Our Future's Orange: Dalston

My world does not end within these four walls, Slough's a big place. And when I've finished with Slough, there's Reading, Aldershot, Bracknell, you know I've got to-- Didcot, Yateley. You know. My -- Winnersh, Taplow. Because I am my own boss, I can -- Burghfield...
- David Brent

The arrival of the East London Line in Brockley will change everything. Suddenly the delights of West Croydon, Haggerston and Rotherhithe will be only a hard plastic seat ride away.

On a personal level, it will be as momentous as the fall of the Berlin Wall, re-uniting two generations of Brockley Central, divided by miles of tubeless urban sprawl.

In the build-up to the big day we'll be publishing a series of articles called Our Future's Orange, profiling many of the stops along the new route.

To open the series, we roped in Brockley Central Sr to tell us about his home in Dalston. Bear in mind he's even less down with the kids than we are, so we have no idea whether his nightclub recommendations are particularly accurate:

The terminus (for the time being) of the new line is Dalston., postcode E8, aka ‘Dalston Junction’ after the old railway station that finally closed in 1986.

Grimy and down-at-heel, Dalston looks like most people’s vision of the old East End, particularly when you visit its famous market at Ridley Road (just to the north of the new station) where you can buy almost any kind of food, including on some occasions African bush meat. It’s in stark contrast to its fashionable neighbours, Highbury and Islington.

Dalston's not so much a place as a crossroads. For rail, for road (the A10, the old Roman Road that leads north from the City of London is bisected by the east-west route of the Balls Pond Road and Dalston Lane), and for culture too. Here you’ll find every sort of migrant to London struggling to make ends meet. It’s the mix that gives Dalston its lively character.

In recent times the wave of young fashion designers and artists that transformed Shoreditch has moved north into Dalston, and suddenly it’s become the ‘cool’
place to live and work. New clubs, like Dan Beaumont’s Disco Bloodbath, have sprung up everywhere. Dalston’s independent cinema, the Rio, is an indicator of the area’s changing fortunes. Once a popular cinema, it fell on hard times in the sixties and became a seedy cinema club for soft-porn films. Now it’s part of the revived cultural scene that includes the Vortex jazz club and the wonderful Arcola Theatre.

Over the next couple of years this hub area will undergo its most dramatic (and most controversial) makeover in over a century. The new tube station, linked to the revived ‘London Overground’ station, will shortly become a place with space and Hackney Council has been working with developers to make what they hope will be an exciting new open space in London –
Dalston Square. Tall towers have replaced Victorian housing, and there will soon be new shops and a new library. It remains to be seen whether this will achieve the civic transformation that the council hopes for without destroying the character of the area. We’ll have to wait and see, but very soon Brockleyites will be able to check it out for themselves by hopping on their local tube and heading north.

54 comments:

Brockley Kate said...

Yay for Mr BC Senior! :)

Anonymous said...

How much is it really going to change things?

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon - I told you "Suddenly the delights of West Croydon, Haggerston and Rotherhithe will be only a hard plastic seat ride away." ;)

Also, my babysitting requests are likely to be received more favourably from May onwards.

Anonymous said...

So not at all then..

Monkeyboy posting from the disabled loo said...

Someone forgot their Prozac today!

Anonymous said...

There are several posters on here who put me irresistably in mind of Marvin the Paranoid Android!

Anonymous said...

Yeah.

Headhunter said...

Ridley Road Market. God, I went there when I lived in Islington. Once. It seriously made Lewisham Market look like Fortnum and Mason. It was like something on the edge of Addis Ababa, vibrant but 3rd world-like.

I have to say it was all to "real" for me and I never went back, decided to do my shopping at Chapel Rd Market near Angel Tube instead...

Tamsin said...

Worried about the African bush meat - how far away are they from the bottom of the M1 and the road to Whipsnade?

But indeed good for the generations to be linked in this way. And you will be able much earlier to put the little BC Juniors on a train on their own if it is a through journey with no changing invovled.

Mb said...

Crazy markets are very London. Read A Biography Of London by Peter Ackroyd

drakefell debaser said...

I have a recipe I picked up in Mauritius for monkey curry. Maybe Ridley Rd is the place to find the key ingredient.

SenorGaucho said...

Gosh, that Dalston place sounds just like New Cross - without having to sit on a hard plastic seat for half an hour to get there.

And surely Deptford Market must trump its Hackney rival for sheer whacked-out exuberance?

Westsider said...

SenorG what world-class theatre does New Cross have?

Headhunter said...

No, Ridley Rd Market was about 20 times the size of Deptford market and just a big crowd of people speaking/shouting every language under the sun at each other, selling every foodstuff imaginable and then throwing half of it on the ground and treading it into the tarmac along with other litter. However this was back in 2002, so perhaps it's gentrified since then...

Anonymous said...

I spy a new opening for the delicatessens of Brockley

Organic Orangutan
Grain-fed Gorilla
Fairtrade Chimp?

Brockley Nick said...

MonkeyBoy needs to watch himself as he crosses Brockley Road.

Anonymous said...

Getting away from the thread sorry but The Ladywell Tavern Is this weeks news shopper's pub spy article,seems Its like drinking In a fridge.

Monkeyboy said...

t being deliberatly obtuse but markets are suposed to be a bit chaotic. Greenwich Market is fine but sterile, basically a department store without the heating.

SenorGaucho said...

Well, there are theatres, although whether they are 'world-class' is moot. The Albany... and Goldsmiths has its George Wood Theatre. And wouldn't The Venue be improved as a theatrical venue?

Both are 'edgy' and stuffed with artists.

The Guardian thinks Dalston's hip, The New York Times thinks New Cross is: http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/03/22/travel/22surfacing.html

If you want global domination, Goldsmiths likes to think of itself as having a 'world-class reputation for creativity and innovation'.

Monkeyboy said...

...and yes DB did keep prodding my flanks and rubbing his tummy when I last saw him. You know what these Zimbabwe types are like, it it has a pulse it's either food or a potential mate.

[takes bananas and hides up a tree]

Brockley Nick said...

Goldsmiths genuinely does have a great reputation.

Tamsin said...

The Brockley Jack is fairly special too.

drakefell debaser said...

You would take far too long to tenderise MB ;]

I will eat most things at least once but monkey doesn't sit right with me. Perhaps I am lucky to have that choice.

I do enjoy the way the cooking method is written though...

"At the first whistle (of pressure cooker) turn down the fire and let the meat simmer for 30 minutes if the monkey was a young one or 45 minutes if it was an old fellow."

A recipe involving a Tenrec is on the next page. Curried or roasted. Fried wasp grub with Bombay onions follows that.

Suffice to say I have struggled to develop my creole cooking.

Monkeyboy said...

and of course you would need to wax me first

Tamsin said...

Not necessarily - we could use the gypsy method for hedge-hogs. Cover you in mud and bake you, then peel off baked mud, hair, fleas, crackling and all.

Like the extra 50% for an "old fellow". But is it rooks that you boil with a stone in the pan and they are ready when you can pierce the stone?

Richard Elliot said...

like the fact you got my home town of Didcot into a Brockley Central post.

The Cat Man said...

all this foreign malarky sounds nasty, give me fish 'n' chips!

Anonymous said...

Lol at Headhunter critiquing Ridley Road, it's the equivalent of a yardie critiquing Fellini.

Anonymous said...

Potatos are from south America, numbskull

Anonymous said...

Ha ha - too true. It turns out to be just more foreign muck, Catman...

Where DO you draw the line, timewise, in determining whether something can be accepted as British, O bigoted one?

The Cat Man said...

if its deep fried and has minus nutritional value than its British.

Anonymous said...

Food is one of the many things you have no appreciation of.

Troll Police said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tamsin said...

You've lost your apostrophes, but that's a wonderful bit of self-deprecating understated British humour - good for you, Catman!

