Royal Talk with… Dalston Darlings

The Dalston Darlings are one of Hackney’s WI chapters, but you’ll have to start by forgetting what you think you know about that hallowed institution. Beyond community activity, book clubs, monthly meetings, and notable guest speakers, their base at the Duke of Wellington provides a sociable setting where women can come and meet others, laying some roots in their local area as part of an established, long running network. This being Dalston, it’s not all jam and biscuits either… We sat down with the Darlings’ Maighread Neligan for a quick pow-wow ahead of Land of Kings, where they’ll be bringing their satirical show Louche Women to the Royal Thoughts programme.

 

ALONG WITH THE SHOREDITCH SISTERS AND GOTHIC VALLEY, THE WI’S GOT A DYNAMIC NETWORK OUT EAST. ARE THE REST OF THE WI’S LONDON COMPASS POINTS SO VITAL?
Absolutely, the WI to us means community and supporting ‘local’ as much as possible – this is important no matter where you live. Most of our members join to meet new people in the area they live in, I’m sure that’s true for all WIs and particularly London based ones.

 

WHAT’S THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE DARLINGS TO YOU?
Friendship. Some brilliant friendships have formed at our WI meetings and socials.

 

YOU’VE HAD SOME FANTASTIC GUEST SPEAKERS IN. WHICH WITHIN RECENT MEMORY STOOD OUT MOST?
Our most recent guest speaker was Sue Kreitzman and she was simply incredible, she spoke to us about her life growing up in New York, her move to the UK and careers as food writer and now artist. Sue was so honest and open, and inspired a room of women. We’re massive fans of the Queen of Colour herself and thrilled to be collaborating with Sue for our event at Land of Kings this year.

 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE VENUE IN DALSTON?
Dalston Superstore and Dance Tunnel for proper dancing vibes.

 

FAVOURITE PLACE TO HANG OUT IN DALSTON?
Duke of Wellington pub – great staff, drinks and food. We love this place and meet there on the first
Wednesday of every month as well as the odd cheeky evening or weekend afternoon besides.

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECT OF THE LOCAL SCENE THAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
The mix of people and cultures give Dalston its vibrant edge.

 

ACT YOU’RE MOST EXCITED ABOUT ON THE BILL?
Waze & Odyssey for the closing party.

 

WHAT ARE SUE (KREITZMAN) AND CAROLINE (SMITH) SET TO BRING TO THE TABLE AS PART OF THE LOUCHE WOMEN TALK AT LAND OF KINGS?
I’m expecting a lot of laughing. The Louche Women show is a satirical take on the TV show Loose Women. Guests will be invited on to the panel for high jinks contributions. It’s going to be loud, fast and riotous.

 

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PRESERVE? (WELL, WE HAD TO ASK)
Chorizo jam (!! believe)

 

YOUR IDEA OF AN IDEAL PRE-FESTIVAL BREAKFAST?
A Bloody Mary with a drop of Dalston Chillies hot sauce perfect to kick start what you know is going to be a great day!