What is it? Vibe
Where is it? Dalston
What is there to do locally? Vibe
Alright, how much are they asking? Dalston
What is Dalston? Dalston is a state of mind. Dalston is an aura. Dalston is a whispered ley line around a magical area of east London: Dalston begins and Dalston ends, but only a true Dalstonite can tell you where, how. Dalston is the pre-party and the party and the afterparty. Most importantly: Dalston is Vibe.
Immediately watch the worst video ever made in all of recorded human history, a video to help sell personality-free Dalston showhomes to the excessively rich:
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The first thing I am wrestling with here with is: I absolutely hate this woman. And you can't really say that, that you hate a woman. You can't say you hate a woman just because she does sideways glances to camera mid-way through a haircut. But I feel that: I feel that I hate her. Not just the character being portrayed here – the character of the most basic Becky-named motherfucker ever born, kind of girl who had an entire beret phase during her sociology degree, kind of woman who once did a 45-minute train journey to get a cronut when they came out and who kept talking about the cronut for eight to ten days afterwards, "it is a croissant," she said, "but also a doughnut. It tasted alright," kind of girl who forwards Wowcher emails about spa days to her mum with a 'shall we?' addendum, girl who heard about how Dalston was cool once from a friend so spent a Sunday there but left at 5pm before it got fun so she could go home and watch Mean Girls again on Netflix, girl who dropped £500 on a DSLR camera for a three-week photography phase, girl with a Wordpress blog called 'Uncontained Musings' that has exactly one blog post, and that blog post is her explaining how it is her new year's resolution to blog more, dated March 2013, I am talking extremely basic here – but no not just the character, but this video has offended me so deeply, annoyed me to my bones, that I now actively hate the model hired to appear in this video, I hate an innocent woman who just took a simple job, I cannot help myself, the fire in my blood does not bend to the whims of morals and ethics, only instinct, I cannot help myself, nameless model, but I hate you;
Secondly we need to appraise what we know about Dalston from this video. Because here is what I learned about Dalston from this video: Dalston is an area of London that starts on Church Street in Stoke Newington and extends to fucking Paris. Dalston contains the London Eye, somehow. There is a cinema in Dalston where it is acceptable to hold a tissue up to your face but not cry. Dalston is home to two of the worst rights-free songs ever created. There is a 30-second segment about how there is a Beyond Retro in Dalston, and that somehow the filmmakers responsible for this convinced three Beyond Retro employees to stand around watching a girl post-ironically put on a flat cap, and they are all rocking the most awkward right-hand-uncomfortably-sat-on-the-back-of-a-sofa that I've ever seen. Dalston is where people who like grey blankets and anonymous wall art go to live in one-bed flats that cost £440,000. Dalston is dead.
We all like to have some fun sometimes on the internet and declare Dalston to be dead, but I am wavering close to serious this time. The apartment block 'Vibe' has been under construction for years, right on top of where a kebab shop used to be, opposite Dalston Kingsland station. Essentially when you go to Dalston now you walk out to be immediately confronted with a grey monolith to gentrification, two twinned buildings called 'Zest' and 'Fuse', where investment bankers called Dominic and their lithe dull girlfriend Helen buy a starter flat to live in for two years before they decide London is too noisy to raise well-behaved children in and decamp to Surrey. "We want something edgy," Dominic – who wears shirts on the weekend, the man does not own a T-shirt – Dominic says, "we want something trendy and edgy, but not too trendy and edgy." He flicks through a specification brochure. "Is there any way this flat can be more expensive?" he's asking. "Can we make the kitchen slightly more granite-y, more soulless?" There's no way Dominic is going to let Dalston's rickety old shitty-ass basement bars stay open late into the night. No way he'll let the council sign off on a kebab shop extraction unit path without a community meeting in a church hall. Another Pret opens up and Dominic goes there. He tweets Tesco Metro to ask if they can add to the two existing Tesco Metros in the area by erecting another Tesco Metro. Slowly all the dirt is replaced with tiles and signs. Dominic moves to Surrey. And just like that, the life has been blown out of the Dalston candle.
Why am I so precious about Dalston? I'm not. As far as I can tell Dalston is essentially a pizza joint called 'Voodoo Ray's' that got a bit out of control. But at least it has a bit of life about it. Is a computer-generated picture of a home gym that literally says the word 'VIBE' on the wall full of life? No. What about a girl who definitely bought a 'Paris hat' just go to Paris in? No. What about sitting against a tree in London Fields without even a book or a bag, just sitting there looking out at nothing? No, no, no.
A moratorium on the word 'VIBE'. The word 'VIBE' is dead now. There will be a clown's funeral for it. And Dalston – I hate to say it – has to be destroyed. You did this, Dominic and Helen. With your extremely basic thirst for authenticity, you did this. You grasped the rabbit of Dalston and crushed it to death with your cardigan-wearing love.
More from this increasingly bleak series: