There are still super cool oases in developing London. Unfortunately, they aren’t starting up – or I am not finding them – at the same alarming rate that my favourite cool and quirky old haunts are folding.
No longer a resident south Londoner, I now experience the area as a regular visitor. Each time, I notice another striking change in the urban landscape as long-standing music and art venues disappear and I measure it all as a series of loses. I’m losing chunks of London references that pieced together how I have known the city for the past 15 years.
Discovering ‘I’klecktik’ at Old Paradise Yard felt like a major gain for my list of places to go. This place really is an oasis in the heart of metropolitan life. My visits so far have involved indoor dining on lovely vegetarian/vegan food, outdoor beers under big old park trees, lounging to live music and looking over some really exciting contemporary art.
On show there at the moment (extended until Tuesday 2 June) is the exhibition ‘Off the Shelf: the Eclectic in the Artist’s Book’. It brings together around 100 artists’ books that are handmade, published, print-on-demand, one-offs, zines, works of art… you name it, individual interpretation has yielded an exhaustive collection, available for slow perusal while soaking up the rich atmosphere of this highly creative environment.
I’klektik’s refreshing vibe is owed to a relaxed and roomy indoor area, good people (Eduard and his crew) with diverse community ties, quality greenspace, creativity and experimentation.
Old Paradise Yard, 20 Carlisle Lane SE1 7LG.
Nearest tube: Lambeth North (5+ minute walk).