21 Jan 2014

Rediscovering Club Labrynth on a Type Safari

Different letters found in Dalston assembled to make the phrase 'Club Labrynth'
Club Labrynth, by Sam Roberts on Type Safari with Type Tasting

This is my creation following Sunday’s Type Safari in Dalston with Type Tasting. It is a composite of various pieces of public lettering and signage that I photographed while on ‘safari’ with Type Tasting’s Sarah Hyndman. The brief was to bring a phrase that represents Dalston for me, and then to seek out its letters on the street. The process gave a heightened focus to the leisurely stroll through an area I know well, but which has changed considerably in recent years.

Neon lighting for Dalston Superstore

For me, Club Labrynth is the earliest memory I have of Dalston as a destination. Back in the mid-1990s it was the weekly hardcore/jungle night at the legendary Four Aces nightclub [Video snippet here]. The building that once housed it has since been demolished to make way for the new Hackney Library complex and Dalston Junction station. However, the Club Labrynth night, and the Four Aces club in general, were trailblazers for Dalston’s currently thriving late-night party scene.

Neon lighting for Voodoo Ray's

The provocation of memory was an unexpected aspect of the Type Safari, and there were other long-term Hackney residents on the walk sharing their own recollections. The loose format of the walk allowed for this, with plenty of time to stop, photograph and talk about what we were taking in.

Some key points along the route had been highlighted beforehand in the Type Tasting studio. This served to increase our awareness and understanding of different lettering styles and eras that we then encountered on the walk. (The takeaway map also helps to find particular signs and letters of interest.) Doing it at night was a great touch, especially because it got me engaged with neon and other lighted signage that I don’t usually appreciate when out hunting for ghostsigns.

Neon lighting for Man Apparel

The interactive component of hunting down letters for my phrase made the safari a very personal (and creative) experience. I saw lots that I had never noticed before, including a few painted examples, making it a fun, informative and participatory talk and walk. Recommended.

Painted signage for Mezcal Mexican

[More information about Type Safaris and future dates can be found on the Type Tasting website. They are among the various suggested walks and tours to consider in addition to the ghostsigns tour. My previous Type Tasting creation was a re-working of the word Beanfeast, inspired by the Highgate ghostsign.]

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