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New Cross is an area of Contrast

by robert gale  
1/23/2013 / Career

New Cross is one of the London's most conflicted areas. The central split is one that's bizarre to look at it, it resembles nothing more than the 1960's clash between the mods and the rockers. On one side a bunch of hard men, often shaven heads, steel-capped boots and tattoos. On the other, scrawny teenagers and hipsters, with thick rimmed glasses and blinding amounts of neon. Although the two groups never came to any real sort of conflict, it is bizarre to watch two groups of such different people in such close proximity. The only real similarities they share are a desire to lose themselves in moments of passion and a fondness for New Cross escorts.

The latter group is comprised of the "New Rave" or "Nu Rave" scene. Infamous for their bright clothing, pounding music and all night house parties, the rave scene found a spiritual home in the anarchism of the area and it quickly became a staging ground for all of the hottest bands. In particular, the Klaxons, who would go on to be the poster boys for the movement and its principal link to mainstream culture, wrote much of their first album there. They were certainly influenced by the growing scene, and many journalists and pundits have declared it to be the new Shoreditch, a title that's thrown around a lot but rarely earned. It's a world that's dominated by hallucinogenics, trippy music and the relationship between light, colour and sound.

In stark contrast to that stands the culture of the football supporter. Millwall fans are a staple of New Cross, as their home ground is just a short walk away. Traditionally known for their violence and hooliganism, there are many misconceptions about the average fan. The vast majority are not part of this dangerous subculture. Many of them pursue football for its original purpose: as a way to get out of the house and relax after the rigours of the working week. Although they're not as talkative and zany as the rave kids, most are nice, considerate people just out to support their team. They save up to buy season tickets, pay for overpriced merchandise and have the odd saturday off with some New Cross escorts. Like the ravers, fans are just looking to have a good time:they too are looking to lose themselves in a bigger social movement, although in this case it's the 11 players on the pitch, rather than the beat, that commands their moods.

In both cases, the extreme ends of the spectrum tend to be the ones depicted in the media. It's unlikely that any visitor to the area will get to see this sheer, stark contrast of cultures but will instead tread a pleasant middle ground.

Robert Gale is a professional writer with experience contributing to editorial pages, online blogs and writing short articles. for more details

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