Posts Tagged ‘Hackney’

Positive East

Ahead of our World AIDs Day fundraiser on the 1st of December we had a little chat with Alex, the fundriasing officer for Positive East. Alex has been with the charity for 2 and a half years, and works to engage with the local community and encourage them to support the work of Positive East!

What is Positive East’s mission?

All of the charity’s work and services are designed around our mission to improve the quality of life of individuals and communities affected by HIV in East London.

 Can you tell us a little of the organisation’s history? How did it come into being?

Positive East came about at the height of the AIDS pandemic and was born out of an urgent need to address the significant issues that HIV presented in East London in the 80s.  Two organisations were established – London East AIDS Network and the Globe Centre – which then merged in 1991 to better meet the needs of people living with HIV and became Positive East.

What kind of services do you provide?

We offer a wide range of services.  We have an advice line, counselling and peer support services, tailored support groups including our Re:Assure Women’s Group which supports HIV positive women with past experiences of trauma. And of course, we deliver free HIV tests in the local community.  We are a community-led organisation and I think one of the best things about our services is that so many of our programmes and groups are co-delivered by volunteers, many of whom are living with HIV themselves which means they are much better at understanding the issues and barriers that so many people living with HIV still face.

Why is it important that services like yours exist?

It’s so important – even more important than ever really – as less and less funding is being given to the HIV sector.  This is a very significant time in the world of HIV.  There are some great things to celebrate – a dramatic fall in new HIV diagnoses, particularly amongst gay men in London and London has also exceeded the UNAIDS 90-90-90 target (90% of people living with HIV are diagnosed, 90% of people diagnosed are on treatment, and 90% of those on treatment are adhering to their medication).  We can also now say categorically that someone living with HIV who has an undetectable viral load cannot pass on the virus (Undetectable = Untransmittable) and PrEP works as an effective method of preventing onward transmission!

However, although these are fabulous developments, the challenge remains that not everyone and not all communities are benefiting.  HIV stigma is still a reality and there are far too many people undiagnosed or diagnosed late.  There are 50,000 Londoners living with HIV which of course means that HIV support services are still needed.

How has the work that Positive East does changed over the last decade?

We have always worked and will continue to work towards improving the lives of people living with HIV.  We know that there have been incredible developments in HIV medication but unfortunately, society – and its approach to HIV – needs to catch up.  Stigma, isolation and ill mental health are still very real challenges that require bespoke support and there are now fewer organisations that offer similar services.  Without our work, thousands of people living with HIV would not receive support and advice to manage an HIV diagnosis.

 How has austerity affected your service users and your work as an organisation (if at all)?

It has impacted us severely.  Sexual health services, Positive East included, are facing significant funding cuts year on year.  It looks like this is going to continue into the future as well which means we are becoming increasingly reliant on the support of our local community.

 What advice would you give to someone who has been newly diagnosed with HIV?

First of all, you’re not alone.  Positive East is here to support you.  As I mentioned, HIV medication is very advanced which means that someone diagnosed now, who adheres to their medication, can continue living their life as normal with very few changes.  And all of our programmes and services are designed to make the journey towards managing an HIV diagnosis as smooth and stress-free as possible.

 What are the best ways for people to get involved in and support Positive East’s work?

I mentioned that we are facing some fairly significant funding cuts, so we urgently need both people and organisations to support us so that we can continue our work.  You can make donations to the charity through our website – www.positiveeast.org.uk – or you can fundraise for the charity by setting up an online fundraising page.  We cannot thank Dalston Superstore enough for the fantastic support they have shown for Positive East as well – you are so amazing!  We are always looking for volunteers to help us deliver our work, whether that’s staffing our reception desk for a couple of hours or delivering outreach in the local community to raise awareness of HIV.  There are lots of different roles!  You can find out more by emailing our Volunteer Manager at volunteering@positiveeast.org.uk

Most importantly are you looking forward to letting your hair down at the party after the World AIDS Day Red Run?!

YES!  Absolutely!  It’s been really fantastic organising what has now become the UK’s largest World AIDS Day community event and I can’t wait to continue the celebrations with Superstore on the night!

Find the event for our World AIDs Day fundraiser here. All profits from the door price will go directly to Positive East.

VALUE PACK ft BRAT

Hi babies! Value Pack is our brand spanking new weekly monday night shindig. There will be trashy, nostalgic music, cute vibes, CHEAP DRINKS FOR STUDENTS and maybe a little bit of drag action… Before the first installment this monday (05/11) we had a cheeky little chat with our resident discount pop DJ BRAT.

value pack at dalston superstore

Hi Brat

U K, Hun?

Good thanks babe! You’re a founding member of Bodycon, one of our monthly Thursday parties, tell us a bit about that..

Bodycon is the messy binch you have a fab time in the smoking area with bt would NEVER invite to the afterparty bcs she’d be the one to break the sink.  She’s obnoxious and makes absolutely no sense, but the club is where she shines. She’s that girl who posts constantly on Facebook and is only funny 10% of the time IRL.  

Bodycon at dalston superstore

What exactly is Discount Pop

Discount Pop is a culmination of all the bangers you’d hear pulsating out your older sisters door in 2003. It’s the choreo to Girls Aloud – Sound of the Underground. It’s a celebration of the once overplayed, now underplayed that will guarantee a toe tapping and more than one bussy popping.

How many times are you going to play Jennifer Lopez – Waiting for Tonight?

I guess u’ll have to Wait until mon Night to see 😉 

How many shots of Tuaca are you going to hammer?

I’m usually a Jägerbomb chik, u know this. But I’m going to see if my expired student card works @ the bar 😉

tuaca student discount at dalston superstore

Does she even go here?

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. If she’s wearing a Peplum, she’s not getting in.

value pack at dalston sueprstore

What’s you’re most memorable Poundland moment?

Who hasn’t done a last min High Drag lqqk w/ Poundland accessories? 

If you were a multi-pack of crisps, what choice of flavours would you contain?

Jägerbomb, Vegan Cheese, Strappy Cork Wedge and Special Edition Tuaca.

What’s the cheapest thing you’ve ever done?

Nothing I do is cheap, it just looks like it is. 

Are all the things she said running through you’re head?

All the things she said will be slut dropping in ur head Tues morn !!;*

Bye BRAT! c u monday night xxx

Lyl xxxx

HOMODROP TURNS 4!!

Our favourite happy-go-lucky homodisco HOMODROP is turning four this weekend and celebrating with an extra special party with headliner SONJA. We had a little chat with promoter Florian about the birth of HOMODROP, his musical inspirations and more..

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Hi Florian, for those of us that don’t know you as a promoter, can you tell us a little about what you do?   

For HOMODROP I’m taking care of programming, building a line up, contacting DJs , agency, booking them and also taking care of all visuals . It’s is really important for me to have good music and good posters. Both are linked.

How did Homodrop come into the world? Was she an easy birth? A long, painful out labour of love?

 Very fast actually, no pain hahaha! The party came out of the closet 4 years ago, in a Stoke Newington basement, on a sunny summer Sunday afternoon. For the first one there were only 2 DJs- STATHIS from DISCOSODOMA and myself. 

                          homodrop at dalston superstore

If you could sum up these last four years of Homodrop in one track what would it be?

That’s a hard one! I think I’d choose a track form MASSIMILIANO PAGLIARA who played last year for us, called I AM DISCO .

If you could pick any guest, dead or alive, to headline one of your parties, who would it be?

The late, great Frankie Knuckles.

Can you tell us a little bit more about SONJA, your headliner for this edition?

We met playing together in Lisbon where she’s been really shaking up the underground electro scene in the last year. She has her own label called Labareda, a resident for LUX and hosts a monthly radio show on the famous Radio Quantica. On top of that impressive CV she is very funny!

What were your earliest musical inspirations?

Electronic wise i started to play minimal, techno minimal, electro minimal and electro clash about 12 years ago.

                       homodrop at dalston superstore 

You’ve got all international of late, Homodropping  in Canada, France and Portugal, where you now live, what’s that been like??

I’ve recently moved to Lisbon. It’s a really nice city and I’ve discovered a very underground scene, even more underground than Berlin. It’s proper underground, in all aspect, venues, posters of party, equipment, people ….

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If you could be any animal crossed with another animal, what would you be an why?

I can imagine myself a mix between a bee and a stingray.

What track would you use to describe this creature??

HAPPA – DRAG

Have you got any exciting ideas for the future of Homodrop at DSS?

Stay tuned – but we have a mega party coming up for DSS 10TH ANNIVERSARY :)


 

Catch Homodrop’s bday shenanagins from 9pm-4am this Saturday 3rd of November!

TOP 10 ICONIC HALLOWEEN VILLAINS

Ahead of this Friday’s Miss Zombie Drag Queen 2018 as presented by notorious heauxmeauxsexy disco crew Mints, we caught up with them to hear about some of their favourite evil drag queen inspirations! Y’all better roll on down to Party Party this evening, stock up on some Smiffy’s campery and join us this Friday for your chance to be crowned MZDQ2018, win a £50 bar tab, flagon of Lambrini or a frozen chicken tikka lasagna as unofficially sponsored by Iceland!


The Witches
These ladies, led by queen Anjelica Huston herself, are the dream combination of horrifyingly glam and horrifyingly… well… horrifying. The Roald Dahl books were scary enough, but when The Witches came out in full colour in 1990, all our worst nightmares came terrifyingly to life. Iconic.


Medusa

A wig made entirely of snakes, and the ability to turn mere mortals to stone with just a glance. Now THAT is drag.
MINTS MEDUSA


Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

She has to be on every single list of the most devilishly camp Halloween divas. This film is full-blown 80s horror cheese, and we are here for it!


Every single Jessica Lange character on American Horror Story
Whether it’s Constance Langdon, Sister Jude, Fiona Goode or Elsa Mars, Jessica Lange never fails to leave us gagging at the depth and bredth of her sheer evil in American Horror Story. Our personal fave is Constance Langdon, original terrifying bad bitch of AHS, and though Elsa Mars might not be the most iconic of those four charaters, she leaves us with a fabulous tagline for Mints presents Miss Zombie Drag Queen 2018: “My monsters, the ones you call depraved, they are the beautiful, heroic ones.” I mean.

MINTS AHS


Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus
If this movie wasn’t a formative autumnal tradition every year of your childhood, have you ever even participated in Halloween? This 1993 comedy horror fantasy is just the perfect recipe of camp that we love at Miss Zombie Drag Queen. Ladies, take note.


Her Majesty the Queen
Notorious reptilian shapeshifter and royal leech of the people, her majesty Queen Elizabeth II might not be the campy glam icon we all deserve, but she’s probably the most likely on this list to be an actual undead zombie creature. Sorry not sorry ma’am.MINTS QUEEN


Anjelica Huston at Morticia Addams
Our babe Anjelica makes her second appearance as this scathing, ruthless matriarch with an unmatched contempt for pastel colours. She is pure unbridled gothic femme. And can we talk about those eyebrows?!


Meryl and Goldie in Death becomes Her
Name a more iconic duo… we’ll wait.


The Craft
The original teenage badass witch crew, this is the cult horror film that kick started our obsession with the occult, and paved the way for Charmed, Witches of East End and other favourite ooky spooky pop culture hits. Fairuza Balk is the badass BFF that every queer deserved in high school.

via GIPHY


Grace Jones in Vamp

Grace Jones as stripper vampire seductress Katrina is the perfect icon for MZDQ 2018. All hail.

Marie Malarie

This Friday sees the second instalment of our new party OUTRÉ VOYAGE from HOMODROP affiliate Marie Malarie! This time around the queer audio-visual experience brings some serious Big Femme Energy in the form of 239EF (NTS RadioJAY (SIREN), Marie Malarie (Homodrop), Rachael (Rye Wax), Eliza RoseChaka Khan’tCheriii (Homodrop), Heidy P. and Michelle Manetti!
 
We caught up with promoter Marie Malarie to chat about growing up in Eastern Europe, her experience of the London LGBTQIA+ nightlife scene and to get the lowdown on their special guests!
 
 
 
Hey Marie! We are so excited for the debut of Outré Voyage at Dalston Superstore! Can you tell us a bit about yourself for those who might not know you?
 
Hiyaaa! Thank you so much for having me!
 
I find it really hard to talk about myself but I will try my best. I’m a smalltown girl from 
Eastern Europe who was always passionate about music. Shout out here to my older brother who was listening to it non-stop and passed me that beautiful thing. After finishing high school I left my home city and moved to Warsaw where I went to uni but it was more a constant party than actual studying. There I made my first steps with the whole DJ thing, learning how to mix and slowly started to play out in local clubs. Bored with my life I decided to follow my brother and move to London to discover more.
 
I love diversity of this city and opportunities that it gives. People who I’ve met here opened my mind and eyes so widely. I’ve experienced so many things which inspired me to find out more about music, communities around it, club and queer life. It’s very beautiful how people support and motivate each other which doesn’t really happen where I come from. 
 
I feel very happy and grateful to be given the chance to have a night at Superstore. All I ever wanted was to make my own thing which is a mixture of music, visual arts and overall happiness and love. My aim is to bring some underrated/unknown DJ talents along with locals/internationals and well known residents with majority of female representatives of dance music scene. Each edition is different in terms of the line-up and visual side.
 
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You are the long-term resident at Homodrop and have played a whole lot at Dalston Superstore – what do you love about playing at the venue?
 
I love this spot with all my heart. I was so happy when I found it for the first time. First of all the vibe of it. It’s a colourful, warm, wellcoming and safe place with lovely and kind staff: bar, kitchen and security. Second – I think it’s a great example how a queer venue should be like. Diverse programming for all week including club nights, drag shows, day entertainment and food plus some local social and foundation initiatives. The music selection is very different and I like the fact that it can be also cheesy sometimes to keep the balance. That all makes it a place for everyone, no matter who you are. It’s the most important LGBTQIA+ spot on London’s map.
 
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What inspired you to start Outré Voyage
 
I always wanted to run my own night but it’s very hard to start one, especially in such a big city like London. I had this luck to meet that lovely person who inspired me a lot – my friend Florian who runs Homodrop night at Dalston Superstore. He always goes with the flow and every his move is very intuitive which results in what we can see. I’m a person that constantly overthinks things and always wants to be perfect which causes only procrastination and depression in my case. I realised that you don’t have to be so serious about everything you do and try to be perfect because we will never be, no matter how we try. And that imperfection and randomness sometimes rises new ideas that you didn’t even expect to happen. That’s why we need positive and creative people around us. It’s like taking a deep breath. 
 
Replying to the question: I was inspired by some lovely people I met, by my dreams and love for music.
 
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If you had to choose one track to some up the party, what would it be?
 
 
 
Check out other productions of Aldona Orlowska
 
Can you tell us a little bit about some of your special guests?
 
Every guest is special! On following Friday we will have 3 girls headlining: sick duo  called 239EF which consists of Kristina and Chloé – two music geeks with insane selection and Jay from well-known female djs collective SIREN throwing queer parties promoting women and non-binary artists. Apart from that we will have Heidy P from Montreal/Lisbon, crazy b2b with Rachael and Eliza Rose plus our favourite residents CHERIIIChaka Khan’t and Michelle Manetti with a little live surpsire. And me somewhere in a dark corner… I love the fact there are so many of us.
 
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We really love your artwork! Who is the amazing designer behind it?
 
It’s a non-human person called TROUBLE WANTED. It’s me. There are two of Us.
 
If you could change one thing about the electronic music scene, what would it be?
 
If we’re talking about London what I miss the most is having an opportunity to rave during the day somewhere outside, surrounded by nature. There is nothing more beautiful than going for a little Sunday daytime party with your rave family to smoothly finish the weekend. I know that there are some of them happening from time to time but there is not much choice.
 
If you had a time machine and could go dancing anywhere/anywhen, where would you go?
 
I would go to regions of Southern Africa to explore music of The San People. Otherwise I would love to rave somewhere in US in the 80’s or early 90’s at one of the acid house/techno underground warehouse parties.
 
Favourite track of the year so far?
 
Don’t have one!
 
Who are some of the artists on your radar for future guests at Outré Voyage?
 
That’s a surprise! Expect some gooood tuuuuunes.
 
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Catch Marie at Outré Voyage Friday 21st September 9:00PM-3:00AM at Dalston Superstore!
 

Clash Bash’s Top 10 Fashion Moments

Has this year’s summer time got you dried up and far too dusty? Well my babes, get that kick of moisture down at our homo-oasis this Friday as our favourite mis-matched club night returns with a wet and wild affair at Clash Bash no.5 ~ SPLISH SPLASH!
 
After five instalments, these jumbled up queens have gained quite the reputation for their unique lewks, and we can only imagine what they will throw at us this time! To help inspire you to dress as clash-tastically as possible, we asked the Clash Bash crew to compile their Top 10 Clash Bash Fash moments!
 
Read on to find out who makes the cut of this infamous list!
 
1. Princess Diana
Two garish, clashing houndstooths, some stripy detailing and an oversized, jaunty hat! If Princess Di was still with us, she’d definitely be on the Clash Bash guestlist.
 
1 princess diana
 
2. Walter Van Beirendonck
In their Spring/ Summer 2016 collection, Walter Van Beirendonck used fabrics that clearly were snatched from a baby’s crib! Absolute toot!
 
2. Walter-Van-Beirendonck_ss16_fy21
 
3. Oozing Gloop @oozing_gloop
A vintage lewk from the world’s premiere autistic green drag queen! Oozing Gloop displays good ol’ American patriotism refashioning party decorations into glamorous accessories. 
 
3 Oozing gloop
 
4. Mikey Woodbridge @mikey.woodbridge
Even an off-duty Mikey Woodbridge can make mis-matchy-matchy look mega-chic. Mikey proves that there is no need to actually buy anything at Vivienne Westwood. Just grab an empty bag, and make yourself a hat. We love this lewk! It’s bold, bright, and (brown) cow stunning! 
 
4 mikey woodbridge
 
5. Carlos Whisper’s #faceswapfail series @whisper_ldn
Who Carlos Whisper’s #faceswapfail series is a trippy mash-up mess of facial features! says your lips need to be on your mouth? Sometimes your eyes belong on your forward and your lips on your chin! 
 
5 Carlos Whisper
 
6. Jimi Hendrix
Sexy psychedelic vibes with foreign patterns and floral fabrics! This Clash Bash party is themed ‘Splish Splash’ and let me tell you, we are wet already from this Jimi picture. 
 
6 jimi hendrix
 
7. Fizzy Fingers @fizzyfingers
Fizzy Finger’s technicolour couture is perfect for the fashion forward alien. An extraterrestrial scuba suit perfect for wading through the milky way and lounging on Mars!
 
7 fizzy fingers
 
8. Gaff-e’s ‘Colour Me Crazy’ 
Gaff E’s kaleidoscope-esque music video for ‘Colour Me Crazy’ features some truly iconic lewks filmed in the magical home of Sue Kreitzman! The Clash Bash crew salute Gaff E & Sue, and encourage you to dance on and over the line between art collector and high-fashion hoarder.
 
 
 
9. Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
J-pop superstar Kyary Pamyu Pamyu inspires with an off-the-charts kawaii overload. If you aren’t sure what to wear for Clash Bash, pull a Kyary and just wear everything. More is always more!
 
9 kyary pamyu pamyu
 
10. Synchronised Swimmers
As this Clash Bash ~ Splish Splash, our pool-less pool party, we had to include a horrendously fabulous synchronised swimmer lewk. Sparkly veins, sequin arteries, a bejeweled heart, AND a an exposed brain swim cap. Slay’s Anatomy!
 
10 synchronised swimmers
 
YAS queens, that’s all the inspiration you could possibly need before you take a cheeky dip this Friday!
 

Catch the Clash Bash crew at Clash Bash no.5 ~ Splish Splash Friday July 27 from 9pm- 3am at Dalston Superstore!

Homodrop’s Top Ten Pride Tracks

This Pride our favourite happy-go-lucky rave situation HOMODROP is taking you out of the commercial noise of central London and queering Pride with an underground, sweaty rave situation! They’ve roped in a line-up of LGBTQ+ Nightlife trailblazers including Iranian vibe wizard Kasra V

To get you in the mood for Pride, we thought we’d ask HOMODROP Promoter Cheriii for their top ten Pride Anthems! Honestly huns, this track list is going to get you ready for a big old messy Pride weekend! Slay!

So what made the cut Cheriii?

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We have to start with the classics! LGBTQ+ History is so intertwined with music and club culture! It’s so important to know where we came came from!

 

1. Patrick Cowley – Journey Home They were a Pioneer of electronic music in the 70′ in San Francisco! Patrick Cowley was and one of the first artists that died during the AIDS crisis in November 1982 at only 32 years old!
 

2. Gloria Gaynor – I will survive No words except this is my hymn of happiness!
 

3. Donna Summer – I feel love Obviously, Donna is here. This track is timeless and the best to end a dj set after a long night dancing.
 

 4.  George Michael – Freedom George Michael is the father of our queer generation, the ultimate icon.
 

 The next two are groundbreaking Berlin based Queer Artists. I also have a big crush on them both! 
 
5. Mikey – Paths A queer Artist to know, to follow and to love. So talented and actually was a regular at Superstore before moving to Berlin.
 
 
6. Lotic – Hunted One word… TALENT.
 

 
Here are some of my favourite contemporary artists that have influenced my experience of LGBTQ+ Culture.
 
7. The Knife – Pass this on Loooove this track! I can listen to it on repeat for hours! Everyone must have danced to it alone on their room infront of a  mirror. Or maybe that is just me?
 

 
8. ANOHNI – Marrow Its so hard to choose just one track because the full album, Hopelessness, is just insane. It was the first album that ANOHNI released as a trans women. It is emotive, poignant and very political.
 

 
9. Vive la fête – Noir Desir Being French,  I had to put this band in. This song is the song I danced to when I first came out. As did many people from my age. 
 

Finally of course…

10. RuPaul – Sissy that walk Whilst I don’t agree with everything RuPaul has said, it’s astounding what he has created in the last few years. To have created a platform to showcase the creativity of Drag and LGBTQ+ people more broadly is important. And more importantly, for young LGBTQ+ people to see themselves on a mainstream TV show is definitely a positive.  SO, now Sissy that walk.

 
 
 

Catch Cheriii at HOMODROP this Pride Saturday at Dalston Superstore 9pm-4am

SofterTouch

Can you believe its been a whole year since SofterTouch made their cosmic crash-landing at the mothership? This Thursday sees an intergalactic celebration of the rowdy, abrasive, noise intensive experiencé that has become a cult-hit! With three successful club nights AfterTouch, SofterTouch and MEGALAST as well as playing at festivals such as Secret Garden Party, LeeFest and Glastonbury, J.Aria (Jacob Aria) and Ni-ku (Nik Rawlings) are renowned across East London for their eclectic and bratty DJ stylings. We caught up with Jacob and Nik to chat about how their friendship blossomed, why we’ve heard Barry Manilow play at SofterTouch, and what we can expect from Thursday!

Hiya Jacob and Nik! For our readers who aren’t that well acquainted with you two, can you tell us a bit about yourselves ? 

J: I’ve been working as a musician in some form or another since I was about 15. Loads of different bands and gigs, festivals and all that. My main focus is a vocalist and experimental producer. I started to find my feet as a DJ about eighteen months ago.

N: I come from a choral background, had a noise band when I was a teenager and ended up studying Sound Art in Brighton, and DJing and promoting went hand in hand with that. For a long time I was obsessed with voguing and that informed a lot of my earlier DJ sets, and I organised a series of voguing events in Nottingham. I’ve always been drawn to more textural, intense, manic music. I think some highlights for me so far have been playing for Boo Hoo at Südblock in Berlin, at Tropical Waste with a hero of mine, KABLAM, and at Intruder Alert in Warsaw. Travelling and making new connections is one of the best things about DJing.

jacob aria

You’ve been collaborating with one another for quite some time now. Let’s rewind… How did you two meet? 

 J: We met at a Lotic gig in Brighton and hit it off. We’re both quite unbearable so we compliment each other pretty well.

N: Jacob and I hit it off pretty much immediately (ie. we both ranted a lot). Our interests and taste clicked so when I moved up to London it was an obvious move to work together. We’re a good balance as a duo and Jacob’s happy to tell me to shut up which is important when you work with me.

Your first club night, Aftertouch, seemed to have a real underground and experimental vibe to it. Tell us a little bit about the premise behind it?.

 J: We wanted to bring together experimental queer performance art with experimental queer club DJing in a way that we hadn’t experienced before in London – it was usually one or the other.

N: We had spoken a lot about how at the time (2015/16) there was a lack of queer nights that focussed on the more experimental club music we were both into whilst also making a good space for performance art and radical drag. We wanted to present a night that was darker, more confrontational, disco-free, without being too overtly serious or prescriptive.

Aftertouch provided an amazing platform for queer artists. There seems to be an abundance of amazing LGBTQ+ performance talent but a lack of spaces for them. How can London become a better city for performers? 

J: There are loads of amazing things happening now. But it’s always a nightmare trying to get a venue to support you with your stuff. There’s usually always a catch, and doing something that isn’t super conventional is always a gamble. I think London would benefit from having more interesting and accessible spaces to party in. The licensing laws here are too tight, it stifles a lot of freedom when you’re regulated in that way. It needs to loosen up, and we need more funding to be put into creative outlets. It’s kind of a rich kids playground, and rich kids are boring c**ts.

N: There’s some fundamental issues being in London that need to improve that would positively impact all creative scenes and especially queer performers. Space tends to be in short supply, but so is time; without lower rent and better wages it’s impossible to take time to make work!  We all need more time and space than we often have in London if we want to be able to make ambitious, honest and original work. I’m sick of seeing new build flats sold on the credibility of the ‘creative quarter’ that they knocked down. Dedicated spaces are in short supply, so hats off to the LGBTQ+ Community Centre project. Projects like that are going to be wildly important in supporting performers.

nik 2

Why did you decide to move away from performance to a music-centred night with SofterTouch?

 J: I just wanted to bring something really different to the Dalston Superstore programming, and to have a regular night to work on my DJ skills I guess. It had always been that I was the one that sorted the performance aspect of afterTouch and I wanted to cross over into DJing. Plus Superstore have always been so supportive of us as both friends and mentors that we wanted to do something there, something ‘at home’.

N: We’d both worked at Superstore – and for me it was a formative club when I first started coming to queer clubs, so obviously we wanted to ‘come home’. But we were also really excited to disrupt what people might expect from Dalston Superstore, and bring something a bit more confrontational and manic. It’s been a really great learning experience for both of us; we play B2B all night, and play a really frenetic and sometimes jarring combination of tracks, so the music can be a real journey. It’s kind of like an argument on the decks, but somehow it works. Oh, and generally I’ll close out with a basic bitch trance or donk remix of something so there’s that.

In terms of your DJ styles, who or what have been your inspirations?

 J: My influences are all over the place. Sometimes I’m pretending I’m Black Madonna or Honey Dijon, other times it’s Aphex Twin or JLin. I dunno, I’m super messy. I get most of my inspiration from my DJ friends or by being on the other side of the desk on the dance floor and kinda peeking over to see how the DJ is working. I’m always trying to study whoever I see.

N: Big question. I think the whole of our particular scene looks to TOTAL FREEDOM as an originator. KABLAM, originally of Janus in Berlin is still my current favourites, we have a lot of choral influences in common too. Then also I always look back to the Bubblebyte party, maybe seven years ago in Peckham where AIDS-3D & TCF (then known as Craxxxmurf) played loads of insane bubbling and hardstyle – it still stands out years later, and I’ll weave in some tracks from that period throughout most sets. When I’m playing a solo mix I’ll plan a trajectory and think about the textural and emotional story I want to tell, and when I play SofterTouch with Jacob it’s much more about wild trax that’ll just about fit with whatever they’ve been playing and keep bodies moving without being too stuck to genre or tempo.

Its safe to say that you both are quite contrasting in what you play, but we’ve never experienced a dull moment when you’re both going b2b at SofterTouch! Why do you think you both work so well together?

J: It just keeps the night evolving, because the mood is constantly shifting. We have totally different tastes but there’s a middle ground, we are both trying to experiment in similar ways – just with different tracks. If I think Nik is being too bratty I’ll play Barry Manilow just to piss him off.

N: We kind of battle each other a bit and sometimes there’ll be 30 minutes of us playing tracks that mix smoothly and then you’ll have a whole load of material that shouldn’t work together but somehow does. There’s a huge range of genres we’ll play from…. and every now and again I’ll drop a lipsync track in and get on the bar. We play a lot of quite intense music but it’s all with a sense of humour.

More recently, you both brought your experimental flare to our Friday night line-up with MEGALAST! Whats in store for the next one?

 J: MegaLast is our new Friday night party. It’s kind of a natural progression from softerTouch. We are bringing in challenging and experimental DJs from across the country and the continent. I guess we are really trying to shake up the kind of programming you would expect on Kingsland Road on a Friday night. We are back on August 31st for round two, it’s gonna be even bigger and rowdier than our first. I’m super excited about who we are looking to get down to the lazerpit this time around.

N: MegaLast brings both SofterTouch and AfterTouch’s music policies together; there’s artists downstairs playing more abrasive, experimental and intense music downstairs in the basement and diverse party tracks upstairs. The next one will be headlined by Object Blue whose recent release on Tobago Tracks is one of the standout records of the year for us; they’re also a regular Superstore-goer and so we’re really excited to have her at DSS for the first time

Who would be your dream booking?

J: Flying Lotus or J Lin would be nuts.

N: TCF, Holly Herndon, Ase Manual, Lotic, W3C.

In five words, can you describe what we can expect Thursday?

J: Bratty, erratic, explorations, heaviness and audacity.

N: Cute bounce, much booty, kick.


Catch J.Aria and Ni-Ku at SofterTouch: One Year this Thursday 7th June 9pm-2:30am at Dalston Superstore!

 

Goldsnap!

Dalston Superstore is absolutely thrilled to announce new weekly gurlzzz party Goldsnap will be debuting on Thursday 31 March! The three-way lovechild of local female DJ collective Goldsnap, this is a party space for all with an emphasis on showcasing amazing local female talent. You can expect R&B, Hip Hop, House, Trap, Afrobeats, Garage, Dance, House and more from Mwen, DJ Dibs, VDubs & very special guests! We caught up with them to see what they’re planning to unleash!

Hi guys! We are super excited about your new new Thursday night girls night at Dalton Superstore! Can you tell us a little bit about your vision for Goldsnap?

We feel it’s time for something new to happen on the scene. A place where girls can go every Thursday to dance till they sweat, with other girls. It’s pretty simple. That’s all I’ve ever wanted from a girl’s night – good music, good vibes and dancing.

Where did the inspiration for the name come from?

Goldsnap means a sudden climatic change that is golden. 
Goldsnap poster Final 3
You guys have a bit of a history together as DJs. How did the three of you come together?

We all met through VDubz back in 2014. VDubz was bartending in a basement joint in Dalston and DJ Dibs played a set that basically blew her away. So VDubz fed her rum and coke until DJ Dibs was convinced to come over and do a jam session. VDubz brought Mwen along and it was so electric that VDubz’s house burned down a couple weeks later. True story.

If you could change anything about queer nightlife in London, what would it be?

If anything, it would be more QTIBPOC (Queer, Trans*, Inter*, Black and People of Colour) spaces. We want a night which plays something for everyone, we’re setting out to create a space where everything comes together, the music, the queer, the funk & the fun.

If you had a time machine and could do dancing anywhere/ anywhen, where would you go?

Dj Dibs: Definitely back to the 70s when no one gave a shit. Music was at its peak, everyone had to dance and hairy guys were in – lol.

Mwen: Any time a new scene emerged like hip-hop or jungle/drum ‘n’ bass. I remember when dubstep was emerging. Those early moments in a scene when a few artists are doing something really interesting and exciting I think are golden. Working outside the paradigm of popular music is such a hard thing to do and I think there is something magical when you witness it happening.

VDubz: Back to the Golden Age of hip hop: the nineties. The style was everything, the lyrics were on point – Fresh Prince, A Tribe Called Quest, VH1, MTV… I find it all terribly romantic.

What is your favourite track of the year so far?

Dibs: Am I Wrong by Anderson Paak. It’s a party track but also soothing at the same time.

Mwen: Missy Elliot’s WTF. I’ll be playing that tune a lot I think…

VDubz: Beyonce’s Formation. We slay!

And one track you can’t wait to drop at Goldsnap?

Dibs: Afrikan Lady by Aina More


Mwen: I can’t wait to drop a few garage classics…you’ll have to wait and find out which ones though…

VDubz: Rewind by Kelela


Catch the Dibs, VDubz & Mwen at the premiere of Goldsnap on Thursday 31 March at Dalston Superstore from 9pm-2:30am!

Save Dalston Lane

Dalston Lane’s historic Georgian terrace is possibly about to undergo a controversial redevelopment amid some serious opposition. Local resident, architect and campaigner Lisa Shell is leading the fight for an alternative.
 
Why should we care about this development?
 
Over the last few years the rest of the world has spotted what a few knew already: that Hackney is a great place to live. The competition for residential accommodation has become fierce and developers are flocking to Dalston to compete for the profits that come out of building new housing. Given the increasing housing shortage there is great pressure on Hackney Council to enable new house-building. Such pressure has resulted in planning permission being granted for the demolition of 17 Georgian houses and Victorian shops on Dalston Lane within the Dalston Lane West Conservation area, to be replaced by a new ‘fake Georgian’ scheme that would provide 44 new flats over open-plan shops.  Whilst that may seem reasonable given the dire need for more housing, the scheme offers no ‘affordable’ dwellings despite Hackney’s policy to achieve 50% affordable in new developments ‘where possible’.  It appears to be incredibly easy for developers to prove lack of viability and so dodge any obligations to provide housing for anyone other than the wealthy: a 3 bed flat at today’s rates would rent at £600/week.  This is an important immediate concern. But the long-term tragedy is the loss of the historic properties. When construction started in 1807 the terrace was set within open fields on the medieval winding Dalston Lane: its appearance amongst the market gardens instigated the growth of modern Dalston. The terrace is amongst the few remaining historic buildings in the borough that root the place and give it meaning. Some of these buildings cannot be restored due to the neglect and vandalism that they have suffered over the last twenty years  – and this is Hackney’s argument in favour of total demolition – but many can.  The campaign has attracted the opinion of numerous experts, including The Spitalfields Trust, Dan Cruickshank, The Georgian Group… all of whom fully support the proper restoration of the houses and the provision of affordable housing in an alternative proposal that puts people and history before profit. 
 
