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.
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!