. ‘North: Fashioning Identity’ is an exhibition of retro photography, fashion and multimedia work that champions the realities of the region.

The north/south divide is real, but this exhibition should highlight just how important, intelligent, interesting and damn fashionable northerners were, are and always will be. Among other things, you can discover how Manchester’s Haçienda found its way into the work of American fashion designer Virgil Abloh, and why the parka got appropriated around the world.

From Preston Bus Station, 2010-2015 © Jamie Hawkesworth

Personally, I’m most looking forward to seeing the ‘Women and Men’ photo display. It’ll be interesting to see how much the role of women, and respect for them, has changed for northerners over time. In a city as big as London, it’s hard not to lose your identity, and I feel this show will hit home for the capital’s hidden northerners – and hopefully lead the way for emerging northern artists.

It’s time to tell your ex from Dagenham that, yes, the north has electricity, thanks. In fact, we’ve got more spark than the capital can handle. Areet, pet?

North: Fashioning Identity’ is on at Somerset House from Wed Nov 8-Feb 4 2018. 

Meet the writer

Name Emmie Harrison
Age 24
From Dalston
Twitter @emmieeharrison
‘Shamelessly only listens to Icelandic ambience on vinyl since moving south. Never say “Why aye pet,” cos I’ll lamp ye.’

Want more content from our lovely readers? Check out Emmie’s London survival guide, Sara’s ode to Oasis Farm Waterloo and more Time Out readers on their favourite coffee shops and vegan spots

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