You might have seen the recent Guardian article headlined Let's Move to Clapton. It's not the first bit of journalism identifying this corner of London as the "frontline of gentrification" - there was that piece in the Observer a year ago centring on Chatsworth Road market - and won't be the last. It's all part of the co-option of Clapton into a sort of Greater Dalston - not quite the restaurant-and-nice-independent-retailer hub of some hearts' desires but, to borrow the language of estate agents, with the potential to become so. Should we rejoice?
House prices seem to have gone mad round here. A Lloyds TSB survey has found that they rose by an astounding 17.4% in the past year, the greatest rate of increase in the whole of London along with Manor Park. When I moved here from a smaller place in Homerton, a five-bedroom house was within the range of a household with an average sort of London income. That changed a long time ago, but the recent hikes in prices are insane. Perhaps those hardest hit are local private renters, as landlords push up their prices. Meanwhile, people without much money to spare - remember them? - can be forgiven for asking, as some do, what use those new cafes and gift shops are to them.
The admirable thing about the Chatsworth Road Neighbourhood Forum is that it recognises the downsides of an area going upmarket as well as the enhancements it can bring. But managing and mitigating the negative effects is no easy task.
Of course, negatives are also defined by the eye of the beholder - matters of individual taste. Where one of our newer cafes is concerned I've no objection at all to sharing a table with an Action Man dressed in a tutu but find myself becoming surly when required to call a cheese and pickle sandwich "Jane". I reacted similarly 30 years ago to the King's Head theatre pub in Upper Street, Islington, insisting on charging in pounds, shillings and pence years after decimalisation.
Still, let's hear it once again for our dear friend Rich Cultural-Diversity. And, it's true, our gentrification so far has furnished him with some attractive new dimensions. But the Guardian asks: "Is it only a matter of time before Percy Ingle is ousted by a Gail's Bakery? And Gail's, in turn, by a Pizza Express? Probably."
I like Pizza Express, but I really don't want things to go that far.