E8: The Heart of Hackney

Emily Cole . Gary O'Connor . walkwalkwalk . Laura Oldfield-Ford .
Tom Hunter . Barbaresi & Round . Hilary Jack . Matthew Stock

16 June - 15 July 2007 Fri-Sun 12-6pm


                   
 

Participate Now!

I. Dunnop talks to Tony Collins and Adam Wright
the founders of Broadway Market zine The Eel

Adam: I've been here nine years now, which doesn't seem very long. I was seventeen years in Brixton. When I moved here I was just trying to find a place to live. I could just as well have ended up sitting in Vauxhall.

    I come from more serious actions in Brixton, and I've got a theory that comes from my politics there. When it all starts falling apart and you can't achieve something, when people are getting despondent and whatever, then you shrink down to a spot where you can actually be effective. That's why I joined this in some ways. Because with what we're doing here you can start from a very small thing, and you can dump baggage or pick it up. It's quite a simple format to start in on again. And after a while the bits you care about - the butcher, the baker - come through. And then you start picking up things. There's injustice all over the place, and in a capacity you can be supportive. That's when it feels like I can regroup on my capital.

    When I moved here it was the leftover crusty stuff that I recognised. That's what reminds me of South London. At its roots it's got a depth and a scuzziness. You can delve into E8. If you want to bother you can drift off Broadway Market on a Saturday afternoon and find yourself in some interesting places. You don't have to go too far. Now people walk down Vyner Street [in Bethnal Green] and go, 'Christ, it's rough.' I've been in London twenty-seven years, and I still go out to extreme places, still looking for something with an edge, and I can tell you that Vyner Street is not rough. It's just East London. It just shows how much London has changed that people can think that.

    You can't tame this area. You might get the upper hand for a while, but it kicks back.

    This street [Beck Road] is slightly more grown up. When I moved in here I said, 'This is what Brixton should have been.' It's where we would have gone if we hadn't lost the campaign to stabilize the housing. This street is stabilized now, and the people who live here - a little older than me, but they're my peers - they're getting on with life. They're struggling, but they're still getting on with it. This whole Broadway Market/Hackney phenomenon has happened on top of them, which they like, but at the same time it's sort of overpowering. In the next seven years we're going to see it all being tailormade and cleaned up. Consumed and marked and owned.

    Knocking down the Four Aces [Dalston Theatre in Dalston Lane], that was all deliberate. There was a land grab going on, and the problem they had was how to remove an obstacle that comes with too much baggage. For them the Four Aces had to go. It's all got to go, because it comes with a legacy that they're not part of. As for New Labour, or the new councillors who want to be 'proactive' and 'make something happen in this borough', maybe some of them feel good about it. Maybe they mean well. But as far as the business interest is concerned, it's just a legacy they don't want to be bothered with. Their attitude is, 'Get rid of it!'

Tony: And it's quick fixes as well. You want to solve a problem quickly, get developers in. Local politicians are only here for one or two terms.

Adam: But maybe in ten years time they'll find Dalston's gone down again. Because the core vote they haven't understood - the people who live on the estates - they may destroy it completely because you've marginalised them so badly. Right now local people feel aggrieved, but there's a real problem getting them to participate. You talk to them and they say, 'OK, I can do something.' So you say 'So what do you suggest?' And then they back off and go, 'Oh no, I haven't got any suggestions.' And you're pressing them, going, 'C'mon, what do you suggest?'

Tony: We've had a lot of people talk to us about their emerging anger about the Saturday market. There's quite a lot of animosity. The locals don't think it's for them.

Adam: You can listen to it, and you have your sympathies, but first and foremost you're doing a magazine. So when you come to write it up, you've got to add a bit of humour and take the piss out of both sides. Because both sides are guilty of being stuck in their own little course.

Tony: Humour's always good. It draws people in.

Adam: The struggle over Francesca's [a cafe in Broadway Market bought and closed down by property developer Roger Wratten] was a bit of a heyday. It helped galvanise the locals, and made them feel 'Well OK, we've got the Saturday market happening, but we've got our rights now.' But even when Louise [who runs the market] puts out empty stalls for them, they won't take it up, because that means now they have to do something.

    We used to get people coming up to us going 'What are you doing supporting that bloke [the cafe's proprietor Tony Platia]?' But forget the food. It's symbolic. I said 'Be careful, have a little foresight. If this goes, that goes. Then Spirit [another Broadway Market trader fighting to save his shop] goes, and all you're left with is mythology. Then you'll be saying "Yeah, I used to go there all the time." No you bloody didn't! Rubbish! Live now! Do something right now! Participate now, not in the future. Don't just think 'I'm going to pass this place in a few years and mythologise about where I was."'

     To me it was obvious Broadway Market was going to do a version of Stoke Newington. People round London Fields had been waiting for years to be able to hang round their own neighbourhood on a Saturday. They wanted their own version of Stoke Newington High Street, so in some ways they designed it themselves. E8 waited a long time for something like this to happen. And now it's coming you hear complaints. The locals worry that they're going to be totally overshadowed by the mediocrity of the equity scramble.

