Text: Lucas Mexis & Vangelis Kamarakis
Photo: Darrell Derry
E8 is the postcode of a small neighborhood in East London and the above quote is not from a ‘hip’ magazine
that tries to sell people concepts of cool, but instead from respected newspaper The Guardian.
What has changed in the last 3 or so years then, taking it from the risky drug ridden neighborhood of Razorlight’s “Don’t go back to Dalston”, and making it yet another new favourite spot for this European metropolis. In the 18th century Dalston was a village soon to become simply a neighborhood, on the border with other recently hip areas like Hoxton and Shoreditch. Despite the coverage the area has been getting in recent years it continues to also be known for the Turkish settlers that have always lived there as well as for the junk dealers. Thing began to change considerably when three friends, Dan Beaumont, Damon Martin and Ben Pistor started their Disco Party called ‘Disco Bloodbath’ at the site of an old Caribbean restaurant on Amhurst Street, three years ago. The party’s success, (considered by many to be London’s best club night), attracted hordes of young faces to Dalston. Dan Beaumont is a key man of the area” ‘When we began some people still viewed Dalston as a no go area. Since that time many art students have moved here and have created a really thriving scene.” Dan’s newest contribution to the area is a new daytime venue called the Dalston Superstore, which he runs with the locally known Trailer Trash crew. In a kind of Berlin style the space offers coffee and burgers in the daytime, cocktails at night and hosts some of the city’s best parties in its basement, which also houses a renowned sound system. It’s not just the new places that are attracting the crowds; the area still boasts some of the best Turkish restaurants in town such as Mangal Ocakbasi, as well asfamous jazz bars like the Vortex Jazz Club and Dalston Jazz Bar. Stop by the ‘Tina we salute you’ café – not necessarily for the best coffee in town, but certainly one of the most unique names for a coffee shop. You also can’t review Dalston without mentioning the Oto Café, a place where you can sip your coffee to the sounds of Sun Ra and Toshimaru Nakamura amongst many more avant garde artists. The Guardian was accurate with the area’s characterisation as spotting Gareth Pugh down the local greengrocers somehow feels normal in Dalston. Of course London is renowned for making areas cool seemingly overnight, with many of the new wave of residents having migrated from nearby Shoreditch when rents skyrocketed. The development plans for the 2012 Olympics will certainly make the Dalston area cleaner but will also alter it forever. Will the Guardian be discovering a new cool neighbourhood this time next year? Already defenders of true cool and
reason can be heard saying “____ is SO last year”, while the ΝΜΕ’s view is «If Dalston is the coolest place in Britain , God Help us all”!