Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Good Bye My East End, Hello San Salvador

Estradas e ruas escuras, chuvas intensas de cinco minutos, segurancas de cadeia de lanchonetes, farmacias, lojas de um dolar e qualquer outra pesadamente armados; pessoas transportadas em carroceria de caminhoes em pleno centro da cidade; calor muito calor. As impressoes das primeiras horas em El Salvador apos onze anos sem visitar o pais podem ser assim simplificadas.
Os problemas de abastecimento de agua quase que diarios em diferentes areas de San Salvador tambem ja foram sentidos logo no primeiro dia. As imagens de Londres se sobrepoem involuntariamente diante do contraste incomparavel de realidades.
Mas ainda nao é hora de falar de El Salvador. As cronicas do novo ambiente e o exercicio da pratica de escrever em espanhol virao logo acompanhadas dos relatos do porque tamanha mudança.
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Agora, como dito no ultimo post, ainda há algumas histórias de Londres a registrar. Após dois anos e meio vivendo como um eastender precisava arquivar informacäo sobre os boroughs que hoje me säo familiares e muito bem lembrados. Foram dois anos em Stoke Newington, localidade pacata, aconchegante, cool e querida por muitos londrinos, especialmente britanicos. A area faz parte da vibrante e muitas vezes mal-interpretada, Hackney, borough de Londres de ritmo e pluralidade intensa no qual me orgulho de ter vivido.
Aquí seguem tres textos que apresentam a regiäo. O primeiro é parte da introduçäo do livro Walking through East End; o segundo é uma notícia do London Paper do dia 20 de fevereiro deste ano e o terceiro é uma pequena nota do dicionario Rhyming Cockney Slang que apresenta este fascinante dialeto londrino historicamente relacionado com o East End que quem sabe um dia ainda venha a aprender.
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The London Borough of Tower Hamlets, familiarly known as the East End of London, or simply the East End, has a rich, complex history going back to the Domesday Book, where it is recorded as Stebunhithe, the Manor of Stepney, belonging to the Bishop of London. The name Tower Hamlets is itself evocative, for it is indeed a group of 21 hamlets by the Tower of London, bordered by the City gates of Aldgate and Bishopsgate on its western extreme and the River Lea on the east, while to north, Victoria’s Park northern perimeter forms a natural demarcation, and the River Thames flows to the south.

The East End has played a significant role in the history of London, yet has retained its own unique identity through centuries of change. A thousand years of history have taken the ancient parish of Stepney, once an idyllic rural retreat from the grimy, smoky city of London, where gentle folk came to breathe the fresh country air, through a gradual expansion, as the building of the docks and the proliferation of factories and industries served to create a vast slum of seething humanity, interspersed with gracious mansions and elegant town houses. One hundred years ago, a population explosion necessitated a re-drawing of the boundaries, and the area was carved up into the three Metropolitan Boroughs of Stepney, Bethnal Green and Poplar. Sixty-five years later, the three boroughs were merged to form the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. However, the communities have clung stubbornly to their own identities, and nowhere else in London is the old village name used as a matter of course. Eastenders will tell you they come from Stepney, Bow, Limehouse, Wapping, Poplar, Whitechapel, Bromley-by-Bow, Blackwall, Bethnal Green or Mile End, rarely from Tower Hamlets.

Communities as diverse as the Huguenots, Germans, Irish, Russian and Polish, Jews, Chinese and more recently Bangladeshis have left their mark upon the common heritage. Two World Wars have significantly altered the landscape, indeed the Blitz almost succeeded in wiping the East End off the map. But, while so many landmarks disappeared, new ones have taken their place. The docks, once the hub of the British Empire, now serve as London’s new financial and business heart, with Canary Wharf a prominent symbol of new wealth and influence. However, through all these changes, it is still possible to travel through time, following the trails of famous and infamous characters, communities and events, some of national and international significance, to explore the rich history and cultural diversity to be found in the highways, backstreets and alleys of the East End.
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West End is fading, Sun rising in the East End

The West End´s time in the spotlight is over, with the East End emerging as London´s rising star, according to a new guide.
But the Lonely Planet says both sides of town could do with minding their language – with foul language a common feature of daily life.
The guide claimed the future “belongs to the East” noting such previously low key areas as Hackney, Dalston, Shoreditch and Spitafields.
Steve Fallon, one of the authors, said” The Docklands have become the key financial hub, the clubs and bars in the east of the capital are thriving while the West End´s nightlife is associated with overpriced drink and Z-list celebrities. Even Wembley (stadium) seems to have been surpassed by the O2”.
The guide rates Clerkenwell, Shoreditch and Spitafields as London´s most creative and exciting districts”.
Signs of wealth are starting to trickle into the areas around Whitechapel and Aldgate East, while property prices have soared in Mile End, Bethnal Green and Bow.
But Lonely Planet also notes the level of swearing. It says: “In London it´s not rare to hear people whose speech is so dependent on the word f*** they are virtually dumbstruck without it”.
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Rhyming Cockney Slang
When a technician the film set of Diamonds are Forever said “It´s a bit taters. I get me weasel”, everyone laughed but many were bamboozled. Few of them had any idea that the Cockney technician was feeling cold and was off to get his coat. One American on the se said, “that language grabs me but I wish I knew the hell it was all about”.

It has been said that rhyming Cockney slang was originally invented to outwit authority and eavesdroppers. Whatever the reason it still remains a closed language to the uninitiated. But anyone who strolls within the sound of Bow Bells (St. Mary-le-Bow Church) has a very good chance of hearing this slang.

The term cockney has both geographical and linguistic associations. Geographically and culturally, it often refers to working class Londoners, particularly those in the East End. Linguistically, it refers to the form of English spoken by this group.

According to traditional definition, a "true" cockney is someone born within earshot of the Bow Bells, i.e. the bells of St Mary-le-Bow church in Cheapside in the City of London (which is not itself in the East End). The association with Cockney and the East End in the public imagination may be due to many people assuming that Bow Bells are to be found in the district of Bow, rather than the lesser known St Mary-le-Bow church.


1 comment:

Tatiane Fernandes said...

Quem tem um sonho não dança.. :)
Boa sorte Aleks!!! E muita força!!!!
vou acompanhar tuas loucuras por aqui agora.. hehehe
Beijos! e até um dia em algum canto do planeta para tomarmos algumas :)