Posts Tagged ‘Hackney’

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

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 hello@dalstonsuperstore.com 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: lovebox.net

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: www.streetfeastlondon.com/#!traders/c13qh 

TEDxHackney

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: www.tedxhackney.com

NTS

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: ntslive.co.uk

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 hello@dalstonsuperstore.com 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.

The NYC Downlow At Lovebox

With Lovebox galloping ever closer, we thought it high time to catch up with the people behind the area housing our friends Horse Meat Disco at the festival, the NYC Downlow. Gideon Berger and Steve Gallagher, with their joint background in art direction and set building, are also the brains behind Glastonbury’s hedonistic after-hours playground, Block9. This year their efforts are solely focused on Victoria Park as Pilton lays low for 2012, meaning we can expect bigger and better and more flamboyant goings on with Glasgow’s notorious Optimo, Tim Sweeney of celebrated New York radio show Beats In Space and the legendary Andrew Weatherall joining the HMD boys in everyone’s favourite decaying New York tenement block transported to Hackney…

You both run Block9 at Glastonbury Festival, how did it come about and what was the motivation behind it?

Gideon: Block9 is the name of the set design partnership founded by Steve and me in 2007. We specialize in radical set and environment design. We’re based in East London and we design and produce artworks, installations and live events as well as television, film and stage sets. Before inheriting our own field at Glastonbury we had been doing a lot of festival work around the globe both as Block9 and solo in Japan (Fuji Rock), US (Burning Man) and Europe.

Steve: We created The NYC Downlow for Glastonbury 2007 as an answer to a gaping hole in the British festival scene. It’s a film-set replica of a ruined NYC tenement where the murky homo fantasies of The Downlow crew fuse to resurrect New York’s golden age. The exposed first floor apartment is an outdoor music and performance stage, playing host to the UK’s finest alternative cabaret stars. Having purchased a false moustache from the ‘Porn Kiosk’ (with proceeds going to charity) you make your way down a seedy back alley into a vintage New York gay club.

NYC Downlow At Glastonbury

Did you both think it would become such a talking point and that you’d create this super-popular gay club in the middle of a field in the West Country?

Gideon and Steve: When the NYC Downlow first started it was kinda cobbled together… there were over 50 of us who were there in the mud. We had an inkling that it would really kick off, though we weren’t expecting that on the opening night we would have an instant queue of 300 people waiting to get in! In retrospect looking at the star-studded list of Downlow crew, performers and DJ’s present that first year, it is hardly surprising that it was so popular. Jonny Woo, Jon Sizzle, 9bob Rob, Jim Stanton, Le Gateaux Chocolat, Placid, Luke Howard, James Hillard, Suppository Spelling, Dr Noki, Severino, Foolish Felix… an amazing line up.

How did you guys become involved with Lovebox and what is it about the Sunday that makes it so special?

Gideon and Steve: Jim and James from Horse Meat had done a disco venue at Lovebox in 2006, which was the year before we built the NYC Downlow for Glastonbury. We all had a fucking ball that first year and the boys were keen to bring NYC Downlow to Lovebox as the spiritual home of Horse Meat Disco. They hooked us up with Tim, Jules and Rob from Lovebox and the rest is history. In answer to the “What makes Sunday so special?” question…. well it’s the fact that Sunday is all about the HOMO. And the NYC Downlow is built entirely around the HOMO… from the music, to the set and lighting design…come check it out and you will see.

NYC Downlow At Lovebox

Tell us a bit about what people can expect from NYC Downlow this year and what kind of effort goes in to building the area…

Gideon: The NYC Downlow takes a huge amount of effort to put together really. Shipping containers, cranes, telehandlers, scaffolders, thousands of self-adhesive moustaches, a New York taxicabs, trannies, booze, flashy lights, vintage gay porn, you know…that kinda thing! Stir it all together in Victoria Park, add the finest vintage disco and house and a little sunshine and hey presto – you’ve got yourself The NYC Downlow.

Steve: The Downlow this year features HORSE MEAT DISCO, ANDREW WEATHERALL, OPTIMO, TIM SWEENEY and some killer drag. This year we also have some seriously hot go-go boys too…watch out!

NYC Downlow Lovebox

Was the www.thedownlowradio.com born out of a love of DJIng or just a natural progression from the festival work?

