Having recently decamped work and home wise to E15 and E17 (Stratford and Walthamstow), I feel somewhat compelled to proffer some modest and ill researched notes on what I've seen. Bear with me on this and call me what you like. Seing that what I'm describing is meant to be a nicer place than Hackney where I enjoyed 5 years living may surprise some people.
Like most of London (and it didn't come as a surprise) it is sadly uniform in terms of shabby rundown shops and the odd decent grocery. THere is also rather worryingly a high amount of undertakers which usually shows the high level of mortality one can expect which culminates in the rather macabre Co-operative Store's Headstone and casket 'showroom' which emblazoned over two shop fronts proudly displays the various sepulchra one can choose from - there are some coffins shaped like surf boards and you can get children's ones in white AND 'funky' red. How simply horrific.
For an area that is central to the 2012 Olympic village, Stratford seems light eyars away from being anything other than a typical down at heel London borough - High density of fast food outlets - check, pallid,raw-gummed shapeless dole fodder - check, Percy Ingle bakeries - check, massive bus queues of rude school children and wheeble shaped arsey washerwomen - check. High propensity of High Performance souped up cars parked outside of house that can only be described kindly as disgusting - check. YOu get the picture.
Of course all these things to such transitory snobs like most of us on here makes us think all this is really 'bohemian' and 'cool' and 'hanging out in Justin Frischman's old bedsit with Nige from Selfish C*nt, but is it? Does anyone else not find that most parts of London just remind you what a cold and lonely, competitive, tawrdy seedy world that we live in and how lucky some of us are to 'end it all' by upping and leaving, like one by one, we all eventually do, usually to nicer places?
PLease note all the above was done from a completely detached point of view.