Soerditch by Dant (Chapter Three)
It is my pleasure to publish this week’s instalment of Contributing Artist Adam Dant’s cartoons from SOERDITCH, Diary of a Neighbourhood, satirising the culture of our dearly-beloved Shoreditch – each one a beautifully rendered view of the neighbourhood , captioned with a clueless thing overheard on the street.
“This place is amazing – first it was used by the Huguenots, then the Methodists, then the Jews, then the Muslims & soon the Scientologists move in!”
“It depends what you want to eat really – right is yuppie, left is chavvie …”
“I’m sorry kids, I’d like to let you past but, as you can see, we’ve got very important fashion shoot going on here!”
“Can we go back to Croydon soon? All this creepy, peely painty vibe round here’s beginning to freak me out!”
“Sorry love, I’ve got to stay at the agency until we get the design of the ‘Z’ in the new ‘JeanZ’ logo right.”
“To Kensington” … “Kennington? … ” No, Kensington!!!” … “Canning Town?”
“I was just going to pop into the library for a little afternoon nap!” … “Don’t you mean the ‘Idea Store?’”
“Don’t be stupid, of course it’s safe to walk around Shoreditch at night in evening dress. Haven’t you see those old pictures of the Kray Twins? They were from round here and they were always in black tie.”
“I saw this Eastenders show … so unrealistic, the people, the food, the houses, the english, everything …”
“Do you think Shakespeare would live in Shoreditch if he came to London nowadays?” … “He’d stay in Stratford, the theatre’s better now.”
“English bloody Heritage sneaked into our squat while we were at Wimbledon and gave it an effing Grade I listing …”
“Well, there’s another pub we won’t be visiting for a while.”
Soerditch is the old name for Shoreditch, quoted by the historian John Stow in his Survey of London 1598, as “so called more than four hundred yeares.” It means sewer ditch, in reference to the spring beside Shoreditch Church, once the source of the lost River Walbrook which flowed from there towards the City of London.
Drawing from a pair of unlikely inspirations, namely Giles‘ cartoons for the Daily Express and Hiroshige‘s ‘One Hundred Famous Views of Edo,’ Adam Dant pulls off an astonishing sleight of hand – simultaneously portraying the urban landscape of Shoreditch with spare lines and flat tones that evoke the woodcuts of Hiroshige, while also satirising the manners and mores of the people through witty social observations in the manner of Giles.
The exhibition runs at Eleven Spitalfields Gallery until 26th April and all one hundred and twenty-five cartoons are published in an album with an introduction by Jarvis Cocker, produced in the style of Giles’ celebrated annuals and available to buy online from Spitalfields Life Shop.
Click here to buy your copy of SOERDITCH by DANT – Diary of a Neighbourhood (125 Views of Shoreditch) – while stocks last!
Cartoons copyright © Adam Dant
Adam Dant is represented by Hales Gallery
You may also like to see these earlier selection of cartoons by Dant