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Best of 2012/13



R O A D S T H AT W O R K : M O S E S P O W E R S , A R T I S T A N D C U R AT O R PAGE 41






C O N T E N T S / PA G E



CULTURE 0 5 A B O U T B L A C K H I S T O RY M O N T H 0 7 C H R I S T M A S : A C E L E B R AT I O N O F L I G H T 0 9 T H E B E S T O F B O T H W O R L D S : B E I N G S E C O N D G E N E R AT I O N P O L I S H I N M U LT I C U LT U R A L L O N D O N 1 1 T H R O U G H T H E L E N S : M I L LWA L L’ S F I G H T A G A I N S T R A C I S M 1 5 A L I J AWA D : A PA R A LY M P I A N ’ S L E G A C Y



ARTS 2 5 A I W E I W E I : N E V E R S O R RY 2 6 F R A N K FA I R F I E L D 2 7 S K U N X TAT T O O : F U N D R A I S I N G E V E N T 2 8 L I F E T H R O U G H D E AT H : G R E G B E N N I C K 2 9 C R A C K I N G T H E C RY S TA L PA L A C E M Y S T E RY 30 MCCROW 3 1 R AY S H E L L : T H E A R T O F E M P O W E R M E N T 32 ALEX CF 3 3 R O A D W O R K S R O C K S T H E P O R T O B E L L O F I L M F E S T I VA L 3 4 F I L M R E V I E W : K I L L I N G T H E M S O F T LY | D R E D D : 3 D | R E D H O O K S U M M E R 3 5 P I M P M Y P O P A R T: T H E A R T D R I V E ! B M W C A R C O L L E C T I O N 1 9 7 5 - 2 0 1 0 3 6 L I S T E N U P : S A L LY V O X | M O N R O E | L I T T L E L E A G U E S 3 7 P H O T O G R A P H Y: C AT H R I N E E R T M A N N

ADVICE 3 9 D I S E A S E S I D O N ’ T WA N T 4 1 R O A D S T H AT W O R K : M O S E S P O W E R S , A R T I S T A N D C U R AT O R 4 3 W H Y Y O U S H O U L D N E V E R D AT E A N A R T I S T 4 5 R O A D S T H AT W O R K : D J B L A C K T O W E R



D e a r Roadwor kers, C h a nge i s im po r tant and constant, a n d in a p la c e lik e L o n d o n , wh e re p e o p le ’s un i v e r s e s c o l l i d e a t f u l l s p e e d , a h u g e p a r t o f l i f e . Per sonally, I might not have fig u re d o u t h o w t o h a n d le c h a n g e in my p e rs o n a l l i f e y e t . B u t I i d o l i s e t h o s e w h o h a v e pe rs evered again st adversity to trans f o r m t h e wo rld a ro u n d t h e m f o r t h e b e t t e r, a s w e a l l s h o u l d a n d a s w e a t R o a d w o r k s a l l t r y i n our little wa y to do. This 2 0 1 2 / 1 3 re v ie w is s u e is t h e p ic k o f t h e lit t e r f ro m R o a d w o r k s M a g a z i n e ’s p ro l i f i c w r i t e r s a n d w ants to be a cele bra tio n of pe o p le wh o f o u g h t f o r c h a n g e . As o ur proj ects a n d faces ma y e ver m u t a t e , it is t h is c h a n g e t h a t d e f in e s u s a n d w i l l n e v e r s t o p d o i n g s o . I f I c o u l d c h a n ge the w or ld with th e pu sh o f a b u t t o n , t h a t b u t t o n wo u ld re a c h a c a re f u lly i n t e r w o v e n t h re a d o f w i re s t o y o u r h e a r t s a n d m i nds. It w ould tell you that yo u a re g o o d e n o u g h t o d o a n d le a r n a n y t h in g y o u n e e d t o l e a r n t o g e t w h a t e v e r y o u n e e d to get. It wo u ld ma ke you feel emp o we re d , ma g ic a lly, t o s t a re t h e t h in g s t ha t y o u f e a r i n t h e c h o p s a n d t a k e a s w i n g w h i c h will ulti m ate ly connect, leaving y o u v ic t o rio u s a n d p ro u d . I do n’t have that button. To my kn o wle d g e , it d o e s n ’t e x is t a n d wo u ld b e a wk wa rd t o i n s t a l l . B u t w h a t I d o h a v e i s t h e pro d uct of a series of bu tto n s, wh ich wh e n p re s s e d a n d c o mp ile d c o rre c t ly, c a n p u s h y o u e v e r s o s l i g h t l y i n t h i s r i g h t di re cti on. Really, all I h a ve is th e se tw o min u t e s y o u r lif e , rig h t h e re , re a d in g t h i s l e t t e r t o t e l l y o u t h a t y o u c a n d o i t . L o o k y o u r fear s up an d down . K iss your te e t h a n d g e t ro u g h if y o u h a v e t o . R e s t ra in t , i n t ro s p e c t i o n , d e t e r m i n a t i o n a n d f a i t h i n y o u r choices are your we a pons in yo u r e p ic b a t t le t h ro u g h t h is n e x t y e a r a s we ll a s t h e g a m e o f l i f e . P i c k t h e r i g h t c re w, do n ’t for get to have th e righ t tools for t h e jo b a n d b e d e c is iv e . We h a v e s u rv iv e d t h e e n d o f t h e w o r l d : i t m i g h t a s w e l l b e a z o mbi e film out th e re . O r maybe I’ve ju st be e n wa tchin g too mu c h T h e Wa lk in g De a d . O h we ll. Si gn ing out,

J o s e ph C esare / F o u n din g Edito r / Men t o r / Hu ma n


E N T E R TA I N , I N S P I R E , E D U C AT E A N D E N L I G H T E N Roadworks Media We are an award-winning creative community interest company that provides media solutions to governmental agencies as well as private sector markets. We offer mentorships and pre-apprenticeship workshops to young people who wish to gain an understanding of the creative industries, focusing on NEETS and the vulnerable. Since 2009, Roadworks uses its knowledge and experience to cover all asects of media production. Through our unique qualities we aim to establish a new, fresh look at the media industries. Our ethos is to entertain, inspire, educate and to enlighten. We continually strive to instil these ideas into young people in order to motivate them to engage with media and express themselves creatively through it. Roadworks also acts as a launch pad for young people looking to kick start their careers in media and the creative arts. Through the on-going mentoring programme, the aim is to discover hidden talent, nurture it and inspire young minds, beefing up their CVs with experience on the field and encouraging them to chase their dreams.






Julien Bernard-Grau

Quince Garcia

Joseph Cesare

Julien is the co-founder of Roadworks Media. His involvement with film and theatre covers lighting design to writing, producing, performing and directing. He is continually working on new and exciting projects, such as the native Spirit Foundation’s Film Festival.

Quince is the co-founder of Roadworks Media and a film and animation buff. The journey that he has been on and the barriers he overcame are a testament to the company’s strength and his own survival skills.

Joseph possesses a combination of writing, publishing and PR skills and has a penchant for creating and guiding new projects. He is the founder of Roadworks Magazine and the mentor of Roadworks Radio’s young deejays.



P. R

Erica Masserano

Fa y e C o n s t a b l e

Ky r a n M e h t a

Erica is an experienced translator, editor, writer and social worker. Her interests lie in the intersection of cultural encounters, investigative journalism and righteous indignation.

Faye is a graphic designer with a passion for editorial design. She single-handedly designed this issue of the magazine. She is passionate about charity work and volunteers for the African children’s charity Msizi Africa.

Kyran’s background in business and marketing makes her a perfect candidate to get Roadworks’ message to our audience and manage ourweb presence. Her level head nature also makes her the natural diplomatic leader.

INTERN Un-Hae Schweitzer Un-Hae is the indispensable intern which organizational skills and practical mindset have allowed Roadworks to stay efficiently on course.






by Un-Hae Schweitzer



I T ’ S T H AT T I M E O F T H E Y E A R A G A I N : B L A C K H I S T O R Y M O N T H

TIME TO REMEMBER AND CELEBRATE THE IMPORTANT people and events in the history of the African diaspora. Now, this celebration comes but once a year in the month of October, and I am not particularly fond of it. Why, you may ask. My experience of Black History Month, particularly from the schooling point of view, left me feeling both quite affronted and incompletely informed. If the school’s teaching on black history is to be believed, we originated around 1700 as slaves. Anything prior remains a mystery. Nothing much happened until 1863, when the slaves were freed. Then came the Jim Crow period, and after that everything remained in stasis until the 1950s and the Civil Rights movement. Rosa Parks refused to leave her seat, Rodney King was beaten up, everything became okay for black people, the end. Who could not fail but to be proud of such a history? There are a lot of things wrong with this picture. For instance, why does our history have to begin with slavery? Clearly, it is a strong component of our recent history and it has affected us since, but what about the 4000 plus years prior to that? What were we doing then? Secondly, why are all these people we remember African American? Why must we only get the African American perspective and why must all our leaders and ‘representatives’ of black culture be African American? Here in Britain, the majority of black people are of Caribbean origin. So why don’t we learn of the Haitian Revolution started in 1791 by Toussaint Loverture, the period after the passenger of the Windrush arrived to Britain in 1948, and the experiences of the Caribbean peoples in general? Now, this could be a starting point: what about before black people took over the Caribbean? What of their African origins? Obviously, trying to condense thousands of years of history of an entire continent into a month is a big and impossible task, but we do learn about the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the periods classically interpreted as the peak of European culture. Where are our

equivalents? The Songhay Empire, the Mali Empire, the Zimba-bwean Kingdom,Nubia, this could be a starting point: what about before black people took over the Caribbean? What of their African origins? Obviously, trying to condense thousands of years of history of an entire continent into a month is a big and impossible task, but we do learn about the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the periods classically interpreted as the peak of European culture. So why don’t we learn of the Haitian Revolution started in 1791 by Toussaint Loverture, the period after the passe ger of the Windrush arrived to Britain in 1948, and the experiences of the Caribbean peoples in general? Now, this could be a starting point: what about before black people took over the Caribbean? What of their African origins? Obviously, trying to condense thosands of years of history of an entire continent into a month is a big and impossible task, but we do learn about the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the periods classically interpreted as the peak of European culture. Where are our equivalents? The Songhay Empire, the Mali Empire, the Zimbabwean Kingdom, Nubia, the Great Zimbabwean Empire, the Egyptians for crying out loud! Another peeve of mine is: why are our greatest achievements portrayed to be limited to music, sport and occasionally art? Now, do not get me wrong: the arts play a vital role in any culture and are often seen as an indicator of its prosperity, i.e. when times are tough funding to the arts is usually among the first to go. But where are our pioneers, scientists, inventors, business leaders? This stripping of our history to a very dark few hundred years does not allow for forming a solid sense of identity. Every history has its dark periods, but if you begin in darkness it is much harder to find the light, especially if you don’t know what the light looks like and all you are exposed to is artificial light. 6

T O C H R I S T I A N S , this is an extremely meaningful event, as this marked the beginning of the Son of God’s life on Earth. Once Jesus was born, the Son of God came to live with the people, to reconnect them to God, and God humbled himself by living in a working class family. Indeed, it was mostly poor, working people such as shepherds who the angel Gabriel spoke to prior to Jesus’ birth, and a birth in an animals’ stable, due to the local inns being full up. Throughout his life on Earth, Jesus associated with many of the ‘lowest of the low’ such as prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers. Thirty-three years after his birth, Jesus died a criminals’ death, and according to Christian belief, took the penalty for mankind’s sins himself so that all who truly believe could be reconciled to God. Christmas is traditionally celebrated on the 25th of December, although whether this was the day Jesus was born is often questioned. Many believe the date has been deliberately lined up with the winter solstice, which ties in with ancient European pagan festivals. No Christmas in western countries today seems to be complete without a Christmas tree, a tradition introduced in the nineteenth century from Germany. This is also thought to date back to very pagan festivals of worshipping the elements, such as the sun, moon, or trees. This connection is apparent: St. Patrick looked for ways in which Christian celebrations fitted in with annual pagan festivals already being celebrated in Ireland, when he came to spread the Gospel. Many other cultures and faiths also 7



As I write this in mid-November, already many shops and businesses are preparing for Christmas; or rather, the Christmas rush. In supermarkets, as soon as Halloween has been and gone, goods such as Christmas trees, tinsel, baubles, stockings, advent calendars, spray-on artificial snow and suchlike are on display. Very soon, carol singers will be on the streets as well, along with people posting and hand-delivering greetings cards. But what is the truemeaning of Christmas?

have a celebration of hope and light at this time of the year. Jesus was born into a Jewish family, and Hanukkah is traditionally celebrated by Jews just before Christmas. This tradition derives by an event in the time of the Philistine invasion, when Jewish homes had been invaded and looted (not to mention having pigs, indecent to Judaism, invaded and looted (not to mention having pigs, indecent to Judaism, released into them) and the synagogue rulers had been left with only enough oil to keep the lamp burning for one more day. The Torah (Jewish law) states that the synagogue’s lamp must remain burning as a light to represent the light of God. While some went to find more oil, people knew it would take days to bring it to the synagogue. And yet, the lamp remained burning for eight more days! Hanukkah consequently lasts for eight days, and a menorah, a stand holding nine candles, is lit. Presents are given out on the last night of Hanukkah, and like Christmas, it is a time when all families who can gather together for the celebration. I was born into a family with both Jewish and Christian ancestry, and when I was three, my parents began attending a Quaker meeting. Quakerism, a ‘breakaway’ faith founded by George Fox in response to the corruption of the Church of England at the time, originally did not approve of celebrating Christmas day, because of God’s being in all human beings and times. Some of the implications of this philosophy remain to this day; for example, the refusal to swear an oath in court as it implies a

lesser standard of honesty in everyday life. Early Quakers believed that all days were holy, and therefore treating Christmas as a special time of the year suggested other days were not, although today, many meetings tolerate and encourage people celebrating these festivals. An other permanent feature of Christmas today is Santa Claus (or Santa, St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, Chris Cringle, Père Noël, and many other names). This legendary figure’s story has developed over many centuries. There is a Russian tale of Mother Baboushka, who intended to travel to Jesus’ birth with gifts, but never got around to it. Afterwards, she regretted this so much that he decided to visit every child to bring gifts, not knowing which of them was Jesus. Scandinavian tradition tells of Saint Nicholas re-appearing on Christmas Eve, using a sleigh to deliver gifts to people in these snowy countries. During extreme winters, with people short of food, it is thought that some resorted to eating poisonous toadstools and fungus, that caused hallucinations such as sleighs flying through the sky. Legend has it he lives at the North Pole, which probably has its origins in Scandinavian folklore as well. This jolly, bearded man is invariably shown today wearing lots of red, but until the 1930’s his dress-sense varied between both red and green. The Coca-Cola company, whose flagship cans are red, are said to be responsible for Santa’s modern look from their advertising, with much older pictures of him looking more saintly. A message heard all too 8

often today is the complaint that Christmas has become too commercialised. While corporate giants have indeed overblown the shopping spree for presents, for countless people this really is the hardest time of the year. Everyone knows of Dickens’ classic novel A Christmas Carol in which Ebeneezer Scrooge takes the belief of Christmas as ‘just another day’ to the extreme, being the miser he usually is. Scrooge is reformed on Christmas Eve, having been visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. The novel has become so famous today that it is easy to forget how groundbreaking a story this was in the nineteenth century. Dickens used novels like A Christmas Carol and Oliver Twist to highlight the terrible conditions in which people living right under the noses of the wealthy aristocrats and industry barons, and to tell the public that these people needed to be looked after properly. Charities and other organisations today make every effort to help those in bad housing or out on the streets, but sadly, many thousands still suffer terribly year round, and especially at Christmas. As a child, I liked Christmas for the presents and good food. I still enjoy Christmas presents and roast dinner, and the general feeling of celebration at this time of the year. While in some senses it has lost the ‘magic’ it seemed to have when I was a child, for me it is still a time of celebrating. Christmas always gives me a sense of hope for the new year ahead, and I love that it is still a celebration of kindness, generosity, peace, compassion, love, hope and light.




by Sandra Majchrowska

E I N G S E C O N D G E N E R AT I O N P O L I S H , born and bred in East London, I’ve been faced with the lifelong challenge of trying to discover and assemble my internal identity, whilst fighting against what others have imposed it on me to be. In Poland I’m “Hey Londyn”, here I’m Sandra, you know, the “Polish girl.” This in itself has caused me to experience internal conflicts, a tug of war between my Polish blood and my British ways. Striving for a sense of belonging, at one stage I was ashamed of my roots and denied who I am. At the time when my mother emigrated to London, where typically then most foreigners sought the grass to be greener, there weren’t many Eastern Europeans in our area. People were intrigued, but also ignorant and even racist in response to this new addition in their urban underclass community. The negative reception of the natives towards her as a newcomer was one of many things that were detrimental to her sense of self, which she soon enough lost. The lack of integration my mother experienced and the hostility she faced being a ‘Polish bitch’ made her feel alienated. Interestingly, the culture shock my mother initially experienced for many years was overridden when she began a long, turbulent relationship with a Dominican man. A man who’s ‘alien’ wouldn’t be tolerated well, nor viewed as the ideal in Poland. However, if we look on since the European Union, there has been a rise in Polish people having interracial relationships, particularly with people from black and Asian ethnic groups. This commistion of races led to the phenomenon of a new emerging hybrid culture. It is also phenomenal how much Poland has changed, for example with John Abraham Johnson being the first black MP in the Polish parliament. In this sense, there has been a shift in attitudes for the better. Although I myself was born into a multicultural society, it was through my mother’s relationship with it that I became accustomed to black culture. This was the dominant

ethnic group within our area and, for a while, it helped her compromise with her unhappiness amongst the natives. In my case, it came to form a central part of my identity. At one point, I felt more comfortable around black people than anyone else, because I felt accepted. But I also feel that many people do not understand the extent of white on white racism, discrimination and xenophobia which occurs in areas especially outside of London and is something that I have personally experienced. People assume that being white means you can integrate seamlessly, with no problems. Yet I knew I was different; I could speak another another language, not to mention I had a lengthy surname that people pronounce mistakenly, being illiterate in Polish. I was oblivious to her harsh accent, until I became a teenager and became ashamed of it, for which I remember yelling at my mother not to “speak to me in this bloody language.” This frustration and embarrassment developed because of the stereotypical views attached to the ‘Poles’, a term now used out of context by the media, and which I personally feel could be as offensive as saying ‘chink’, ‘nigger’, ‘Paddy’ or ‘paki’. I feel that Poland as a nation is completely underrated in the UK, and the media have played a significant part in this. Although London is like an ethnic rainbow, there still are many ignorant views about people of different origin, partly because people are never truly educated to understand. But identity shouldn’t be tarnished, it shouldn’t be made to feel like something unwanted, something imposed. Some can guess that I’m ‘not from here’, whilst others are shocked that I can speak English so well. Even basic comments of whether I miss back home and people being adamant that I’m not white but Polish, means my race, ethnicity and nationality are at a constant collision. I’m constantly trying to help people understand my dual identity and that whether I like it or not my heart, soul and sentiments lay in both countries. 9





QUINCE GARCIA We do have issues in this country but football has an opportunity to lead the way in educating people of their ignorance, and few clubs are working harder than Millwall.


T H R O U G H T H E L E N S : M I L LWA L L ’ S F I G H T A G A I N S T R A C I S M


by Michael da Silva

N THE DAY MARVIN SORDELL CLAIMED HE AND other Bolton players were racially abused by Millwall fans, lifelong Lions supporter Quince Garcia was at the Den shooting a film on Millwall’s anti-racism efforts. Quince is the third generation of the Garcia family to regularly attend Millwall’s home games – and the Garcias were one of the first black families to arrive in Camberwell in the late 1950s. And now filmmaker Garcia, 34, has been given unprecedented access by Millwall to make two short films to be released at the end of this month to highlight the strides the club has made to tackle the issue. Garcia admits Sordell’s claims were disheartening given how much work Millwall have done in the community over the years – but says this is a cultural problem, not a football problem. “I was disappointed, but not surprised, to hear Sordell’s claims of racial abuse,” father-of-two Garcia told the News. “But this issue is not exclusive to Millwall. All you can do is make it known that racism isn’t acceptable. The club does so much in the community and the idea of a black guy going behind the scenes at Millwall may help break down some of the pre-conceived ideas of the club.” Garcia, who grew up on the Elmington Estate in Camberwell, used to attend games at the Old Den with his uncle, Norman Garcia. In the film, Norman narrates his experiences of having loyally followed Millwall, his local team, since the late 1960s. “I saw racism on the terraces in the 1980s but Millwall was by no means unique. I used to see and hear the same things at other grounds in London and across the country, so I started to think that was just the culture of football.” “My uncle is 58 and has supported the club since he arrived from Jamaica as a teenager. This is where he lives and has grown up, and he supports his local club. He has never let anyone get in his way of that. He loves the team and loves the game and everything else was always less important to him.” Football culture has evolved for the better and initiatives to stamp racism out of the game has helped it turn the corner. Kick It Out has been running since 1993 and has been praised by world football’s governing body FIFA for its tireless campaigning. When it comes to removing racism at a local level, however, the bonus is on individual clubs, and Millwall have achieved more racism-related convictions than any other. But despite Egyptian player Hussein Hegazi becoming the first ethnic player to pull on the Millwall shirt in 1912 and one of the first minority players to play in England, others still see Millwall negatively – and Garcia believes there is still plenty of work to be done. “There are some really good activists for racial equality in football but it rarely gets highlighted and a club like Millwall often gets the brunt of it. There is no question Millwall is a victim of its own reputation,” Garcia said. “The minority of fans that behave in this way need to look at themselves and ask if they want Millwall’s name dragged through the mud. How do we want to be seen? The Old Den used to be packed and if the club wants that for the New Den the fans need to think about making it more viable for families and ethnic minorities.” Despite the ongoing battle, Garcia says that Millwall’s very acceptance to make this film illustrates that they are leading the way when it comes to fighting racism. “The idea that they are open to us making this film is encouraging,” said Garcia. “If we had gone to other clubs in London we would still be waiting, so we want to highlight their openness.” Garcia, the co-founder of the project with Roadworks Media colleague Julien Bernard-Grau, has made two

short films on Millwall. The first is a corporate look at the club and the other focuses on Norman Garcia’s 40-year support of Millwall - and is described as “on the fans, for the fans”. “The corporate film is textbook documentary style,” Streatham’s Bernard-Grau told the News. “We’re interviewing the staff and the players and filmed Saturday’s match against Bolton. We’ll have that footage running alongside interviews with the fans – and hopefully we’ll get to talk to the players too. “The second film will focus on Quince’s uncle, who will be narrating. It will focus on his history of going to Millwall and how he has watched the club evolve. It will challenge people’s pre-conceived ideas about the club and, although it will still be in documentary style, it will be a visual piece.” “We want to highlight the things that are not said about Millwall. The club has changed, and continues to change, and the films will highlight the work done by Millwall in the community, its outreach programmes and various youth-led initiatives.” Bernard-Grau, 29, who runs the film department at Roadworks Media and has worked at the BritDoc film festival, believes that while racism still manifests itself in football, English culture as a whole has allowed these problems to exist for too long. “Some countries in Europe have further than us to go, so as a continent and a nation it’s on us to push it. It’s no good us looking at previous generations and just saying “well, they were fucked up,” it’s about us looking at ourselves and saying we’re not going to stand for it. “I think it’s very interesting that we live in a country that talks about racial tolerance, but what does that mean? We’re tolerating another race and, from the outset, we’re not talking about acceptance or celebration – just tolerating. We’re not starting at the right point,” said Bernard-Grau. “England has a very interesting history with race and attitudes towards it. Football is the backbone of British cultural heritage and racism has nothing to do with football. It is to do with England’s culture and how we are addressing issues such as racial tolerance.” The release of Garcia and Bernard- Grau’s film is a timely one, given Sordell’s claims. But the pair believe if their film can have an impact in the local community, it can be the catalyst for change. “The people that live in the area around the Den are predominantly from ethnic minorities, whereas 15 to 20 years ago it was a white community,” said Bernard- Grau. “They are local people that should be attending the matches but because of their misconceived fears – and perhaps ticket prices that are beyond what they can afford – they are not going to matches. “But why would you go to a club that you believe is racist? You’re not going to want to be a part of that. So while Millwall have worked very hard on this, there is still work to be done.” The head of security at Millwall now receives reports from fans. If there’s a racist comment or chant heard by someone, they are not afraid to report it and it goes straight to the head of security. Fans at Millwall are not having it anymore. “This isn’t the opera, so you’re not going to get the same kind of crowd, but there is a line and when it is crossed Millwall fans say so,” Bernard-Grau added. “We do have issues in this country but football has an opportunity to lead the way in educating people of their ignorance, and few clubs are working harder than Millwall.” This is an abridged version, reprinted with the permission of Southwark News: 13





A L I JAWA D : A PA R A LY M P I A N ’ S L E G AC Y by E r i c a M a s s e r a n o


LI JAWAD is coming straight from training. Which means that I’ve just seen him lift massive rings of metal like it didn’t even matter, and that now he is being interviewed without a trace of fatigue showing in his piercing gaze or his well-formulated replies. But then, this should be no surprise. Ali may be studying 23-year-old Sports Science student at the University of East London, but his story is one of unflinching discipline and self-determination. Ali is a world-class Paralympian powerlifter, and has been a professional judoka. Translation: this guy could kick your ass so hard, and he really doesn’t need his legs to do that. Despite the astonishing result discipline, his entrance into pro-

fessional sports was by chance. “A friend of mine sort of forced me into the gym, and I got noticed. If it wasn’t for that day, I don’t think I’d have ever thought about becoming a professional,” he recalls. Ali decided at age six that he was going to win Paralympic gold. However, Paralympic judo only accepts field-of-vision impaired or blind athletes, so being an amputee meant that he could not participate in the Games. He was ready to quit and concentrate on his GCSEs. And then, as he puts it, “powerlifting kind of found me, rather than the otherway around.” Ali would win gold at the 2008 World Junior Championships and set a new British unior and senior record and a EU junior record of 165kg, all this when he was only 15

19. “For me to qualify for the other way around.” Ali would win gold at the 2008 World Junior Championships and set a new British junior and senior record and a EU junior record of 165kg, all this when he was only 19. “For me to qualify for Beijing, I would have needed to break the record, even though the record hadn’t been broken in 25 years. I had no choice,” Ali says, understated as usual. Hours before Beijing, he fell ill with what would later be diagnosed as Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory condition causing acute abdominal pain. Ali ended 9th in Beijing, but by the times the London Paralympics rolled around, he was in shape and ready for them. Ali had a pleasant experience

CUL/TURE a month or so, it felt like Britain really was happy, for the first time in many years. There was a strong connection through sport. But some of the choices that have been made since, especially regarding funding, in my opinion have been wrong.” The budget for Paralympic powerlifting, which was already in the lowest bracket in terms of state support, has been slashed, going from £1 million to £800.000. Olympic handball, basketball, table tennis and wrestling, as well as Paralympic sitting volleyball and wheelchair fencing will not be funded at all In comparison, Olympic athletics, rowing and swimming all get between £27 and £25. Disability swimming, which is the top Paralympic sport in terms of funding, gets £11.8 million. Ali observes that more money will be diverted towards sports in which athletes have been more successful at winning medals.


of the London Games, finding them very organized, with the Village accessible for wheelchair users like himself and “probably the best volunteers I’ve worked with”. Ali is all so clearly grateful to his public. “The stadium was packed out with people cheering for us. You can’t ask for more than that”. Unfortunately, his Olympic tour de force was marked by the loss of the silver medal in highly controversial circumstances. Ali recounts his performance in the 56kg category. I have heard him do this a couple of times, so I see him enter into story mode, emotions barely visible under the stubborn self-control of the champion. “On the last attempt there was a situation where it was either silver or nothing,” says Ali. He was trying to lift 189kg. “The last lift was a lift. The referees

disagreed, so we appealed, and it was up to the jury to overturn it. The decision from the jury should come within the first couple of minutes, because if they took longer you’d cool down and your adrenaline would go up; instead, I was kept there for ten, fifteen minutes. The jury then decided that the referees were wrong, so the lift should have been good. But they made me retake the lift. This is against the regulations book, which says in a case like this the lift should be given. We still haven’t been given an explanation for this.” The dismissal of the lift meant that the valid result was 185kg, gaining him a hard-to-swallow 4th place. And this is not the only disappointment that Ali has been in for this year. “It was really good, during the Olympics, that the country really came together. For 16

“The big sports will be able to invest heavily on the development programmes for their sports, and the lesser ones won’t. The sports that do not receive enough funding will be forced to concentrate their efforts on the elite athletes. If all this is about legacy, it should be about development, not about the elite,” is Ali’s analysis. And he knows what happens when there is no investment in people’s future. Lebanese-born Ali has lived all his life in Tottenham, and the riots sweeped through his neighborhood in 2011. “It looked like a war zone. I lived five minutes away from the center of the riots, and for a week or so there would be police and people everywhere on the streets, and the feeling that things could kick off again any minute.” Obviously, the riots were a hot topic with family, friends and locals: “Some were surprised, even shocked, but some weren’t at all. Tottenham is very deprived. I’m not saying I’m happy with what happened, but if people are treated unfairly, they might at some point end up retaliating. They wanted to make a point, and they did.” Ali is not optimistic about the aftermath either. “I think Tottenham got its 15 minutes of fame, and then kind of got forgotten about again.” Ali is at a crossroads. He is fighting Crohn’s and keeping to a mild training regime while he determines whether he wants to return to full hours. He also keeps working towards his degree in Sports Science. He definitely hopes that the propaganda about an Olympic and Paralympic legacy is followed up by facts, for young athletes’ sake. “I’d always encourage kids to get into sports. It’s enjoyable, it boosts your social life, obviously you get fit, it reduces the effect of a lot of illnesses... But to pursue it at an elite level, you have to sacrifice a lot, and it gets quite expensive, unless you’re really, really good. Seeing how things are going, I’d say: get into the right sport, or be prepared for things to be harder”, he adds. And that seems to sum up Ali Jawad’s philosophy at the moment: always strive for the best, but also prepare for the worst. If the Games have had any worth at all,it was in showing us the inspiring performances of people with the same towering determination to break all limits their body imposes on them. In their ideal form, the Olympics and Paralympics are a celebration of achievement. And Ali Jawad has scored not one, but many gold medals for Team Human. Congratulations to him for the past, and best of luck for the future.




ADIES AND GENTLEMAN, it is not my intention for this article to sound like some sort of ‘Dear diary’, today I found a pube’ confession. I know that you probably have little interest in the musings of a stranger; nevertheless, I need to get this off my chest. I have been on quite a journey in the last few months. My mind has been metaphorically blown after reading Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, and after religiously reading a blog that I am now addicted to: The Vagenda. People, I have come to the realization that I am a raging feminist, and it has been a bumpy road. At first I felt empowered, but now I am not so sure. I look around and see that we are imprisoned in our own bodies. We wax, diet, and constantly groom our bodies in the quest for social and cultural acceptance. Although I consider myself a feminist, I still love anything with flowers on. I still love fashion. And make-up. And kittens, actually. Even though I am a feminist I enjoy painting my nails; I find it therapeutic. I enjoy cooking and baking because I take pleasure in eating the finished product. And I love fluffy wuffy little animals because I have a heart. But I also love feeling comfortable and confident within myself, and this is exactly what feminism has allowed me to do. At the age of sixteen, I told my mom I wanted a boob job. She grudgingly they’re a declined to support me, and said maybe when I was eighteen (mainly because I can throw an Oscar worthy tantrum). Thankfully, now, at the age of twenty-one, I have never gone under the

by Rebecca Hobbs knife and never will, not for cosmetic reasons. And do you know what? I have grown to love my double-A’s. I love them because they’re mine, because gift from my parents, who brought me into this world. They’re a gift from my mother who went through hours of excruciating labour in order to give me life. I love them because they don’t have life threatening cancerous lumps in them (which would be harder to detect if they were stuffed with silicone bags). I am especially glad that I didn’t go under the knife, because in choosing not to do so, I didn’t give £3000 of my already limited financial resources to an industry that plays on and even creates male and female insecurities. Penoplasties and labiaplasties are an increasingly popular procedure. Oh, a labiaplasty is just when a surgeon performs an operation on your vagina to ‘neaten’ it up so you can emulate those inspirational porn stars who spread empowering messages to women all over the world. OH I’M SORRY. I DIDN’T REALIZE MY PERFECTLY HEALTHY VAGINA NEEDS AN OPERATION. DICKS AREN’T EXACTLY OIL PAINTINGS. I mean seriously, what’s the deal with balls? That £3000 could pay for a month’s travelling, a new car or a wardrobe bursting with new clothes. Just for the record, having small boobs means you can wear pretty much anything you want. WIN. Don’t get me wrong, big boobs are beautiful, and so are the ageing breasts of a sixty year old woman. They’re beautiful because they’re the breasts of a woman who has lived a life; 17

a woman who has sunbathed on the beach, a woman who has had romantic escapades, a woman who has possibly breast-fed many children. Why is an ageing woman considered to be an ugly thing? Surely a life that has been lived is a beautiful thing to behold. And I’ll tell you something else: when my black hair starts to grey, I’m going to embrace it and rock it with red lipstick and dark eyebrows circa Madonna in the 80s. Greying men are silver foxes, why aren’t greying women silver vixens? Without sounding really cheesy, and maybe even a little bit creepy, you are beautiful the way you are, whether you’re a size 20 or a size 6, black or white, because you’re you, and there will never be another you. Ever. We need to stop hating our bodies: the cosmetic surgery industry exists purely because we hate ourselves. We can make the media less harmful to us if we acknowledge that we are simply being sold a product. Beauty isn’t real. It is not a fixed idea. And as soon as you stick plastic lumps in your chest and have fat violently sucked out of your thighs, the idea of perfection will only shift again to meet the demands of the market. Just think about the hugely popular voluptuous J. Lo arse of the early noughties that has now been replaced with the athletic and petite Pippa Middleton designer arse. If this has struck a nerve with you, then I strongly suggest that you read Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth. Or even better, we can meet up for a pint to discuss the issue further. Beer and feminism: my idea of heaven. But until my next rant, peace out, brothers and sisters!



“Oh I’m sorry. I didn’t realise my perfectly healthy vagina needs an operation. Dicks aren’t exactly oil paintings.”


T H E G R E AT INSURRECTION: B R I X TO N Y E S T E R DAY & TO DAY by N a t a l i e N a t a s h a Co l ly m o r e


ARLY NEXT YEAR, BRIXTON WILL bear the fruits of a multi-million pound regeneration project that will further cement its place in British black history, when Raleigh Hall becomes home to Europe’s largest black history and cultural centre. The centre will be a gold mine for information concerning black identity in Britain, but ultimately it will endea or to tell the story of Black Brixtonians, their struggle for freedom of movement, and their contribution to the changed face of Britain and its cultural, social, political and economic life. There are around half a million black Londoners, and for many of them Brixton is seen as the UK’s capital of the black population. It is the place that originally started the celebrations that we have come to know and love as Notting Hill Carnival – a reflection of the area’s ambience,

which has always been laced with musicality and creativity. Brixton has a wealth of black talent. Two sporting successes to be born in the area are Danny Williams, the heavyweight champion who defeated Mike Tyson with a knock out in 2004, and Nyron Nosworthy, a professional footballer who plays for Watford. It is the site of Amy Winehouse’s tryst in her song Me and Mr Jones, and is the subject of Eddie Grant’s Electric Avenue, which speaks of poverty, violence and misery, while celebrating the area. Brixton is home to the father of dub poetry, Linton Kwesi Johnson, a long-time resident of a location that has attracted many other accomplished writers. The Trinidadian journalist, historian and anti-colonialist, C.L.R. Lewis, chose to live on Brixton’s frontline, while fellow resident Darcus Howe formed part of the editorial team at Race Today, a black, fortnightly newspaper whose offices were 19

situated on the Railton Road. Between the 1960s and 1970s, No. 250 Brixton Road was home to the ofices of both the West indian Gazette and the West Indian Observer. The same property later became Campbell’s Record Shop, which was among the first distributors of African-Caribbean music south of the river Thames. It is perhaps only natural that Brixton became a popular home for the West Indian migrants who sailed to the UK aboard the MS Empire Windrush in 1948, whose offices were situated on the Railton Road. Between the 1960s and 1970s, No. 250 Brixton Road was home to the offices of both the West Indian Gazette and the West Indian Observer. The same property later became Campbell’s Record Shop, which was among the first distri-butors of African-Caribbean music south of the river Thames. It is perhaps only natural that Brixton became a popular home for the West



Indian migrants who sailed to the UK aboard the MS Empire Windrush in 1948, and the proceeding African diaspora that followed. For the West indians, the motivation had always been the promise of jobs on arrival: that was the agreement. Thirty years or so later, the frustrations created by a plague of unemployment, social deprivation, and poverty began to simmer and by the 1980s tensions between the police and the residing black youth had led to two riots. Police-brutality and quasi-Nazism were cited as the source of the provocation in both instances. Sparked by excessive stop and search practices enforced during Operation Swamp 81, the five days that were the 1981 riots brought Brixton to a smouldering standstill. But the damage penetrated far beyond London. Between April 11 and July 23, unrest fuelled by social and

racial discord was seen in Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Manchester. Linton Kwesi Johnson makes reference to the Brixton riots in his poem Five Nights of Bleeding: “Steelblade drinkin’ blood in darkness, it’s War amongs’ the rebels Madness, madness, war.” Johnson redefines the moment as “di great insohreckshan”. “It is noh mistri we mekkin histri.” Although the national media distributed negative coverage of the riots, local papers were less judgmental of those involved and held the view that the riots were a direct result of racism with in the police. A public inquiry into the Brixton riot was commissioned by William Whitelaw, the Home Secretary at the time, and was headed by Lord Scarman. The findings of the Scarman report showed ‘unquestionable evidence of the disproportionate and indiscriminate use of stop and search powers by the police 20

against black people’. As a result the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, 1984 was put forward and by 1985 an independent Police Complaints Authority was established to restore public confidence in the police. For subsequent years, clashes with the police were low profile, but in September 1985 a further riot took place as a result of the shooting of an innocent black woman. Dorothy Groce was shot and left paralysed by the police while she lay in bed during a police raid on her home. The police had been searching for Mrs Groce’s son, Michael Groce, but he was nowhere to be found at the property. For many years, the black population in Brixton took part in the ‘Insurrection’, making their contribution to the liberation of all black Britons. The British Civil Rights movement was an ongoing battle, with people like Olive Morris taking up ranks for the campaign and playing a pivotal role as a radical, political activist for the Black Panthers, while establishing the Brixton Black Women’s Group. By the mid 80s, the black Brixtonian had finally arrived. The uprising that had taken place some years before had given the migrant Caribbean and Africans a sense of belonging. During those moments, when they had stood together against the ruling darker powers, they had cemented their sense of belonging and crafted a true community for themselves. During the 1990s, Brixton acquired a reputation for being ‘the soul of black Britain’, a reputation that permeated far beyond the walls of Britain, stretching all the way to the United States of America. African-Americans, having had their own Civil Rights movement, could relate to the struggles faced by black Britons, and it was not long before notable African-Americans were journeying to Brixton. In 2000, Mike Tyson visited the area, following the steps of his predecessor, Muhammad Ali, who had also visited the year before. But it was the visit of political figurehead Nelson Mandela in 1996 to send the most poignant message to the Caribbean and African diaspora of Brixton, his presence highlighting their struggle, but also their achievements. Their comfort was short-lived. Three years later, in a crowded Brixton Market, on 17th April 1999, a nail bomb exploded, injuring at least 48 people, four of whom seriously. The explosion proved to be the work of a right-wing extremist and was a reminder that the struggle faced by black Brixtonians was far from over. Despite its continual struggle for peace, Brixton was earning the title ‘Centre of the World’ for people of colour. Multiculturalism was taking hold rapidly and migrants from other countries, s uch as India and Vietnam, were making their way over, knowing they would find acceptance among the resident black community. Nowadays, Brixton has become a haven for the professional classes, who are fast becoming the dominant demographic. Demands for a café culture are rising, and as part of Lambeth council’s vision to regenerate Brixton the local high street is being revamped and repackaged. Smaller, blackowned businesses are struggling to survive, and residents are being priced-out by high rental rates. The very heartbeat of Brixton is slowly growing ever more faint. Yet again, the AfricanCaribbean community finds itself fighting just to be. Once again, it is a fight for a place to just belong.


NON VIOLENCE, by Carl Fredrik Reuterwärd, 1980

FISH IN A BARREL: WHERE DO Y O U D R AW T H E L I N E AT THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS? by Naida Ally In the three days following the Aurora shooting in the USA, applications for the background checks needed to buy a gun legally in the US rose by 43 percent from the previous week. In the two days following the shootings, 2,459 applications were made. According to the BBC, during that weekend 2,887 licenses were approved. Dick Rutan, owner of Gunners Den in Colorado explained a possible reason for the increase: “They want to have the ability to protect themselves and their families if they are in a situation like what happened in the movie theatre”. Of course, that could never be the case – it is not legal for people to walk around armed, therefore owning a gun would not protect a person from the exact same situation. Understandably, though, people are frightened, and fear and powerlessness lead to searching for answers in places that aren’t always necessarily the solution. Whilst it’s unrealistic that the right to bear arms will be abolished any time soon, better vetting of approved applications is a possible option. Back in January 2011, following the Tuscan shooting, Time magazine asked a valid, if not controversial question: “Why are the mentally ill still bearing arms?” Lawyers of the accused Aurora shooter filed documents claiming that James Holmes was undergoing treatment by Dr. Lynne Fenton, the medical director of the University of Colorado’s mental health service for students. More recently, reports from US television station KMGH-TV have surfaced suggesting that Fenton had attempted to raise the alarm amongst the university’s behavioural and security committee. Despite federal laws against selling weapons to mentally ill individuals (Gun Control Act 1968), this applies only to ‘individuals who have been adjudicated as mentally ill or have been committed to a mental institution’. In Holmes’ case, he would still have been legally entitled to own a firearm. In fact, there is a grey area as to what happens to guns purchased prior to diagnosis and/or institutionalisation. Perhaps if there was closer monitoring of gun ownership, and closer communication between 21

medical authorities and the firearm background checks, it would be easier to limit or cease gun access to those who are in a vulnerable position. Granted, this situation is not perfect – background checks are approved by the National Instant Criminal Back ground Check System (NICS), and releasing medical information implies that mental illness is a crime. There are also varying degrees of mental illness, and it is sweeping and unfair to suggest that every person diagnosed is a risk to themselves or others. However, if a person has exhibited behaviour that was extreme enough to cause a medical professional to raise an alarm, then perhaps firearm ownership should come into question. It’s not a faultless solution, buta wider debate into gun ownership amongst those with mental health issues may begin to permeate into society at large. According to, one in four adults in the UK suffer from a mental health issue every year. If it got to the point where one in four people were not allowed to own a gun (regardless of whether they suffered a minor or major mental illness), surely the States would be a safer place? Either way, allowing people who are known to authorities as having significant psychiatric issues keep firearms legally is an inevitable accident waiting to happen. And it has – many, many times. Of course, there are other possible solutions. We could ensure no other six year old girl dies in a cinema at a midnight film screening by not allowing children into the cinema. Or we could put a stop to midnight screenings. If we do that, we could just get rid of cinemas all together. In fact, we could all just barricade ourselves into our homes with our trusty guns pointed out of the window. Safety first.




L E T M E PA I N T A P I C T U R E F O R Y O U . It’s a Saturday afternoon and I’m hungover. My eyes are puffy and bloodshot. I’m walking to Londis to stock up on supplies for the coming hours of comfort eating and rocking back and forth in a dark corner. On this epic journey, I deliberately avoid making eye contact with anyone, especially small children for fear of making them cry. To my surprise and irritation, a car pulls up beside me with two men in the front. One of them says “Hey baby, give me a smile”. Despite this tempting offer, I speed up and head for the sanctuary of Londis. Friendly banter or verbal rape, it happens to me almost every day. It happens to most women every single day. It has nothing to do with how you look or what you’re wearing and it is part of the wider problem of a culture that embraces sexual violence as the norm. There a few reasons as to why this street heckling really, really pisses me off. Firstly, it’s stalked home by four intimidating. Where is the line drawn between banter and being men in a car on a dark night, which has happened to a number of my friends? Secondly, street harassment is often dismissed as ‘just a compliment’, but aren’t compliments supposed to make you feel good? Thirdly, it makes me feel guilty. Am I drawing attention to myself? Do I sway my hips too much when I walk? FUCK, did I forget to put clothes on this morning? This leads to a degree of paranoia which is the last thing I need when I’m trying to fight the patriarchy. Thankfully, the men in my life are amazing, but the problem of street harassment shows little sign of abating. Something more sinister is going on. If a complete stranger says “Hey, baby” to me I feel like screaming, in the words of the Spice Girls, who do you think you are? I’m not dressing for you. I’m not your baby. As a matter of fact I’m not A baby, so get your unwelcome eyes off me. If you want to date or have sex with a girl, try being she is. This sexual speaking to her like the adult human dominance being she

is. This sexual speaking to her like the adult human dominance that occurs on our streets every day is a symptom of outdated misogynistic and patriarchal beliefs. As trivial as it may seem, the way we dress can function to eliminate our internalized shame. It is revealing that power dressing for women is widely agreed to mean dressing in a masculine way, nevertheless the way we dress and present ourselves does have the capacity to determine how we are treated. “But, Rebecca”, I hear you ask, “Isn’t that awfully shallow?” Why, dear reader, yes it is. I’m still annoyed that we don’t get free tampons from the NHS, but shit happens. Power dressing for me is a type of armour. I don’t feel vulnerable when I’m wearing tailored pieces because it deflects the male gaze. Thus, I am me; the person, instead of me; the object. The bonus is that I can get on with my day without having to constantly pull my skirt down. I am not advocating that you change the way you dress. Feminist campaigns such as SlutWalk are fighting for our right to dress however we want without being accused of inviting rape attacks. No means no. Feminism has brought us very far. The contraceptive pill we take each morning, our right to vote, the fact that we’re able to wear trousers is a luxury paid for by the lives of people who dedicated their lives to the hard struggle for female emancipation. But the battle is far from over. I have started to make it clear to those who harass me that it is not acceptable. Depending on the magnitude of the violation of my personal space, I either tell them to fuck off, or physically push them off me, eyes blazing with anger. Because who knows, maybe he’ll think twice next time he considers making a girl feel intimidated. This new attitude of mine is part of my daily battle to re-establish the boundaries between flirting and outright harassment. And if I just so happen to be wearing my confidence boosting power jumpsuit at the time of my defiant outburst, then victory will taste even sweeter. 22


NUMBER ONE Swear whilst queuing at the bank. Really satisfying when you’re having a bad day.

NUMBER TWO Begging on the street. Go on, give it a try.

NUMBER THREE Take a dog for a walk. If you don’t have one, borrow one. This is fun anywhere, except Clapham.

NUMBER FOUR Your mum. Yeah! You heard! Your mum!

NUMBER FIVE Take up painting. It’s alright, apparently.

NUMBER SIX Get sick on the bus. People really don’t like this, which is hilarious.

NUMBER SEVEN Go to a free comedy night. They’re shit, but it’s nice to leave the house.

NUMBER EIGHT Visit the Huntingdon Museum. A kidney in a jar really lifts your spirits!

NUMBER NINE Go Vintage clothes shopping. Stained old clothes are surprising cheap.

NUMBER TEN Go to the butcher’s. It’s like the zoo but free and inside out.

O LY M P I C S . . . N O W W H A T ?


H E O LY M P I C S H A P P E N E D . Wasn’t it good? There was people running, swimming, throwing of certain items, people holding on to rings with their feet off the floor and even actual sports like basketball and football. That opening ceremony was epic, probably. I didn’t see any of it. I saw some pictures in the paper, which was enough for me. It seemed as though it was an attempt to condense everything that could be considered remotely English into a few dances and skits that would make the outside world believe that, as a nation, we are actually OK. I’ve already buggered that up, sorry: not English, British, don’t want to upset the other nations of this glorious kingdom, although if their attitude is anything like mine I’m sure they don’t give that much of a toss. The maypole made an appearance; funny that, considering I don’t actually remember seeing a maypole anywhere, ever. I think it would have been better if they had included a smashed in bus shelter surrounded by Wetherspoon’s clientele, vomiting into the gutter and waiting for a night bus that will only arrive when half of them have been stabbed in the kidney by happy slappers. The NHS was also included, although not in its current state of disrepair. There were no drunken people with head injuries, old people being left to die in corridors, incompetent staff or homeless drug addicts taking up all the beds. Still, it’s not like the £27 million was going to be used to show the world that the British public are just eternally fed up with being treated like a missed

BY JAMES OUSLEY opportunity for a mass abortion. No, play some Pulp and have a good, old fashioned smile at every-thing we used to be good at. Hooray for us and all the poor children, unemployed and disabled people we seem to be forever turning our backs on. Now, back to the sport. I saw some of it; well, I saw the first two minutes of the marathon and highlights of the dressage. Dressage is fucking ridiculous. It was unfortunate that I caught any of this because it just made me hate horses and rich people even more. Dancing horses, really? Is there anything less worthy of being an Olympic sport? Dogging maybe? Farting in the bath? Jesus wept. Mo was alright. He did a good run. I’m glad that he is good at running. Maybe he can get a job with Royal Mail or something, might get my post on time then. What I don’t understand is why they have a five thousand meters and a ten thousand. Just do one (Nike’s new slogan). If a guy wins the ten surely he’s odds-on for the five. This is probably why I wasn’t on the Olympics committee: because the whole event would have been held down the marshes, lasted half a day and cost £27.40. If there was one thing worse than the dressage it was the sailing. It amazes me that there is a group of people that somehow manage to be more pompous and irritating than royalty on horseback. Thousands of people gathered on the coast to stare into the distance at murky British waters, not even knowing what the hell was going on in the race, no idea who was winning or losing, no idea what direction they are going in or when the bloody thing will 24

end. I can only imagine they were entertained through the sheer stubbornness of their own arrogance and the reflectors on their sailing jackets. That also bugs me: why are you wearing a sailing jacket to watch sailing? Do you put shin pads on to watch to football as well? Do you get your scrum cap out when the Five Nations is on? Are you donning a spandex bodysuit when the gymnasts make an appearance? I very much doubt it. I think they should replace the sailing with something more interesting, like mixing concrete or reverse parking an articulated lorry. Failing that they could be made to design and build their boats from stuff they find down the local tip, like in Scrapheap Challenge, and the task is just to get the crappy vessels they have built out of the harbour without sinking. In the future, I think the Olympics should be a lottery, or more like jury duty. You get a letter through the post saying that you have been randomly selected for an event, say the decathlon, and that you must be in a certain place at a certain time in sensible shoes. No ifs or buts, you just have to, unless you are a racist or on a life support machine. That would make things far better, in my opinion. I’d love to see an overweight 58 year old lined up on the running track with a Sicilian grandmother and a German welder. America and China may not win everything then. Wouldn’t it be great to see Mozambique at the top of the medals board and thechampion Olympian being a 12 year old girl from a tiny unpronounceable village? That’s the event I would want to see.




n 2008 I was trying to find my way into an industry that I knew very little about. After having tried drama school, I was looking at alternative forms of education, searching for a way in which to evolve my knowledge and expand my creativity. While trawling through cyberspace I uncovered an ad for a documentary film festival; after a successful interview, I found myself volunteering at Brit Doc in Oxford over the summer. It is here that my adventure and love for documentary film was born. From a young age I had always gravitated to the creative realms, and my schooling gave me lots of scope for artistic development. This most ancient of practices fascinated me. I saw freedom of expression, an independent subjectiveness and an eternal strive for perfection. At the time, and still to this day, the world seemed out of balance and part of the art world appeared dedicated to exposing and exploring this disparity. Very few things move me more then the ability of human beings to express their true feelings to one another and for me the beauty of documentary film captures this. During the festival I was lucky enough to be stationed in one of the screening rooms, one of the films showing that afternoon was Up the River Yangtze by Yung Chang, a beautifully shot film documenting the radical changes being imposed on the local communities of the ‘Three Gorges’ in China. The film pulled no punches and opened my eyes to an unknown world, where authority reigned supreme and was untouchable. The film’s raw truth astounded me but also inspired me. I saw the importance of such films and understood the need for this medium. Five years later, I’m sitting in a small cinema in central London watching another master piece unfold before my eyes. Ai Wei Wei: Never Sorry unflinchingly tells the story of the artist’s development, his raise to fame and relationship the Chinese government. We track the journey of an artist famous for destroying ancient artefacts and being an outspoken critic of an authority that has shut down his blog, beaten him, bulldozed his new studio, fined him for £1.5 million, held him in detention for months and most recently threatened him by having his business licence revoked. The stories revealed in the film and his unending commitment to raising local and global awareness to the troubles faced by the people of China will make you understand why he is known as Ai Shén or Ai God, though his humble and personable demeanor reveal none of the power he wields. ‘If you don’t push, nothing happens’, he says while updating his twitter status. The tactics he uses demonstrate the power of and create debate on important social issues. mediums such as the internet to raise awareness This film is a timely reminder that one person, though a drop in the ocean, can create ripples which shake the foundations of a corrupt and conspiratorial society. We all have the ability to do great and positive things with the tools given to us but without taking charge of our own effect on society it can never reach its full potential. Check out to find a screening near you. This film is a must for lovers of documentary film, those interested in politics and anyone needing a bit of inspiration in these trying times. 25




N A SMALL BASEMENT BAR a mixed bag of suits, musicians, hillbillies and casual night goers are waiting for the main act to approach the stage. As I look about at the different yet harmonious crowd I understand why they call this place The Borderline. I am with some friends, sipping a beer waiting for some music ‘from the Old West’. Frank Fairfield is a country and western singer who cut his teeth busking on the streets of Los Angeles. On the stage a banjo, fiddle and guitar lay poised, looking as though they are

BY JULIEN BERNARD-GRAU as old as the Wild West itself. A man steps out from the shadows, sits down in front of the micro phone and begins to tune his instruments. What comes next is one of the most rip-roaring and heart-warming performances I have ever seen. Frank plays with a passion and dedication that is sorely missing in today’s homogenised music industry. His raw and melancholic voice cuts through the most bitter of dispositions, and within minutes he’ll have you stomping your feet and throwing in a few Yee-haws! His skill as a musician is rivaled only by his modesty: “Here’s a song I keep going back to. 26

Well, it’s not a song really, not really even a tune, just something I came up with.... “. Captivated for the entire set, I was struck by his sheer passion for music and the his love for the heritage he keeps alive: age old songs hailing from the Americas. Songs that hold as much relevance today as they did when they where written over a hundred years ago. Keeping this musical tradition is a must and if you are a fan of country music strongly suggest you get his albums: Frank Fairfield, Unheard Ofs and Forgotten Abouts and his latest release Out on the Open West.




FEW WEEKS AGO, OUR editor Joe approached me about an article he wanted covered on a fundraising event for a tattoo parlour named Skunx in Angel. Having been heavily into tattoos myself for pretty much my entire life, I totally jumped at the chance – not to mention the fact that I’d been following the Skunx portfolio with wonder and awe online for a number of years already. The event, I was told, was to raise money for the Mantle Cell Lymphoma unit in Plymouth Hospital. Every single one of us knows someone who has been affected by cancer in some way or another, so I was really pleased to have been asked to cover it. I went along with Stephen, our art director, and Luke, one of our photographers. Upon arriving at The Lexington pub on Pentonville Road, we were shown upstairs by Jane Dalton and Hannah McFaull (both past and present colleagues at Skunx) who had put an awful lot of time,

love and effort into organising the event. We entered a beautifully decorated room packed to the rafters with the tattoo parlour’s friends, family and customers, and spotted (much to my personal delight!) some really beautiful tattoo art on sale. The art had all been created and donated by their ‘tattoo family’ and was due to be auctioned off. The atmosphere was electric – everyone was there for one cause, which was to cheer on Nick Reid, the owner of Skunx, in his impending pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago. This pilgrimage is a 950km on foot trek from south France to northern Spain, and Nick was undertaking it to raise money for the cause. The reason? For his colleague and, as I came to learn that evening, much-loved friend Steve Richardson, who had sadly lost his father John to the disease some few months earlier. Steve has been working with Nick at Skunx for the last four and a half years, but has known him as a friend for the last eight years. When I had a 27

chance to chat to him he said of the evening: “I still can’t believe the event is happening. My tattoo family have really come together and supported me when I needed it the most. They’ve facilitated it all, and organised everything: I didn’t have to do a thing. The last two months have been a total blur and it all still feels very surreal, but I do feel very lucky to have so many amazing people around me. I wanted to get back to working in the parlour as soon as possible after my dad passed away, as I didn’t want to let another good part of my life die. I’m so lucky to have found something I like doing every day of my life – tattooing. This is my family.” Before long, the entertainment began for the night – all the performers and artists had donated their time for free to support the cause – and let me tell you, it was some seriously high quality stuff… First we were treated to Tiffany Page, then Folk Grinder, then an amazing burlesque dancer named Tamara who was treating us with a lot of teasing! Lastly, on stage, we were wowed by the explosive Banjoey Ramone. There were also two gravity-defying tall and beautiful ladies named Nympherno, who had volunteered to be body-painted as skunks by the talented Chenin (who also works at Skunx). At last, I had a chance to chat to the man himself, Nick, and ask him a few questions about his motives and reasons for doing the pilgrimage. Nick told me: “I have to do the event. Cancer hurts every family just as much, no matter what the form of cancer happens to be; and we all know someone who has passed on, someone who has lost someone or someone who has survived it. So if I can save just one family from the same pain Steve went through, then I have done something to help.” When asked about any preparations or training he had undertaken, Nick laughed raucously and told me; “Nah, not had any training – what do I need training for, been doing it since I was a year old!” “Been doing what…?” I asked, confused. “Walking, of course! I don’t need to train – don’t want blisters before I’ve even started it!” Nick also told me later on in the evening that he plans on doing a charity fundraising event for the same cause every year, and is preparing for Mount Kilimanjaro next year. Keep your eye on their blog for upcoming news on this! It was truly lovely to witness so many people coming together for a friend and for a shared cause. The atmosphere was amazing at The Lexington that evening – supportive, positive and solid – and I’m so happy that I got to meet such a wonderful bunch of people. If you’d like to donate to the cause, please find their Just Giving fundraising page here. Happy inking!

L I F E T H R O U G H D E AT H - G R E G B E N N I C K


by Matthew Bunkell

E A R , O R M O R E A C C U R AT E LY, T H E F E A R O F D E AT H , has been the catalyst for many great works of art, altruism and also atrocity. Greg Bennick is an individual who not only has spent that last twenty years studying this inherent phobia, but also turned it into his life’s work. Keynote speaker and entertainer in his youth, Bennick began as a spoken word entertainer. “I started performing when I was a teenager and it lasted for many years. I would go into events for groups and associations and just entertain. Then I realised that wasn’t enough”. He was acting as a motivational speaker for small groups to large corporations and singing in the hardcore band Trial, but his formative moment came during his University years. “I was handed a copy of The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker after college from a professor who wanted to challenge my thinking. It really upended my view of the world and of life and death”. Reflecting upon death as the genesis for humankind’s anxieties leading to violence and misery, injected a new philosophy into Bennick’s work and presented him with a new goal. For his message to spread and bear fruit, Bennick sought out the help of film maker Patrick Sheen and spearheaded what would be his first project as film producer. “A couple of years ago we made Flight from Death: The Quest for Immortality, which talked about how fear of death on a subconscious, psychological level makes us want to blend in with the crowd and also from the crowd at the same time. Our fear of our own death makes us want to live lives which are meaningful and which matter, so that we don’t fade away forever.” Following the thread of his admiration for Becker’s work, the film marries advanced psychoanalysis with human sentiment. Enlisting the help of psychologists around the country, Sheen and Bennick created a potent, in-sightful and hard hitting documentary that strikes directly at the human condition and has grossed huge respect in both the world of film making and psychology. The film has received unprecedented accolades and earned seven awards for best documentary. Bennick and Sheen’s working relationship has since continued with The

Philosopher Kings, detailing the un-tapped potential of janitors working in inner-city universities. At the turn of the decade, a catastrophic earthquake hit the country of Haiti causing tsunamis, bringing with it a death toll of 316,000 and decimating 3 million homes. Regardless of attempts for aid, the country was in a state of disrepair. This marked a new project for Bennick. Having witnessed wides-pread suffering, his new focus was now on helping in Haiti’s relief efforts. “After the earthquake I wanted to get involved with doing something directly and I heard about this boat that was sailing to Haiti with supplies”, he recounts. Eager to help, Greg was on one of the first boats to reach Haiti. Loaded up with over ten thousand pounds of medical supplies and food, it spent eight days and nights at sea. Once there, he helped with the distribution of aid across the country, although labour work simply wasn’t enough, as the nation struggled to keep its head above water. And so was born ‘One Hundred for Haiti an organisation designed to provide relief work and fund the medical clinic which had employed Bennick. ‘One Hundred for Haiti’ caused a wave of support across theglobe, branching from large corporations donating money to a series of gigs and shows being organised around the world to help donate to the cause. A year and half on, Bennick is still as passionate about the project as he was at its inception. “The situation, from what I have heard, is largely the same, but there have been changes and long term sustainability projects getting underway. My friends have been working actively to make life better for the Haitian people.” And so any free time Greg has is destined to his work for Haiti. “A huge help will be when projects there aren’t only gift-based, but sustainable instead”. Currently, Greg Bennick remains as productive as ever. He has just completed a European tour with Trial, started work on a new musical project under the guise of Les Gants, and is recording his other band’s EP, Between Earth and Sky. He still remains a stable force in the cinematic world and is working on the finishing touches to a new film, L.A Source. 28


C R A C K I N G T H E C R Y S TA L PA L A C E M Y S T E R Y by Jacob ‘Marley’ Eiseman-Renyard

ONDONERS WILL PROBABLY BE familiar with the name Crystal Palace; many will have heard of its football team, and will probably know about the Crystal Palace itself. Its original name was Paxton’s Glass Pavilion, but the nickname stuck, and even gave its name to the park in Sydenham where the building was moved to after the first Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. It burn’t down on the 30th of November, 1936, but the foundations, and many of the outdoor stairways and earthworks that served it, can still be clearly seen. What Londoners are less likely to know about is a local legend that somewhere in or around the parkland is an old tunnel containing a train, some say with skeletal remains of its passengers inside! Accounts vary considerably; while some say it was a commuter train that was entombed in a tunnel when it caved in, others think the train could have been the result of an ‘experiment that went wrong’, and was buried and conveniently forgotten about. What is known is that there were at least two rail tunnels in this area that are long-since disused. One of these carried an experimental train as part of the Great Exhibition, once the Crystal Palace was relocated to Sydenham. Built by engineer Thomas Webster Rammell, the carriage was intentionally smaller than the surrounding tunnel, with a ‘sail’ around it to catch compressed air that was pumped into the tunel. Pre-dating the electric power system on today’s tubes,the carriage was sucked or blown backwards or forwards, respectively, in the technological marvel that was Rammell’s Atmospheric Railway. No record of an accident or fatality has been found, and it is thought that the line was

stripped out and the tunnel filled in, having always been more of an amusement ride than a serious commuter railway. No visible evidence of the line is thought to remain today, although in the 1930s legend had it that this was the tunnel containing the abandoned train and its victims… Another suggested location for the ‘tomb tunnel’ is just outside the park grounds, on a disused branch that used to connect a high-level station at Crystal Palace to the nearby main line. This tunnel’s portal can still be seen, albeit boarded up and overgrown. It was on this stretch of line that a tunnel supposedly collapsed on a commuter train, leading to the branch and its station at Crystal Palace itself, was closed, although this story is unconfirmed. What is known is that the high-level station was located on the west side of Crystal Palace Parade opened in August 1865 by what was then the Crystal Palace and South London Junction Railway. It was closed in September 1954, by then under management from the Southern Region of British Rail. The station has since been demolished, and the Bow Lane and Spinney Gardens housing estate now occupies the site. In 1978, teenager Pamela Goosell claimed to have fallen down a 20 foot shaft while walking through the park, and struck a match to find an abandoned train, and its skeletal occupants. Goodsell described the victims as wearing “Victorianstyle clothing; some of the men had top hats”. Strangely, no mention was made as to how Goodsell managed to escape from the tunnel, and she could not find the shaft when she returned to the park, leading many skeptics to believe she had made the story up. In the 1970s there was an unsuccessful a cheological dig for 29

the train and the tunnel, sponsored by the BBC’s Nationwide current affairs programme. In the early 1980s, another archeological dig was proposed to try to uncover the train and the tunnel. The Norwood Historical Society were said to be showing a keen interest in the mystery at this stage. If their search was fruitless, had they been excavating the wrong tunnel? The foot-subway under Crystal Palace Parade, although securely gated, is now a grade II-listed structure, and is occasionally accessed on guided tours. Designed to give first-class passengers direct access into the main floor of the Palace itself, it has a wide, vaulted chamber, built to resemble a Byzantine crypt, specially designed by Italian cathedral craftsmen! In this Victorian period of Gothic revival architecture, they built a series of octagonal pillars to support the tunnel roof in red and cream bricks, interlaced with stone ribs, and modern visitors on tours are still amazed by its beauty. Proposals are being made to re-open this as a public foot tunnel. It is also hoped that this will lead to it being better maintained, and preserve it from vandals and graffitists who occasionally break in. I have visited the park several times since learning of this mystery story. I cannot find the location of the shaft leading to the incarcerated train, although I have looked extensively around the grounds, and the site of the Palace, and some park wardens were kind enough to show me a map illustrating where the Atmospheric Railway would have run. I have also asked the curator of the Crystal Palace Museum, located immediately adjacent to the site, about the story, although he seemed skeptical. With support from Roadworks Media, I plan to make a documentary about this very soon. I wonder what we might uncover?



by Quince Garcia


HE INVITE WAS LAST MINUTE and the subject of the exhibition had made me flick my eyebrows. How wrong I was to be judgmental! McCrow’s exhibition comprised AK-47s paired with different stories, presenting a different theme from each weapon. The AK-47 is at the same time a weapon that continues to bring destruction amongst humans and a symbol laden of political implications. This contradiction was courageously explored by McCrow and I was moved by his bold attempt. I can be a cynic at exhibitions that try to be controversial. Instead, I was taken aback by the man’s bravery and compassion

and his wish to help citizens of the poorest parts of the world. McCrows modesty was evident when he wanted to introduce me to people who were important to him in that they helped him feel inspired. One which stood out was Matthew Webb, who lost his limbs in combat. He was appreciating the exhibition, which he found “interesting and unique”. The public in attendance seemed to share his opinion, with guest NJ and Amy discussing the art as a “positive way to demonstrate the beauty beyond the mechanics” and as “unexpected and eye-catching”. There was a particular decommissioned AK-47 on display that McCrow’s guest were allowed to 30

hold. To their delight they were posing with the weapon. Someone named Rich remarked: “They’re missing the point”. It made me start to ask questions: what do humans act like when they’re suddenly in possession of a weapon? But that’s what McCrow’s art can do: it has the power of sending your subconscious biting its toenails in a corner in a failed attempt to disentangle the ideological knot. This exhibition gave me a night charged with enthusiasm and energy which made me feel electrically charged with intrigue and interest. Here is an artist who can provoke and entertain. Attend the next exhibition by McCrow, and prepare to be challenged.

Image courtesy of JENNY B MARQUIS-BROWN


R AY S H E L L : T H E A R T O F E M P O W E R M E N T by Erica Masserano

AY S H E L L G AV E M E A N A P P O I N T M E N T at the Starbucks in Canary Wharf. Fashionably late, unfashionably panting, I blast through the door of what, I am positive, is the right Starbucks, but I can’t see him anywhere. That’s because he’s behind me, just out of the door. Graciously, he comes over and introduces himself. I babble my apologies and shoot out to the counter to get him a big mug of peppermint tea. As we sit down and start talking, my brain tries hard to figure out how I could have possibly missed him. Shell’s calm confidence and kindness surround him. He’s got the magnetism of an actor, the articulacy of a writer, the focus of a man who takes matters into his own hands. It is him who effectively starts the interview, by asking me: “Do you know much about black American films?” “The way things go in Hollywood,” he tells me, “a lot of the scripts that only have black people in it are not even going to be looked at. Because they think that people are not going to get it. So the rest of the world doesn’t even get to see that many black films. They’re out of Hollywood’s common culture”. And Shell is absolutely right. Last January, none less than George Lucas publicly disclosed the difficulties he was encountering in getting funds for his upcoming feature Black Tails. The movie recounts the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first squadron of African American pilots, during World War II, and has an all-black cast. Lucas ended up meeting 60% of the costs out of his own pockets, because producers felt there was no market for it, especially abroad. Again, I tell him, I’m sure it doesn’t help that Hollywood is controlled by rich white people who probably think their audience is like themselves. “Yes,” he opines, “but I don’t want to make black history films. Especially black artists in America, we tend forget that there is another world out there. I want to make films that anybody, anywhere, will to understand. Art, the whole idea of being able to entertain and at the same time show aspects of the human condition, resonates in every language.” This urge to communicate is what drove Shell through his multifaceted career. He enjoyedpopularity as an author with his novel Iced. He acted in Hollywood films such as Velvet Goldmine. But his longest-standing love affair is maybe the one with theatre, as actor, writer, director and producer. In London, he acted in a number of West End shows, such as The Lion King and Starlight Express. He directed productions as diverse as an adaptation of Dickens’ Oliver Twist and the acclaimed ZIP: Gun and Knife Crime with the Giant Olive Theatre Company, resident at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre in Kentish Town and notable for its input of new writing. He has been Creative Director of the theatre since 2008. What is, then, his relationship with the West End and with fringe theatre? “The West End is mainstream. Broadway, in America,

has become mainstream as well. But they have the budget, and you can create something that’s experimental, exciting and edgy. I work in the fringe because I want to take what I learned in commercial theatre and use it to instruct these young people.” He is referring to the young aspiring artists he trains through T.A.I.P. (‘Total Artist In Production’), and who he is currently working with on The Gaddafi Club. “Early in my career, I was going around, waiting to be discovered. But you have to discover because I want to take what I learned in commercial theatre and use it to instruct these young people.” He is referring to the young aspiring artists he trains through T.A.I.P. (‘Total Artist In Production’), and who he is currently working with on The Gaddafi Club. “Early in my career, I was going around, waiting to be discovered. But you have to discover yourself.I was very blessed to be able to start in the mainstream, but that’s not the case with everybody. Everybody’s got to start somewhere. And I don’t want to give people a singing course, or an acting course. I want to give them a foundation where they can write, produce, direct, and act in a piece.” For Shell, entertainment and ideas do not necessarily exclude one another, on the contrary. “They say the pen is mightier than the sword, and I do believe that. I don’t mean we should go around and preach, I mean we should find new ways of sharing our ideas. Make them intriguing, palatable, and worth investigating. If you can do that with a piece, then people will take a chance.” And he does believe we live in ideologically as well as practically complex times. “These days, we have to grapple with the notion that there is a select few people that are creating a world for themselves at the expense of the rest of us. They depend on the rest of the world to fund their own lifestyle.” However, he thinks that though we might have been naïve, we are not powerless. “You have to take responsibility for your own actions. Especially in 2012, with the state of the economy, the Mayan prophecies about the end of the world… people are afraid of the future. I think our work is trying to comfort, to reassure them. It might be gruesome now, but with a certain amount of faith and strength, we will get through this. Or we won’t, and we’ll die!” And we burst into a fit of laughing. There are, I suggest, interpretations of the Mayan calendar that say we are actually just entering into a new era, and that the major changes involved will be those in human consciousness. If the future ultimately rests in our hands, maybe connecting people through art might play a role in this sense. “I believe so”, Ray tells me with a smile, a glint in his eye that seems to say: bring it on. Ray Shell’s new book Spike Lee: The Eternal Maverick is now available online at, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Overdrive and Waterstones. Ray’s Street Angels Books is also looking for new writers of all ages, colors and types, so please send manuscripts to 31

image courtesy of ALEX CF

A L E X C F by Matthew Bunkell

Anyone who’s attempted to make a living out of their passion, especially in the constant rope climb that is the vast London art scene, will know how lucky it is considered to make it past a year mark. For the past ten years, however, Alex CF has managed to keep afloat amidst constant decline in disposable income and keep supplying one-of-akind obscure specimens to private collectors around the world including The League of Gentlemen’s Reece Shearsmith. With such a niche and esoteric market as his, eye brows are further aloft than usual about his results. Alex’s realistic pieces of art , dubbed with the term ‘cryptozoology’ (the study of mythical flora and fauna), make the absurd into a tangible reality. Creating a mythos, the pieces fit into the story of a one Lord Merrliyn, a Victorian zoologist, whose work pushes him to the furthest regions of the world and his own sanity, eventually reducing him to a hermetic recluse. Throughout his work the artist pays homage to some of his favourite works of fiction. From horror to fantasy, Alex’s work meanders in film and literature, referencing stories by 1920s cosmic horror writer H. P. Lovecraft and more classical beasts and monsters including vampires, faeries and werewolves. His work is so vivid that even a remake of the seminal German expressionist film Nosferatu has used Alex’s talents to create vampire hunting kits for onscreen use. In the coming weeks, a short film entitled The Merrilyn Cryptid Collection, featuring numerous pieces by Alex and tying into his mythos, will become available to stream off the internet to start a continuing series of short films to elaborate on the universe Alex CF has created. 32


R O A D W O R K S R O C K S T H E P O R T O B E L L O F I L M F E S T I VA L by Erica Masserano THE PORTOBELLO FILM FESTIVAL IS A yearly occasion for film buffs to come together and celebrate. With its selection of over 700 films from all over the world, the festival is at the forefront in terms of cutting-edge content, diversity and sheer watchability. Last month, I visited the festival’s Acklam Road venue, a converted warehouse showing movies about everything from an old lady who believes she’s been in space to the Angola 3. In festival organiser Jonathan Barnett’s words, “The spirit of the Portobello Film Festival is free, and it’s been free for 17 years. The festival aims to show every film submitted, no matter if it’s been made for 50 quid or 50 million”. The movie Roadworks was presenting was the short documentary Mark Duggan: Untold, an exclusive take on the London riots. The short documentary, featuring Duggan’s sister

Hall’s take on her brother’s police killing, the treatment of their family at the hands of the media and, last but not least, the London riots, attracted a full house and was awarded a nomination for Best Film. It was an internship at Roadworks that kick-started this collaboration between director Louis Leeson and editor Patrick Hoelscher, who now have their own production company, Lightgeist Media. Quince Garcia and Julien Bernard-Grau produced the film, and the whole crew was really pleased about the nomination. Julien remarked: “It’s the first time we submitted a film to the festival, so it’s a lot of recognition. We’re always working on new projects, so next year we’re going to aim even higher...”, “We wanted to answer some of what she felt about the media’s misleading statements and make her voice heard. This kind of manipulation 33

by the media has been cyclical: Broadwater Farm has a history of that, and we wanted to tell it,” stated Louis Leeson. Patrick Hoelscher added: “As a young start-up business, we are interested in community projects and working locally together. Statements like this are a way of supporting a community, working on a next to zero budget.” Roadworks Media: Coming soon to a community near you.

FILM/REVIEW K I L L I N G T H E M S O F T LY by Paul Boyling Two absurd low-life schmucks (Scoot McNairy and Ben Mendelsohn) rob a mafia card game, based on local wise-guy Markie Trattman’s (Ray Liotta) own identical blunder which he narrowly got away with; Trattman becomes the fall guy and both him and the schmucks must be eliminated. Slick mercenary Cogan (Brad Pitt) is called in, but he’s unlike the conventional hired gun – he’s well mannered, calm, kills his targets from a distance to avoid emotional conflict (hence the title). He resolves his mission quickly and efficiently in a very unique way (no spoilers), without help from drunk and depressed fellow mercenary Mickey (James Gandolfini). Andrew Dominik delivers a fine adaption the 1974 crime novel Cogan’s Trade by George V Higgins, and transports it into the 21st century. By utilising the 2008 Presidential election as a backdrop, he highlights the financial meltdown and political changeover affecting the characters, whilst delivering a metaphorical representation of how American capitalism has screwed the country over (à la Markie robbing his own associates). Pitt gives a fantastic performance in what little screen-time he actually has, but the true stars are McNairy and Mendelsohn; with their empathetic Dumb ‘n’ Dumber-like incompetence which poignantly sums up the whole ‘desperate times calls for desperate measures’ scenario ever-present in society today. Verdict: A geniusly and deceptively simplistic black comedic thriller which is as good-looking as it is as good-looking as it is well- written. If you liked Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas, this comes highly recommended.

DREDD: 3D by Paul Boyling We are back in Mega City One, this time around set as a post-apocalyptic urban dystopia, where crime rampages amongst a population of 800 million. Law and order are upheld by officers known as ‘Judges’. Being scarcely divided amongst the populace, Judges have to take the law into their own hands - to quote Dredd: “I am the Law!” We follow the titular protagonist (Karl Urban) with psychic ‘rookie’ Cassandra Anderson (Olivia Thirbly) as they embark on a two-person judicial rampage against prostitute-turned-psychotic-gang-leader Ma-Ma (Lena Headley) to stop the production of a narcotic drug called ‘slow-mo’ within the 200-storey megablock housing complex. Which, coincidentally, shares this core premise with fellow get-to-the-top tower block thriller The Raid. Despite the lack of a compelling plot or clichéd high risk stakes, writer Andy Garland does right by using the comics as the main source material. Remaining true to the infamous anti-hero fans know and love, director Peter Travis brings a sleeker yet darker visual aesthetic to the film, with Dredd becoming an authoritative Dirty Harry/ Terminator hybrid with a much suited grizzled voice that gives Batman a run for his money. Staying true to the character by keeping the helmet on, Urban becomes the broodingly inhuman embodiment of Dredd. He manages to convey a slightly unnerving air of secrecy, whilst his deadpan deliver of a few subtle but witty one-liners creates some laughs. Conversely, Thirbly brings a deeply vulnerable but charismatic charm to Anderson, as she gets to grips with the horrifying and traumatising experience of being a Judge, thus creating a true ying-yang dynamic between the duo. The only downside is Ma-Ma. In Dredd: 3D, she is a basic villain. Nothing against Healdy as an actress, but her character is quite underdeveloped and could have been more explored, becoming more than just a match for Dredd. Furthermore, the film manages to restrain itself from becoming an all-out Michael Bay-like action extravaganza or a complete gore-fest. Instead, it does take advantage of the 18+ rating by utilising the full blown shootouts through the fantastic ‘slow-mo’ sequences, awe-inspiringly done by cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle with state-of-the-art Hassleblad Phantom cameras. The result is a vivid psychedelic euphoria, highlighting the intense slaughterhouse violence in disturbingly sensational colour and clarity. Verdict: Dredd: 3D is a savage 95 minute long action sequence with cold hard justice being administered by the barrel load. A true comic book movie for adults that wipes away the sour taste of the Dredd-ful 1995 adaptation with Sylvester Stallone.

RED HOOK SUMMER by Julien Ber nard-Grau

A new Spike Lee joint has been rolled: Summer, a middle class boy from Atlanta spends his vacation with his grand father, a bishop (Clarke Peter) from the housing projects of Red Hook, Brooklyn, New York. ‘Flik’ (Jules Brown) soon has his eyes opened to worlds he has never scene before. Fans of 40 Acres and a Mule will be happy to spot Spike Lee’s cameo role as ‘Mookie’ return from his 1989 production Do the Right Thing. Red Hook Summer is masterfully shot in classic Spike Lee style with great use of colour and sound ‘Da Good Bishop’s’ sermons perfectly captured the energy generated from gospel services. The use of audio during the hymns is particularly inventive; focusing on each of the congregation’s individual voices brings a closeness and definition to the characters. The film covers a wide rage of social topics and bravely tackles issues that have plagued the church for too long. As always, Spike Lee shines a light on the stage to show us a world that is not often seen and invites us to look behind the curtains.


/ART Images courtesy of BMW

PIMP MY POP ART: THE AR T DRI VE ! BMW CA R C OL L EC T I ON 1 9 7 5 - 2 0 1 0

Sally Vox If you ventured into the Great Eastern Street Car Park in Shoreditch last July, you surely have been in for a surprise. As part of the Cultural Olympiads, BMW showcased an unique collection of cars painted by landmark names of the art world, such as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and many more. Julien Bernard-Grau was on the spot to document the exhibition (and ways of pimping your car you’d never thought of). BMW drafted local talent to work on the exhibition, including Moses Power, featured in this issue.


Sally Vox Babylon has made a new enemy, and it’s a National Poetry Slam champion. Though if you double-checked this with her, she would laugh out loud. She does not believe in nations, or in prizes. She believes in the power of her words and her beats. English by birth, Norwegian by adoption, Danish by choice, and rocking festivals as far as Portugal, Sally Vox has the whole of Europe under her belt. 1984 and Rise Up are old favourites from the new album Urban Daydreaming. It’s dancehall, it’s electronica, it’s spoken word, and it’s a cry of: keep your head up. Listen to Sally at

Monroe Tired of pop that all sounds the same? Monroe’s brew of sweet and edgy is certain to keep you bouncing. Chanteuse Mimi’s warmth and range will immerse you in an atmosphere worth of an R’n’B diva, while the band’s impeccable piano and drums make for classy, multilayered tunes. Check out their live performance of Don’t You Dare Do on their youtube channel . And if you’ve been waiting for more artists who incorporate new technologies in their music since Imogen Heap’s new gloves, subscribe to their youtube channel Watch the PropellorHead video for an impromptu show of talent using only an iPhone and a loop station, and be impressed. Monroe have an EP coming out soon, and we’re very much looking forward to it. Listen to Monroe at

Little Leagues Tired of indie rock? Well, maybe that’s because the bands you’re listening to are not goddamn indie anymore. This fourtet from Falmouth takes it all the way back to when unpretentious, lo-fi fun was the name of the game. Meet the Little Leagues and be swooned by their melodic mix of on-point jangling guitars, danceable drums, and a distinctive, Beiruty trumpet. We’re expecting them back in London for the summer with a new release. For the moment, you can listen to their new single Falco on, and support your new favourite indie act by buying single tracks or the EP for a grand total of £2.37. It’s called crowdsourcing, baby, and it’s the future of independent music. Listen to the Little Leagues at



Deficit (in a society with surplus) Cathrine Ertmann Scandinavia has one of the strongest welfare systems in the world, with far-reaching benefits and free education. However, there are homes where this is not enough. Unemployment, health-related issues and personal history all can make breaking the circle of poverty a hard task. And as the crisis hits, even Denmark, consistently quoted in major surveys as one of the happiest places in the world, has more people living under the poverty line than ever. Photographer Cathrine Ertmann’s images have been published by Danish national newspapers; one of her earlier works was the series Deficit (in a society with surplus), documenting the harsh reality of rural Denmark. Pictures courtesy of Cathrine Ertmann




/ D I S E A S E S I D O N ’ T WA N T by James Ousley


I think what puts me off most about cholera is that you contract it from raw sewage. Now, I don’t ever want to be knee-deep in fecal matter. It’s just not pleasant. You would think that would be bad enough without getting some disease that makes you shit sideways. It’s basically a bit like food poisoning so it’ll disrupt your schedule as well as pebbledash your bathroom. Wholly unpleasant.


In a nutshell, the Ebola virus affects the lining in your blood vessels, stops your blood from being able to coagulate, and ultimately causes blood to piss out of any available orifice. In short, it’s pretty rough and horror-movie gruesome. I really don’t want this; it sounds terrifying, like a Slipknot video. I’d think I was in Hellraiser, and not one of the good ones either. Speaking of which, doesn’t William Hague more than vaguely resemble Pinhead? Take out those cranial spikes and put him in a suit and you’ve got the new Foreign Secretary. 


This disease plays havoc on your bones. Imagine instead of regular hands you had a leg of lamb at the end of your arm, and instead of a regular arm you had a deck chair. It’s that bad. Even your head will try and kill you in your sleep. As you scuttle around, shunned by society, in some sordid corner of the country like Ipswich, it would be hard to imagine a more debilitating affliction. Fortunately, it’s incredibly rare and you aren’t likely to go to bed with a sore throat and wake up the next morning looking like a root vegetable, unless you live in a Franz Kafka novel. 


Axl Rose is a dick. Bono is a dick. If I ever turned into some hypocritical, arrogant tosspot just because I’d shouted a few words over some tuneful noise, I’d die of shame. In all likelihood, if I had access to all the same things they did, I would probably turn into an egotistical wanker too. But I’d also wake up the day after, realise I’d been a complete spanner and change my ways.

/ AT H L E T E ’ S F O O T

Not very glamorous. Not as deadly as the Ebola virus, but this fungal foot infection’s power lies in its ability to embarrass. “What’s that, you’ve got the Ebola virus and your eyes are sailing down a river of blood? Oh, fair play mate.” Instead of: “What’s that? Athlete’s foot? You tart.” You remember those rubber socks they make you wear for foot infections when you go swimming? That’s the future: everyone wearing those all of the time. Is that the future you want? Because I sure as hell don’t. 

/ A N Y T H I N G T H AT A F F E C T S M Y ‘ G E N T L E M A N ’ S A R E A ’

Not cool. Irritating, painful and pretty gross at the best of times. Imagine trying to walk around with a Brillo between your legs, hobbling like a geriatric in a hurry. No one wants to leave a corpse riddled with syphilis, it’s very uncouth. No amount of Febreeze is going to cover up that smell.. Avoid anyone who looks like they might have an STD, people with blisters on their foreheads (they’re a right giveaway) and unusual stains on their trousers. Take care of ‘down there’: things can go horribly wrong.



Q & A

ROADS THAT WORK: Moses Powers, artist and curator by Julien Ber nard-Grau

How did you get into art? I was never really encouraged to do art. I went to college and it wasn’t creative, I was training as an accountant, then stopped... I think my parents where a bit concerned about where I was going to end up because I was about eighteen when I left accountant training. After that, I trained as a hairdresser and I worked with Tony and Guy and other creative salons. It kind of opened my eyes up to the whole world of music videos, styling, photography and directing. I started acting and dancing in music videos where I then met a stylist and assisted her for a year on music videos, editorials and advertising. I formed a close connection

with the photography side of it, which then led me on to apply for a degree in fashion styling and photography which I did at the London College of Fashion, University of the Arts. While on that course I loved what I was doing, but I never liked the idea of selling a product, which then led me on to a degree in fine art. You say that your art is evolving. Could you tell us where you started and where you are at now? When I was studying fine art it was suggested I should do installations. I was doing set design at the time so it was something that evolved from that, which I still do 41

but now I do the creative direction as well. You also produce your own art / collages. How did that come about? I started doing collage work because the ideas I was having became impossible to express in something that was physical. A lot of my ideas were based on memory, the mind, dreams, life and death… Things that you couldn’t really see. Some of the installation work that I did was based around different areas of the brain: how we file memories and how we associate different things to different objects or memories to different things, how all of our minds are connected in different ways.


oped from intern, to assistant and now to backstage manager and show producer. And that is what has led on most recently to the work on the Art Drive! Exhibition. Yes, I was site manager and project manager. I was asked to manage the site as an art project, which was amazing because it was working with BMW and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, managing an exhibition of art cars. I can’t remember the exact value of all the cars but Andy Warhol’s one is worth £7,000,000. We dealt with all the work, the suppliers, the build, and the artwork that was installed. By the end we had about 14,000 people go through the doors in the space of two weeks.

‘A LOT OF MY IDEAS WERE BASED ON MEMORY, THE MIND, DREAMS, LIFE AND DEATH...’ MOSES POWERS How were you involved with London Fashion week this year? I produced a show for KTZ with a stylist called Patti Wilson. I did that alongside doing freelance work with My Beautiful City and we did a number of shows. We did Matthew Williamson, Vivianne Westwood, Ashley Isham, House of Holland, Willow, Deon Lee, PPQ... And now your next thing is heading off to Nigeria. Yes, we’re heading off to Lagos for Lagos Fashion Week. It is something that is being talked about a lot right now because of their unique designs and materials. It is coming into play a lot more now. What do you see for yourself in the future? My mind changes every day about what I want to do. At the moment I would love to keep doing show productions and managing art events. Because that all feeds into curation and will help me manage my collective and then I would like to have the collective up and running, have a space for us to work. And on a personal level, focusing on me being the director rather than anything physical. What tips or advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into the art scene? Just keep making art. Don’t think, “I haven’t got a studio”… I didn’t have a studio and OK, sometimes I didn’t make work, but I was constantly collecting things or looking at things, or making collages or doing what is accessible to me. That, and get as much work experience as you can while you’re young. You’re not always getting well paid or paid at all so then you have to rely on people to help you achieve that. It’s not the easiest path to take. printed out was all handled by them. You set up an art collective, MMU. Yes. The collective is mainly the idea of bringing people together to make work that is not for financial gain, or to beYour freelance work in production and management has led on to working for put in a gallery to be sold, or anything like that. Vivianne Westwood and KTZ… KTZ I produce alone and sometimes with Jolene Lin. You have run events and curated exhibitions That is something I produce independently so everyfor MMU at the Dalston Super Store. How do you thing from casting, to lighting, to music, choreography, go about setting up these kind of things? timings, running order, fittings, basically organizing I’m quite lucky with the Super Store because I’ve everything that happens backstage. Which is more or always been involved with the curation from the start less my role at My Beautiful city City, the company I of it. Funding-wise it was doable because Dalston do my freelance work with over Fashion Week. I did a Super Store don’t ask for any fees. They provide all season’s internship with them, and my role has devel the alcohol, and the mailing lists and getting flyers 42

