Posts Tagged ‘Hackney’


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!



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. 
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 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 
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.
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.


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 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:

Hackney Pirates

As the English Disco Lovers prepare to throw their first fundraising Superstore party this Friday, we sought out the local charity set to benefit, the Hackney Pirates. A volunteer-run schemed now based in Dalston, the Hackney Pirates focus their efforts in developing the literacy skills of local children. Running primarily on donations, volunteers and crowd-funding, they’re all too happy to be involved with the party and answer our questions about it and their organisation!
How, when and why did the idea germinate for the Hackney Pirates?

Our founder lived in the area and was a teacher. She heard about some great projects in other areas that used volunteers from the local community to support children’s learning with extra one-to-one attention, and thought – Hackney people can be those people!

Why Hackney?

Because we have so many amazing people here who have both time and talent to give. There are so many resources hidden in our local community and we believe that we can untap them to support local young people.

If you could pick a song that sums up the ethos of the Hackney Pirates what would it be?

The Go Team! – The Power Is On 

Tell us about the Ship Of Adventures…

Fairly soon we will be moving into a four storey building on Kingsland High Street (and just opposite Dalston Superstore). We’ve “popped up” in seven different locations since we started so we’re incredibly excited to be granted a permanent home for The Hackney Pirates. It will allow us to expand the work that we do with schools and young people as well as try out some new things, like an event space and Shop of Adventures. 

Is it ship-shape(d)?

Yes! The current designs have the workshop space in the basement as an underwater cave environment with all kinds of sea life and giant octupuses. The ground floor will be the main deck and the upper floors will be reaching up the mast. They’re just designs at the moment, but we are pretty sure it’s going to look great. 

In your Indiegogo crowdfunding video for it, the kids asked local residents about adventures… what was the best one you heard?

Our neighbour from the local corner shop who told us with glowing eyes about an amazing trip she did a couple of years ago. Adventures makes people smile!


What’s the response been like from the community?

We knew that there were quite a few people who supported the work that we do based on how many people have got involved with volunteering, but we were quite stunned by people’s donations and comments. People who we didn’t know before have been very generous. It’s been really humbling. 

How did you guys come to work with the English Disco Lovers for this event?

One of the best things about working at The Hackney Pirates is that, quite often, the best things come from out of the blue. English Disco Lovers dropped us a line when they knew they were going to be at Dalston Superstore. They’d heard about what we do and knew that we were pretty near by. We play disco a fair bit in the office, so jumped on board immediately.

And sum up in one sentence why the Hackney Pirates need our donations…

Because all children deserve the chance to do well at school and to develop the skills they need for the real world (and because learning should always be a grand adventure)!

Join the Hackney Pirates this Friday 6th September for English Disco Lovers at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Win A Pair Of VIP Lovebox Sunday Tickets

Next weekend sees our annual jaunt down to Victoria Park for Lovebox Sunday! To celebrate we’re throwing two parties over the course of the weekend AND we’ve managed to get our mitts on a pair of VIP Lovebox Sunday tickets to give away! With some of favourite people appearing at the festival, from Kim Ann Foxman to DJ Harvey to Frankie Knuckles to Derrick Carter and a whole host of DSS family and friends across all the stages throughout the day, it’s sure to be a family affair.

Catch Johnny Woo, Horse Meat Disco and former DSS guests A Love From Outer Space (Andrew Weatherall and Sean Johnston) over in the Russian Standard House Of Davai… Hannah Holland, The Lovely Jonjo, Kris Di Angelis and of course Superstore boss Dan Beaumont can all be found in the East Side Strut.

Meanwhile here at the good ship Dalston Superstore, we’re kicking off the weekend with our Lovebox Sunday Warm-Up… on a Friday! We’ll be doing our duty helping you warm up your rave muscles for Sunday’s amazingness (our doctors advise you to stretch out at Dalston Superstore where we have a taster of what’s to come on the big day). Horse Meat Disco’s Luke Howard and Guy Williams of Paradise 45 will be massaging your dancing feet in the bar and kick-ass DJ Kris Di Angelis and Macho City hero Dave Kendrick will attend to your cardiovascular needs downstairs.

And on Sunday evening, it’s time once more for our legendary Outside The Box afterparty where we welcome a very special NYC guest to play alongside our fave local hero DJs including Grizzle, Borja Peña and Mikki Most.

For your chance to win a pair of VIP Lovebox Sunday just email the correct answer to by 10am Monday 15th July with the email subject “GIVE ME A PAIR OF VIP LOVEBOX SUNDAY TICKETS!”

Which former Dalston Superstore guests will be playing at Lovebox Sunday?

a. A Love From Outer Space

b. A Love From The Laser Basement

c. A Love That You Found After One Too Many Hackney Iced Teas

*Only the winner will be contacted

For more info and Lovebox tickets visit:

Ivan Smagghe At Trailer Trash

As the inimitable Ivan Smagghe is set to play the Halloween party hosted by our disco sisters Trailer Trash and the good ship Bugged Out, we managed to get a moment with the man himself to discuss what Halloween means to him, the roots of his long-standing relationship with Andrew Weatherall and what really scares him.

To really get into the spirit of things, check out this live recording of Ivan playing at our San Francisco friends Honey Soundsystem…

Londoners really get into All Hallows Eve- what’s the best Halloween party you’ve played in terms of effort gone into by promoters and by the crowd themselves?

I must admit I’m not a very big Halloween fan. I think it’s a corporate American thing that’s been imported here. It’s not an English tradition. Or European. It’s a bit of a cashing-in job I think. That said, if you want to have a costume party it doesn’t have to be Halloween. Like Horse Meat Disco. But that’s just their general style of living. It’s not a costume, that’s just the way they are. I think that’s the way to be.

Yeah, Halloween, I don’t mind it, but I wouldn’t put too much into it. If you want to dress up you can dress up any time really.

Do you find the mood different at Halloween events, in terms of reading the crowd and selecting records?

No. Playing records certainly not. If it’s going to be Halloween, it’s always fun if people make more of an effort but it gets into a cycle… there’s Halloween, then there’s Christmas… that whole invasion of things you “have to do”. Do it if you want to do it. I’m French so we do Mardi Gras which is in March/April. 20 years ago Halloween didn’t exist and people were still partying.

You’re playing at Bugged Out/Trailer Trash with Andrew Weatherall- a DJ/producer you’ve often associated with. How did you come to meet?

I was a fan, as were quite a lot of people of my age, but we met quite late actually. We met when I moved to London so about 10 years ago probably. It was quite randomly at a party that I was playing. We’ve got the same booker so that’s how we started playing together and we kinda play similar music. There’s not many people I play joint with… maybe only five or six and he’s one of them. It was a random meeting. Pretty simple. Even though I was a fan I didn’t feel intimidated, he might be intimidating to some people but he’s a gentleman.

You’ve said you have other DJs who you play out with quite a lot, but is Weatherall one you have a particularly close relationship with as you’re so often associated with each other?

It comes from the music I suppose. He’s a bit older than me but we were both listening to other types of music when acid house first happened. And we’ve got our differences, he’s a massive reggae fan and I’m not but it all comes from the fact we’re open minded and not only focussed on electronic music. That makes it work. With other DJs I play with the link is definitely more related to electronic music. We have links outside of music, books for instance. We talk a lot about other things. It’s not only about the music… And probably being moody sometimes. That’s been said about him beforehand and that’s what’s said about me.

What scares you the most?

What scares me the most? Myself. Probably.

And what should more people be scared of?

Not me! That’s a definite no. They shouldn’t be scared of me.

They should be scared of greed.

You recently contributed a remix for and played the Paris launch party for Astro lab’s compilation Treasure Hunting- have you got any more records coming out on the label?

Errr not that I know of. Maybe in the future but not at the moment. I’ve known Laurent (Pastor) for years but I’ve got a lot on at moment.

Anything else you’ve been working on lately- anything for Kill The DJ?

I’ve just finished a remix for Visionquest, Seth Troxler’s label. That should come out very soon. I’ve got a mix coming on Eskimo. But the main thing is really the It’s A Fine Line album on Kill The DJ. Hopefully it should be out before next summer.

Lots of people record under aliases, and Halloween is a time when people get to dress up and pretend to be other than they are. Do you ever wish this was a route you’d followed?

Pretending I’m someone that I’m not? Absolutely not. God, that is so not me. It’s the same thing isn’t it, if you want to do that why would you need Halloween for that? If you want to be someone else just be that person. And that’s it. It’s so complicated just being yourself, if you then had to be someone else… Jesus Christ. No. No. 

Ivan Smagghe joins Andrew Weatherall, Waze & Odyssey and Hannah Holland at the Bugged Out + Trailer Trash Halloween House Of Horrors tomorrow night (Saturday 27th October) from 10pm – 6am at Netil House in Hackney. Advanced tickets are now sold out but there are 50 held back for the door- first come first served! 

Street Feast

Tonight sees the continuation of delicious street-food night-market Street Feast in its new winter home in Hackney Downs Studios. Anyone that attended it in its previous homes at Brick Lane and here in Dalston will now just how dazzling the choice of cuisine can be. With traders including the famed Mama’s Jerk Station and Big Apple Hot Dogs, Street Feast spent the summer transforming alfresco dining and now the weather’s turned they’ve adapted to create a wonderful winter foody experience that means you can stuff your face and stay dry all at the same time.

Ahead of tonight’s market we caught up with Street Feast promoter Dominic to find out what visitors stomachs have in store for them…

How did Street Feast come about and how did it evolve into what it is today?

Having enjoyed night-markets around the world from Zanzibar to Barbados, it’s always something I wished we had in London. Last year I finally decided to make it happen and spent months researching traders and looking for venues. We launched as a 12 week pop up on 4th May in Brick Lane, however it became obvious very quickly that this was something that should happen every week and not just as a pop up.

We spent most of the summer in a carpark in Dalston, where we built up a strong local following, which is why we decided to plant roots here in Hackney. We’ve just started a six month residency at Hackney Downs Studios where we’ll spend the whole autumn/winter. One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about settling in this area is seeing Street Feast evolve into such a community event. I’ve rarely seen an event in London that attracts such a mix of people, families with toddlers, hipsters and senior citizens. Running from 5pm to midnight it operates in normal pub and restaurant hours, however it has become a viable alternative to either of those as a night out with friends. 

How do you go about sourcing the food traders and karts that appear?

I go out most weekends with my four year old son tasting food at markets across London. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

Is there a particular cuisine you’d like to have there that you don’t as yet?

I’d love to see some West African food come through. I’ve spoken to a couple people who are interested in doing SUYA which is authentic Nigerian street food, however it would be great to see someone come through and do it really well, because there are some amazing dishes full of flavour and texture that would really suit the Street Feast environment.

What’s your personal 3 Course Meal Street Feast recommendation?

Each of my 3 courses would all come from trucks:

Starter: RAINBO – Served up from my favourite truck, a 1948 black Ford pick up. I’d start with their super fresh pork and pickled ginger gyoza.

Main: VANDUKE – Vanduke are a new member of the Street Feast family, but they are making their presence felt serving up an awesome beef Thai red curry served on a bed of the softest fresh kanom jeen noodles.

Afters: SORBITIUM – Like Vanduke, Sorbitium trade out of a classic Citroen HY van, but here it’s all about the most delightful ice creams and sorbets. In the summer my favourite was their strawberry, elderflower and prosecco sorbet. Their salted caramel ice cream is up there with the best. But for a chilly autumn night at Street Feast I’d go for their very tasty warm vanilla rice pudding.

And what else can we expect to see this Friday besides amazing food?

Moving inside into Hackney Downs Studios has allowed us to add a variety of new dimensions to the market. As well as a range of new arts, crafts and fashion traders, we have occasional film screenings and art exhibitions. However one of the biggest new additions is the weekly line up of live bands. This Friday Laura Jayne Hunter makes a welcome return after impressing so much at our autumn/winter launch a few weeks back. She has a very distinctive experimental vocal style which she puts to good use on her own productions as well as a few clever covers like her version of Pure Imagination from Willy Wonka. 

For a full list of traders visit:!traders/c13qh 


Following Superstore boss Dan Beaumont’s recent talk at the TEDxHackney Local Heroes event, we were so inspired that we wanted to find out more. So we caught up with TEDxHackney founder Daniel Vais to discover the depths of his love for the borough and why it’s an ideal place for TED and ideas…

Why is it important to do TED events here in Hackney?

Hackney is a very diverse area and TED is all about diversity, ideas, technology, design and entertainment. I decided to set up TEDxHackney because it was obvious it would be successful here. Also the people who live in Hackney are very hungry for information and exchange and are very open-minded.

Tell us about your next event….

The next event will be the 17th November and will be TEDxYouth in Hackney. It’s a day that TED organized focusing on youth. It’s happening simultaneously all around the world. It focuses on youth voices, youth talent, projects and ideas that focus on youths, the voice of tomorrow, and empowering young people. Very very exciting! At the moment I’m researching into youth in Hackney, finding children and young people to come in and speak, looking for projects that empower young people, people with amazing ideas that focus on the young. So this is very very exciting!

Who has been your most inspiring recent guest?

Ahhh that’s not fair! Every speaker we’ve had has been quite inspiring by themselves. So to find one would be quite difficult… actually impossible! They all bring new ideas. So I don’t think it’s fair to choose one. Actually, there’s no one person who’s been more inspiring, they’ve all be sooo inspiring, and been beautiful people doing amazing things in Hackney and beyond. So, no comment!

Why did you pick “local heroes” for your last salon theme?

Because I live in Hackney and I’m a local consumer. It became obvious that we could give homage to all the people making Hackney one of the most vibrant areas of the world. I was thinking about a new theme and the first thing that came to mind was “local heroes”, the people that work very hard using their talents and abilities to make Hackney the place that it is. That was a very easy theme to choose and easy to create. I actually had to stop myself from booking too many speakers! It was a pleasure to research it and it was a pleasure to see that so many creative, amazing people, visionaries, are based in Hackney. They actually add to the community in Hackney, in London and beyond. So that’s kind of amazing!

I’d be walking down the street and I’d look right and left and see these amazing projects and businesses and venues so it became “pick, pick, pick” which was a great experience for me.

Who are the TEDxHackney local heroes?

All the creative people here in Hackney, all the activists, people who have amazing ideas to open new businesses here… so it was the guys at Dalston Superstore who brought us their amazing venue, the guys at the farm shop who bring farming into the city who provide us with fresh salad and eggs, we also had a sound artist that’s based here but works internationally promoting sound art, we had the guy that opened the first black music orientated venue in the UK. All these people live in Hackney and start these things here. The heroes are us basically. We are the local heroes. You go up and down the streets and you see the diversity.  It’s live and let live here. You see all sexualities, all heights, sizes, races, all living together in harmony. When I say “harmony” that means there is friction and problems as well, but that’s life. We can’t ignore it. So I know Hackney is not 100% creative and blah de blah fantastic amazing. There are problems and there are people that are struggling but the community supports them.

What makes Hackney a fertile place for ideas?

The diversity. It’s an area that contains EVERYONE. From every background. Every nationality. Every belief. Every sexuality. And everybody lives together. I live in Hackney Central and I just have to look out my window and I can see the whole rainbow of people actually living together. What makes it an amazing place? The people themselves. We are making Hackney an amazing place, each and every one of us.

