From Desk Till Dawn

My mainly music & nerd bird blog

Posts Tagged ‘Riot Clean Up

What Was & What Will Be. And Artichokes.

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Happy New Year my music loving, book nerd, pick and mix addict alcoholics.

I spent a good chunk of yesterday reminiscing about 2011. It was the year I became addicted to Romanesco, Rum & Ginger, and Hackney (inconvenient seeing as I reside in north-west London). The year I met Jarvis Cocker *swoon*. The year I got a tattoo. The year I spoke to Steve Lamacq on BBC6 Music. The year I remained in love. The year I made a wish in a 6th century wishing well, the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul. The year I found community through Riot Clean Up, the most precious days of last year came from destruction, who could have predicted that – amazing!

It was the year I tweeted for The Guardian at Glastonbury and started writing for Flush The Fashion (thanks Pete!). It was the year I started this blog and had Thom Vincent, Dan Thompson, Bob Winckworth, my Dad and Priyam Chovhan guest blog for me (thanks a ton lovely folk). I’ve had a ton of support from friends, family and strangers in my writing which has truly meant the bloody universe to me.

The year I averaged 2.91 books a month and 2.58 gigs a month (festivals not included as some bands at Glastonbury are a bit of a blur) mainly with Lolita who has energetically suffered my stubborn determination to trek around various venues and fields. This was my soundtrack of 2011.

It was also the year I didn’t truly recognise the value of a friend until she was over the other side of the planet (I should have never let her get on that plane) and that is my one regret. It was the year I was made redundant from a job I loathed, only to find another and be told on my first day they were going bust at Christmas (it’s ok, I found another job after a frantic couple of months). The year my parents bailed me out on a number of occasions reminding me how important family are, I am eternally grateful for their love and support, poor sods.

Then I started thinking about 2012. I’ve never been one for resolutions but this year I decided I’d like some aims to plod towards. My list started with “Eat more artichokes”, and then it remained at that one point for the entire day. I also plan to work my way through the awesome books Cocktails with Bompas & Parr and the stunning Vintage Tea Party. Have a dip dye at Bleach, another tattoo, go back to meditation classes, learn how to ride a bike, find some new friends to trot around London with. Keep a journal in a slightly alternative way thanks to Keel’s Simple Diary, join a book club (ticked off the list thanks to The Good Ship, Kilburn). Above all I hope it’s a content year with few dramas and plenty of creativity.

I’ll leave you all with The Maccabees, the first album of 2012 I’ll be buying and the first gig of the year I’ll be heading to. Happy New Year, hope it’s a proper little belter for you all.

2011 Cool List

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Technically I can’t give the NME complete credit for inspiring me to compile my own cool list as I only agreed with one of their choices, but they were the drive for me to blog my own list. It’s not all about the music and it’s not in order, these are the people who have made me laugh, inspired and amazed me.

1. I’m not sure if there are any rules about recognising a fictional character for this but The Killing’s Sarah Lund makes the cut. She’s independent but fragile, highly intelligent and as a result of that is messed up socially and emotionally. Finally a female lead character that doesn’t resort to dumbing down and pouting at the men. Also because of her I’m now wearing thick knit jumpers.

2. This time last year, had you asked my opinion on Hugh Grant, quite frankly, I wouldn’t have had one. This year his dry humour, wit, intelligent, candid and frank talking in relation to the Leveson enquiry has turned him into a surprise hero. We need more sane and honest characters like Hugh Grant to speak up, he’s set the bar.

3. I’ve had Jarvis overdose this year and I’m craving more. Three Pulp gigs and a book signing at Rough Trade where I got to meet the man. From seeing him writhe and squirm his non-existent hips to This Is Hardcore to then watching him recite from his book accompanied by a geeky Powerpoint presentation has ensured he stays at the top of my “thinking woman’s crumpet” list.

4. Despite a recent realising that listening to some of her tracks make me irrationally angry with the boyfriend when he’s done nothing wrong she rocked my world at Glastonbury this year. The first female solo artist to headline in a long time turned a lot of doubters into fans (if anyone mentions Skunk Anansie I stress solo artist). You hear no massive diva strop stories, no photo’s falling out of nightclubs drunk, I love her ass and I don’t think I’ll ever tire of  Countdown (one of my 2011 tracks).

5. Summer Camp used their talents for the greater good this year when they released their debut album through Pledge Music and by opting for this route they’ve supported the charity Shelter From The Storm UK. They’ve proved you don’t have to tread the traditional route to sell out gigs and shift record units. What’s more their creativity wasn’t stifled or controlled, they set the agenda. Their fanzine detailing the concept of Welcome To Condale was quirky, insightful and artistic. A refreshing approach to music.  

6. This is a strange one for an Arsenal fan to be listing but my oh my do I adore Mario Balotelli. Even if the stories surrounding him are urban myth I will choose to believe them for their nutty charm. The latest of these tales (which would be unbelievable if his name wasn’t attached to them) being he was driving around Manchester dressed as Santa on Saturday night handing out money. He’s also been recognised in The Guardian’s 2011 style highlights. Genius

7. Covering Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song for Trent Reznor and then claiming she didn’t even know who they were made me laugh. Featuring on David Lynche’s, Pinky’s Dream, has me keeping fingers and toes crossed for future collaborations throwing up Twin Peaks meets glitter and gothic. The staging of her “psycho rock opera” made me want to run across the oceans to Brooklyn. Even away from the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s this woman proved she’s a volcano of creativity. The stage notes to cast members of Stop The Virgens read “It embodies the collision of darkness and innocence. We skin our knees on the way to wisdom.”       

8. I type this blog on my Macbook, I tweet (obsessively) on my iPhone, I get to walk around with a constant soundtrack to my life because of my iPod. This man changed the way I view media and technology and has given me the tools to do the things I love with ease and no stress. When he passed away I wrote a short piece on him which can be found here. He left his mark in this world and inspired so many.

9. Steve Lazarides The Minotaur exhibition at The Old Vic Tunnels this year wowed me more than any other artistic event I’ve been too in 2011. It was like Guillermo del Toro and Neil Gaiman had secretly plotted a strange, dark fairytale and I left wanting to write more and more, take better photos, pick up charcoals and a sketch pad, create odd poems. His vision and eye for the strange gave me a creative cold shower this year when I needed it most.

10. Last but in no means least are the people across the UK that proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that community does still exist in cities. To everyone that picked up a broom, bunked off work to help local shopkeepers clear up their businesses, people who donated, worked selflessly to restore damaged areas, you restored faith at a dire time and for that you are the very coolest people in the universe. Of course, it was one mans initiative, quick thinking and kind brain that started the Riot Clean Up movement so for that we have Dan Thompson to thank from the bottom of our hearts to the tips of those fingers that leapt to action. To those I met, those I know contributed, those that are strangers; may karma kiss you all over for your good deeds.

Written by Anon PA

December 20, 2011 at 12:26 pm

September 26th Mixtape Guest Blog from Dan Thompson

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When future generations are told about the riots that happened in 2011 I sincerely believe that Riot Clean Up will be discussed with equal importance with those that caused the mayhem and destruction. One man started a movement that single-handedly empowered people to reclaim their communities. Riot Clean Up is a revolution at its greatest, I remember saying at the time it was the greatest form of anarchy I have ever witnessed. He also promotes creative reuse of nations empty shops which is a genius idea in the current economic climate.

Dan Thompson also has superb music taste . I knew a mixtape from him would be literal music to my ears as soon as I knew he adores The Longpigs track On & On so this blog is an exciting post for me, just the introduction to Devon Sproule on its own! My introduction is complete as his diverse choices will say it all. Over to Dan.

“A mixtape is a difficult thing for me. I love so much; the sounds of a low slung punk bass rumbling one minute, a battered double bass being plucked the next. I like ukulele, and big Marshall stacks. Anything with horns is good; but then I’m partial to a capella too. I adore all things British and I love seeing weird Americana live. Music is in my head all day, every day like a soundtrack. Sadly I can’t play anything so the decks in the corner of my office are the closest I get to musical creativity. This isn’t my desert island discs by the way, which would take me months of work and crafting. It’s a snapshot and has all been played in the last few days”
                                                                                                                                             ~ Dan Thompson

1. Devon Sproule – Keep Your Silver Shined (From the brilliant album Keep Your Silver Shined; a perfect snapshot of the America I’d like to live in. Devon Sproule grew up on a commune and she’s at her best on this album producing lyrical magic over lovely, loose recordings).

2. Dusty Springfield – Don’t Forget About Me (One of the sexiest songs ever, with Dusty smouldering over an awesome backing band. Pure heartbreak From Dusty In Memphis – one of the greatest albums of all time. Up there with Trout Mask Replica, Modern Life Is Rubbish, Little Lights, Searching For The Young Soul Rebels and the rest).

3. Get Cape Wear Cape Fly – Morning Light (If ‘It’s kicking off’ is the slogan of 2011 then Sam Duckworth is the soundtrack. Cool chap, with a great band alongside him).

