• Soli is a weekly journal of neighbourhoods digging into urban culture, people's stories, and sociocultural dynamics.
Dalston: A little dirty, a little ugly, a little raw
Neighborhood: Dalston, London. Local: Kirsty Tinkler. Words by: Berkok Yüksel.
London didn’t creep up on me. I remember the exact moment and place I started believing I can enjoy this city. It was in Dalston, in front of a church, sitting in a parklet with a friend drinking beer on a chill, sunny afternoon. There was nothing special about that moment, but it felt freeing.
Less than a year after that moment I moved to Dalston and London opened up for me. Describing the character of Dalston today is a tricky task. To me, it's a neighborhood in the midst of gentrification. In the daily outdoor market, Caribbean aunties haggle with vendors, while a young “creative” is trying to take a picture for their third Instagram account pointing their analogue camera.
When the opaque doors of Turkish social houses are slightly ajar, you see old uncles playing backgammon, and drinking tea. Just across the road, there is a colorful queue to London's most famous queer clubs. As you approach the Junction, you see chain cafés and fast food restaurants, even an Amazon Fresh store, as if you're in a business district.