Nestled behind Bethnal Green tube station, right before the bridge (aka the pigeon poop-drop of doom), lies Ten Gales, a pop-up gallery, café, vintage/designer clothes and hair salon space in a disused railway arch. It's the kind of place that I wish I had: the design is kitsch (that's the toilet there, in the white cupboard); the curious modern art and photography displayed in the gallery walkway is hung by super-sized bull dog clips; and the hair salon is minimal and wonderfully cheap.
I stumbled across it last Sunday and took my salon-phobic self there today for a haircut.
It pains me to draw the comparison – because Ten Gales is a lot cooler – but the boutique-y hair area is like the bohemian version of Mr Toppers. Except it's probably cheaper. I have impossibly long hair and it cost £9 for quite a lengthy trim. And after the initial OHMYGODSHESGOINGTORUINMYHAIR panic that all women have (but I have the most), my Tokyo-born hairdresser, Mitsuki, did quite a good job.
There are no basins, so cuts are dry, but no snip will cost more than £15. They also offer a blow-dry service (again, no water) and have the same £5-£15 price range for up-dos, all depending on the length of your barnet. Too book and for more info, check their Facebook page.
Upstairs, the tone shifts from makeshift to slick with rails of uber chic designer clothes, jewellery and exquisite heels from the likes of Miu Miu, Chloe and Vivienne Westwood. Only the thundering rumble of the trains up above reminds me that I'm not in a Bond Street shop.
They've a wide range of poetry, music, cabaret and other such alternative events starting at Ten Gales in the next few weeks (they had the awesome Slumbarave there last week!). Check their Facebook page for their updates. Oh, and go and get a haircut.