Meeting the Cast of The Only Way Is Dalston
UPDATE: The trailer for episode 1 can be seen here.
I guess it was only a matter of time before the weird, semi-real formula that makes people seem like stupid, self-obsessed aliens in The Only Way Is Essex and Made In Chelsea made it to London's "trendy, up-and-coming East End". Last week, we got forwarded this casting call:
"I'm getting in touch with you as I'm casting for an international MTV documentary series about young creative people living, working and hanging out in East London, fulfilling their creative dreams. We will be bringing together a group of diversely talented individuals to create a collective and a brand – ultimately a factory of creativity to harness talent.
"This is about celebrating youth culture, through self-expression – and the hub is East London. It's about subverting people's expectations of the scene here – and showing how raw talent is emerging. During the show, mentors and experiences will help nurture innovative flair and give you the chance to showcase your unique ideas. The eventual winner will be supported by MTV and their skills and visions will be shown to the world.
"We want unique characters with something to say who are up for challenging and developing themselves! Fancy being part of this experience?
"We'll be meeting people Monday evening in Shoreditch for casting. Let me know if you, or anyone you know, would be interested in coming along. Age 18-25(ish).
"Get in touch"
Once we'd finished laugh-crying at sentences like: "It's about subverting people's expectations of the scene here", and: "this is about celebrating youth culture, through self-expression", and forwarded the email to everyone we know, we headed to the casting at Jaguar Shoes so that we could find out for ourselves how someone would go about subverting people's expectations of the East London scene.
K-Tron, 27, musician/ artist/ fashion writer.
VICE: Hey, how was your audition?
K-Tron: It was good, I liked them. They seemed okay and genuine enough people. I’m just hoping going on the show won’t make me look like a dick. Because I’ve done reality TV before; I was on Singing With The Enemy. But the people there were mostly interested in the drama of it all. They kept making me look stressed. But I was in it for the process, and so am I now.
How old are you?
I’m 27, so I might be a little too old for this show. I feel like I’ve done okay though. We’ll see.
Why do you think they should choose you to be part of the show, despite your old age and braces?
I’m radical! I’m all about politics, and I try to express this through my art, and my music.
How do you do that?
I’ve got ideas. I’ve got things to say! And if I end up having a platform from which I can express those ideas then that’s great!
What are those ideas?
I just wanna change things politically through art.
Cool, good luck.
Hannah, 21, Music Journalism student.
VICE: Hey! Do you live in East London?
Hannah: No, I live in Peckham, or I used to. I’m homeless now. I live out of my bag.
It’s alright really, I’m this kind of party girl, I’m a little crazy. I just got back from Croatia, I’ve done 12 festivals this summer! I’m going to Barcelona in two days for my birthday.
That’s great, but what are you doing here if you don't live in East London?
Well, I like to be all over the place and I think it’d be cool to have someone on the show that will be almost like a guest star. An outsider that will bring their own ideas to the scene.
So, what are the differences between Dalston and Peckham?
I think Dalston is more about fashion, and looking stylish now. Peckham is more hip-hop/dubstep. East London has gotten way more international lately, too.
Do you have a problem with that?
No, all my housemates are internationals.
Lynsey Coke, 24, MA Textiles and Technology student.
VICE: Hey, how did your audition go?
Lynsey: Great. They asked me a bunch of questions and I was really honest.
Good for you. What kind of questions did they ask you?
Like, how I feel about the East London scene. As I said, I was really honest so I told them that I feel it’s really changed in the past couple of years. It seems to be all about people not washing for a couple of weeks. I mean, what’s the deal with that?
Is that what a hipster is to you?
I guess so.
Are you a hipster?
No. I’m not a hipster because I’m really into the 90s style.
Isn’t that what hipsters like these days?
Maybe, but I’m not doing it to follow the crowd, I'm just being me.
Sharon, 24, animation student at RCA.
VICE: Hey, what brings you here?
Sharon: Well, I received an email from my school and I study animation, so I think TV is the best platform for me to showcase my talent. Because animation is moving paintings, moving images.
Okay. Why do you think they should pick you? What makes you unique?
I don’t know... Maybe I’ll be the only Asian?
How are you hoping to subvert people’s ideas of the East London scene?
Oh. I don’t know much about East London. I come here to have drinks and dance but I don’t really hang out here. I live in Edgware Road.
Why are you even here?
I don’t know, I just received an email from my school. They said I should come here, I thought I should try it.
Louie Banks, 20, photographer.
VICE: So, what is it about you that you think we have to see on TV?
Louie: I guess, I dress kind of different, and I do work in the industry, I’m a photographer.
What kind of photography do you do?
I like fashion, and I’ve done some portraiture. I’ve worked with people like Carrie-Ann Moore and magazines like Super Super and i-D.
Do you think people have misconceptions about the East London scene?
I wouldn’t call it a misconception. I know a lot of it is a little bit showy, and I know most people don’t do anything more than trying hard to project this Shoreditch image and network. But there are also intelligent, creative people living around the area.
What would you say sets you apart?
I change my look every day according to my mood…
What is your current mood?
I don’t know. Cruella de Vil is something I get from a lot of people, lately.
Is that real fur you’re wearing?
Yes, but it’s vintage. I have an argument against those people that say you shouldn’t wear fur: If it’s vintage, the crime’s already been done. You shouldn’t chuck it away, that would be as harmful to the environment.
(left) Jonathan, 25, graphic designer, and (right) Sharlon, 25, photographer.
VICE: Hey guys, what’s up?
Jonathan: Well, we got this really vague email calling for creative people living in East London…
Sharlon: …and here we are!
What do you feel you could bring to the show?
Jonathan: We’re both the directors of our own brand, Dirty Astronauts, which is really up-and-coming. We met in college, doing Fine Art, kept in contact and now we thought we’d merge our different mediums of work.
Sharlon: We’ve been looking at Dadaism, and how Dadaism as a movement changed the world through Constructivism.
What does Dadaism have to do with reality TV?
Sharlon: Dadaism, it's a movement.
I know what Dadaism is. I'm just not sure what it has to do with reality TV.
Sharlon: It's just our inspiration.
Do you think people have misconceptions of the East London scene? If so, how would you subvert those?
Sharlon: I’m from South East London, but what I see when I come over here is very creative people, very stylish and fashion-aware. Lots of sneaker freaks as well. When I went to Brick Lane I saw street designers having a T-shirt competition, and that was great! I always come out here to get inspiration.
Do you consider yourself to be a hipster?
Sharlon: No way, man!
Do you know what a hipster is?
Sharlon: Not really.
Then how can you say you’re not it?
Sharlon: ‘Cause I can’t say I’m something, when I don’t know what it is.
One girl said hipsters tend to remain unwashed for weeks.
Sharlon: I wash every day, man!
Jonathan: Yeah, soap is great, we love soap!
(left) Joshua, 24, fine artist/ hip-hop artist/ hairdresser, and (right) Chris, 19, student/ unemployed writer.
VICE: Hey, how did it go?
Joshua: It was okay. I was waiting for a long time, though, so I had a couple of drinks which means I don’t think I did as well as I could have.
Chris: I’m still waiting to audition.
Good luck to you, then. What made you come here in the first place?
Joshua: I got this email, and I’m seeing this girl who appears on Made in Chelsea. So, I asked her and she was really enthusiastic about it. Then I called Chris, who’s my bandmate, and thought we’d give it a go.
What is your band called?
Do you only sing and write in haikus?
Chris: Not really, it’s just a nice sounding name. I’m a writer too, so the name just made sense.
How come you haven’t tried to write for VICE yet?
Chris: I have tried. You won’t have me.
Oh, awkward. Are you hoping that at least one of you gets to take part in the show, so that you can promote your completely un-googleable band?
Joshua: Yeah, kind of. But it’s all also pretty linked; everyone we saw here today, we know in one way or another. So, it would be nice for our group to get in so we could give an insight into our little world, do you know what I mean?
What’s your little world about?
Chris: We're just regular people that try really hard.