Once upon a time on a dusty corner of Shoreditch High Street there resided Barone the coffee shop, an east end establishment run by an italian family serving out milky coffee and well toasted paninis to its patrons, and the place where one chill winter of 2004 my brother and i ducked in out of the cold to ask directions to Redchurch Street where we planned to find a flat to live in. Barone became a friend to us across the road. While i sat nonchalantly in the corner sipping milky coffees thinking about chicks, my brother single handedly decimated the shop's weekly stash of mortadella. We've since moved away, but Barone has remained in our hearts.

A month ago i walked past and saw the shop front looking pretty seriously out of sorts. 

Then a couple of days later some familiar hoarding went up.

And now it's a Pret.

Which is banging cos their lemon cheesecake is off the scale.

But mostly sad. And it goes without saying it's because of dickheads like us and many others moving here that the east end way of life - in place for centuries - thins out with every passing year, replaced as it is by new amenities for the influx of new patrons with new demands. Not being overly interested in a three quid lemon cheesecake, the real east enders move further afield.

Check out comedian Micky Flanagan on Jonathan Ross talking about what it was like growing up in the East end, going out drinking on the Hackney Rd when he was 14, pub lock-ins, and run-ins with the police.

Skip to 2:53 where he's talking about being a DJ on Bethnal Green Rd.

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