4. Dexys Midnight Runners – Dear Robin (Impossible not to have something  from an album that’s so perfectly formed. Tight, hard and soulful. I have this on vinyl; great sleeve image, perfect typography, awesome liner notes. everything is just right).

5. Lord Terror – Calypso War (The master calypsonians sings about the calypso tradition’s move to Britain. ‘The terror wants war – WAR!’).

6. Hayman, Watkins, Trout & Lee – Dirty Tube Train (My biggest failing? Girls on trains. There’s something about train travel that gets me falling in love and running away for a new life. This is more filthy than romantic but hey… A CD I kept after closing a record shop that I’d accidentally bought).

7. She Makes War – Slow Puncture (Oh – and girls with tattoos and push bikes and songs. They also bring out the romantic in me. Watch the video. This is a lyrical beauty. A song that gets under your skin. Had a sneak preview of her second album and it is shiny, sparkly, sonic brilliance).

8. Emmy The Great – A Woman, A Woman, A Century Of Sleep (A slightly gothic moment from Emma-Lee, sometimes labelled lazily as folk but much darker than that. Has an edge of New York art house weirdness. I was very into the Sister, Siouxsie and Danielle Dax as a teenager. A gloomy blackness still lurks in my soul like bats in the belfry. Or something).

9. Sufjan Stevens – Impossible Soul (Not a song, more a suite of songs. Magnificent and epic should be wrong – I live in Keith Emerson’s hometown, I know how bad it can get. But this is proof that it can work. *Inspirational chorus ‘Boy we can do much more together – it’s not so impossible’).

10. Gene – We Could Be Kings (Worthing’s Dome Cinema on the sleeve, photographed by Rankin. I’ve been playing a lot of Gene lately; largely forgotten, but so much more intelligent than Shed Seven or Oasis. From the good old days).

*Other inspirational lyrics I like at the moment are Devon Sproule’s ‘Dress sharp, play well, be modest’ and Sam Duckworth’s ‘the inconvenient truth is that the power’s with you’

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Written by Anon PA

September 26, 2011 at 11:13 am

August 14th Mixtape

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I can’t remember the last time a week traipsed & pulled me through such a wide range of emotions. Utterly exhausted but ultimately ending it on positive feelings. I hope this weeks mixtape echoes that emotion.

I’ve swept streets after the riots. Been made redundant so wondering what my next move will be & how much to panic. Shed tears over lives lost, shed tears over homes & businesses lost. I’ve felt overwhelming support from friends & loved ones. I’ve felt utter joy at bees on a rooftop, pollinating flowers on the Southbank with high-rise buildings looming grand behind them. I’ve had my first official review of a live event put up on a website that is not my own, Sound Revolution.

I started the week sitting in front of the news for hours watching London fall, it was literally heartbreaking. Then the madness spread to other places. Initially, for a split second, I thought I’d feel ashamed of a city I love so much, it made my stomach turn and left a bitter taste in my mouth. But instead, because of the selfless & amazing actions of others, I have never felt so much pride. Pride in communities, human nature, charitable actions & deeds. So many people played their part and if I could somehow throw you a party & shower you with good karma then I would. Instead this playlist is for you, the people who have inspired me this week, a lot of you strangers that I will never meet. Thankyou. 

  1. Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
  2. Blur – Tender
  3. David Bowie – Heroes
  4. Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension
  5. Two Door Cinema Club – Something Good Can Work
  6. Patrick Wolf – Together
  7. OK Go – All Is Not Lost
  8. Bill Withers – Lean On Me
  9. Paul Weller – Brand New Start
  10. Elbow – One Day Like This
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Written by Anon PA

August 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

London Still Calling

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On Monday night I was genuinely scared I’d wake up to Armageddon. I kept waking in the night and bursting in to tears after spending the night watching the horror unfold across London, the place I love unconditionally. I did wake to unrest, destruction, scars and cracks split open across the city. But I also woke to something else. Riot Clean Up

Thousands of tweets streaming from people all across London rolling up their sleeves and rushing to the aid of our communities. It felt like the most brilliant, sane, compassionate act of vigilantism I have ever witnessed and it made me feel so proud. It’s all thanks to Dan Thompson from who started the idea and it soon spread like wildfire. And you know why it did? Because the vast majority of us are decent people who care for this city.

If I could have escaped from my desk I would have been there, and although I hope and pray there will be no call for it tomorrow I will be there if more help is needed. This is my attempt at spreading the messages I’ve seen on Twitter today, how we can all help rebuild and move on from these mindless atrocities. I know there is a lot of anger out there, but if we channel that angry energy in to helping just think how much we can all achieve.

