Walking Around the Neighborhood and Allowing Spontaneity to Take the Lead

Sep 25, 2018 12:30:00 PM / by Maisie Haney

Maisie Haney

 Maisie Haney is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2018, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. An Art History major at Rollins College, she is studying abroad in London this semester.

In this week's post, Maisie talks about her neighborhood and how her spontaneity led her to an art gallery, music store, and other local businesses.


Noticing patterns about one's self can be quite difficult, but I have discerned with ease that when confronted with spontaneity, I am at my happiest. When I decide to stray from my day’s plan to do something else so eye-catching the plan no longer matters; I am over the moon. I live in Shepherd’s Bush, but I feel most at home in the most spontaneous of areas—Brick Lane.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Fall2018_From Maisey Haney - A Poster Shop at Vintage Market on Brick LaneA poster shop at the Vintage Market on Brick Lane.

The Sainsbury’s does have a surprising array of merchandise including but not limited to Garnier micellar water, dried beans to be eaten as a snack, and one pint of non-dairy Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. They also carry essential home items (think garbage bags, not pillows) and toiletries, a convenience I appreciate fully in the moment. There is a diner with milkshakes and burgers should you feel this urge to be transported to your local grease shack, but the culinary opportunities you should be snatching up can be found in and around Shepherd’s Bush Market. I have seen quite a few Turkish, Persian, Lebanese, and North African eateries. At home, I always try to eat local, because chains honestly have enough money. PSA: get yourself over to a local business. The area largely is a Polish cultural center, and I love living in such a demographically diverse area of London I may not have known it existed otherwise.

In Shepherd's Bush Overlooking Gold Hawk Train StationOverlooking Gold Hawk tube station and the Shepherd's Bush neighborhood.

I cherish, also, my proximity to Goldhawk Road Station. I often use the Hammersmith & City Line (now my favorite—the trains are often not separated into distinct, closed-off cars, and allow a grand view of the wobbles and bobbles of the tube) to get to Aldgate East.

Shepherd's Bush MarketThere are so many cuisines to try around Shepherd's Bush Market.

You can get a variety of curries in this Bangladeshi neighborhood, but as you walk nearer to the heart of Brick Lane there is more and more Western cuisine available and, frankly, prioritized. According to my post-war pop culture professor, “The hipsters are pushing out the Bangladeshis,” a classic case of gentrification in favor of cereal cafés.

CAPAStudyAbroad_London_Fall2018_From Maisey Haney - Oil Painting by Emily Alice Garnham at a Pop Up GalleryOil paintings by Emily Alice Garnham at a pop up gallery.

Directly next to Aldgate East is the Whitechapel Gallery. I had been trying to find the Whitechapel Library (someone please help me find a good library), which is now the building housing half of the gallery. Go here! It was the unexpected fruit of my spontaneity to see this gallery when I did, which also happened to be holding a book fair over the weekend for Art Books. I swear, I go everywhere at the right time. I bought a Henri Moore book there, and coincidentally my modern art professor happens to focus on his work. Wild.

Jewelry at the Vintage Market on Brick LaneJewelry at the Vintage Market on Brick Lane.

Anywho, the contemporary works of Mikhail Karikis on display are chilling and imaginative, and the gallery currently has a Pollock exhibit (love him if you must). I think every exhibition will be there until January.

Rough Trade East Music StoreRough Trade East.

My favorite place to visit is Rough Trade East. Back home in O-town (that’s what the locals call our Orlando), I work at Park Ave CDs and have been working there for about four years now. My coworkers had front row seats watching me grow up—they celebrated my graduation, my birthdays, my first car, and my departure for London. It is my second home, and Rough Trade is the closest thing I can find to replicate it, and they really are not all that different! In Park Ave CDs, I have worked many in-store performances, essentially mini concerts held in the record store usually followed by a signing. I was able to actually attend an in-store event at Rough Trade, where one of my favorite artists Mitski performed. Rough Trade does have a different organization that I can really appreciate. At home, we have general genre distinctions such as pop/rock, heavy, punk, jazz, country/western, etc... I was delighted to find more specific categories at Rough Trade, including Shoegaze and Post punk. Wowie.

Mitski Performing at Rough Trade EastMitski performing at Rough Trade East.

The immediate surroundings of Rough Trade are the very definition of spontaneous. Every time I go, there is something different going on that I want to check out—a pop up gallery for local artists, a free performance in the record store, rotating market vendors, pop-up designer shops, food trucks, and many other things that are truly wonderful. I would advise a visit to this area if you have not already been shown around by a professor with a growing contempt for coffee shops.

By the way, here are the songs you just must rock and roll to this minute:

    • Walkie Talkie by Palm

    • Walkie Talkie by the Great Outdoors

    • Beautiful Blue Sky by Ought

Thanks, Maisie!

Maisie's journey continues every Tuesday so stay tuned.

Learn More about the CAPA London Program

Topics: London, England, Local Culture