Long time friends and sometimes collaborators Charlotte Delaney and Alicia Graham are at it again, this time they are busy setting up a brand new community radio station in Stokey.
Based in the new Politi Arts studio, Reelrebelsradio.com will offer a unique mix of music, talk, documentaries and radio plays – sort of a like a funked up Radio 4. Unlike some other internet radio stations, Reel Rebels will be broadcasting 24/7 and will offer programmes on everything from erotica to religion.
Shake off the winter blues this weekend at Arcola’s Green Sundays. This month’s event focuses on ‘Well Being, Health & Happiness’. Discover what it would be like if the government pursued happiness as a national agenda, have a free massage, take part in fun and games or make your own facial products using ingredients from the larder.
The Audience at Green Sundays
As well as the usual live music and short films, you also have the chance to give your lungs a workout in a singing workshop, or if that isn’t your bag why not try the free laughing workshop – guaranteed to make you giggle.
Regulars at the Sovereign are in for a real treat on Saturday night as not only is it the pub’s Christmas party, the fabulous dance band Section Eleven will be playing their infectious mix of Latin grooves.
I have to confess, the first time I heard them play I had been dragged rather reluctantly, protesting loudly “I don’t like Latin”, but was soon converted. Section Eleven play an eclectic mix of Latin sounds including Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, Colombian and Brazilian rhythms. The band certainly lived up to its ‘dance’ tagline and in fact I didn’t sit down once during their set, swept along with the band’s big sound and irresistible beat.
So when I heard they would be playing at the Sovereign again I caught up with Venetia Bennion – who plays both Alto and Soprano Saxophone as well as providing some of the vocals – to find out a little more about the band.
Although the ‘winter’ lights have been up for while and the shop-fronts are festooned with decorations, you can tell that Christmas is really just around the corner when the first real trees start to appear. But don’t fret if, unlike some of your smug Facebook friends, you haven’t finished (or even started) your Christmas shopping because everything you could possibly need can be found right here in Stokey.
From miniscule budgets to those with no limits, from obvious choices like a book token for the ‘impossible to buy for’ friend or scented candles and picture frames from Hamilton’s, to a truly unique one-off original Stokey has it all.
While not strictly Stokey the Hackney Empire is a local(ish) institution and their Christmas pantomimes are especially worth a visit.
Aladdin at the Hackney Empire
This year’s adventure is Aladdin and his magic lamp, transported from its usual Arabian setting to the Peking suburb of Ha-Ka-Ney. Clive Rowe (Duke from the Tracey Beaker series) stars as the Widow Twankey and is joined by an all-singing, all-dancing cast including flying genies, tap dancing pandas and a singing camel.
After several vague promises to get in touch (mine, I shamefully admit), I finally had the chance to sit down with Stokey’s answer to Elvis and our very own Man in Black, Charlie Wilson – lead singer of the Brick Lane Boogie Boys.
Hello Charlie, The Boogie Boys are practically a Stokey institution and must be one of the areas best known bands. Tell us a little about them.
We’ve done well over 100 gigs in Stoke Newington in the last 10 years. But we’re not just a Stokey band – we play all over. We’ve appeared on the BBC Radio London Sessions five times as part of the Robert Elm show, which has spread us all around London. We do a lot of festivals in the summer too, both specialist and the mainstream ones. In fact we’ve done most of them.
If you are wondering why Church Street is being dug up yet again, causing untold traffic and transport problems, it isn’t to replace the Victorian waterpipes or the gas mains… this time it is all in the name of regeneration.
Church Street has long been seen as a focal point of Stokey, attracting locals and visitors alike to its shops, restaurants and pubs, and Hackney Council have decided to give it a multi-million pound facelift.
If you are stuck for something to do on Monday 14th September, pop into Stokey Books for a reading of a powerful debut novel by emerging Stoke Newington talent, Alistair Morgan.
Sleeper’s Wake is being published by Granta who are expecting great things from Alistair in future so come along and be one of the first to hear him read.
The reading starts at 8:00pm and is hosted by the N16 Writers and Readers group. Cost is a bargain £2.50 which includes a glass of wine.
N16 Fringe is just around the corner but if your idea of a good time is somewhat more cerebral why not take a trip outside the hallowed Hackney boarders ‘gasp’ and try something completely different?
Theodore Zeldin, philosopher, historian and author, has invited all and sundry to share his birthday party in a Feast of Strangers. But be warned, this is a Feast with a twist, as instead of food the menu consists of ‘Topics of Conversation’.
The TreeHouse Gallery
The Feast is open to everybody – with the understanding that they will talk to someone they don’t know. Who knows, you might even meet a special friend. But if not, you will certainly get the chance to dust off your raconteur skills and come back to the borough with fresh insight and anecdotes to amuse and delight. Continue reading
Stereo Stokey says a sad farewell to Ocean Books on Church Street who, after trading for fifteen years, closed their doors for the last time on Sunday.
There is something special about bookshops in general and especially second-hand ones. It was easy to spend an hour or two browsing the great selection of second-hand books in Ocean. It is like diving into a treasure trove, you never knew what you might find… from the latest summer bonk-buster to a rare out of print poetry book by Leonard Cohen. Continue reading