SAVE DALSTON LANE
 
What do you hope to achieve?
 
OPEN Dalston have brought a court case against Hackney to challenge their decision to demolish the buildings:  the case is being heard at the Royal Courts of Justice on Monday 24th November. Irrespective of whether the judge asks Hackney to reconsider their decision, we believe that Hackney should properly consider the alternative scheme for the terrace that has been offered by The Spitalfields Trust which both provides 27 affordable units and fully restores the terrace: why would Hackney not agree to such proposals that meet all their policies where the current scheme fails? Within two years we want to see the terrace fully restored and occupied by a mix of social tenants, owner/occupiers and small businesses to form a buzzing community and focus for the neighbourhood: Dalston Lane Terrace would be the pride of Hackney!
 
If people want to get involved, what can they do to help? 
 
In the very short term help is still needed to cover the legal costs: we have already raised over £12,000 in donations, but still need another £8000. Go to opendalston.blogspot.co.uk and click on ‘Donate to save Dalston Lane Terrace’ at the top of the page to access Paypal and bank account details.  It is the many small donations that have really been adding up: £10; £20; £50… would make a real difference. Save Dalston Lane T-shirts and bags are going to be on sale from this weekend. This Sunday 23rd November a fundraising soiree: Save Dalston Lane is being hosted by OPEN Dalston at Passing Clouds, E8 4AA. Tickets will be £10 on the door but you can register here 
 
TOTE BAG SAVE DALSTON LANE
 
The line up supported by local Jazz band The Dulce Tones is impressive:  
Iain Sinclair, internationally renowned author, poet and film maker;
Dan Cruickshank, broadcaster and architectural historian;
Michael Rosen, poet and broadcaster.
 
What so you think is unique about Dalston?
 
All places are unique because of their special combination of fabric, history and people. Dalston has a particularly strong character given its history of immigration and the creativity that comes from the struggles of communities to establish home. But we should not forget that in the nineteenth century it was a highly affluent middle class suburb served by numerous theatres, cinemas, the rail line, tramway etc. and lined with smart villas and terraces: this background still contributes enormously to the quality of the place. Dalston Lane Terrace is an intense representation of the uniqueness of Dalston, still hanging on to evidence of the people that built it and have occupied it over the last 200 years.
 
48-76 DALSTON LANE
 
Is Dalston’s uniqueness under threat? 
 
Yes, Dalston’s uniqueness is under threat, clearly represented by the crisis at Dalston Lane Terrace: if we allow Dalston Lane Terrace to be replaced with a new development of luxury flats for private rental, not only is the uniqueness of the place irreversibly diluted but the community are excluded and Dalston slips further into anonymity and sterility. 
 
Photos ©mooneyphoto
 
Head to Passing Clouds on Sunday 23rd November at 7.30pm for the Save Dalston Lane event.
 

Kid Batchelor

By Hannah Holland

A pioneer of the musical explosion on ‘80s London who DJ’ed at many of the revolutionary clubs of the time, as well as making legendary records… We are honoured to have Kid Batchelor spin in the laser pit at Paris’ Acid Ball this week, and learn a little history along the way…. 

Hi Lawrence aka Kid Batchelor. You were born and bred in Hackney. Must have changed a bit?? What was the music scene like when you first wet your toes?

When I started playing records in the ‘80s the music scene was simply electric. London was a maelstrom of creative activity. I could dazzle you with sparkling anecdotes aplenty from acid house-era London and beyond – if I could remember. A gentleman has no memory. 

I was born in Hackney, my family and I lived in Clissold Park, and I remember growing up near Hoxton. Just some of the changes I have witnessed over the last 20 years… It went from NDC to ultra-trendy enclave, with real estate developers tripping over each other to get a slice of the action.

What happened in ‘Shoho’ circa 1986, it was akin to East Berlin post ’89, meaning a foray into uncharted territory. Artists attracted by large open plan spaces and low rents moved in. It used to be cheap. Now though, property prices are much higher. The greasy spoons have given way to bijou restaurants. We have witnessed this happen to Soho and Shoho, Dalston has been trendier than Chelsea’s heyday for the last few years, but now Hackney has posted the ‘full-up’ sign there too. London venues and its electronic arts are in danger of being priced out of the city. It’s the Manhattanisation of London. 

Today according to a recent report London is officially the most expensive city in the world. From the price of a beer to bus fare to the shoe boxes that people call home. And, of course, rents continue to rise but salaries are staying the same; so what’s a gal/guy, to do?

Overheard as I passed a young couple standing outside an estate agents window in Shadwell this week: Him: “No that’s a garage.” Her: “Oh!”

What turned you onto DJing and where did you start?

My Adventures On The Wheels of Steel, so to speak, corresponds with the dawn of hip hop, which has just turned 40. I heard a set by DJ Cash Money, just from seeing him on the decks scratching to the funk; he’s had me as his love slave since. Forty years on from the first inklings of hip-hop filtered out of DJ Kool Herc’s decks: allowing one song to segue into another, at a Bronx house party in 1973.

Together with Jazzie B, Tony Humphries’ KISS FM MASTERMIX SHOW, and Tom Moulton’s High Fidelity, concepts that single-handedly created a new industry of remixing-producing records with greater dance impact. His super-sonic frequency design went much further than Motown ever did. Tom brought out the “blood and guts”, the things that really count in a song. These relationships played a huge role in my own development as DJ of 30 years standing. 

 Kid Batchelor

I was also hugely interested in disco, which became so ubiquitous it choked on its own backlash, and clouded the minds of suburban fans who forgot that the music had already been a big part of black, Latino, and gay culture for a half-decade. Disco died in 1979, or so they say. In truth, its influence metastasised throughout dance music. House music was disco in the raw. Frankie Knuckles and the other gay African Americans who invented house music began the process of rescuing disco from its own excesses by stripping away the clichés and reconnecting it with its subversive counter-cultural roots. When house music became the dominant popular style in the early 1980’s, first in Chicago then in NYC, San Francisco, LA, and all the other major US cities, before spreading across the country and the world.

Your work has been heavily influenced by New York ‘80s underground music scene, what was your first experiences of the music and the city? Must have been so fresh…

As in London, so New York was a hotbed of energy and ideas i.e. Keith Haring’s immersion in New York’s downtown cultural life; he quickly became a fixture on the New York artistic scene, befriending other artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Kenny Scharf, as well as many of the most innovative cultural figures of that period e.g. Fab Five Freddy. The role these relationships played in Haring’s development as a public artist and facilitator of group exhibitions and performances was very important, and I just thank god for my late friend Keith Haring who introduced me to Larry Levan at his ‘Party Of Life’ at the Paradise Garage.

Party Of Life flyer by Keith Haring

He knew what the latest records and the dances were; and artists like him went out at night and listened to music and danced a lot, they painted in the daytime that was the whole idea – it was all seen as one. Jean Michel Basquiat too, was an artist whose work symbolised a Cultural Movement, which had at its centre break-dancing, graffiti art and rap music. Through his work, he came to prominence in New York.

The late Dennis Hopper was also a connoisseur, he spoke about Afro-American Pop-Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in the following terms: “He has it all. Basquiat used to walk these streets with hundreds of thousands of dollars in shopping bags from his art sales. He enjoyed contradictions, art critics found him confusing. I don’t have any cynicism about him, however, he never said very much in interviews, yet there was a big idea to his art. He stands for a inquest post-modern type of beauty. He does something a lot of painters today want to do, but with theirs it comes out too controlled or twee, with Basquiat it’s alive. He had an incredible natural faculty…”

New York’s late ‘80s and ‘90s Sound Factory, Paradise Garage, Ballroom Culture and acid of Music Box is some of our biggest inspiration for Paris’ Acid Ball. You went to some of these clubs, what was the impact it had on you?

Believe me when I say this, I think it changed my perceptions of what was possible. 

I have always loved radio, especially from the US. Ever since I was a teenager collecting music – I fell in love, from then on the obsession grew and now I’ve been catapulted back, reflecting this knowledge and appreciation of the popular music of my youth. 

How did London and New York compliment each other back then? 

An important factor in making London a global Mecca for electronic arts is its cultural and social diversity (at least as great as New York).

In such a hotbed of energy and ideas, the process of reinvention never sits idle. For gangs of individuals driving such change, this city of 7.8 million people can support niche clubs and intensely-focussed musical style and act as a perfect playground in which to sculpt and grown our reputation as, yes, the artistic capital of the world. It’s like a nappy, the contents has to be changed regularly.

But if you looked at London in the mid ’80s, with its 3am license in the West End only, and compared it to New York (the city that gave us disco and hip hop with clubs like Area, Danceteria, Paradise Garage, The Palladium, CBGB) you might have laughed at the notion that London could supercede New York by the mid ’90s. 

It is easy to locate the parallels and synergies between British and American Pop Art of the 1960’s and ’70s. Clive Baker’s work can feel, despite it’s ‘Britishness’, like a celebration of the popular that we have come to associate with the USA. Such is the power and profile of Warhol, Lichtenstein, Wesselmann et al, that it is easy to forget that the genesis of Pop Art lies not in New York but in London. 

You were DJing at the legendary Soul II Soul party at the Africa Centre. It seemed like a perfect slice of London’s music scene, creating something totally unique. What was your experience of it? What were the big tunes you would play there?

Thirty years ago, Thatcherism was a boom/bust economy; racism was a street reality as well as a nightclub door policy. A tough pressured time, it led to the emergence of one of the most radical club scenes in the world. Thank heavens for the Funki Dreds aka Soul II Soul (SIIS )– a legendary sound system that became a Grammy award winning soul act. Headman Jazzie B took me in as just a Kid (hence my handle) who could rock turntables’ and together we tore club culture apart.

The Funki Dreds

Our music policy was Afro/soul. We hooked up with crews like Wicked Pulse (Soul Kitchen), Family Funktion, Norman Jay and Nellie Hooper’s Bristol Massive (The Wild Bunch/Massive Attack). Jazzie’s music became steeped in seventies James Brown beats and classic revival tunes, whereas I moved forward towards electronica, new sounds, garage and house etc. Although I am still down with the Funki Dreds we never overcame that crucial fissure, me to the future, they to the past. 

The late ’70s and the early ’80s reggae imagery – of painted medallions, fists, sensi plant or leaf, images of the Ethiopian Emperor who died in 1960s and was considered divine by Rastafarians, Zion – a referencing to Jerusalem and the Emperor Haile Salassie is believed to have been Christ incarnate, and so on gave way to ’80s African imagery, long canvases decorated these dance halls like Africa Centre in Covent Garden; so we got musical forms with its own imagery e.g. Soul II Soul, Funki Dred.

I’ve been commissioned to make a radio programme about Soul II Soul, a musical ideology which has remained at the avant-garde of what many describe as an oxymoron, British soul music. Yet in the eighties one man and a group of friends took on that transatlantic cynicism and nullified it in the most revolutionary style imaginable. That man was Jazzie B, and his friends, a bunch of talented singers and performers who had all until then been denied any major form of success. But with Soul II Soul these singers’ names became familiar with millions of lips, as SIIS became the neologism of London and then the world. 

What do you think it was about the UK that embraced the explosion of acid house in1988?!

London has been a hugely successful Mecca for the electronic arts enthusiasts over the last couple of decades, for a variety of reasons… among them: its cultural and social diversity. The development of the one-nighter club format from the early ‘80s, Warehouse parties. Pirate radio. Home-grown UK producers (in the 80s) and pioneering musical genres (Jungle, UK garage, D&B, dubstep). Sound system culture. Gay and polysexual scenes. Its size. And its party people, who made the parties matter in spite of 2am licenses and other restrictions.

In the ’80s, a new sound emerged across London’s dancefloors – a plethora of musical communities and sub communities – house, new beat, garage, techno and balearic beats. This sound exploded right across London and beyond, under the Acid House banner (smiley faces), which conveys the heady days of the Balearic spirit for those who can only dream of having been there.

Give us an insight into your record box gems of the time.

Too many favourites, hundreds in fact, but Will Downing – In My Dreams is one that popped to the head of the queue when I read your question. In half an hour it could be a pet Bas Noir, or a Fast Eddie’s Let’s Go, or some new, young artist from Croydon or Italy. Tough and electronic sounds.

I played all the best tunes during the rise of each genre – electro, rap, funk, house. During the late 1980’s acid house era, I shifted towards a more radical model of uniting art and music technology. 

Your Bang The Party records were some of the first proper UK house cuts to emerge on the scene, how did Bang The Party come about ? 

Dance act Bang The Party (founded 1986), originally a trio including Keith (KCC) Franklin, KCL Project. But then were downed to two, Lesley ‘Bullet’ Lawrence and I. 

Release Your Body, with Derrick May, an acid house fave, was followed by Bang Bang You’re Mine, a garage classic. We also released an album, Back To Prison.

Since those golden times you’ve gone on to be a creative director for London’s best super club Fabric, a regular record player in Europe (particularly Italian Rivera), worked on various TV projects + host a weekly radio show Mi-Soul. What advice would you give to a young Londoner stepping out to play music?!

The single ingredient you’ll need in spades is PASSION. And a lot of LUCK.

Nobody does dedication like James Brown, the minister of super heavy weight funk and social commentator. Here’s his charming point of view …

“Put your hand on the box and feel this,
Lay your hand up there and feel it,
If you got any kind of soul you got to feel it.”
 (James Brown, I Got To Move)

GET the message? This is not for the feckless or faint hearted. What you hold here is a funk bomb, primed to vaporise lethargy. A compound of full-length, full-strength masterfunk. An hour or so of GET UP and go. The jungle groove.

Sadly, in the industry as in life, being the best you can be isn’t necessarily a winning formula. All ironically, in the words of The Last Poets “We started on the corner and ended up in the square”.

Join Kid Batchelor this Saturday for Paris’ Acid Ball at Dalston Superstore 9pm – 3am.

Stonewall

As gay charity Stonewall launch their latest campaign “Gay: let’s get the meaning straight”, tackling the homophobic and colloquial use of the word “gay” to mean “rubbish, we caught up with Chief Operating Officer, Cathryn Wright, to find out more about about the organisation’s history from launching in 1989, and what they get up to now. From recent popular campaigns like the ads on London buses, to their current one, and even what they’re doing to help support those affected in Russia, Cathryn kindly talked us through it all.

Gay Let's Get Over It by Stonewall

And not only did we get the opportunity for an in-depth chat, but they’ve also given us a fabulous goody bag to give away! For your chance to win a Totes Equal Marriage bag full of Stonewall goodies email hello@dalstonsuperstore.com by Monday 2nd December 10am with the email subject “I want a Stonewall bag please” and the correct answer to the following question…

What year was Stonewall founded?

a. 1899
b. 1989
c. 2009

Totes Equal Marriage Stonewall bag 

Stonewall Goodie Bag

Stonewall was set up to battle Section 28, but now you focus on fighting homophobia… can you tell us three ways in which you do so?

Stonewall’s fundamental mission has always been to secure equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. For many years this was all about changing legislation. In the past decade we’ve successfully run campaigns to allow gay couples to adopt, to ensure you can’t be fired because of your sexual orientation and legal recognition and protection for your relationship. 

But we also know that we need to change opinions outside of Westminster. Our biggest campaigns now are our programmes in workplaces and schools across Britain. 

Our Workplace Team works with over 600 employers – who employee more than six million people in the UK – to help employers create gay-friendly workplaces. Organisations that value equality for gay people make better employers for everyone. We’re now extending this work to support LGB people around the world too. 

We also work with 10,000 schools across Britain to tackle the really shocking levels of homophobic bullying that still exists. This includes getting involved with school assemblies, providing guidance and training for teachers and running national campaigns to tackle things like homophobic language. 

The bus campaign has had far-reaching global acclaim- were you expecting this level of success?

Not at all! The slogan ‘Some People Are Gay. Get Over It!’ was originally thought up by a group of school children for a campaign against homophobic bullying. We had no idea at the time that it would develop in to an iconic statement that would be seen on buses and posters up and down the country.

Despite the fact that SPAGGOI (as it’s known at Stonewall!) is nearly 5 years old, we’re constantly amazed how it continually appeals to new audiences. 

SPAGGOI Bus Stonewall

What are your personal favourite Stonewall campaigns past and present?

That’s a tricky one – and I wouldn’t want to get in trouble for picking favourites! 

I think one of the most exciting campaigns we’ve ran lately was our ‘Rainbow Laces’ campaign to tackle homophobia in football. I’m not a football fan, but it was pretty incredible to see how we were able to start a national conversation about gay footballers and homophobia. It also showed how important it is to move out of your comfort zone and reach new audiences. 

We’ve always believed there’s no point always talking to people who already agree with you. That’s why it was inspiring to see us campaigning with groups and individuals we’d never reached before. 

I’ve also absolutely loved Stonewall’s equal marriage campaign. There was such a sense of history around the campaign and it was brilliant to see hundreds of people at the rally outside the House of Lords. It was a great mixture of Stonewall’s traditional lobbying with MPs and members of the House of Lords with some amazing public involvement with supporters. 

What can we look forward to in 2014 from Stonewall?

It can sometimes feel a bit daunting when we look at all the work still to do in school, workplaces and internationally. 

2014 is going to see a big focus on our International work. We’ve achieved so much in Britain, which really contrasts with other countries around the world. We see places like Russia and Uganda actually regressing in terms of their treatment of LGBT people. We’ll be campaigning hard to support LGBT activists and help them run campaigns to protect their human rights. 

In Britain our campaigns in workplaces and schools will continue, but we’ll also be working much more prominently to tackle pretty shocking rates of hate crimes against gay people. We’ve seen in Hackney in the past few years that violence against LGBT people can be shockingly brutal. We need to make sure police forces take a zero tolerance approach so people feel safe in their communities. 

Can you recommend some great grassroots LGBT projects in London that are worth a look?

I love the work that the Bethnal Green charity, Step Forward, does. They have a long-standing LGBT group which focuses on personal development as well as the more traditional ‘youth group’ social aspects.  One of the ways it differs from some LGBT services is that it sits within a young people’s centre, which means that they have a much greater opportunity to have conversation with young people about their sexuality and identity. They also have other programmes which bring people together from diverse communities which helps to de-stigmatise LGBT people and build community cohesion. They’ve been going for over 20 years so have stability that young people can rely on.

What are you fave queer spaces in the city?

I live in Hackney and I think it’s quite a unique area now, in that most places have a queer vibe or are at least queer-friendly. The great thing though is how well integrated the gay community are – it’s often visibly queer, but it’s not a gay ghetto. 

I love stuff like the Fringe Film Festival, which grows year on year and is rooted in the East London queer creative scene, but is welcoming to everyone. I also have a soft spot for some of the stalwarts – pubs like the Joiners Arms and nights like Unskinny Bop.  And of course Dalston Superstore – the epicentre of Kingsland Road!

What do you do in your role as Chief Operating Officer?

All the ‘boring stuff’…  I oversee things like Finance, HR, IT and strategic planning. Our team is proud to be the backbone of the organisation! 

It’s a tough economy for all charities, so to ensure our work can continue on track we really have to focus on making sure every pound is spent effectively and that we know what our key priorities are. 

One of the great things about Stonewall is that every staff member gets involved in all of our campaigns and events, so no matter which area you work in you feel part of the whole team. 

What can the rest of us do to help support Stonewall?

Stonewall couldn’t function without volunteers and supporters. We don’t take any core government funding which means we’re reliant on the generosity of thousands and thousands of individuals. We always need new people to get involved – that might involve volunteering to help out in the office, buying a ‘Some People Are Gay’ t-shirt, or becoming a Friend of Stonewall. 

We also want gay people to be the change that they want to see in their local community. By stepping up and becoming a school governor, getting involved with a local hospital patient group or joining an LGBT network group in your workplace you can make an incredibly positive difference. 

We love your t-shirts in cyrillic… can you tell us more about what Stonewall is doing to support Russian LGBT people?

The truth is that the situation in Russia is incredibly complicated. Britain’s ability to influence the Russian Government is pretty limited as we don’t give them international aid and our diplomatic relations are quite strained.

Despite that, we’re working with groups like the inspiring Russian LGBT Network to advise them how to run campaigns. Stonewall was founded to campaign against ‘anti-gay propaganda’ legislation like the kind being imposed in Russia now. 

We’re also making sure that the issue doesn’t slip off the agenda here in Britain by talking to the media and, importantly, to agencies like the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development as well as the Commonwealth. 

What’s one song that would be the Stonewall office’s anthem?

Cold Rock A Party by MC Lyte. Oh no, sorry, that’s just my favourite song… 

Our musical tastes are too diverse – I don’t think we could ever agree on an organisational anthem. There’s usually blood on the dance floor at the staff Christmas party with people fighting over the playlist…

Visit Stonewall’s website to find out more about their latest campaigns: www.stonewall.org.uk