Thursday, February 01, 2007

Old Vortex now open as a community centre.

The Old Vortex on Stoke Newington Church Street is currently a community centre. More details if you go to their web site. It would be great to feel that this is giving a new beginning to a building which has meaning to a lot of us. David Mossman's legacy becomes not just the new Vortex building in Dalston but also the continued life of the old one. Unfortunately, Richard Midda the owner is a canny operator, and the chance of him taking the money and putting in Starbuck's is high. He will probably say that he is doing the area a favour by giving them Starbuck's (or Tesco). The residents will vote with their feet and it will probably do well acting as a meeting for baby buggies and mothers after their walk in the park. However, the transformation of Church Street as a small equivalent of the Left Bank to a mere facade will be complete. It will have gone the way of Hampstead, Islington and Highgate over the past decade. In fact, there will probably be a few jobs going for musicians to act the lifestyle of musicians in a living museum. But even if there is a touch of inevitability about this, we can still try and delay the onslaught as long as possible.
It's great that, for now at least, we have been able to avoid selling out like this at The Vortex in Dalston. Il Bacio is a chain of sorts, as this is its fourth branch. But it remains a local operation as the other branches are in Church Street and Finsbury Park and the owner Luigi is regularly in the kitchen. It is adding to diversity of the area, by being the first pizzeria to open in the centre of Dalston. It would have all too tempting to put in something like Starbucks (who sponsor jazz festivals in Manchester and Edinburgh) or Giraffe (which has a strong link to the Putumayo world music label in outlook). They'd have paid a good rent and put on the semblance of support for what the Vortex is trying to achieve. We'll leave the chains to South Dalston Lane and the Kingsland Shopping Centre.

No comments: