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London Culture Magazine

Reading between the lines In pictures:

out of the dark

Make the most of London in Winter

cross bones graveyard London:

THE original 24-hour city







* *


night issue M

aggie Thatcher once famously said “A man who, beyond the age of 26, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.” So what if I’m over 26 and find myself on the night bus? Sorry, I’ll rephrase that. What if I’m over 30 and find myself on the buggering nightbus? ... one more time. What If I’m over 30 and find myself asleep at the final stop, miles from civilisation (apart from a Yates’ or chippy) on the night bus? Firstly I have a little cry, then I remember that Thatcher was a demented harridan and destroyer of the working class, cross the road and get the bus home (or potentially, get the bus back to where it first cometh). But there was that whole hour of fun that happened first. Yeah, remember that? Remember jumping on at Old Street with a huge, horrible greasy bag filled with things that you wouldn’t be able to look at sober but things that Heston wants to reinvent in a quirky TV show dedicated to remembering what the end of a night out was really like. With Zoe Ball and Pat Sharp saying “bloody nora, Heston, these taste like dog meat”. I should in all honesty count myself lucky that I’ve always lived at the end of two night bus routes – whether I’ve been slumming it out east or lording it up down Soho. London is the ultimate 24-hour city, and anyone who doesn’t occasionally find themselves on a night bus is the real failure. This issue unearths the best bits of London after dark. Enjoy. *


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Who we are

About us

So, what’s this all about? Well, The Other Side is a class A culture magazine. No bullshit about Cheryl Cole or 974 pages of fashion. This is down-toearth writing, the sort of stuff you want to read and can relate to.

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Editor Sam Lassman Watts ( A rt Director Nathan May ( Sub E ditor Joe Bridal ( Editorial Adam Richmond ( Fashion Brenna Duncan ( Music Méabh Ritchie ( Dan Moss ( Contributing Writers Greg Nay, Edward Valand, Rick leaf, Michael Christensen, Isabel Thomson, Marianna Mullings, Katie Grant Contributing A rtists Robbie Porter, David Lemm, Tobias Pearce, Justyna Sowa, Joe McNally Front Cover Particle Press P hoto {this page} Josh King © No reprinting of anything without our permission


the other side





























Create Our Cover INTERVIEW


winter 2011/12

golders green hampstead finchley yoad & frognal

west hampstead

1. Meatliquor 74, Welbeck Street, W1 Open late everyday except Monday. Love meat? Love burgers? Well head on over to Meatliquor run by those friendly chaps with the Meatwagon and stumble upon one of London’s most sought after burgers. There’s no reservations and if there’s a queue you gotta queue even if your “friend/ d a t e/ b o s s/p r o b a t i o n officer/master/gimp is already inside.”

chalk farm

swiss cottage st. john’s wood

edgware road marylebone

baker street

great portland street


marble arch

notting hill gate shepherd’s bush kensington ( olympia )

earl’s court

oxford circus

south kensington


green park

hyde park corner


2. You me bum bum train Tottenham Ct Rd, 5-15 Jan Award winning, immersive theatre experience in which audience members ‘ride’ their way through a variety of live scenes. By all accounts, this has to be seen to be believed. Unfortunately, we can’t disclose any further information, as it will ruin the surprise!

high street kensington

warren street

regent’s park


piccadilly circus

sloane square

st. james’s park





3. London Short Film Festival ICA, 6-15 jan The 9th London Short Film Festival takes place over 10 days, with 60+ events in 22 venues in London. From short films and music to daring cross-arts programming, the festival showcases the very best of the country’s raw talent.

clapham common


7. Flea Market of the Marolles Place Du Jeu de Balle Brussels is a mere two hours away on the Eurostar. Closer than the North of England. There’s a daily antique market there that kicks all others out of the water. Why not jump on the train at King’s Cross and pick up some bargains whilst treating yourself to a Moules et Frites and a nice Belgium beer? Daily from 7am til 2pm

archway hampstead heath

6 kentish town

kentish town west

arsenal holloway road

camden town king’s cross st. pancras

7 euston square

caledonian road & barnsbury

highbury & islington

dalston kingsland dalston junction

angel farringdon barbican


old street liverpool street

bethnal green

russel square

tottenham court road



6. Sledging aldgate east

st. paul’s

covent garden

hackney wick



leicester square



london bridge



When the snow arrives get yourself whitechapel up a hill in your wellies (if you didn’t leave them at some sunny festival) and then fly down it like a Norwegian kid on his way to school. The best hill you ask? Primrose is good but packed, round the back of Alexandra Palace also offers some decent downhill action.

waterloo southwark

elephant & castle kennington




5. London Fashion Weekend 23-26 Feb, Somerset House A 4-day designer shopping event with spring/ summer 2012 collections from heritage British brands such as Jaeger London and Linda Farrow to best emerging designers including Holly Fulton and Maria Francesca Pepe. And what’s more it’s all at reduced prices.

4. The Day the Factory Died Coldharbour London Gallery, 26 - 34 Southwell Road, SE5 Head down to Coldharbour London Gallery where they will be exhibiting ‘The Day The Factory Died’, a collection of photos by acclaimed fashion photographer Christophe Von Hohenberg. The photos depict the memorial service of Andy Warhol’s at St Patrick’s Cathedral in 1987 where over 2,000 people turned up to pay their last respects.

The night I called it a day An alternative 9-5 by Joe Bridal

Illustration by Robbie Porter


the other side



ondon has been called a 24-hour city, but is it really? Sure, you can go clubbing till the sun comes up and find a kebab shop open at 3am, but can you do a normal 9-5 starting at 9pm? It is possible to find a decent breakfast in the evening, a lunch at 1am and dinner at 6am? I set off to find out for sure.

and a cup of tea definitely counts as a proper breakfast at 9.30pm. I get chatting to a 60-year-old ex-military gent and we while

20.24 I start off from Camden and pick up a Boris bike at Regent’s Park, then cycle past the 24-hour vigil outside the Chinese Embassy on Portland Place – the first hint that this really is a city that never sleeps. I’m not really sure where I’m going, so I decide to leave the bike just off Tottenham Court Road. The good thing about having eight or so hours to kill is that you can take your time. Trouble is, I’m already exhausted after having done my usual 9-5 at my day job, and I would much rather be chilling in front of the TV.

away the time discussing Joanna Lumley, Jimmy Savile and what a ruddy good country we live in. What I hadn’t factored in was that in a normal working day, you have lots of things to keep you occupied – work, for instance. No matter if you’re a teacher, lawyer, binman or banker, work is a good way of killing time between meals. Luckily the guy in the cafe 21.36 isn’t short of conversation, so Breakfast. Just grabbing a somehow it’s nearly 10.30 by the sandwich doesn’t count. All-day time we’ve finished. Next I head breakfasts are ten-a-penny, but over to Exchange Square on the all-night breakfasts? I decide to head over to Polo Bar opposite Centrepoint ‘sleepout’ near Liverpool Street station. Open Liverpool Street 24/7, at least they will let me in. There’s only room for 20 people to sit, and no bathroom – so you don’t want to linger too long. Still, the friendly staff seem to have a lot of regulars – most of them police from the station next door, doing the equivalent of the US cops’ ‘donut and cwarffee’. So a bacon sandwich


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other side of Liverpool Street where 600 people are sleeping out overnight to raise awareness of homelessness and money for the charity Centrepoint. It’s a noble idea but when I turn up, it seems to just be a big pissup. In London half of all rough sleepers have alcohol problems, so the piles of empty wine bottles seem somewhat at odds with the message. Nevertheless, it raises a lot of money for a great cause… and Christopher Biggins is there. A Moroccan guy asks me who Biggins is and what he does. My reply? ‘Biggins is just, well, Biggins.’ 11:15 The good thing about taking a night off is you can do all those things that you always mean to but never get round to – how many times have you thought about going to St Paul’s to see the occupiers? I’ve thought about it lots, but I’ve never done it. So off I go. There’s probably 100 people about, chatting, debating and drinking, and the atmosphere is upbeat. I’d assumed it was all politically charged teenagers but I find a fair few in their 30s and » 40s. There seems to be a

lot of positive things going on according to their noticeboards – workshops, discussions, speakers etc. A stone’s throw away there is a corporate do at a champagne bar. And every now and again passers-by in bow-ties stumble past. One decides to give a mouthful to the protestors. He ends his rant proudly with: ‘I’ve got a house with four bedrooms’, and as he walks off, he repeats his mantra while holding four fingers in the air. ‘Four bedrooms!’ he shouts

The clientelle is a mix of post-bar revellers and workers who fancy a decent meal after their shift. Lunch is served at 1.18 – Chicken in honey and pepper with a pot of China tea. It’s not Michelin-starred cuisine, but it stands up to most of the other Chinatown restaurants and although it was busy, they offered me a free second pot of China tea. Walking around Soho at 2am, sober, I am very much in the minority. I head to

awake, and after lingering as long as possible pretending to repeatedly slurp a long-finished cup of tea, I head back out onto the Soho streets. 2:45 I go for a stroll through the drunken crowds and on Frith Street a man across the road starts shouting ‘Oy’ in my direction. After the third shout I glance over and he continues: ‘Have you got a big cock?’ and makes a ‘welcoming’ gesture.

Walking around Soho at 2am, sober, I am very much in the minority as he passes more protestors. Someone shouts back: ‘Sheep’. ‘Twat’ would have been my choice. The clock chiming at St Paul’s keeps reminding me of the time (how on earth do the protestors sleep?). So as it strikes quarter to one, I decide to break for lunch. A slice of pizza, kebab or curry doesn’t really count, so I get the bus to Soho and walk to 1997 on Wardour Street. Previously a 24-hour joint, it now closes at 4am, so it’s a good job I hurried.

Old Compton Street and the strangely quiet Bar Italia for an ‘afternoon’ cup of tea. I realise it’s empty because everyone else is still out on the piss in the bars dotted around. Anyway a local ‘character’ is keen to tell me how he’s emptied the fruit machine of £20 and cleared £95 from another one earlier. My expression clearly says: ‘That’s fascinating, mate’, and he goes off to ‘impress’ someone else. The playlist of Boney M and Jackson 5 at least keeps me


the other side

When I reply ‘no’ he seems to lose interest. I’m slighly offended – what about my great personality, sparkling wit and conversation? Some people are so shallow. I realise I have to keep moving – if I’m walking I can’t fall asleep, but it’s getting harder and harder. Eventually I reach a bus stop and get on the 25 towards Ilford. My head’s getting muddled now and my rationale is that if I get on a bus to Ilford and fall asleep, I’ll end up stranded in Ilford. That was

Smithfield market

enough motivation for me to stay awake. At 3.15 I’m back at Liverpool Street, Biggins is tucked up in his hotel, and the snores of 600 people maintain a low hum. It’s tempting to wrestle a sleeping bag off someone and crash out – but there’s rules about that sort of thing, and laws probably. With not much happening, I decide to find some dinner. Trouble is, I’m getting nowhere fast. All the Boris bikes are either out of action or being used – where are they all at this time? 3.45 I get the right bus, but in the wrong direction, and once I’ve realised, I decide to stay on until Tottenham Court Road. The bus is still full of people heading home from nights out, and while I’m sitting downstairs, a shifty-looking geezer with a mad, paranoid stare decides to stand right next to my seat, eyeballing me. I might have misjudged the situation in my semi-comatose state, but the bag on my lap suddenly looks at risk. He presses the button for the bus to stop and I realise, if I grab it, he could take offence at me basically assuming he’s a criminal. So I casually reach in and pretend to look for something. The bus stops. He’s still right in my face looking at me, so I pull out the small package I’d grabbed. Out comes a pack of Refreshers left over from Halloween, which surprises me as much as him. I crunch a handful in my mouth and he steps back, bemused. »

Chicken in honey and pepper at 1997 on Wadour Street The best bagel on Brick Lane


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bus journeys I end up near Bank, and after a whole night without finding a single Boris bike, I stumble across 20 of them near Chancery Lane. Luckily the roads are almost empty, save for cabs and buses, so I assume it will be easy to cycle to Old Street. But I’m so knackered that I have to dump it early rather than end up as another statistic. Zombie-like, I reach Old Street – if it was 5.45pm, I’d have just walked across and down Great Eastern Street, but after being up for two working days, everything feels like it has been moved about. I can’t work out which way to go. After crossing the road six times I finally get 4.15 my bearings and wander down I get off the bus and walk for to Brick Lane for my dinner. It’s a while, delirious with lack of hardly a slap-up feast, but I’m sleep. Then the men in white past caring – Beigel Bake on coats arrive. Hundreds of them, Brick Lane hand over a freshly heading to Smithfield Market. baked smoked salmon bagel and Rows upon rows of carcasses I’m a happy camper. hang up, and butchers offer So, the working day is done, various bits of various animals and I’ve had my three squarish for one’s delectation. You need meals. But if I’m going to do a eyes in the back of your head to proper working day, I should go avoid all the trolleys and body for a beer with mates after work. parts being transported around Trouble is, it’s 5.50am and I’m the busy market, so I choose on Brick Lane and on my own. some chicken for tea and make Still, I’ve come this far… my escape. I trudge up Bethnal Green As I get the bus back towards Road – after 20 hours without Oxford Street, it dawns on me sleep it seems to have grown that it’s gone very quiet. 4.30 beyond recognition – hundreds seems to be when London is of shops I don’t remember ever in a weird otherworldly lull seeing and not a soul around. between nightlife and daylife. The sun is starting to come up, Most revellers have made their but it doesn’t lift my spirits. way home, and the early workers I eventually get to the tube – shop owners, cleaners, tube and the station attendant is drivers – are still to venture out. exceedingly chirpy, wishing Fatigue has really set in and everyone good morning and the next hour is hazy. After two telling them to cheer up. But


the other side

in my sleep-deprived state, my feeble attempt looks more like a grimace. On the platform the next train is in 10 minutes, and the platform is busy. The tube arrives and there is barely any space. This is 6am – what is going on? I guess every coffee-shop worker must be on this train. I don’t remember changing lines but must have done, as I head into the open air at Farringdon station. It’s properly light now and in my fug of knackeredness, I’m actually quite in the mood for a beer. But my sense of direction has completely gone again, and I have to ask directions to Smithfield. I enter Smithfield market and head to the pub there called The Cock Tavern. At 6.30 it has been open for a while and some people are already onto their second pint. As well as the meat workers, there are four students – being very chatty for the time of morning and clearly still awake. The landlord eyes me suspiciously as I order a beer – but by presenting him with the correct change, he realises I’m not off my face and his expression softens. With Fabric two minutes away, I’m sure wide-eyed clubbers are some of his best customers. I sit down and have a gulp. It’s 6.36. I’ve earned this beer. I sink it and head back home. 7.26 11 hours later. As I crash into bed, my other half finishes brushing her teeth before setting off to work. It seems that London truly is a 24-hour city.

Central Purl, W1 Anyone who’s read even one of the Harry Potter books will see a likeness here with the Hogwarts labs. Cocktails are experiences as much as anything. Good to impress after a dinner date. Expect wizards to feature to your dreams though. QV Bar, W1 Latin for ‘where are you going’, the bar below Quo Vadis is one answer. A stalwart of the Soho scene, it’s on the list by reputation really. Filled with the kind of people who turn left when boarding flights. What that says about Giles Coren, who digs it, I’ll leave to you.

East Whistling Stop, EC2 On a deserted by night Shoreditchback street, this Dickensian spot makes you feel naughty for having let alone wanting a drink. All manner of sciences combine to create a weirdest, quitewonderful cocktail list that includes four cockle warmers. My advice; have one of each.

Cap it off

North Salisbury Hotel, N4 If this is your local and Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town you like your draughts then well done to you. George Mike Christensen Gale HSB, Fuller’s London Pride, Honey Dew, Rothaus, Litovel; finds 10 places to with more to choose from than grab a nightcap all a Kelloggs variety pack, you can around the capital have a different beer every night for a month. Potentially. Despite the name, you can’t sleep there. Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town, E1 You can try though. Walking through a Smeg fridge door seems a rather silly way to 69 Colebrooke Row, N1 The bar with no name. Just by have a drink. But this list is about the Essex Road/Upper Street differentiation, and the Mayor of fork in the road, this place has Scaredy Cat Town offers that in got pedigree so it does. Sink a abundance. The name warrants pristinely made Americano, praise too; of course it’s in E1. Be grab the handwritten bill and warned though, heavy petting you’ll sleep well. If you’re looking is frowned upon, so order a fine for intimate, I’ve found it for you whiskey, neck it, and then head back to bed. with this place.


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Birdcage, E2 The fact it’s sat halfway along a road with one of the trendiest names in London doesn’t seem to affect it. That makes it cool. That it doesn’t have its own website makes it cooler still. A decent place for a late pint, chaser or loo-stop if you’re bursting. They wouldn’t mind. West Piano Bar, W8 Order a drink and get a rendition of your favourite Elton John song with it, if you’re lucky. Not the place to go for a quiet one on your own, you’ll get looked at funny. Arguably it’s impossible to leave this place after only one drink so on reflection, not good for a nightcap. South Mosquito Bar, SW4 This Indian restaurant turns into a late night bar open until about 5 or 6am every night. Why? Why not. It is best described as a bit of a random dive, is utterly classic and gives an otherwise drab Clapham High Street some character. If you are going to see your girlfriend’s aunt anyway, at least you’ll have a bolt hole here. Commercial, SE24 Right by Herne Hill station, you can be at the bar from your city desk in roughly 18 minutes. With 21 beers on tap and a back garden with heaters, you’d be daft not to enjoy winter nights in relative warmth. It’s ideal for a quick one on the way home.

r D u r o e Y a p m e e



Sleep talking

Edward Valand might have his head in the clouds, but at least it’s not up his arse Illustration by David Lemm


the other side

So, right, I had this really weird dream last night. No, seriously, it was, like really weird. Don’t make that face. Listen. Please. There is a simple rule with dreams: the more interesting they are to the person who has them, the less interesting they are to the person who has to hear all about them the next day. Freudian sleep So while, for example, the dream I had last night (in which I was attempting to kill a daddy-longlegs by hitting it with a pink sports sock, but only managing

were to tell me all about the dream you had last night (in which you were in the swimming pool of a provincial leisure centre when the wave machine came on to the tune of the surf classic ‘Fiberglass Jungle’ by The Crossfires; at first you enjoyed the gentle rise and fall of the water and the lovely echoing guitar reverb, but you quickly realised that the pool was beginning to fill with something that looked like chocolate and everything had suddenly gone very quiet. And then you noticed that either the sides of the pool

insane batshit. I don’t want to hear about someone else’s dream for the same reason that I don’t want to read about why I should sponsor their fucking fun run on F***book or hear the latest demo from their sub-Foster-and-Allen musical project: I couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss. This isn’t to say that dreams don’t matter – the point is, they matter too much to be bandied around and shown off to everybody like a new pair of Primark plimsoles. Each dream has its own unique sense of rhythm, place and mood, as

Dreams matter too much to be shown off like a new pair of Primark plimsoles to shift around various parts of its anatomy until it started to look like some kind of vicious hissing vagina-shaped hermit crab, when a large black bear that was sleeping in the corner of the room stood up, ambled over and crushed it with a leathery paw before giving me a friendly nod and going back to sleep) might be fascinatingly rich in Freudian imagery to me, I’m aware that to you, dear reader, it is nothing more than an irrelevant exercise in selfindulgent flummery that is as poorly structured and difficult to follow as this sentence. And you’re quite right. But then consider this: if you

were rising, or you were sinking. And it wasn’t chocolate at all...), I would probably feign interest to begin with, but would quite quickly stop maintaining eye contact and start shuffling about uncomfortably whilst tearing little pieces off a serviette.

well its own constantly shifting internal logic. Memories, desires and fears are fired at each other like atoms in a reactor, exploding and combining in inscrutable new configurations that are impossible to replicate. They are like the very best art; they exist on their own terms and have A personal odyssey infinite meanings. When you try Dreams are, by their very to describe a dream to another nature, intensely personal, and person, it’s the equivalent of they only have real significance David Starkey trying to describe to the person who dreams them. an episode of Rastamouse And as anyone who’s been on to an indifferent Newsnight the internet recently will tell audience: you probably didn’t you, the things that have real enjoy it, you certainly didn’t significance to most people tend understand it, and you found it to sit somewhere on the spectrum more frightening than you care between inane bullshit and to admit.


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Photo report

cross bones

Photography: Joe McNally Words: Adam Richmond

Cross Bones Graveyard in Southwark has a suitably dark and tortured history. Established as an unconsecrated burial patch for prostitutes and ne’er do wells, the ground heaves with the 15,000 dead, mostly young women and babies. Bodies piled upon one another, papery corpses crumbling into one another, the echoes of smallpox and tuberculosis clinging to the bones. Each has a story. Most are forgotten. Squalor and death six feet under, the chill of being tossed aside as history marches forth. Take it in, but don’t be a tourist. 


winter 2011/12

Photo report


the other side


winter 2011/12

Photo report


winter 2011/12


espite spending the best part of my adult life in and around the capital it is still impossible to answer the question “Where’s the best place to go at night?” The rich tapestry of nightlife is too eclectic to navigate, whether it be for theatres, live music, restaurants, or just a nice pub. When I ask Joseph, a rough sleeper, the same question, however, his answer provides a stark reality check, “There’s a car park near Finsbury Square, one of the stairwells is disused and it’s clean and dry.” In March of this year Joseph “fell through the gaps” of society and was forced to sleep rough for the first time at the age of 50. Having spent the last two years as the live-in carer for a terminally ill friend, he suddenly found himself unemployed and homeless after his friend lost his battle with cancer.

I meet Joseph sitting at an exit of Old Street station with a polystyrene cup, collecting change. Having frequented East London’s nightspots over the past few years I’ve passed by homeless people here countless times while en route to gigs and club nights. Although offering a few pence, or cursory apology for lack thereof, I have given little consideration to how their night would progress as I continued on my own. Joseph’s story is just one of hundreds running parallel with ours, occupying the same streets, yet portraying a very different existence. “It’s been a steep learning curve, a very steep learning curve.” Joseph admits. “When you’ve never had to rely on anybody for anything before you think there’s a safety net there for you, but there isn’t.” Eight months down the line and Joseph has had to become accustomed to the uncertainty

of where he will be sleeping each night. The luxury of staying in a hostel costs £16.50, which includes a meal, shower and breakfast. “It’s just nice having that warmth, I can lock the door and switch off. I’ve got a little radio and some books, so I can sit down and read. It’s nice to have that bit of security again.” While these simple home comforts are possible, making enough money to stay in the hostel is another matter. With an address and telephone number a prerequisite for most jobs, many homeless people find themselves in a catch-22 situation. Though opportunities are few and far between, Joseph does manage to earn a small amount of money, “I sell the Big Issue during the week down at Moorgate which is helpful. You’re looking at spending £20 a day though and sometimes you don‘t get it. On the nights I don’t manage to I stay in the car park. Some nights

A rough guide to London The homeless – unknown, forgotten and ignored – have a cold and bleak time as winter sets in. Dan Moss hits the streets and takes a reality check 22

the other side


you don’t get any sleep.” Adapting to sleeping rough, though obviously presenting the primary issue of finding food and shelter, also comes with the social transition into an underclass. A class for which it seems socially acceptable to look down upon with disgust and disdain. “A lot of people ignore you, but there are nice people who take the time out to speak to you. It’s nice that they stop and acknowledge that I’m here. If somebody said to me “Fuck off” I’d feel better than them saying nothing at all, because at least they acknowledged I exist. When everybody walks by it’s like you’re not there.” Though the public’s attitude and behaviour towards homeless people is varied, it commonly errs on the negative. In the initial weeks of being homeless Joseph slept in doorways, unprotected against the elements, and also the drunks. “At weekends when

people have been out drinking you get a lot of shit. I didn’t realise, I was naïve at first. Once I was in a sleeping bag and someone thought it would be funny to start pissing on me. You don’t expect people to do things like that.” Scenes reminiscent of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ spring to mind, only rather than the caricatures of Alex and his white jumpsuit-wearing droogs it is the very real threat of “city boys out on the piss with the lads” that face Joseph. It’s difficult to comprehend not having a safe and comfortable environment in which to sleep. The sense of relief at returning to my own bed after a week at Glastonbury festival was enough, yet Joseph and many others like him were sleeping rough before and ever since my little camping jaunt. As he faces another night sleeping rough, Joseph insists that he is hopeful that he’ll be

awarded housing benefits. “I just want that contact number and that address so I can register with an agency and get back to work. It’s coming up to Christmas and there’s loads of temp work over the new year. I want to be useful again rather than just sitting around, it’s soul destroying sometimes.” Despite recounting his tale of an existence that terrifies me, Joseph points out that he isn’t trying to paint a horror story: “When you look at the big picture around the world, there’s a lot of people in a worse situation than mine. I should be grateful for small mercies.” Perhaps Joseph’s story is a testament to human fortitude, or perhaps it’s a warning for just how easily people can slip through the cracks in London. Whatever you take from it, it is just one story, recounted on an evening, in a city full of untold stories.

“i want to be useful again”



Bite night

Call of the night His stomach rumbled audibly, he was just off the Edgware Road. A place that at no matter what time still rang with chatter and the chance of a night feed. Crossing the grand boulevard, he headed straight towards the light,and into the shawarma oasis, Ranoush Juice. Overwhelmed by the brightness,

Tunnel vision He was sucker-punched by pickles and slurped on some shake, bursts of berry and banana brought him back on track. As he walked, the warm scents of Edgware road receded, the warmth in character and the he was still busy, occupied by contrast to the bitter darkness the unravelling shawarma. Bits that he had just come from, he of tomato and lemon-scented got in line and leaned against the chicken spilled out into the great produce-stuffed fridge counter. beyond. He crammed what Above shelves of pineapples was left into his mouth. The and bananas promised fresh garlic sauce elevated his mood rejuvenation juices. The and shone light where there revolving spits of chicken and was none, the sesame sauce lamb sent out mouth watering energised his body, and uplifted, signals to his taste receptors. he powered his way through the Further along the counter, a dark zone. Soon he could see the production line of shawarmas end of this particular tunnel. He were in the process of being shot out the other side and on constructed. With a final twist to Baker Street, belly full, the of the wax paper these tubes of darkness behind him. His brush slow cooked marvels were ready with doom was a light sprinkling to be eaten on the go. Picking of mortality, a dash for the divine up his fruit cocktail shake, he and all its rewards. A pleasure headed back out into the night. push in the right direction, food with a sense of adventure and A shrine to life atmosphere. The element of fear was satiated Make your meal a thrill and by the nutrient charged delivery little bit of a chill.

he night had turned into an unforgiving beast. He was lost down the back streets of Marylebone. Winter was on the approach, the early sunset had led him astray, he was not dressed for the cold chill that wrapped its icy cloak around him. In this district all the buildings look the same, the streets intersect and a network of similar squares leave you entangled in a complex web of Imperial construction. After dark, your eyes start to fail you. After dark, your surroundings become outlines and silhouettes. Eyeballs scan, taking in less information, your brain compensates and fills in the gaps. Your survival instinct peaks, the element of fear is justified. As you step deeper into the night, the possibility of an unknown fate increases your lust for life. Do you curl foetal or look towards a last meal? You turn a street corner, and from the black of night to pure brilliance. In the distance, lights burn neon and on the nose comes the heavy and sweet smoke of shishas.

Greg Nay journeys under cover of darkness to find the finest in guilty delights the night has to offer


the other side

of the wrapped shrine to life, light and moist, seasoned chicken. The first bite neat and precise. A little trick to eating these things, is to keep them wrapped and peel as you eat. If not, the bread attempting to hold back the wetwork carnage, will breach and once in the light you will notice that you have a new set of stains for your troubles. This is a two sauce and dripping chicken, face mess fiasco.

or mentioned you get a fur coat to wear yet. They, along with the wardrobe you walk through to enter, create Narnia magic on a – before now – defunct rooftop. With a glass of mulled cider, we stand huddled close together. I imagine we look not unlike that cute bunch of penguins from Frozen Planet, only less cool, and taller. Covering a large expanse,

As the cold bites, you won’t find another part of London with more life after light and sniffly noses this winter.

there is a real festive and festival feel to the place with tents, yurts and untapped musical talent performing. With talk of popup saunas and hot tubs on their way, bring some swimwear just in case.

Images: David Nwikpo & Charlotte Mayhew

l i f e after light

but there is still life after light in the capital, but in two points in case, you just can’t see it. Wary of the so called ‘speakeasy’ bars who love a good publicity stunt, I went in search for something with a bit more going for it. The following two barnstorming ideas show that E8’s festive community spirit and creativity is second to nowhere.

Just because it’s dark, doesn’t mean you have to become a shut-in. Mike Christensen explores London for reasons to embrace the night

Netil 360 While all the capital’s bars plant the white flag outside, batten down hatches and surrender to the elements, Netil 360 has done the opposite, embracing the outside with aplomb. Unusual; yes. Inspired; more so. The views es it got cold, yes it’s dark of London are unreal; they have at half four, and yes, the camera shutters OD-ing. From vast majority of us become Netil 360, the influx of lights, bona fide hermits this time of the contrast of darkness and the year. While bees hibernate, exposed tree trunks show off a excuse-laden texts and tweets more vulnerable thus photogenic buzz about the black sky; their London. There is more to see, receivers stung by cancelled more iconic buildings to make arrangements. out and less not to notice. So, Yes the month before and after this place sounds good, and I Christmas are notoriously quiet haven’t even picked up a drink



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The Long Table For vertigo sufferers not keen on rooftops, foodies and everyone else too, you’d be silly not to be interested in The Long Table on Abbot Street. Another previously disused space, it becomes a gourmet street market from six til midnight every Friday until Christmas. Yes, please I’d like to go immediately. Stalls from the calibre of Moro, the Hawksmoor and Viajante together with a great long table, log fires and live music make this good idea an exceedingly good one.


Sleep no more

After a hard day’s slog, as the night crowds in, it is time to revivify and recharge. But if you’ve got BeyoncÊ and Jordan on the brain, sleep can be an elusive beast, writes Isabel Thomson


read once that some of the greatest writers ever to have lived suffered from insomnia. Apparently the silence of the night and the long hours stretching ahead of them stoked their creativity and helped them produce some of their best work. Shakespeare, Dickens, and John Stuart Mill are all reported to have had it, and the illness is sometimes seen


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as almost a by-product of the possession of a brilliant creative imagination or artistic genius. It’s something I like to think about at two o’clock in the morning when I am flicking between the music channels looking for Beyoncé videos. I sincerely wish my insomnia was the type to produce beautiful works of art, but it absolutely isn’t. It’s the kind that kills my brain cells and leaves me stupid, fit for nothing but OK! Magazine and Signed by Katie Price. It’s a deeply disappointing type of insomnia, uninterested in great ideas and only able to focus, like some kind of trembling, pathetic troll, on the time I have to get up in the morning. My mind will flutter about on all kinds of banalities – the washing up, a meeting tomorrow, a bill I didn’t pay – before coming to its regular resting place, which is 6.30am. It sits there for a bit, torturing me, before racing off again to what I might eat for dinner on Tuesday or what my brother said earlier about the cat. There’s not a philosophical argument or well developed character in sight. In short, insomnia is the bane of my life.I’ve tried everything to make it go away. I’ve messed about with lavender baths and exercise, tried going to bed early and going to bed late, drunk alcohol, avoided alcohol, eaten protein, eaten carbs, taken sedatives, taken herbs, taken vitamins. I’ve listened to meditation tapes and avoided looking at screens late at night. But nothing keeps my mind under control. If it decides it’s going to be a hyperactive little

shit this evening, there’s little I can do to stop it. It’s a horrible thing to have, because it encroaches on your life a lot without being as obviously debilitating as, say, the mumps. You can’t have 2 weeks off work because you can’t sleep very well. Taking a single day off made me feel so guilty that I didn’t sleep during the day either – I just rolled around in the same sleepless agony as the night wrought, checking my email every five minutes and wondering what my friends at work were eating for lunch. I expect it sounds like I have mental problems, but I’m not sure that I do. I don’t spend my time listening to voices or convincing myself the apocalypse is coming. I spend it wondering how Beyonce got so good at dancing. Or whether Katie Price is intelligent (because, I mean, she’s doing something right because she’s rich, and she’s certainly sharp. But she looks dead behind the eyes and she doesn’t seem to have any awareness of her own social implications, and how can someone so unquestioning be intelligent?). I concede this makes me boring, but I don’t think I’m actually fully mental. Getting through a working day is a challenge when you’ve had four or five hours of sleep. Some people are able to function on this – J Lo, for instance, once said in an interview she only needs 5 hours – and I admire them as though they’re demigods. But getting so little sleep night after night turns me into a half-person, one who’s incapable


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of thinking straight. It kills off any creativity I might normally have. Forming cohesive written sentences becomes more of a challenge, thinking of good questions to ask people gets difficult, and an all-pervasive hatred of things settles on me like filthy dust. I crave junk food to get me through the day and I feel heavier and slower. Maybe I’m making excuses, but I expect Shakespeare never had to get up early and stand on a crowded Thameslink train at 7.42 in the morning, the lucky bastard. That’s it, that’s the sole cause of my inability to have ideas: all I need to become a literary heavyweight is the ability to work from home. I always hoped that, as I got older, sleeping would get easier. That accidentally glimpsing adverts for Paranormal Activity 3 wouldn’t lead to me lying there with the light on for four nights. Perhaps if I am ever faced with something truly terrible – the birth of a child, for instance – my mind will accept there are powers in existence that are greater than its own, and knuckle down to a life of obedience. Perhaps one day I’ll be one of those wankers that can sleep anywhere at any time. Because it’s only once I’m getting at least seven hours a night that I stand any chance of functioning properly, any chance of doing my job as well as I am able, and any chance of writing something that will almost certainly be better than Hamlet. Illustration by SOWA

Street style

Winter wear Style spotter- Marianna Mullings

Chris- Fashion Designer Hat- Marc Jacobs (self studded) Jeans- Versace for H&M Jacket- Asos Top- Asos Shoes- Adidas

Claire- Stylist Coat- Cos Hat- Cos Skirt- American Apparel Jumper- Cos Shoes- Cos

Alessandra- Fashion Student Dress- Principles by Ben de Lisi Cardigan- Zara Bag- Vintage @ Pow

Dannika- Fashion Student Coat- Topshop Dress- Closet Shoes- Topshop

Angela- Personal Shopper Jacket- Theory Skirt- Topshop Jumper- Topshop Boots- Dr Martens

Yunjie- Student Jacket- Korea Bag- Korea Top-Urban Outfitters Shoes- F-Troupe

Street style

David- Student Top- Versace for H&M Jacket- Versace for H&M Bag- Cambridge Satchel Shoes- Creepers Hat- New Era

Kiera- Photographer Skirt- Urban Outfitters Necklace- Urban Outfitters Cardigan- Vintage @ Rokit Fur Shawl- H&M Top/Vest- Topshop

Jacqueline- Freelance Editor Blazer- Mums Wool Cardigan- Vintage Boots- Charity Shop

Sarah- Fashion Designer Shirt- Vintage Headband- Cut from vintage shirt Skirt- Made by herself (Sarah)

Ara- Social Media Consultant Hat- Filipo Catarzi Scarf- H&M Jacket- Primark Bag- Vintage Shorts- Mango

Leila- Art Student Hat- Debenhams Cardigan- Gap Shorts- Gap Tights- River Island Boots- Dr Martens


and the dead will rise... again Zombies are dead, that much is clear, but the metaphor seems to have been rotting for some time with them. Adam Richmond asks why

“We had crazy zombies raping human females making hybrid zombies and stuff, it was just nasty.” Matthijs van Heijningen Jr – director of the still mercifully unreleased The Thing remake* – on the planned Army of the Dead film. He’s to helm the sequel to Zack Snyder’s Dawn of the Dead remake, A sequel to a remake, by a director of a remake. The horror. It should come as no surprise that Snyder’s sticky fingers are all over this (he’ll produce as he’s busy smearing his teenage preoccupations over the Man of Steel). He’s the ‘ideas’ man after all. Wasn’t it him that came up with the revolutionary take that the zombies should, like you know, run fast in Dawn? Oh wait, no, because Danny Boyle had already done that two years earlier in the to-all-intentsand-purposes zombie film 28

Days Later. Zack’s probably still smarting over that, so has come up with this vital addition to the genre. Zombie rape. And for what reason? God knows why did he make a film where a grown woman dressed as a school girl fights giant Brazil-like samurais (Zack’s a high-brow ideas thief if anything), zombie (them again), Nazis and the dragon from Beowulf (Zack’s an equal opportunities ideas thief if anything). The prurient douche bag is just brimming. So, not only with Army of the Dead will he prove his unaccountable gift for the needlessly offensive, he’ll also hammer the final (please be the final) nail in the zombie coffin. As it is, people are falling out of love with zombies. Sure, Nicholas Hoult will be playing a zombie that falls in love with


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a very much alive lady in Warm Bodies – a postmodern zombie film, as good a sign as ever that the party is over. Worse news for the undead than this rank post modernism, that one-jokeidea-in-a-no-joke-book Pride & Prejudice & Zombies still staggers, rotting and fetid, in development hell. If we’re lucky a sniper might just blow out its shit-for-brains. Poor George A Romero, he’d had such high hopes. Using horror as metaphor, as a grim-faced, skin- crawling state-of-the-nation address. A lumbering, but prescient attack on consumerism and the death of the individual. We all know the metaphor got sucked out of its brains long ago. In fact, it plain got sucked out of films full stop. The spectacle, and high concept inveigling its way further onto celluloid.

Not that films should have to say anything, but that so few bother to recently is very odd. Cowboys & Aliens is about, erm, cowboys and aliens. It couldn’t even be bothered to slip in a few nods to the rape of the Native American. Why bother, when it could be so po-facedly literal? Horror films used to comment, satirise and tap into the fears of the day. Now they just tap into the fears of the day – be it the end of the world, viruses or Sarah Jessica Parker. Eden Lake is a serviceable chiller, tapping into middle class fear of feral youth, but it’s too busy serving up effective shocks to tell us anything new or satirise that fear. Better effects and less censorship means that filmakers can show whatever they like, they don’t need to be clever, they don’t need to resort to metaphor or symbolism to convey shock and awe, they can just show a foetus being raped. Hooray. It’s in horror remakes where this shift away from any duality of meaning is so stark. There’s little point bemoaning Hollywood’s lack of ideas, but as markers of the lack of allusions to wider issues modern films have they’re illustrative. Wes Craven’s grotty oeuvre (The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have Eyes, Nightmare on Elm Street) had things to say, but they have been picked to the barest of bones – set up, tension, bloody pay off. And then repeat. Straw Dogs too has received the remake treatment, becoming a nuts-and-bolts horror in the process. Sam Peckinpah’s controversy-baiting film peeks

from under the billowing skirt of Sam’s misogynist and bloody reputation, and that it was made at the height of the Vietnam war. Was he taking the limits of pacifism to task or did he just want to celebrate macho empowerment? It’s a ripe topic for debate. The remake jettisons this and all we’re left with is the

and The Human Centipede 2 are testament to that. But who cares about banning them when they are so very, very boring. Social commentary is still relevant, but it’s getting very literal and obvious. The Iraq war was dealt with… by Iraq war films. Three Kings is one of the few films to have diced with worthwhile

... just blow out its shit-for-brains... pretty faces of James Marsden and Kate Bosworth and home invasion, which is so 2000. Horror films fell out of popular favour in the 80s and 90s, and it was only with the post-modernism of Scream that brought them back in favour. Unencumbered by context, unadorned by meaning, the horror film could be reborn. The context was the plain horror, not the state of the nation. With a wink to the audience that these were types, and rules and these would be followed. With nothing new to say, all that’s left is hoary plot devices, and bloodier and more surprising deaths. The only thing skewered was someone’s eyeball. What’s happened? Well, we’ve arrived at a place where art is now divorced of not just the context, but the responsibility it used to have. A Serbian Film


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commentary, and that was back in the heady days of 1999 and was about the Gulf War. That its comment spans time is why it stands up so strongly, whereas genre takes such as The Kingdom, Green Zone and Black Hawk Down are so boneachingly dry who’s going to remember them? We’re all magpies now. We steal music, stories, fashion, and we leave the bothersome politics out of it. Never mind why punks wore safety pins, never mind why film noir came about. We steal the aesthetics without bothering to know what the context that gave rise to them is about. If metaphor is hanging by its entrails in a dirty meat locker, where do we go from here? What genre can we turn to for solace? * No it’s not a prequel, given that it has stolen the name and repeats the same beats of the unequalled original


hear them roar

Let it not be said that we are short of talented female vocalists. Nathan May goes in search of the xx chromosome factor Austra

Zola Jesus


011 has been a bumper year for original music, and a number of leading ladies have driven the initiative. It has not always been this way though, too often in the past the elusive front woman has been crammed into a pop pigeon-hole. There are notable exceptions to this rule of course. The likes of Kate Bush, Björk and PJ Harvey have stood out from the crowd of manufactured girl bands, botox and hot pants. 2011 has seen the aforementioned holy trinity return with albums, instantly enveloped in mass acclaim. Joining the three wise women this year has been a new class of quirk-pop heroines. All three unique and talented in

their own way, yet seem united in their quest to unearth the darker side of pop. The sound is haunting, these are women with a voice, and not a pair of gold sparkly hot pants in sight. Austra Katie Stelmanis is the former student of opera, turned gothtinged electro queen, behind 2011’s new outfit Austra. Hailing from Toronto, the band released debut album Feel it Break earlier this year. Mixed by Damian Taylor (Björk, The Prodigy, Unkle), the album’s haunting synths draw immediate comparisons to Fever Ray (another quirk-pop female worthy of note). Yet further


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inspection will belie those initial associations and reveal the cleanliness of synth riffs that delicately intertwine with the light drum arrangements, bubbling rather than booming. The overriding element at work here is Stelmanis’ cut-glass voice. Its icy, high-pitched tone is reminiscent of another wellknown Kate. Delivered with a theatrical intensity that would aptly accompany ‘windy moors’, to use the parlance of the great Ms Bush. It is fair to say that the album’s big hitters align to top on this offering, with ‘Darken Her Horse’, ‘Lose it’ and ‘Beat and the Pulse’ being the stand-out tracks. But this will be enough

to have you hooked on Austra’s ethereal tones, and if you find yourself craving for more, check out Death in Vegas’ latest offering, ‘Your Loft My Acid’, which has unashamedly bottled Stelmanis’ voice, looped it, and

with Danilova’s imposing vocals weaving, but never wavering, between complex synth arrangements. As a live spectacle, however, Zola Jesus was a little disappointing in London this

cool electro outfit, check (Planningtorock worked with The Knife on operatic effort Tomorrow, In a Year). And finally, a background in some art-based goings-on overseas, check (Planningtorock was

year. The live show was played out in dingy venues with insufficient Zola Jesus sound systems, often failing to 2011 represented a significant do Danilova’s astonishing vocals leap forward for Zola Jesus, the any real justice. But expect that stage name of Russian American all to change as Ms Danilova singer/songwriter Nika Roza continues to belt out powerful Danilova. After 2010’s release goth-tinged anthems. Further Stridulum II propelled Zola success will undoubtedly bring Jesus onto the iPod’s of many her back to London, probably a London blogger with firm replete with a laser light show favourite ‘Night’, the follow-up and zombie outfits for the lads at Conatus released this year was the back on keyboards. anticipated with considerable levels of excitement. Planningtorock Although not as immediately A suitably ambiguous album arresting as some of the title, check (W). A unique successes on Stridulum II, stage presence, check (will a Conatus proved to be equally bizarre prosthetic nose do it emphatic in parts. ‘Vessel’ and for you? I think so). A previous ‘Seekir’ are of particular note, collaboration with an uber-

born out of a Berlin-based art collective). But wait, the lead singer is one Janine Rostron, from, wait for it… Bolton. Which makes 2011’s W seem even more impressive. ‘Doorway’, ‘Manifesto’ and ‘I’m Yr Man’ get the album off and running at a blistering and somewhat terrifying pace, with booming bass and deeply distorted vocals, and by the time the album’s masterpiece ‘The Breaks’ drops, you are already immersed in the uncomfortable world of Planningtorock. W finally releases you from its grip after a dozen tracks, and you will come up gasping for air and desperate for more. Alas, when ‘more’ will come, I know not.


sat back in euphoric pleasure.


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Pick a card

An Olfactory Slap

Cardorowski wants you to wake up and smell the garbage truck


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Illustration by Tobias Pearce


o, there I was, trundling upon my trusted thoroughbred, ridgeback steed (the one that obeys the ninth and tenth laws of astro-physix*) through the environsofKen’sSingingborough and Roman’s Chelski, by force of crappenstance and the desire for hidden treasures, when I was struck, in the most violently olfactory manner, by a certain and incontrovertible truth: The Shit of the Rich doth stink just as bad as the Shit of the Poor (er). If not wors (er). Smell-to-do Despite the supposedly high level of personal hygiene demanded in said borough, the gargantuan sums spent down the Perfumeria and the time lavished on personal preening, the effluence of the Rich don’t half pong. The whiff from the gaping and unperfumed arse of a Trash Truck damn near knocked me out me saddle and into the gutter before the heavybreathing presence of a doubledecker bus nursing a hunger for fresh cyclist. Took me right off my stride and had me pushing squares and gasping for air up and through Park Lane and into the safety of Norf Lunnun where you expect that kinda thing. It does make ya think tho’, or at least it did me, why oh why do we spend such time, effort and hard-earned cash striving to keep at bay that which is only natural and pretty much unavoidable. Of course, One could, as some do, lock oneself in a lavish, Knightsbrodge

hideaway, take no exercise and wash one’s bod three or four times a day, have someone take out your effluvia and never haveta whiff the denuded

personal hygiene routine and you, your self, will begin to reek despite the close attentions of the deodorpump. Why bother? Why the pretence? Why not

Why do we spend time and hard-earned cash striving to keep at bay that which is only natural? derierre of the Trash Truck, but, apart from the obvious refrain: “Where’s the fun in that?” surely the harsher truth is that: no matter how new and up to the minute your amenities; a lavvie or sink is gonna back up on ya once in a while; the fridge will pack up and yer combustibles will begin to rot before the fixer man gets there; a water pipe will burst at some point and the ensuing damp will cause untold rot and denigration to one’s surfaces. Or, and this is the real humdinger, the water will be cut off for maintenance somewhere beyond your control, causing mass disruption to your


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open up and let whatever passes beneath yer proboscis be what it is and revel in the variety? Scents and sensibility Don’t get me wrong. I do not count myself amongst those who would have us harken back to the days of pre-Medieval squalor or pre-Roman hygiene. I am fully aware of the benefits and delights of a daily shower and the swift and clinical removal of waste. But the pretence of ‘true’ hygiene and ‘utter’ cleanliness strikes me as decidedly vain, bovine and mendacious. There is a mid point betwixt antiseptic, surgical sterility and wallowing »

in your own excrement and it is probably healthier than either of the extremes. And definitely healthier than the toxic waste poured all over us as deodorizer or natural freshness. I would say. The preponderance of spots on the TeeVee at present, that glorify the expulsion of aromas, by remote control no less, that purport to render any space a veritable forest glade or sunkissed pasture would have me hazard a guess that such households are not limited to the few who have clinical problems with body odour or over-excitable nasal passages. What’s harder still to fathom is that some folks actually think that the stenches on offer bear any resemblance to the titles on the packaging and, once conned, keep going back for more. The Lavender expulsion, that bears no relation to the lavender in my garden and which erupts at the excitable tremor of my elderly host’s quivering hand, renders the tea and biscuits I have been invited to enjoy inedible and wretched. Can age so dull the senses that the odour, which invades an otherwise pleasant room, is thought an improvement? It cannot simply be a question of taste, because without exception, these odours are utterly repugnant. I literally prefer the crap of the Urban Fox upon my pathway to the laboratorial confection that would deny us our full humanity and so bedevil our nostrils that we lose track of our communality and our

connection with the non-virtual environment in which we stride, breathe and have our being. It must be something strong that can maintain an entire industry whilst convincing us of the nastiness of our very own scents (sense). Smelling good I’m not, in truth, that conversant with the History of the ‘A irFreshener’. Nor how the pongs that emanate from factories have transformed over time. It may well be that at one time they bore a greater aromatic resemblance to the thing they purported to represent (I doubt it). However, absolutely no effort seems to be being made at all these days. They should be made to give them new names commensurate with the foul odours they spew before us. What once was Deep Amber Glow would become Sczyxczobjsturwty with an umlaut over the u, a cedilla under second c and an accent grave over the w. That’s what it smells like. Only in countries that suffered a Soviet Occupation, an African Despot or Asian Tyrant would you be allowed to call it Deep Amber Glow. What exactly does Amber smell like? Isn’t it a rock? Isn’t that what the DNA of the Dinosaur was held in in Jurassic Park? Does it thereby smell of petrified Dino-poo? Either way it would smell better than the odour emanating from the orange blob on the dangly bit. And yes, I may be damning an entire and reputable industry with cheap end products that no one is being forced to buy (again


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I doubt it), but…. My point is this; after a brief pause, I was glad to have been subsumed by the reeking rear-end of that Trash Truck. It reminded me that we are all alike no matter how we tart ourselves up, seclude ourselves or hang about in exclusive cliques. However we dress it, mask it or deny it; our Shit stinks. And so it should. We should not be so gobsmacked, staggered nor angered by the discovery that we would attempt to cover it up. That some, with a perverted sense of self-loathing, would try to eradicate all trace of their pong is unfortunate beyond words and deserving of pity and the offer of therapy. For the rest of us, who are not afeared of an olfactory slap. We could take no offence at the funk of our neighbour, but recognise the difference and laugh in celebration of the deep and wide variety of humankind. We are brilliant. And so are you! Now get on your thoroughbred and work up a sweat why doncha! * 9th Law of Astrophysix: Bicycles shall have no doors (and thereby no aircon) 10th Law of Atrophysix: Bicycles shall have no rear-view mirrors (and thereby nowhere to hang an, inappropriately named, airfreshner)


B i t e m e If you want to find vampires, don’t bother with the Twi-shite books, Transylvania is the place. Katie Grant grabs a stake, a Buffy DVD and hunts for Vlad


rince Charles’ claim to be able to trace his lineage back to Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration behind the eponymous Dracula, may not come as much of a surprise to anyone who cares to remember that this is the man who once told Camilla Parker-Bowles he would like to be reincarnated as a box of her tampons in order that he might be inside her all the time. There are two things I never got about this exchange: 1) I think Charles’ mum is head of the Church of England, which doesn’t traditionally accept theories on the transmigration of the soul – could Charles

actually be an anarchist trying to bring down the system from the inside? 2) Why does Camilla wear tampons “all the time”? Not only is that pretty unhygienic, it is also really dangerous and can cause Toxic Shock Syndrome, which is potentially fatal. One thing’s for sure though: reinterpreted, the whole Camilla-gate scandal was likely a manifestation of the Prince’s instinctive thirst for blood – albeit gross period blood in his case – as opposed to just an inexplicable desire to bone the Rod Hull lookalike 24/7, which I think we can all agree is definitely the lesser of two evils. Charles has been visiting Transylvania for over a decade and, as well as being patron of


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two local charities, he also owns several properties there. Since this seems to be place he holds dear to his heart, I wanted to get to know it myself seeing as I plan on marrying Harry any day now, and would like to be wellprepared for any State visits scheduled for us. Following in the footsteps of Jonathan Harker in Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula, I decided to travel into the heart of Transylvania by rail. The first port of call on my vampiretracking mission was Sighisoara where Vlad the Impaler was born and spent those all-important formative years. Today the cheery yellow building he lived in is home to » Casa Dracula, a restaurant


in urgent need of corrective dental surgery emerging from the tombs. Unfortunately, all I encountered were actual living human beings – a film crew who happened to be shooting the upcoming Harvey Keitel film, starring Gerard Depardieu, Ipu: Convicted to Live. It was rather surreal, stumbling upon filming for a Hollywood movie late at night in

“Dracula never used Lufthansa or KLM so he must have stayed herE” worth visiting on the basis that you can be sure that such a cheap and tacky establishment would undoubtedly cause poor Vlad to spin in his grave, if indeed his body was actually resting there – as it was never recovered, his grave lies empty, further fanning the flames of tales of vampirism. He might well have approved of the cosy little Torture Room Museum nestled in beside the town’s prominent 13th century clock tower though.

perplexed that the menu did not specify what – or who – these brains might have once belonged to. I thought it prudent not to ask any awkward questions though, for my own piece of mind as much as anyone else’s. Having watched numerous episodes of Buffy back-to-back in preparation for this trip, it seemed natural to spend my evenings patrolling the local cemetery in hopes of bumping into a member of the undead community. Strolling about Brain food in the darkness, clutching my The restaurant boasts pan- Star of David to ward off the fried brains as one of its house more hostile inhabitants, I specialties, but I was slightly kept a keen eye out for anybody


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a remote Romanian cemetery. In a moment of madness, I briefly flirted with the idea of asking Depardieu if he was aware that a glass of wine in Casa Dracula cost a mere three lei (60 pence), and inviting him to join me there, before realising that Keitel probably wouldn’t thank me for sharing information of this nature with such a committed oenophile as his leading man. Disappointed by the lack of vampires in Sighisoara, I continued to trace the movements of Jonathan Harker, moving on to Bran Castle, which is thought to be the one Stoker modelled his own creation on

in his novel. The city of Brasov is the closest you can get to the castle by rail so, like Harker, I commenced my journey by road from there – admittedly I travelled in a red Dacia Nova hatchback rather than a horsedrawn carriage like him. I was greeted by my guide Matei, who had arranged to show me around the castle. Built between 1377 and 1382

multitudes of tourists every year is that legend has it this was the castle belonging to the notorious Vlad the Impaler. For one night only Strangely enough though this was not his home, and documents suggest that actually he may only have spent the occasional night here, perhaps, as Matei thoughtfully posited,

bedroom. This, he announced, was his favourite room in the castle and, as he spoke at length on her, I realised he had developed something of an obsessive infatuation with her. Outside her bedroom, Matei paused and fell into a reverential silence. Finally he turned to me and repeated emphatically, “This… is my favourite room”. Staring at me meaningfully he

by Saxons in Brasov, it was originally constructed to defend the town of Bran against the Ottoman Empire which had begun to threaten the southeastern borders of Transylvania. From 1920 it became a royal residence favoured by Queen Marie, granddaughter of Queen Victoria and wife of Ferdinand I of Romania. Beloved throughout Romania to this day, Queen Marie enjoys legendary status there as the original “people’s princess”, which lends a certain irony to Charles’ enduring devotion to the area. Of course, the real reason Bran Castle attracts

“When he was passing through and wanted to enjoy a one night stand with a local girl”. With a wave of his hand Matei dismissed my question as to whether Vlad was ever really here or if it is all just folklore and myth, “Dracula never used Lufthansa or KLM so he must have stayed here when he travelled from Sighisoara,” he answered firmly. “Many times he passed through this castle as a human. Whether or not he chose to become a vampire, I cannot say for sure”. Striding ahead of me, he led the way to Queen Marie’s

added, “It’s a place where I wanna make love with my girlfriend”, before suggestively grazing his finger along the bed sheets. Part of me would really love to be able to tell my grandchildren I banged a creepy sexual deviant in Vlad the Impaler’s old crib, and that there is a family history of mental insanity. However, I am a romantic girl at heart and I like to be wooed, so am holding out for a prince who whispers sweet nothings in my ear, just like Charles. As a rule of thumb now, I will only put out for a man who tells me he wants to be reincarnated as a box of Tampax; then I’ll know it’s for keeps.


winter 2011/12


Cover story Congratulations to the very talented Particle Press, for designing the winning entry to the Create Our Cover competition. The lucky buggers snapped up stacks of gift vouchers from Cass Art, now hear them gloat What does Particle Press do? At Particle Press we make and hand print everything from greetings cards and note books to purses, bags and lampshades. Everything is printed and made at our little studio in Stoke Newington.

inspired us to make things for other people. We made over 300 metres of bunting, printed invitations, booklets, ‘save the date’ tea towels and canvas bags as favours. It was so much fun, we wanted to start Particle Press after that.

What inspires you? Our rural roots give us strong links to all things nature. I have been making things since I was a little girl, I was always making things from cereal boxes for friends and family. I loved visiting the Early Learning such as London Print Studio Centre for my art supplies. on Harrow Road. Printing on fabric is quite different, so you What is screen printing? can take a course at ‘The Make Screen printing is a printing Lounge’ in Islington, where you technique that uses a woven can learn how to print on to bags mesh stretched across an and tea towels. aluminium frame. Stencils (either hand cut or drawn) are What is the most fun part of used to block parts of the mesh your job? that you don’t want to print. Ink Spending long days in the is pulled across the screen with studio, listening to the radio and a squeegee, and the ink will be mixing colours. I love printing forced through the open areas of too. Screen printing is a very the mesh. instant and quick process, so it’s very satisfying to see your image Which techniques do you use? multiply very quickly. Everything we make is screen printed, on fabric or paper. How long have you been making prints and products? How could other people learn We have been printing for over new craft techniques? 10 years, but we just recently set You can learn how to screen print up Particle Press. Organising at an open access print studio, our wedding in the summer

What is the most difficult thing in your job? Trying to keep on top of admin.


the other side

What do you think of the craft revival? We think its brilliant, lots of people want to learn new skills – knitting and crocheting are cool again. With the economic crisis everyone is watching their pennies, and we think people are looking to making gifts and screen printing their artwork to make a little extra money. Websites such as Folksy and Etsy are great ways to sell and buy all things homemade too. Where do you sell your craft? This year we are taking part in a few Christmas markets, firstly a pop-up shop at an artists film night at BHVU Gallery in Stoke Newington on December 9, a day at the Rag Factory (just off Brick Lane) on December 10 and a weekend in Cornwall at Jubilee wharf in Penryn on December 17-18. We also sell from our website



In association with:

The Night Issue  

The Other Side magazine winter edition featuring all kinds of nighttime wonders. From graveyards to nightbuses.

The Night Issue  

The Other Side magazine winter edition featuring all kinds of nighttime wonders. From graveyards to nightbuses.