Posts Tagged ‘TWANG’

Positive East

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

What is Positive East’s mission?

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

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

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

What kind of services do you provide?

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

Why is it important that services like yours exist?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Axelle Roch

Homodrop, a brand new homo electro night, makes its Dalston Superstore debut next weekend, with special guest Axelle Roch visiting from Paris. Joining her will be Greg Lowe, Greg Spencer, Bamboo Hermann and TWANG over both floors of Superstore. To find out more about this French babe, we caught up with Axelle ahead of the party to quiz her on techno in her city, LGBT rights in France, and some French language tips to use at queer nights…

What are your highlights of the Parisian dance music scene- where do you go dancing when you are not DJing?

I don’t go out often, so when I party don’t really have a special place I love. I look who is playing… But if I have to choose, I prefer ephemeral/transient places like warehouses. I have been going out clubbing for a long time, so now when I go out, I’m looking for something different than my own experience.

Who or what is the Fox Parisian Crew?

Fox Parisian Crew is a collective and for three years we’ve organised parties at Batofar Club. We’re passionate DJs. Now our party is also in Lyon. We booked a lot of headliners…

We have a simple concept: Beer & Techno! Haha!

How welcoming is Paris to LGBT people?

Since gay marriage has been approved in France, we’ve seen and experienced a lot of trouble. Riots, especially in Paris. LGBT people just want to have the same rights as heterosexuals: marriage, children, and so on… It’s a long way to open mindedness for some people. I think it’s like that everywhere. Gay people are welcomed by some, and not for others… I heard that in Montpellier a gay flag is flying on an official building, at the same time at the place where first gay marriage has been celebrated… so, I take this like a hope. 

Who are your techno heroes?

I love Audiofly, Tini, Villalobos… I think there’s a new generation of very good DJs. I especially love music from Fuse London Label. Seb Zito is also amazing! Jessica Diaz too, she’s from Argentina, she’s great. Recently  I discovered Dana Ruh on Brouqade Label, woos! I mean, her music is exactly what I’m looking for actually. Also music from Romania, minimal, very class..  yes I have to admit it, women are very good DJs and producers, their music has more soul, it really talks to me.

When we spoke to Jennifer Cardini earlier this year she told us all about Le Pulp and the birth of Paris’ (more open) lesbian scene… how would you describe it now?

I think people are now trying to be together. Whatever your sexuality or sexual orientation… I mean we don’t care if the music is good, as long as the vibe is good; all people share the same vibe. Love and dance… for me it’s exactly that sensation I am looking for. A community of dancers… 

But I know that a place like Pulp did a lot of good for lesbian community. A lot of straight people think: Oh! A lesbian party cannot mean good music or good vibe! Hahah you know?!  But I was too young during the ”Pulp” period. I’ve been there just one time. 

If you had a time machine and could visit any dancefloor anywhere/anywhen where would you want to go dancing?

I think I’d explore every decade, the ’60s, ’70s ’80s, the new wave scene, the punk scene, even rock ‘n roll! Also I’d have to swing by Studio 54 in NYC… and why not explore the future in 150 years? 

Can you teach us some essential French for going out in Paris to queer nights and dance clubs…?

“C’est Fat!”, “Ca envoie du Lourd!”, “Je suis saucée!”

It’s Fat! It’s heavy! I’m like a salsa! 

What record in your collection would surprise people to learn that you love?

Brouqade Label, and music from Romania. I love Romanian underground resistance. It’s groovy deepy and sexy!

Who are your top underrated French DJs?

Easy… David Guetta, Bob Sinclair, ect…. 

What’s the biggest misconception about techno in Paris that outsiders have?

The Parisian scene is really rising up… we have something like a subdivision ministry dedicated to the Parisian nightlife… Our mayor Mme Hidalgo writes letters to congratulate some Parisian clubs, when they are rated Top 10 in international magazines, for example Badaboum. I honestly think it’s so cool and encouraging! 

Join Axelle for Homodrop on Saturday 22nd November at Dalston Superstore from 9pm – 3am.

Photo Credit: Chill Okubo