On Brick Lane, By Rachel Lichtenstein
Sunday 14 September 2008
"The Past being over and done with now falls prey to our invention," wrote Walter Benjamin, a statement called upon by Rachel Lichtenstein, who argues that Brick Lane in London's East End has been reinvented by novelists and filmmakers, but who has a personal motive for preserving what memories she can of its past. Brick Lane was a mythical landscape to her as a child, since her grandparents, hardworking Polish Jewish refugees, opened their first jewellery shop there.
As an artist in local schools, she becomes acquainted with the local Bangladeshi community. The tension and simmering resentments between the old Banglatown and new ways of life are well captured, as dilapidated buildings give way to shiny new apartments and posh restaurants. Buried beneath newly paved streets are archaeological treasures, and through a mix of archival research and first-hand documentary, Lichtenstein attempts an excavation before they become erased.
With a painterly eye for vivid and memorable detail, she imbues the narrative with a sense of urgency and nostalgia, in what is a multilayered, open-ended – rather than prescriptive – portrait.
tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods
tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 2 Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
- 3 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 4 AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
- 5 Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
Downton Abbey Christmas special 2014, review: Love is everywhere, actually
The golden age of TV comedy is here
The Boy in the Dress, TV review: David Walliams' Boxing Day treat is a celebration of being different
From Marvel to Star Wars: The rise of cinema’s shared universes
Exodus: Gods and Kings banned in the UAE for 'religious mistakes'
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk