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Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 2

img  Tobias

Yesterday evening, I take the wrong way home. What a brilliant mistake! Instead of walking down the dark and mainly empty Essex Road, I accidently find myself in the middle of Upper Street, a sidled thread of bars, clubs, restaurants, pubs and cafes. Each one has its own distinct flavor, each one looks inviting and exciting. There is a vast and all but empty China lunchroom, there's a rustic place built around a huge fireplace, cloaking everything in a warm brown light, there are trendy Italian, posh French, traditional English and organic Asian diners. The deeper I penetrate this world, the more I'm fascinated by it. I'm miles from the City Center, in a neighborhood I've never even heard of and still it has the flair and allure of a metropolis. Some of these locations would be complete sensations in other towns. Closer to the Angel tube station, there's even a restaurant serving Afghani food, which has crammed no more than three tables into a space the size of an average bathroom.

That one is in fact still on Essex Road and to be fair, even this street has its charms, including a world music space, where you can get “international burgers” while listening to sounds from all over the planet. When I tell Nadja and Christophe about my discovery (over dinner and a glass of Foster's at eleven in the evening), they explain that the Islington district has been maturing slowly but surely over the past few years. What I've seen matches the borough's claim that you no longer need to leave its borders and head for the City to go out. It also fits my first impression that you could get off the tube or bus almost anywhere and find yourself in a lively place with thousands of things going on at the same time.

Today, I test this thesis by heading for Soho. I travel from Angel to Oxford Circus, immerse myself in the sprawling, gushing energy of Oxford Street, before entering Berwick Street. In this much smaller side-alley alone, with its sympathetic alternative, multicultural touch, there is plenty to see. Coffeeshops run by locals face a subsidiary of the “Coffee Republic” and several record stores are wooing for attention. Berwick Street leads you gently down into the heart of Soho, away from the tourist hotspots. Only five minutes off Oxord Street, it flows into Broadwick Street, where I find “Sounds of the Universe”, the record store responsible for the wonderful Soul Jazz label. It is a place of intense vibrations, very much in sync with the here and now, very urban and yet with a familial friendliness that feels inviting. I spend some time here, listening to their latest releases and finding myself invited to the Steppaz Delight party, set to take place tomorrow just around the corner from where I live. The clock won't stop, however, and I leave another discovery behind me to make it to St. John's on time.

(To read on, use the table of contents on top of the right hand side)

Article in serie

1 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008
A rare case of dedication: ...
2 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 6
London, May 20th: Concerto Soave ...
3 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 5
London, May 19th: Ensemble Pierre ...
4 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 4
London, May 18th: The Wallfish ...
5 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 3
London, May 17th: Concordia & ...
6 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 2
London, May 16th: Philippe Herreweghe ...
7 Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music 2008: Day 1
London, May 15th: English Concert, ...

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