JJ's guide to  tube London: Aldgate East

From: JJ
Category: Other stuff
Date: 07 November 2003


Aldgate East Station

Aldgate East, not Whitechapel, is the stop for the Whitechapel Art Gallery which always causes confusion. The station is a classic, with tiles the yellow colour of sub-cutaneous fat, and open platforms allowing you to eye the people waiting on the other side. It is also where you get off for Brick Lane; What a hateful inferno this eponymous street has become. Diarrhoea ( I mean the sauce) curries at over prices sold to Essex louts and lasses. Bars, like the Vibe, are cages for animals where you have to pay money just to get into the overcrowded noisy zoo; A mix of sad losers, the insane, indigenous Asians, and out of towners searching for the famed nightlife. Old Street is better, it is almost cool. Avoid eating curry on Brick Lane. Over demand has led to decline. There are always road works, digging in hell, and the stench of vomit pervades.

Doing: See art at the Whitechapel Art Gallery (take the Whitechapel Gallery exit!). There is reasonable/provocative contemporary art on show, the cafť and bookshop are pleasant, but not exceptional. On weekdays the galleries are emptyish with only the odd bemused person in an overcoat attempting to understand modern art. You donít have to pay to get in, except for one show a year which you do have to. www.whitechapel.org. Tuesday - Sunday 11am - 6pm Thursday 11am - 9pm Closed Mondays.

Seeing: Walk down Brick Lane looking for famous artists ( I once saw Tracey Emin) and other trendies. You will notice that all fashionable individual people all look the same, which is a contradiction.

Knowing: http://www.casebook.org/victorian_london/ Jack the Ripper the Victorian serial killer was also known at The Whitechapel Murderer because most of the murders took place in this area.. There are still lots of prostitutes about who may ask you for a cigarette at night. Whitechapel used to be Jewish before it was Asian.

Eating Tayyabs Indian Restaurant, Fieldgate Street http://www.tayyabs.co.uk/The whole of London goes there so sometimes you may have to queue. Grilled meats to start with, sizzle and taste very fresh and full of herbs and spices. Before you order, go and see your food luxuriating in trays waiting for its grilling. The lambs chops are a rarity and are highly recommended. Fish tikka special too. They bring you jugs of water without asking which is very nice. No alcohol is served righteously, but bring your own if you like. A few complain the food is too spicy but I say everyone should let their noses run and cry chilli tears sometimes.

Buying Turn left out the station (Whitechapel Art Gallery exit) for a little shop at 76 Whitechapel which sells the cheapest camera and video film I have ever found in London . I must remember to buy some films next time I pass. Next to the Whitechapel, down the ripperesque Angel Alley is the Freedom Bookshop and publishers founded by the nineteenth century Russian anarchist Kropotkin. And round the corner on Plumberís Row is the Atlantis art shop which is one of the best art shops in London. You can buy lots of interesting, if youíre into that sort of thing, Asian stuff on Brick Lane. And on Sundays there is the big Brick Lane market from 8am to 2pm where you buy all sorts of bric-a-brac, collectables, or junk depending on how much it costs.