How has being raised and living in East London affected your creative outlook? London is somewhere nothing is really set in stone. I think in other cities things seem to be a bit more stereotypical, you can kind of suss people out by how they dress or whatever but there seems to be a massive fusion here, some kind of energy in London. I love the fact that it draws so many individual, unique people together. I think that’s were all of my cross referencing comes from. I’m not someone that will go down a narrow path. MOSES POWERS’ WORK CAN BE FOUND AT: MOSESPOWERS.TUMBLR.COM

love A D V I C E Why you should NEVER date an artist by Danielle Jawando Artists are compassionate, sensitive, have an unmistakable zeal for life, and can find beauty in almost everything. They’ll write you poetry, sing to you, and even use you as their much needed ‘inspiration’ to unlock their blocked creativity. In fact, everyone should date an artist… Right? Wrong. It may start off good, but trust me it will only end in tears, heartbreak, or Valium. Here’s why. The Performance Poet There will always be three people in this relationship: you, him, and his incredibly large ego. Sensitive? Yes. Good looking? You bet. But the performance poet will be the most arrogant, self-obsessed, deluded person you will ever meet in life. Me. Me. Me. Me. Is all he will talk about, and all he will want you to talk about too. You’ll be lucky if he even remembers your name, the fact that you’re his girlfriend, or that the whole world doesn’t revolve around him and his stupid poetry. Yes, a man who knows how to use a dictionary is definitely sexy, but his verbous tongue will soon become increasingly annoying. He will turn everything into a metaphor. When you have a heated argument, he will respond by repeating lines of his poems, and claiming that you ‘just don’t understand him because you’re not an artist.’ For your Birthday, or Christmas, or Valentine’s Day, he won’t take you out, he’ll just write you a poem, which he’ll later publish in his poetry pamphlet. He’ll stand you up last minute (because he needs to write) and he will clog up your facebook mini feed quoting himself. When it all goes sour, and he decides he needs ‘space’, he’ll dump you in a poem, and perform it on stage at the show he’s invited you to. Claiming that no one understands him because ‘he’s an artist’. The Actor The clue is in the title. Financially unstable, and emotionally unbalanced. You’ll never quite know if he’s telling the truth, because he’s a fully trained (and occasionally paid) professional liar. You will just have to trust that he didn’t forget your anniversary, and he was fully aware that you are allergic to nuts, and those knickers you found in his apartment really did belong to his sick, dying mother. The actor (like the performance poet) loves the sound of his own voice, and has a habit of projecting this, even when ordering a cup of coffee. He will cancel on you by saying things like: ‘I can’t talk to you right now, I really need to get into character’ or ‘I must commit to my craft, I can’t see you tonight’, then disappear for months on end, so he can truly become the dead corpse he’s playing, for all of three seconds. He will count on you to stroke his ego, and will fall to pieces in your arms when he doesn’t get that ‘big’ audition. He’ll consistently sistently waver between wanting you to move in, and wanting you to move out. He’ll tell you he needs space, and then he will turn up at your work and stalk you. Eventually, you will become irritated with his game-playing and instigate a breakup in which he will probably fake-cry, hold onto your leg and beg for forgiveness. Telling you that you ‘just don’t under-stand him, because you’re not an artist’. The only way you will shake this needy individual is by referring to him as a ‘method actor’, at which point he will storm out, and be more upset by that than by the fact you’ve actually broken up. He will unfriend you, and eventually stalk youagain begging you to get back with him - at which point you will probably need to take out a restraining order. The Musician No matter how hard you try, you will never fully understand ‘his level of music’. Dating a musician might start off as a good relationship: great hair, hot body, the fact he listens to weird artists and songs whose names you’ve never heard of only add to his appeal. Until he makes you listen to them too. He will consistently criticise your taste in everything. The music you listen to lacks soul/feel/substance/ drive/emotion. You won’t understand the true level of music, because, unlike him, ‘you are not an artist’. He will show up late for everything because he was having a ‘jam’ with his band buddies. What’s more, he will continue to make weird sounds along with every song that’s ever playing, no matter where you are. In the worst case scenario, he will completely annihilate your favourite song and think he’s doing you a favour. Fidelity is not a word the musician is used to. No matter how ugly or talentless he is, if you put a guitar in his hand and put him on stage, some girl will think he’s the hottest thing since Sting. He will end up cheating on you with some redhead, then writing a song about it, called ‘You Don’t Understand Me Because I’m an Artist.’ Most importantly, they will never (ever, ever, ever) love you as much as they love their guitar, their drums, or their harmonica. The Writer If you want a: light-hearted, fun, satisfying relationship, this one is definitely not for you. The writer is a self-pitying, self loathing being who even takes the weather personally. They often have some kind of drug or alcohol problem, and you will spend years trying to convince them to go to rehab. The writer will spend hours talking about the depths of their soul and the emotional turmoil you have put them through, and they won’t work because they are writing their big ‘novel’ which you can’t ask them anything about. You can’t take the writer anywhere, be cause ultimately they don’t like people, they don’t even like their own family, and they probably don’t like you. They will stand around, complaining about everything and comparing writing to odd things like murdering small children, or slicing open their wrist. When you eventually become bored, or suicidal, you’ll end up breaking up with him on a deliberately misspelled post-it. He will still spend the next two weeks correcting your spelling and grammar, criticising your taste in literature, and pinpointing exactly where you went wrong in this relationship. He will claim that you couldn’t possibly understand him because ‘you’re not an artist’ and will later write you into his best-selling novel, where you will be the mad woman locked in the attic. The Painter Will be the reason you end up on Valium. The Architect Will probably have one of three ‘systems’ for organising his bookshelves: 1. by color, 2. by size (largest to smallest), 3. by publisher. None of these make any sense and ironically provide the very opposite of order. This is the architect all over. He will always have a system for everything, including how to organise the fridge, how to put his clothes away, how to make his dinner, and even how to wash your hair. You might think it’s cute at first, an endearing quirk, but it will soon become increasingly annoying. You will soon realise that much of their precious little free time (and yours) is consumed by obsessing over things that: a) no one cares about and b) does not enhance their lives in any way. Things you never even knew existed are now the most important. Thing. Ever. You will find yourself having conversations like: ‘That is the ugliest radiator in the world”, “How did they not align the light switch with the outlet? “What’s your favourite kind of hinge?” “Do you think this would look better in pine?” Eventually he will try reorganising your house, and your life. You’ll only end up dumping him after you’ve smashed up his habitat book case because you messed up his said ‘system’ for the fifth time in a row. He will sue you for damages, and claim that the relationship was doomed from the start, because ‘you are not an artist’. My advice is, if you really want to start dating, go for someone with an ultimately non-creative/ non-stimulating


Q & A


How did you begin your career as a dj? It all started with my interest in music. Because many of my friends had access to facilities, I started doing pirate radio stations, hosting, watching other djs playing press and play to the volume and that inspired me to do it for myself. My friends advised me on what equipment to buy, and it cost an arm and a leg. I had to save all my pocket money for it, and while I was at school that meant around £20 a week for two years.

on the street to being a young professional. Who do you work with? Do you have contact with football teams so you can get sports apprenticeships for young people? Currently, I work for Foundation Football, as well as the National Health Foundation as well as GLL. Personally, I worked for Arsenal as well as others. Arsenal does community football clubs. I’m from Hackney, so I have a project creating a team in my own borough or other places in south London. So we do our own Arsenal projects.

You didn’t have many bad habits then, I presume. No, I didn’t. I eventually went on Radio 1 starring on Tim Westwood show back in November 2011 and again in August 2011. From there, my djing career just took a different turn. Now I’m djing in Ibiza, and in the past year I’ve dj’d everywhere: Zante, Magaluf... I’ve now got to the point where four nights a week I’m djing in a lot of commercial clubs, not so much urban anymore as the promoters don’t pay well. For example, they’d only pay up to £50 an hour whereas now I’m getting at least £180 for a one hour show. If I was just a dj for grime it wouldn’t have offered me neither stability nor choice. Before I had to pay for my own flights to dj abroad at events that I had to buy drinks for. Now that I also play house, R’n’B and hip-hop, I’m getting paid to go out, all because I opened up my mind.

Do you feel the olympics have helped to better the community in any way? The Olympics are a sore subject. A lot of people only hear the media side of things, but as a sports coach I can see the government have stopped funding primary schools to have a PE teacher go in and deliver PE sessions, obviously because of ‘financial difficulties’ Britain is experiencing. As far as I’m concerned, the Olympics should have been a boost to allow the government to reopen their mind and fund the coaching and teaching that would allow kids to follow their dreams. But there hasn’t been any change. Now I’m working through a private company whereas before government would fund schools so that they could hire people to go in independently. It’s now become a business that is not benefiting the kids whatsoever.

So do you think that’s mainly why many youths haven’t really managed to follow their aspirations, because they are not looking in the right places? Yes, they are single minded, they aspire to be just a grime artist. I don’t think anyone can name one successful grime artist that’s grown as a grime artist, everyone has changed the script because money is elsewhere. But it’s also a good idea to make sure you work on your other interests so that you have enough options to follow through. In terms of keeping your options open, I also work as a sports coach. When I was focusing solely on sports football coaching, it wasn’t enough to make up a monthly salary as I was only offered by a company to work 15 to 25 hours a week. So I gained an athletics qualification, which in turn raised my income, and so I pushed myself further. In total, I now have 17 qualifications which boosted my credibility amongst the five companies I work with.

How do you feel you help kids in their training? When I coach kids, I always look at myself as another kid, not a coach, and them as my colleagues. Kids will put up a barrier if you tell them what to do, they have a better understanding amongst one another. I try to make the lessons as fun as possible. I incorporate a lot of games that boost their confidence, not just push them into pointless activities. There’s a lot of parents that come back saying: “Whatever you’re doing, it works, because they don’t listen to me, but for some reason they listen to you”. How do you deal with kids who are unable to keep up, how do you encourage them? Kids matter to me; stubborn, poverty stricken, intelligent kids matter. As a kid I’ve always been big on the chubby side and tall. I was always that kid in the classes that couldn’t keep up, because I gave up before I started. I feel compassionate towards the kids because I’ve been there myself. I place emphasis on them trying. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it and when you bring yourself to do it you’ve already achieved something. Regardless of whether you come first, second or last. I try not to place importance on competition and being the best, but for the kids to overcome their personal demons within.

Did you have to pay for your qualifications? Not for the majority of them, simply because when I was in primary and secondary I was a nightmare. I was always intelligent but never put my mind to it, never read questions, as soon as I saw writing I tend to not read it. Because I was dyslexic, I found it difficult. However, now I read fluently. The reason why I’m at the stage I am now is because I lost my older sister on my first year of college, which made me turn my life around from being a thug 45



DJ BLACK TOWER I try not to place importance on competition and being the best, but for kids to overcome their demons within.




JOIN THE ROADWORKS MENTORING PROGRAMME AND WORKSHOPS! We are opening our doors to urban adults of age 18-24 and offering Mentoring and Pre-Apprenticeship Workshops. If you want to learn some media skills or just have something to do in the afternoons, come over. Classes are held in:


We offer references to future employers, the possibility of an ongoing collaboration and work placements as subject to availability. If you want to lend a hand, help and support of whatever nature are always more than welcome. There is always something you can do. Get in touch and get involved! Write to, or come visit us in our Kennington offices: Unit 11 286B Kennington Road London SE11 5DU for further information. ROADWORKS MEDIA: Entertain, Inspire, Educate and Enlighten.


Roadworks Radio: Meet Roadworks’ class of 2012/13! The Mentorship Programme at Roadworks is open to active young people who want to develop their skills in an inspiring atmosphere, but also to those who just want to spend an afternoon away from the daily grind or those who need more challenges beyond school to keep their brain agile. Roadworks’ goal is discovering their hidden talents and boosting the ones they already know they have. In the case of our first students, we can safely say they’ve discovered their inner DJ. CJ, Shef and Beth have been the first to show an interest in our mentoring work, and this is a massive shoutout to them. By participating in Roadworks’ Mentorship Programme with Joe Cesare at the helm, they’ve been spending productive afternoons focusing on creativity, and the result has been Roadworks Radio. Making podcasts is easy, but making well-produced and entertaining ones isn’t. Give some talented kids an iPad, and watch while they blow your mind.

Shef: The sound of reality THE SHEF OG HIP HOP

We met emergent hip hop talent Shef for a chat about his music, his inspirations and his projects. So Shef, what do you do? I rap, I sing and basically I write my own music. I’ve been doing “reality music” for three years now. Any artist do you look up to, or you would compare your style to? I wouldn’t say I look up to an individual, apart from the really big names, but I do look up to a crew of three going by the name of Marvell Bros. I wouldn’t compare myself to no one, because I’m working on my own personal sound, so I wouldn’t really say no one. If you could work with any artist in the world, dead or alive, who would it be? Well, if you put “dead” in there, Tupac. Alive, there’s a lot, but if I had to pick one, I’d say Labyrinth. Who have you worked with? Anyone well known? Well, I’d say he’s well known in London. He goes by the name of Double S, and he was a Marvell as well. Have you got a favourite song of your own? Not really. Every song I make is quite personal to me, really. Every song I make, I love it. What makes your music different from anything else out there? The fact that my music is based in reality. I love reality. I hope that through my experiences I can get to speak to a lot of other people as well. What makes you motivated? My family. My little daughter, she’s two. I want to make them happy, make them proud of me. What are your plans for the future? I’m hoping to work hard, make a lot more music and more videos, push my name up and take things step by step. I’m taking my music seriously and I want to be successful at it. Special thanks to Bethany for this interview. Nowadays, insincerity can become a passable commodity. Artists are bought and sold. Their causes are marginalised and their messages homogenised. Reality Music sets itself apart from the world of macho misrepresentation by telling it like it is. Big beats, sincere lyrics and the determination of a nuclear missile make Dirty Shef and his crew part of solution instead of part of the problem. Check out Shef’s latest mixtape masterpieces: Watch the video for Certain:



Joseph Cesare / Erica Masserano



Matthew Buxton / Daveen Chi / Quince Garcia / Julien Bernard-Grau / Stephen Mark / Jenny B Marquis-Brown


Naida Ally / Natalie Natasha Collymore / Quince Garcia / Julien Bernard-Grau / Paul Boyling / Matthew Bunkell / Sam Dodds / Jacob “Marley” Eiseman-Renyard / Rebecca Hobbs / Danielle Jawando / Sandra Majchrowska / Erica Masserano / James Ousley / Un-Hae Schweitzer / Michael da Silva


The information, views, and opinions contained in Roadworks magazines are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Roadworks Media. Roadworks Media will not be responsible for any information found on linked web sites or their associated links. The information provided by our contributors is not independently verified by Roadworks. All rights reserved.


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