Please, please if you know of any charitable groups, individuals or communities that are going above and beyond the call of duty email me at so I can keep updating this blog post and keep momentum going within the volunteer community. 

  • Follow Dan Thompson and Riotcleanup who have been tirelessly organising volunteers. If you’re needed you’ll know from them first. Also, a lot of local council’s have also been keeping people up to date with details so find your borough on Twitter
  • Donations for those made homeless by the riots are being taken at Tottenham Green Leisure Centre by Haringey residents. Updated list from them as of August 12th is on their website for what items they need. If you’ve been hording your Boots Advantage points now  could be a good time to trade them in for people more in need of essentials?  They are open 9am – 8pm and the number to call if you want to contact them is 02084895308. Again it may be worth checking with your local councils in areas badly hit if they are arranging drop off points closer to home.
  • Collection points have also been arranged by some fantastic people on Twitter (Katie Khan, Kate Nash, Emmy The Great, KnitnhealthyMilla Traylen & Sonny Malhotra ). Future pick ups listed below
    • Thursday 11th. 9am-11am Elgin Avenue/Portebello Road. Follow Emmy for details
    • Thursday 11th. 11am-2pm. Majestic Wines in Camden. Follow Knitnhealthy for updates on Twitter
    • Thursday 11th. 11am-2.30pm. Hoxton Square. Outside White Cube Gallery. Follow Sonny & Kate for details
    • Thursday 11th. 6am-2pm. Enfield Chase Station. Follow MycoffestopUK for details
    • Thursday 11th. 6pm Paddington Library, Porchester Road. Follow Emmy for details
    • Friday 12th. 6am-2pm. Enfield Chase Station. Follow MycoffestopUK for details
    • Friday 12th. 3pm-7pm. Clapham Common (near the tube station) Look out for Nennie Pops sign
    • Saturday 13th. 11am-2pm. Hoxton Square for the items in this link ONLY. Follow Sonny & Alex for details
    • Monday 15th. 6am-2pm. Enfield Chase Station. Follow MyCoffestopUK for details
  • Shop local to help get the businesses in your communities back on their feet. Commerce is so important in recovery. A Facebook group has been set up for Thank Turk It’s Saturday as a great example of this. Shop local this Saturday and show some love for an East London community who stood tall during the rioting.
  • To get your name on the clen up list for Croydon please call 02087266000 and choose option 7. They will keep you updated
  • If anyone knows places that are taking in furniture for those left homeless from the riots can you please get in contact with me urgently? I have had tons of emails today from people wanting to donate.
  • A donation page has been set up for Ashraf Haziq who was robbed as he lay bledding in the street. You can donate on the fund raising page set up for him here 
  • A donation page for Aaron Biber has been set up by interns at BBH as they were so moved by his story. You can read details in The Telgraph and make donations here
  • Sonny is a photographer and has offered his services free of charge to those that lost everything in the fires. How many of us say the first thing we’d rescue from our homes if it was on fire say our photo albums? Spread the word if you know people affected. Click on his name for details
  • A donation page for Siva Kandiah, a local shopkeeper in Hackney, has been set up for donations. Help him get his local  business back on it’s feet. You can donate here
  • Citizens Advice Bureau have some practical information/advice on their website for if you were affected by the riots. Click here to be directed to the page
  • Another fund raising page for Nick who lost his home in Clapham and needs some help getting back on his feet. This page was set up by his best friend who lives the other side of the world and wanted to help still. People are still finding ways of helping from across the globe! You can donate here
  • There is huge support for Pias who lost their stock in the Sony Distribution Centre fire. You can follow Pias or RecordLabeLove on Twitter to find ways to support an independent, much loved label. Jarvis Cocker has also put together a compilation of his favourite Pias label songs available to buy as a way of donating AND getting some amazing music. Win – Win
  • A website has been set up to help bring positivity back to Peckham. Their wall of messages alone made my heart skip. So many wonderful people out there
  • Red Cross are collecting for 400 people made homeless in Croydon. Parchmore Methodist Church in Thornton Heath. Donate generously 
  • Those that want to donate to the Tottenham Fund can do so on Haringeys website
  • Riot Rebuild has been set up to help mobilise the UK construction industry to help with the repairs. You can also follow them on Twitter

Stay Safe and to everyone that has helped, whether it’s sweeping shards of glass or donating the bin bags to put the debris in, you are hero’s!!!! ♥ ♥ ♥

Image courtesy of We Heart It

Written by Anon PA

August 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm