Is east London dead? We sat down with some of the local creatives shot in the May issue of Dazed & Confused to get their point of view
As part of our 'Is East London Dead?' issue, we spoke to the co-founder of lifestyle website, BNTL about his business and home life based in Clapton; delving into the ideals that east London is still a base for creativity and diversity. You can also be part of the debate by uploading your memories of east London on the 'A Secret History of East London' project, mapping the changes the area has gone through in the last 15 years... Check out Ollie's memory HERE
DD: Who are you and what do you do for a living?
Ollie Olanipekun: My name is Ollie Olanipekun. Strategic planning pays my rents but BNTL, the lifestyle website I co-founded, keeps me sane.
DD: Where in east London are you based?
Ollie Olanipekun: I live/work in mighty Clapton.
DD: What first attracted you to the area and how long have you been working here?
Ollie Olanipekun: I was warned off living in Hackney when I moved to London, but now I'm here I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Been based here for nearly five years.
DD: How has east London changed since you've been here?
Ollie Olanipekun: People just see east London as a creative outlet. From arts and music to food and drink everyone sees east London as a place they can realise their dream. With the huge diversity in cultures I think the attraction is in the feeling of being welcome. It has this come-as-you-are attitude – whatever you're into, there's bound to be others who share the same interests.
DD: What is the most exciting thing about living in the East End?
Ollie Olanipekun: Collaborating. Everyone is keen to work with someone new to create something new. You meet someone in a bar one night, the next night you're planning to take over the world together.
DD: Has the area informed your creative work at all?
Ollie Olanipekun: One hundred per cent. East London is one of the most creative areas in the world. Every week we discover something new. For us at the moment it’s all about finding new spaces, whether it be just to explore and document or look to use for a event.
DD: Is it possible to say ‘Silicon Roundabout’ aloud without laughing?
Ollie Olanipekun: I don't plan on using that term.
DD: What's your favourite East End hangout?
Ollie Olanipekun: I love going into random pubs that look like they are for 'locals only'. My favourite at the moment is The Adam & Eve pub on Homerton High Street – it’s quite possibly the best pub in the world.
DD: Does anything annoy you about the area?
Ollie Olanipekun: I get really annoyed with people who move to the area and look down their nose at the locals. When I say ‘locals’, I mean the people who have lived here all their life before 'creatives' moved in.
DD: What are you going to do during the Olympics – stay or flee?
Ollie Olanipekun: I'm staying put. I can't wait. The biggest sporting event on the planet is happening a stone’s throw from my door. I'm really interested to see how London copes.
DD: Is east London dead?
Ollie Olanipekun: Not even nearly.
Dazed Digital invites you to map your east London memories on our timeline, 'A Secret History of East London'. Get involved HERE!
Photo by Jamie Hawkesworth