10.12.10

Where The Fuck is "Cool" Dalston?



A lot of fuss has been made about the area in which I just happen to live. The Guardian once announced it to be the "coolest" place in UK. Some dude from NME rioted back saying that it is a shit hole.




I don't give a monkeys what either of them say.

I leave it up to people with more time on their hands to argue it out.


I dunno nuffing about being COOL. I have long realised that when I jiggle with excitement and exclaim "OMG THIS IS SOOOOOO COOOOL", people tend to raise their eyebrows and give me THAT look. That said, you can bet your soggy last chip that I did not move to Dalston in the hope that I would be part of a scene.


I moved here because I live in a perpetual state of missing many (not all) things about Africa. There are a lot of Africans as well as Turkish, Vietnamese and Jamaicans in Dalston so that is precisely where we moved and have not budged since.
Living in a place with little cultural diversity would bore me senseless.



Many people who live in Dalston live close to the bread line. So when people bang on about how COOL Dalston is and how it is THE place to be seen, I despair. They obviously have not seen the old ladies who visit the market at nightfall to collect the overripe fruit and veg discarded by the days traders. Who give's a shit about your reputation? I don't!
I cannot care less about which famous person has been spotted in which place in Dalston. If they were stood right before me I probably would not even notice.



I care more about the the Cockney fishmonger shouting, "Come an' 'ave a little look! All fresh! Never second 'and"


Or the Bengali butcher telling his customer that "cow foot soup, will make you strong like Drogba"




Or the seemingly constantly inebriated clothing vendor singing to himself that, "I am bleshed because I am bleshed, so I am bleshed"

Or the abandoned dilapidated buildings that are wasting away while they build another super expensive tower of swanky flats for more twatty people to move into.



Or the people being pushed out of the area while more and more trend seekers and bankers move in and push our rents up.



People also forget the reality that Dalston can also be a dangerous place to loiter. It is rife with miscellaneous addicts, dubious lurkers and shoppers of the light fingered nature. This is such a place where knife and gun crime are common, so much so in fact that you rarely hear about it on the London News. Isn't that shocking in itself?



To love a place genuinely you cannot ignore it's transgressions. While it's failings are plentiful it is my home and it keeps my feet on the ground and my mind inspired with it's mix of people and unique vibe.



Dalston is changing and I feel uncertain about which direction it will take. I hope that is keeps it's soul, its roughness at it's edges and it's everyday people.



My "cool" Dalston is the people that have lived here for years and have watched others come and go like so many fads and trends. They don't care about what you look like who you THINK you are they are too busy making a living ......you are just a passing wave. When you are done with Dalston......they will still be here...and hopefully, so will we!

22 comments:

  1. I think its vibrant but I think its scary too and really only for the brave, the kook

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  2. I'm a west Londoner born and bred. I moved to Mayfair when I started working and it was nice enough but didn't have enough variation for me. We stayed there for a year and now we live in Southwark..just by City Hall but I like it because there is a mix of the corporate side and the actual London side that people never show off.

    I dislike it when people call certain places "cool..hip" etc..it's not. You think it's nice and diverse and so different but it's what a lot of Londoners grew up with.

    Another thing that winds me up is when people say "oh don't go to the "poorer" parts because they're rough and you're going to get mugged". I lived in Lewisham when I was at uni and we spent a lot of nights out running around the place and nothing ever happened to us. You can get mugged ANYWHERE..my boss got mugged in the Square Mile and nobody sees that as being rough.

    I have a cousin who used to live in Romford and I used to love going to see him and taking the A40 way because you got to see all the shops and different towns on the way..I love the way all the individual shops standalone but also combine to be a High Street and there are not many branches of well known shops..

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  3. @ Rhamnousia

    I agree! To grow up in a genuinely diverse place is a brilliant thing. I apprecated how much this meant to me when I visited Tokyo which entirely the opposite. Or when I go to the countryside when they all look at you like you are freak?

    You can get mugged everywhere here and you know what? The Square Mile must be up there as the place you are most likely to get jacked...but you are right people dont talk about that.

    I just love my lil bit of London and feel sad when all these wannabe creative planks wind up here lawding about the place. yuck yuck yuck!

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  4. I got mugged in Dalston. Right outside Kingsland Dalston stn.

    Never been back since.

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  5. I hate those tosser hipster shites.

    Mariam

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  6. Gentrification: colonisation by 'nevergonnabes' who will never get it...

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  7. It's a funny old place Dalston, but always colorful and vibrant. Weirdly enough I never feel scared though or anything like that.

    x

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  8. I haven't been to Dalston but I think I should come and visit you!

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  9. I'm so glad I found your blog. Right on! I too would be bored out of my mind in a place with little diversity.

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  10. Wow. What a topic. I don't know what to say or where to begin.

    inthesweetshop said it best.

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  11. Brixton went through this phase didn't it? Where a load of toffee mouthed trust funders moved there thinking they were "badass" then a few got into some trouble. Despite what people say/think - Brixton isn't THAT bad. Neither is Peckham. Neither is Croydon. And Dalston is one of the most exciting places in London I've been to.

    As much as I might hate on Croydon for being full of morons, it's never a dull place! There's always the sarky record shop owner who jokes about how I'm a "cheap bitch" because I don't buy CDs anymore...or the veg. guy near my house who whistles at me and mutters something in Urdu while winking and tugging on his right pocket. Don't even ask. Plus, there's the drunk old one legged boy who rolls around the town centre at ungodly hours. It's brilliant.

    Tomorrow, I'd like to get my old cameras out :) and tonight I will sift through my old photos with a cuppa and the sweet sound of sirens outside my bedroom window.

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  12. I loved reading this it brought back so many memories and really basically summed up everything I feel about the area. Lets hope they finally move the new building works elsewhere and leave Dalston alone!

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  13. I lived in an area that one couldn't quite describe as "high crime", but still experienced almost being kidnapped as a child and (only just a few years ago) having 3 men break into my home by kicking the door down while I was there. This unfortunately proves that crime happens anywhere and everywhere, BUT shows it still cannot stop me from exploring if the place is diverse enough, haha. ;)
    Just curious, have you or Hiro experienced any crime there?

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  14. This always happens hon doesn't it. Frustrating!
    I think even l'il ole Belfast was even termed the new cool at one stage.... That is a stretch!

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  15. I always look at titles that have the full spelling of 'fuck' into it (well, ofcourse not the 'adult' sites but sites like yours...)

    I like your neigbourhood from your description and images. It is good to have a connection to the place you have been born to (Africa in your case) and have a little bit of that in the place you are living now.

    Btw, it looks like a musical place with lots of music coming from houses, etc...is that so?

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  16. Hello! Thank you for your comment on my Thanksgiving post, I was feeling a bit ornery and I get tired of the entitlement and privilege that abound in the minds of people who feel that their conquering days were long ago so they shouldn't be held responsible (oh, but they'll keep the spoils, they will).

    I think this area, the subject of your post, may be one of those places where the privileged gush over how "exotic" and "real" it is because it's a place where they might get to taste a bit of the outside world but in an environment where they are (mostly) in control and can escape back to "civilized society" when they get tired of it.

    Ah, Westernized Asians. I'm one of the failed ones, I think. I just hate everything about it.

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  17. A really great and sobre post. I love Dalston because it's real despite all the hype. there's the cool, urban trendy factor but I love that there's such a mix of REAL ppl at the same time. Abandoned buildings, council houses and expensive restaurants and swanky flats all in the same place! You make me miss wandering through it (plus some of my fav pub haunts)

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  18. A really great and sobre post. I love Dalston because it's real despite all the hype. there's the cool, urban trendy factor but I love that there's such a mix of REAL ppl at the same time. Abandoned buildings, council houses and expensive restaurants and swanky flats all in the same place! You make me miss wandering through it (plus some of my fav pub haunts)

    ReplyDelete
  19. It's a funny old place Dalston, but always colorful and vibrant. Weirdly enough I never feel scared though or anything like that.

    x

    ReplyDelete
  20. @ Rhamnousia

    I agree! To grow up in a genuinely diverse place is a brilliant thing. I apprecated how much this meant to me when I visited Tokyo which entirely the opposite. Or when I go to the countryside when they all look at you like you are freak?

    You can get mugged everywhere here and you know what? The Square Mile must be up there as the place you are most likely to get jacked...but you are right people dont talk about that.

    I just love my lil bit of London and feel sad when all these wannabe creative planks wind up here lawding about the place. yuck yuck yuck!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Brixton went through this phase didn't it? Where a load of toffee mouthed trust funders moved there thinking they were "badass" then a few got into some trouble. Despite what people say/think - Brixton isn't THAT bad. Neither is Peckham. Neither is Croydon. And Dalston is one of the most exciting places in London I've been to.

    As much as I might hate on Croydon for being full of morons, it's never a dull place! There's always the sarky record shop owner who jokes about how I'm a "cheap bitch" because I don't buy CDs anymore...or the veg. guy near my house who whistles at me and mutters something in Urdu while winking and tugging on his right pocket. Don't even ask. Plus, there's the drunk old one legged boy who rolls around the town centre at ungodly hours. It's brilliant.

    Tomorrow, I'd like to get my old cameras out :) and tonight I will sift through my old photos with a cuppa and the sweet sound of sirens outside my bedroom window.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm so glad I found your blog. Right on! I too would be bored out of my mind in a place with little diversity.

    ReplyDelete

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