Journalist Alex Proud appeared to coin the word in an article for the Telegraph dated January 2014, “Why the Shoreditchification of London must stop”. The term however originally comes from a song of the same name, created as part of my six movement noise opera “The Ballad of Skinny Lattes and Vintage Clothing” launched in July 2013; seen here on YouTube.
The genesis of this Shoreditchification began with a trip I made to Berlin in 2011; when I spent the month of August cycling around the city, looking at properties in up and coming areas. It struck me that the first signs of gentrification were the appearance of independent coffee shops and vintage clothing stores (hence the title of my opera). The rapid commodification of a previously ad hoc process in which the artists and creatives move into a run down area in search of low or no rents and begin the task of creating cultural capital is a process that can be traced back to Soho and Greenwich Village in New York City and Haight Ashbury in San Francisco in the 1960’s.
The artists act as an unwitting vanguard of a Revolutionary Middle Class ((the coffee shops and vintage clothing stores) ‘occupying’ public space before eventually being forced out by the hedge funds and the investment bankers. When the artists and small businesses reach their peek, the corporate property developers move in and take over; retaining the look and feel of an area, whilst replacing the artists and artisans with carefully trained simulacrums that have been trained to look and sound and exactly like those that they replace. It is a process of B.U.S.T. or “Business Upcycling Swap Trade” that becomes a B.O.O.M. or “Biodiverse Organic Opulence Museum”, trading on an aura of cool built up by the artists, who are forced to pack up and move on to begin the cycle of investment again in a new area. It is a process I have documented in a Super 8 film entitled “Squeezing Profit from the Moment” – https://vimeo.com/49820675.
History points to the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the imposition by governments across Europe of severe austerity measures in response, which led directly to the growth of fascism. In this light, Shoreditchification can be seen perhaps as part of a historical narrative that leads not just to ever increasing property prices but to all out global conflict.
“The Ballad of Skinny Lattes and Vintage Clothing” is documented at www.skinnyvintage.com.