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Photograph: Time Out

The Street That Changed My Life: presenter Yinka Bokinni on Rye Lane

Why this corner of Peckham always reminds her of home

Written by
Paula Akpan

Rye Lane is the road that paints a picture of my youth. I was born and raised in Peckham and that street is where most of my memories are. It’s where I had my first drink, in a bar opposite the train station that doesn’t exist any more. I still remember watching ‘Coach Carter’ at Peckhamplex. The screen broke but the manager said we wouldn’t get our money back because we’d only paid £2.99 for the tickets.

My mum passed away 11 years ago and Rye Lane brings back memories of my family. She’d make us go shopping and walk the bags all the way home instead getting the bus four stops.

I don’t live in Peckham any more, but I come back to get my hair done, as it’s the land of Black haircare.

Working in radio, the sounds of Rye Lane have always been inspiring. If you walk from Asda towards Peckham Rye station, you’ve got shops blaring radios, gospel music coming from churches and the sounds of the market. It’s eclectic.

I often think about how weird it is when you move out of an area and you’re no longer there to see the mundane. The mundane becomes quite beautiful.

Yinka Bokinni presents ‘Damilola: The Boy Next Door’ on Channel 4. Broadcast date TBC.

Read about how Brixton Courtyard brought clubbing back to London (kind of).

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