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Time Out

The street that changed my life: comedian Sophie Duker on Ridley Road

How the Dalston market street was a ‘dream come true’

Written by
Paula Akpan

I’ve lived in Dalston for six years. I remember thinking that I was an adult because I’d finished university so therefore needed to live in London. I had two requirements for the location – I needed to be able to easily buy plantain and get products for my hair. My best friend and I found a flat just off Ridley Road Market with a Pak’s hair shop on the corner. It was a dream come true.

Ridley Road Market is one of my favourite places in London. If I’ve had a stressful day, I just walk down the street and it calms me. I like the fact that everything in a bowl costs a pound. I can buy a yam if I want. I mean, it’s been six years and I haven’t bought one yet but it’s good to know that I can.

In 2016, I ran a feminist comedy night, Manic Pixie Dream Girls, at Dalston Roof Park, which overlooks Ridley Road. I decided to do a comedy festival with my friends, comedian Lolly Adefope and poet Bridget Minamore. This idea we’d had turned into a magical place with music and comedy. It was a beautiful night and marked the beginning of my comedy career. For me, Ridley Road is the most perfect bit of London. 

Follow Sophie Duker on Twitter and Instagram @sophiedukebox.

Looking for more places to hang out in east London? Hackney’s Towpath Café has reopened (and it’s doing dinner). 

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