One thing you’d improve about the borough…

I would ask the council to keep prices down for people who want to start new businesses. That way they can provide affordable services. You’d see a boom of cafes and restaurants and social places. In order to keep it alive and keep prices down and to give good services to people, the council have to not be greedy and to respect that it is a borough whose people aren’t that wealthy. But we like to live in a place where you can go out to eat and not break your wallet and not borrow money! Because Hackney is becoming successful, they need to not become greedy and overcharge businesses so they have to raise their prices. It would become elitist and isolate other people. That’s something that’s very important.

What’s the best “idea worth spreading” you heard recently?

The Contagious Power Of Thinking: happiness is contagious. A scientist discovered that what you see, your brain perceives it as how you are. So if there are happy people around you, your brain will think you are happy. So the idea is to spread happiness. It’s contagious! That’s the best idea that I’ve heard. It’s from Dr. David Hamilton, he wrote the book The Contagious Power Of Thinking. This book is extraordinary because the idea been proven scientifically, so it’s not only a great sentiment, it’s actually real.

Where is your favourite Hackney hotspot?

Hackney Central train station. I like it because it’s always buzzing with people from all walks of life. It’s the heart of Hackney. You can meet your fellow artists, fellow neighbours and people of all ages and all walks of life. You can see what Hackney’s made of.

And of course, London Fields. It’s a nice green spot to go to and a very creative area.

Oh and all the cafes! So you can have really decent coffee and really good food! Quite cheaply. And we hope that it will stay that way.

And finally what do you love about Hackney?

Everything! Including all of the amazing creative force we have. There a web of creativity that is so inspiring. I also like the fashion here. There is just amazing fashion sense. I like the diversity very much!! I like living in an area with all kinds of people; it makes my life richer. I like the children in Hackney as they are gorgeous! Children in Hackney are so beautiful. Actually I like everything, I even like the toughness of Hackney. It makes us care for the community and care for people that need support and makes us more active. This is life! Some people need more support and some people can give more support. And for the people that give, it’s a pleasure as giving is receiving. I like everything about Hackney, that’s why I chose to live here.

The next TEDxHackney event takes place on Saturday 17th November. For more info visit:


Broadcasting from Gillet Square for just over a year now, web-based music station NTS Live has already gained a cult following across the world and showcases a mind-melting array of music across all genres. It’s content comes from a stable of  passionate and committed hosts for whom quality music is always the priority. Always expect the unexpected on NTS – freeform jazz, urban garage styles, ambient soundscapes, Japanese folk and Chicago house jams are drawn from the record boxes of local heroes, enthusiastic collectors and international DJs alike. We spoke to NTS founder Femi Adeyemi about his creation.

How long have you made Dalston/East London your home and what is it that keeps you here?

Dalston has been home for me since my mum, my brothers and I moved over from Lagos when I was a baby in the ‘80s.

Do you see the area as being fertile for creativity or did you set up NTS here for convenience?

Yes it’s always been a fertile ground for creativity – simply because deciding to be a “creative person” automatically means being broke for a very long time until you strike gold. Dalston, Hackney being one of the poorest places in the UK meant that the area was more affordable for creatives to live (not sure if that’s relevant anymore though) hence its fertility for creativity. 

In regards to NTS it was more out of convenience; it’s home, I know it like the back of my hand, and I know a lot of people from the area (that’s how I got the studio space) – I couldn’t do it anywhere else, it just wouldn’t feel as comfortable.

Describe the vibe in Gillett Square for readers who might not be familiar with it…

Gillett Square is my definition of what London is as a whole  – a mix of cultures and ideas that you wouldn’t really get in any other part of the UK.

Who are your radio heroes and what stations still inspire you?

I’m very inspired by many radio stations particularly by BBC Radio 4, WFMU , KCRW and radiolab – I’m inspired generally by American college radio.

How did you go about setting up NTS Radio- in terms of finding the studio and finding the first lot of presenters?

 I was out of work for almost a year when I just decided I wasn’t going to work for anyone anymore and decided to chase up something I’ve always wanted to do.

The studio was given to me by the person who ran the business in the space prior, and we just basically set out a strategy to get the first few shows in which involved me reaching out to all the DJs I knew and placing posters all over London- stating that we were looking for hosts.

What does the future hold for NTS? It’s already massive with coverage on Dummy, Nylon, Dazed & Confused- do you find that daunting or exciting?

Just to continue to focus on good programming  – we want to do a lot more of our own features. But a definitely a huge focus on keeping our shows strong. 

Coverage sometimes can be daunting as expectations are raised  – but then the excitement kicks in when we realise the amazing potential and interesting ideas we are sitting on.

What qualities do you look for in potential shows and hosts?

Passion and knowledge.

With 130+ shows, how do you keep track of them all?

I sometimes lose track but Debi the Programming Director is way better at keeping track of them all.

With the chatroom and the social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter there is a lot of scope for audience interaction. What has been the strangest that you know of?

Nothing strange yet – you always get some weirdos jumping on the chatroom – but the strangest was a character called Dolly Dildos. She said she was from Thailand and was looking for a husband – and all the things she’d do to the man that marries her. She was on the chatroom consistently for about a month then disappeared – shame because we all found it entertaining.

Working in radio, the last thing you must want to do when you get home is switch on the radio but are there any NTS shows you would choose to listen to in your own time?

I still tend to listen. When I get home I find myself going back to podcasts to check the shows I’ve missed – I’m a fan of the more soundscape style shows when I’m relaxing at home though.

You have quite a lot of shows that have links back to the local community- what is it you and your hosts like about Dalston?

I can’t really speak about the others, but for me it’s the cultural mix that creates such a unique environment that I love. I’ve travelled to a few major cities around the UK, Europe and the States and I don’t think anywhere else has such diversity.

Listen to NTS Radio both live and podcast recordings at:

Check Superstore guvnor Dan Beaumont’s House show Rhythm Connection here

Penny Arcade

Legendary avant-garde performer Penny Arcade will be over from New York City this summer to perform her long-running show Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! right here in Hackney, at the Arcola Tent. To celebrate, we’ll be hosting an extra special launch party at Dalston Superstore on Wednesday 20th June with the lady herself performing a few numbers and the fabulous A Man To Pet on hand for tranny antics. 

Not only did Penny graciously answer all our burning questions about the show and her life, but she’s also donated a pair of tickets to the show for us to give away. Just email us at and answer the following question to be with a chance to win:

Which famous English singer has performed in Penny Arcade’s show Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore!

a. Anita Dobson
b. Marianne Faithfull
c.  Lulu

Entries must be received by 9am Monday 18th June to be entered. The winner will be contacted via email. For a hint to the answer just read our interview with Penny below…

When and why did you set up Bitch! Dyke! Faghag! Whore! over in New York?

B!D!F!W! was my queer backlash to the politically correct NY art scene in 1990 during the National Endowment for The Arts Censorship Crisis… B!D!F!W! kicked off the pro sex feminist backlash. It was a critique of the Christian Right as well as a fuck you to the politically correct, “gay community” and art scene in NY that sucked up for approval to the funding institutions run by the middle classes.

Tell us a bit about some of the special guests you’ve had over the years…

The singer Jeff Buckley was a dear friend and I met him when he came to see B!D!F!W! the first time. He was brought by his then girlfriend Rebecca who had worked as an actress in my show before B!D! She was worried about his homophobia and left him with me in my dressing room before the show. Jeff went on to see B!D!F!W! over 30 times, he would stop by a few times a month when it ran for a year He named B!D!F!W! as one of the 10 most influential things on him and his work in Rolling Stone Magazine in 1995.

Quentin Crisp was a special guest in the show… I put him in the audience with a microphone and he spoke during the section of the show that takes place  in the dark.

The video of Marianne Faithful is amazing. How did you hook up with her?

