'Cool' neighbourhoods have a very particular life cycle.
Stage 1:Industrial areas are taken over by artists, who are attracted by the cheap rents and the large raw spaces.
Stage 2: The area gains a reputation as being 'edgy' and avant-garde so the fashion crowd move in. They are swiftly followed by the hipsters, and wannabe bohemians.
Stage 3:, the yuppies invade, in an attempt to bask in the reflected glory of the creative scene. The artists, fashionistas and hipsters then spend all their time complaining about how 'uncool' and expensive the area has become.
Shoreditch is a perfect example of this syndrome. It used to be a gritty industrial wasteland, but if you go down a dark backstreet today, you're more likely to find a private members club or a designer patisserie than a drug den or a strip joint. Now, I like a mille-feuille as much as the next man - but when an area becomes too glossy, it starts to lose its sparkle.
I was therefore delighted to come across Cordy House, right in the centre of the action in Curtain Rd. It's a huge space, used for exhibitions, openings and parties, and it feels very much like 'Old Shoreditch' - the slightly dodgy area that was full of illegal raves, leather bars and Crusties. It reminds me of the days when we could move, move, move any mountain and everybody was free (to feel good).
As the ambiance of the space is very 'Squat circa 1991', it's hardly surprising that it recently housed 'MuTate Britain' an exhibition by The Mutoid Waste Company, the founding fathers of cyberpunk. The show is over, but the stairwells still retain some fantastic graffiti work, and the shutters by Dr D are a work of art in themselves.
It's nice to see that despite the increasing latté-fication of Shoreditch, there are still a few rough edges left in the old neighborhood,