Gideon: www.thedownlowradio.com came about really because of two things. The first was that the NYC Downlow became so successful that people really wanted access to our DJ’s and music throughout the year. Through the NYC Dowlow festival venue we had built a network of underground homo DJ’s from all around the globe who were super keen to get involved. Our regular contributors include some giants like Horse Meat Disco, Greg Wilson, Danielli Baldelli, Hannah Holland, Digs and Whoosh, Joshua Iz and a huge amount of other DJ’s specializing in funk, soul, disco vintage house and reggae! I was regularly making mix tapes and CD’s for friends and I kinda thought that maybe hosting them online somewhere might be a good idea too. The success of Block9’s NYC Downlow plus my relatively large output of mixes kinda just added up to the radio. We had no idea it would become a HUGE thing. Thousands of people around the world listen to us every month. It’s the sound of the homo-funk-soul underground!

Steve: We help fund the radio by selling NYC Downlow merchandise from our online shop

NYC Downlow Vest

The NYC Downlow will be at Lovebox Festival in Victoria Park on Sunday 17th June with Horse Meat Disco, Andrew Weatherall, Tim Sweeney and Optimo. For tickets and further info visit: lovebox.net 

Photo credits: Darrell Berry // NYC Downlow

Re-fuze

For those of you who don’t know already we’ve had some lovely new furniture made for us here at Superstore and we’re so pleased with the results we wanted to show off some pics and give some props to the creator Geoff our carpenter friend at Re-fuze Furniture. He salvages discarded junk and stuff like old furniture, motorbike parts, metal, textiles, plastic and glass and turns then into beautiful, amazing, functional, and ethical items of furniture. We like very much! So we pulled Jeff  out of his workshop for 5 mins for a chat about wood n stuff…

Hi Geoff so how did you get into furniture design?

I started a classic joinery apprenticeship in New Zealand in 1985 and completed that training by 1990. I then went onto work for many different people and finally found myself in the wood reclaiming/recycling business by 1995. I Continued that for three more years before coming over to London in 1998. After working for many different people, I again found myself in the wood reclaiming business in Hoxton. So I set my current workshop up in 2009. The name  Re-fuze came about as part of finding stuff that would too far gone to repair but could be taken apart to make something new. But the answer to your question really is: I’m just drawn to making and experimenting with different materials and I’ve always found it important to make what I want, rather than buy it. And that has become my business. 

You prefer to work with sustainable, recycled sources… what inspired you to take this approach to working with reclaimed materials?

Growing up on farms in NZ, part of making or fixing things was to use what we had rather than go out and buy new. That’s also down to new materials being a timely drive away. So it’s something I’ve done for most of my life. In 2009 I was bored with conventional carpentry and asked myself a question….what is it that I really want to do and make with carpentry? And making furniture out of recycled and reclaimed materials was it. (This was after trying lots of things like photography DJing for 15 years, security, bar work, and pilates instructing.)

Refuze furniture at Dalston Superstore

Without giving away to many secrets where are your favourite places for picking up prize junk?

I call it Hackney Builders Yard. Basically the mean streets of Hackney. It’s surprising what is available if you know what you’re looking for. I also have a few people I buy off for some bigger jobs. 

What were the ideas behind the furniture you built for us here at Superstore?

I was sitting on these banquet seats in the mezzanine area and looked up through the skylight and thought, outdoor space, indoors. Then the banquet became park benches. One of my ideas for table tops is to recreate classic textile designs using wood. So the table in the mezzanine became a picnic table cloth. And what better way to finish off a picnic area, than a picket fence. 

Refuze furniture at Dalston Superstore

The table design in the bar area I like to call ‘Diamonds In The Rough’. The three at the front are argyle patterned and pushed together I call it ‘Snake Belly’. The blue and red one is called ‘Queen Of Clubs’ and the other rough one at the front is call ‘Diamond In The Rough’.

Any other exciting wood adventures you are involved with? 

A few more bits for Dalston Superstore. A project called ‘Table Jam’ which explores turning up to a pile of junk somewhere and tuning it into a charity brief. A fundraising project for an organisation called Electric Pedals in Bermondsey. Doing community based work with young people is very rewarding and giving away my skills is important to me and keeping my trade alive. Oh and I’m working on a new website at the mo at re-fuze.co.uk 

Totes Hackney

Hackney Council have collaborated with some of our most talented local designers to produce a limited run of cotton tote bags to encourage us to use our amazing markets more – and disposable plastic bags less.

Superstore favourite William Richard Green along with Atalanta Weller, Simone Rocha & Mark Fast have all created unique and highly collectable designs that will be available for free from your local Hackney market if you spend £10. The scheme launches tomorrow (Saturday 28th) on Broadway Market, and then Sunday (29th) at Chatsworth Road. The following weekend you can get bags at Ridley Road on Friday (3rd Feb) and Hoxton Market on Sunday (4th Feb).

For full details head to Hackney’s website

William Richard Green

Mark Fast

Atalanta Weller

Simone Rocha