Taken from today's Guardian:
Long dismissed as a fading east London suburb with a chaotic daily market, a strip of cheap Turkish restaurants and a rudimentary relationship with street hygiene, Dalston E8 now finds itself the unlikely owner of Britain's coolest postcode. Its roll call of fashion habitués reads like a Who's Who of past and present design figureheads - Christopher Kane, Gareth Pugh and Marius Schwab have set up shop there, while old guard visionaries Pam Hogg, Terry De Havilland and Jimmy Choo are frequently out and about.
Dalston nightlife has been blessed with a series of pop-up club nights at crumbling 80s nightspots Passions, Blushes, Visions and Passing Clouds. Wander around at 11pm and the feeling is not dissimilar to being in the lower east side of Manhattan at its mid-90s peak.
Dalston has its own music magazine, the Pix, edited from a basement in the Bootstrap, an EU funded creative enterprise that also rents space to Pugh and the artist Matthew Stone, while pop stars Lightspeed Champion, Jack Penate and Big Pink all operate from corners of E8.
Unlike Hoxton - the East End enclave that last drew in London's up-and-coming creatives - Dalston has always been a vibrant place, thanks to its Afro-Caribbean and Turkish communities. "There was already a night-time street culture here. Throwing another demographic at it hasn't hurt," says Dan Beaumont, who has run London's most feted monthly club night, Disco Bloodbath, in the area and has just swung open the doors of a new bar unapologetically named the Dalston Superstore. "Everyone's surprisingly accepting," he adds.
After the opening of posh members' club Shoreditch House and Terence Conran's Boundary Hotel in nearby Shoreditch, Beaumont felt the shift eastwards and followed his nose to Dalston. "Not everyone wants to drink fancy cocktails on roof terraces," he notes - and there's certainly a local lunacy to the area that has so far escaped the gentrifiers sweeping across London's other less celebrated suburbs.
"You can walk down the road and see everything from Pam Hogg squeezing a melon in the Ridley Road market to a man wearing a sack preaching to the traffic lights," says Hanna Hanra, editor of the Pix. "Everything is possible. It's a fabulous, optimistic place."
Hanra thinks E8 is unquestionably the best postcode in London. "For architectural beauty, cleanliness, stench factor, road safety and trying to walk at a normal pace down the pavement, definitely not. For being somewhere exciting, absolutely."