Always thought of the potatoe as North American and Sir Walter Raleigh ("not enough salt"). Interesting.

Anonymous said...

You can't lose something you never had.

Anonymous said...

According to the infallible Wikipedia, they originate in Southern Peru.

Cat Man's lost his apostrophes, and you've gained an 'e', Tamsin ;-)

Tamsin said...

Swings and roundabouts. At least it sounds the same.

Anyone recall Tom Lehrer's "Silent E"?

Who can turn a can into a cane?
Who can turn a pan into a pane?
It's not too hard to see
It's Silent E

Who can turn a cub into a cube?
Who can turn a tub into a tube?
It's elementary
For Silent E

He took a pin and turned it into pine
He took a twin and turned him into twine

Who can turn a cap into a cape?
Who can turn a tap into a tape?
A little glob becomes a globe instantly
If you just add Silent E

He turned a dam - Alikazam! - into a dame
But my friend Sam stayed just the same

Who can turn a man into a mane?
Who can turn a van into a vane?
A little hug becomes huge instantly
Don't add W, don't add X, and don't add Y or Z,
Just add Silent E

Danja said...

Don't underestimate that e - it sunk Dan Quayle.

Anonymous said...

Does Ridley Rd market sell long pig?

drakefell debaser said...

Silent E is nothing compared to the Magic E

http://ow.ly/ZivB

The producers were probably on magical e's as well.

Tamsin said...

Nah, Tom Lehrer any time. And these animators look suspiciously high on something.

http://ow.ly/ZivB

Mb said...

I remember in Peru one of the other europeans complaining that their 'peruvian' food was spoiled by the addition of chips. Our guide the fried potatos were the only Peruvian thing on the plate of chicken and rice. It's only food, if you like it eat it. Still not convinced by the giant snails of deptford Market though

drakefell debaser said...

Tamsin, most likely.

MB, you can eat those snails at the A2 Delicious Cafe in Catford.

The Cat Man said...

giant snails? should my cats be afraid?

TM said...

One train related observation - probably on the wrong thread - is that the St John's service on the new timetable is greatly improved - especially on the way home.

Sorry Brockley Southern commuters.....

Anonymous said...

Don't be so hard on Catman when he says things like

"all this foreign malarky sounds nasty, give me fish 'n' chips!"

he speaks a truth.
Coming home from a pleasant evening in Hampstead I passed by the Orchard. The place was heaving, in a way that the previous two, decidedly 'ethnic' incarnations could never achieve.

Whilst there were issues such as service, price, consistency these foibles can be forgiven in places such as the Brockley Mess but not in places such as Ecosium and this suggests that the 'otherness' factor does play a part in how well establishments are supported.

Anonymous said...

Given the cats previous posts over the years you'd realise that his views are driven by something other than cusine

sillyness said...

anon 21.37 the reason orchard is always full is it is very good. the reason the old places were always empty is that they were rubbish. simple. nothing to do with otherness or any other cockamamy theories. catman is a silly provocateur that we should all ignore

Anonymous said...

Ecosium and whatever it was called before were both blighted by terrible service, poor food, and ridiculous tables that couldn't keep a wine glass upright. They deserved to go down.

Anonymous said...

Sillyness,
I am right. You are not. Simple.

sillyness said...

23.02 come on - you don't really think the only difference is that the ones before were owned by foreigners. Be serious.

the anon just before you summed it up perfectly. Plus, he could have added that they had terrible taste in decor.

Anonymous said...

so they failed because they sold foreign food?? no idea what medication you're on but I'd change it.

Anonymous said...

Strawman alert!

"Never argue with an idiot. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience."

Dalstonwalla said...

"Tall towers have replaced Victorian housing ... "

"Replaced" is such a euphamism, don't you find? Actually, the housing that was destroyed was a unique terrace of early Georgian houses, along with the demolishing of the 1886 Dalston Theatre (the UK's only surviving hippodrome 'til it was needlessly destroyed).

Check out opendalston.blogspot.com

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