Marianne Faithfull came to see the show twice and then came back stage and said “I am Marianne Faithfull” to which I said, looking at her, “And so you are” and she said “I want to ask you something.” And I replied, “Please do” and she said “This show is about my life. I want to sing in your show.” And I said “That is impossible.” And Marianne was stunned so I said, “I am only joking! Who would say no to Marianne Faithfull?” and I gave her the three most powerful points in the show  and she was of course amazing!

B! D! F! W! by Penny Arcade with Marianne Faithfull from Dalston Superstore on Vimeo.

What’s been your proudest moment so far?

Everytime someone comes up to me and says “I saw B!D!F!W!  I laughed, I cried, and it made a profound impact on my life.” This happens often… and it is new each time. I am very proud of the fact that B!D!F!W! had a big impact on Simon Casson, who invented Duckie, and Robert Pacitti, both of whom saw it when they were very young.

Why do you like working with your producer Jeremy Goldstein?

Jeremy is very open-minded and he is a very hard worker. I think he was looking for a project like B!D!F!W! which carries values he shares and without compromising those values an iota is a show without boundaries, that could play in the West End or In Dalston… that cannot be said of very many shows.

Why did you decide to host your show at the Arcola Tent in Dalston?

Arcola has a reputation for presenting quality work and also shares my values of community building and diversity. Dalston is very much like my own neighborhood The Lower East Side in NY, the center for radical, anarchist , labour, queer movements over the past 100 years and which has been beset by gentrification… as Shoreditch etc has been, and Dalston is poised for. We were about to work in the West End, I love Soho for what it once was before gentrification, what it represented and what can’t actually totally be snuffed out there… Dalston beckoned and we accepted.

Describe the Drag Factor for us in one sentence…

The Drag Factor is the phenomena of people from all walks of life dragging their friends and families to see my work.

Can you explain a bit about your involvement in the Gay Shame Movement?

I have always been an outsider and I have always been a radically queer person which calls for a certain amount of belligerence in order to survive in this self replicating status quo environment we call life. Some people can hide what they are and some of us can’t. The clandestine, undiscovered gay world I inhabited as a teenager was my sanctuary and literally saved my life and sanity. The so-called Gay community movement was not a radical movement at ANY point. It always shunned outsiders, drag queens, transsexuals, bisexuals, heterosexuals and people who do not identify by their sexual proclivities… You know some people can be heterosexual WITHOUT being hetro-normatitive!!! Control Freaks came out of the closet and formed committees telling the rest of us who were never in the closet what we could say and do. I do not like being told what to think, what to say and I resent having to fit into someone else’s idea of what it is to be human or to be forced to speak my ideas in an academically or group sanctioned way. During a Gay Pride weekend in 1986 with my friend Bobby Beers, we decided to boycott Gay Pride and called for a return to Gay Shame, which was when we had both been happiest. I started to call for this return in my shows. Particularly in B!D!F!W! in 1990 and eventually the idea went viral and apparently is now a movement. Everything starts somewhere, with someone, and someone, somewhere is always cut out, left out and considered queer.

What makes NY such fertile ground for the avant-garde?

After World War 2 NY became the center for artistic experimentation as Paris had been after World War 1.

Gentrification has made that kind of art scene largely impossible because during big avant-garde periods life and rent is cheap, very cheap… people can focus largely on experimenting and creating new forms. I was lucky to live that way for 30 years. The real-estate rents are too high for small performance spaces and the professionalization of the arts, along with the consumer attitude in the way art is now taught has created a gentrification of ideas!

Now these processes are happening in the cracks, everywhere in the world.

What can we expect from your launch party at Dalston Superstore?

You can expect an East Village style queer rave were everyone is welcome.

No gay identity cards required at the door. Special guests that I am choosing and I shall perform some madness or other yet to be disclosed and all my truly Fabulous London dancers will be there… and we shall have a NIGHT ON THE WRONG SIDE OF TOWN!!!!

You can see Penny Arcade at Dalston Superstore on Wednesday 20th June for the launch party and performing at the Arcola Theatre Tent in Dalston from June 27 – July 22 2012.