Shepherd’s Bush: the red-headed stepchild that thought it was special

Living in Shepherd's Bush, West London

The first thing that will great you on arrival to Shepherd’s Bush is a big pile of **** on the floor. Whether it was left by a dog or a human is anyone’s guess but after living here for 2 years I can firmly say it’s probably the latter.

After gingerly avoiding it – a mere 5 paces on and you will find a big pile of vomit. This pattern seems to repeat itself ad infinitum all the way up Uxbridge Road.

Shepherd’s Bush is the red-headed stepchild that through some misguided notion thought it was special. It IS special, but more in the institutional sense of the word. It tries so hard to be Notting Hill’s cool kid brother and Camden’s distant cousin but fails miserably on both accounts. In actual fact, Shepherd’s Bush is more like the uncle who made you sit on his lap when you didn’t want to.

How grim is your Postcode?

WEST 12 Shopping Mall
Our first stop is its main mall called West12. Despite Westfield being built, West12 still clings to the area like a bionic dingleberry. Despite repeated attempts to knock it down it remains a memento and a reminder to anyone with any sort of misgivings about the class of this area.

In West12 is the Esquire Coffee shop. It’s a nice looking trendy coffee shop but any cool points this establishment brings is completely nullified by being opposite a huge Argos. Yes, while sipping your Mochaccino you will see person after person walking out of Argos with some kind of mattresses. I assume to throw off their balconies when they get home.

The biggest travesty of West12 is that it has managed the impossible. Never in my life did I think I would ever see TWO pound shops directly opposite each other let alone together in the same mall. Some would say it’s not even remotely possible… like winning the lottery or dividing by 0. But as the saying goes where there is a will there is a way – and the will of the people of Shepherd’s Bush was to have TWO pound shops just 10 meters from each other.

On the high street the centerpiece of Shepherd’s Bush is a McDonald’s. This is a **** STRONGHOLD and ensures that the local populace always has enough calories to successfully mug you.

If that wasn’t bad enough there is a KFC RIGHT NEXT DOOR. So now you’ll find yourself in a dangerous dilemma, on the way home you might get chased and mugged by ***** who now have enough energy to do five London marathons OR you might get beaten up and mugged by genetically-modified rude boys who have eaten so much KFC that a single punch would guarantee you will be the first human to land on mars.

These two fast food establishments would not be such a problem if every other 3 shops down Uxbridge road wasn’t a Chicken Cottage. I kid you not, Shepherd’s Bush has the highest concentration of chicken and chips shops in the capital. Now, at this point I really wish I was joking but similar to West12’s double pound shop magic trick there are two Chicken shops next door to each other further down Uxbridge Road: Sammy’s and Chicken Cottage – is there some kind of **** quota that needs to be met?

Shepherd’s Bush Green is a grass island area in the middle of all this. IF you can differentiate between the leaves and the ‘****-that-pretends-to-be-leaves’ you might find a space to sit down and enjoy the smog. Grassy area’s are supposed to be quiet but here you are surrounded by heavy traffic and the horns of people who clearly can’t drive.

At the corner of the green is a downstairs night club which has been converted from the old toilets… DJ ***** is a regular on the decks. Good luck leaving that set at 2am.

Shepherd’s Bush O2 Academy was supposed to be the cool spot of the area but when you see old biddies with tents, flasks and foil blankets queuing up for Cliff Richard then you know this area’s a lost cause.

Next to the Academy is a massive alley that people regularly use as a communal toilet.

The beggars in Shepherd’s Bush are quite aggressive and will intercept you faster than a charity fundraiser who’s late on this months rent. When it’s too hot to chase people down, Shepherd’s Bush beggars usually take the passive aggressive tactic of sitting under the shade of cash machine. They’ll wait until you put in your pin then they’ll look up and ask you for money. When you say you don’t have any (just as the tenner pops out with the queen’s smug face on it) they’ll say ‘god bless’ and continue to stare deep into your soul like the filthy liar you are.

On Match days the area is frequented by depressed QPR fans who clearly don’t live here anymore (or don’t want to live full stop). Straight to the match then straight back to the station is order of the day. They probably grew up in the area when it was nice but now they just want to quickly get 17:15 back to niceville before they get mugged.

Goldhawk road tries (and my god it tries) so hard to be the one saving grace of the area, the first few shops are Thai, Chinese restaurants and there are couple of decent bars. You even have a few fabric shops but the rest of the road screams dirt and desolation. The road is currently being gentrified with the pricey Brackenbury Square being built near the station. Heh, If people are stupid enough to pay half a million to
live here then they deserve to lose it all. I wouldn’t pay half a million ***** to live here and that’s the easiest resource to acquire in Shepherd’s Bush!

The last bastion of good ol’ English culture is a single Pie and Mash shop opposite the Tesco and it really is a welcome sight in a sea of junk food shops.

Pretty much everyone who couldn’t afford to live in the oasis that is Brook Green ended up somewhere on this road. As you go further down towards Hammersmith you will notice something quite interesting. The side of the road nearest Brook Green has lovely fashionable shops, classy, independent and good taste. Little posh french kids running around happily before jumping into their mummy’s 4×4’s. Yoga classes on the green and a generally wholesome community spirit which is stunningly rare in London.

Then you look at the side of the road nearest Shepherd’s Bush and you will see some guy yelling at a tree, a shop called KEBAB MACHINE, mum’s beating their kids on the zebra crossing with an Argos catalogue and grown men sitting in pushchairs eating chicken and chips.

Welcome to Shepherd’s Bush.