Street Wisdom of Electric Avenue – By @NihalTharoor

Nihal Tharoor-Menon

By Nihal Tharoor-Menon


Street Wisdom of Electric Avenue

Go now, into the depths of Brixton market.


Notice what attracts and repels you.


Slow way down. Let life sink in.


Now find the beauty in all you see.


Street wisdom last week with David Pearl was a unique experience.


For those unfamiliar, street wisdom asks you to walk your local streets not as a purposeful adult, but as a child with open eyes and an open mind.


This experience would be strange in any London neighbourhood, but in the mad circus streets of Brixton I genuinely felt I was tripping.


I’ll try to recount my street wisdom experience just as it entered my conscious mind.


I hope this will excuse the lack of coherence and/or wisdom.




 I set off through the south Asian store bursting with spices that transport me to childhood summers in India.


I linger by the bags of saffron for a while and then move into the daylight.


Electric Avenue is festival of colour and smells.


Looking at the tops of buildings you could imagine what Victorian Brixton may have looked like. But on the ground it has taken on a world of its own.


Has such a mix of race, religion and culture ever occurred in one neighbourhood? Could Brixton be the emblem of the 21st century community? Is that Rastafarian playing Phil Collins on the steel drum?


Occasionally I see fellow classmates. Though it feels strange I try to keep my distance. This is no time for collaboration.


Walking away from the market I move into quieter London streets.


I see Matt Kennedy sitting deep in reflection in a deserted children’s playground. It is a peculiar sight.


I hear ‘Kiss From a Rose’ play out from a construction site.


Did you know that when it snows my eyes become large and the light that you shine can be seen?


I do now, Seal.


I am soon lured back towards the market.


The smells are intoxicating. Dead animals, frozen fish, potent cheese.


I feel like I am on a movie set and these are all handsomely paid method actors.


Or like I have transported from 500 years in the future. What is this strange civilization? What is their obsession with plastic phone cases?


A woman walks towards me pushing a baby carriage. I have a strong desire to see this new addition to the human race.


I lean in to the carriage, take a good look, and then tilt my head up to a rather disturbed looking mother. Fair enough.


I follow stairs that lead up to Brixton train station. From the top I can see this town in its entirety. It is peaceful above the chaos.


A long deep breathe.


What great fortune to be able to spend my Tuesday morning this way.

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