    When I first moved here I used to go towards Hackney Town Hall for a drink. You were told not to cycle up Broadway Market. It was empty up there and you got mugged. Now you've got the middle classes and the new influx of students looking good on Saturday morning. You bring mum and dad up to show them they haven't fucked up giving you some money for a deposit. There's endless parents coming up to the Market on Saturdays.

    You've got the middle classes coming here now, staying a few years, getting themselves sorted and moving on. That's all new: it didn't happen originally. And it's quite simple. It's all financial: an equity grab. Mixed in there is the idea that it's the promotion of the arts. Broadway Market now is like a suburb of Hoxton. 'It's young! It's vibrant! It's happening! It's exciting!' If the trendies find Hoxton exhausting they come here. They walk round, feel nice, then dip back into Hoxton. And there's potential: you can have quite a good life here. But there's always this undercurrent of tension between the trendies and the kids from the estates robbing their bicycles.

Tony: There's loads of thievery going on on Saturdays. Handbags and stuff.

Adam: It's opportunitistic. There's too much middleclassness on a Saturday to go on the rob. Just bicycles mainly. And the way the yuppies get their bikes nicked all the time is symbolic. They lose them and they buy them and they lose them and they buy them. It's like they're saying 'We're here to stay, and we're going to keep on buying our bicycles.' Then they come to us and complain and we make a big joke about it. That's what I mean. We're not trustworthy.

Tony: You know Ben who does the T-shirt stall? Well, when it was really hot last summer this fat kid stole something off the stall next to him. A handbag or something. The guy on the stall shouted 'Get him, he's got my stuff'. And all these middleclass blokes in flipflops set off after him, trying really hard but moving really slow. They couldn't catch up with him. They were going down one by one cos their flipflops had fallen off.

Adam [laughing]: It's like a metaphor for life, maan.

Tony: I don't live in E8 I live in E2. I've been there since 2002, and in a way it's The Eel that's kept me in the area. I'm part of that new wave of yuppies coming in [Tony, 36, is a film editor, and Adam, 46, is an animatronics designer]. People make assumptions and expect you to be a certain type of person, but you don't have to conform. London doesn't belong to anybody.

Adam: Both of us have continual contact with Broadway Market. You can be walking down the street and run into the crowd at the Cat and Mutton and have a look in there. You need that vortex in the middle to generate everything. If we lived in Dalston that'd be our vortex. We're not uncomfortable about it, but we've shifted a bit now. We've stopped pushing the 'Broadway fanzine' thing. It's a kernel that you can use to grow outwards, not something that's restricting you. We're not trying to conquer, but it spreads out. The Eel has access for people so it doesn't really have any direction. If someone has something in Hackney Wick we'll bring it in. It doesn't even necessarily have to be in the east.

Tony: We did a thing about the Rubbishmen [a duo of 'Victorian Punk Revivalists'] in the last issue, and they're based in Soho. We found their attitude quite similar to ours. They don't have an impatience about trying to make something happen right now, about getting somewhere or achieving something.

Adam: The Eel is weird cos it's not a burner. It morphs.

Tony: It could easily have become an art magazine and been a bit more ambiguous, but what I like about fanzines is that you can put some stuff with substance in. Sometimes I wish we were an art magazine, so we could put it in more places.

Adam: Some of these magazines are a bit obvious, and their readers grapple with what we're about. 'Where's the art bit? Where's the format of the fashion bit? Where's the format of the quite-nicely-laid-out-but-going-nowhere layout?' Which is what you get with a lot of Shoreditch magazines.

    With us, the original idea came from Tony. It was based on football fanzines.

Tony: Yeah, I think I wanted to start a fanzine. When I was a kid I used to write one for my team, Coventry. I always thought they were an interesting subculture, coming from the punk thing. I remember at school all the YTS kids were given fanzines to do. They sat there learning how to cut and paste.

     I think people like the handiness of the fanzine. And we wouldn't want to be too glossy. We'd like to include some poetry and short stories and that but we're constricted by space. It's hard squeezing everything in. What we might like to do is slowly go bigger.

Adam: It's called The Eel, but in some ways it could be called anything. It's just a door to something. It came about because I was walking round with a camera, looking graphically. That's what the visual thing is for me: trying to get something, anything off the street. It depends on what turns up. Anything on the street is our graphics to use. That's why why Banksy ended up in the last issue. And that was funny cos someone came up and asked if we'd got his permission.

   I was out looking for something to put on the cover of issue one, and I saw the pie and mash shop [Cooke's in Broadway Market], and took a picture isolating the eel and the stripes on the awning. I did a mock-up, shoved it on there, and it seemed to work. You can read into it what you like, it's perfect for that Robert Elms type bullshit. [puts on a silly voice] 'Ah yes, what The Eel represents. The eel is a slippery, intrepid animal, courageous and intrusive. It travels the oceans, far away from home, but always comes back to breed.' I've even been told what it stands for which I think is pretty funny: 'Exciting East London'.

Tony: Or 'East European Literature'.

Adam: So there's a randomness creeping in which I quite like. And it's also appropriate that Cooke's is the oldest shop in the Market. A hundred years ago Broadway Market was full of wet fish shops.

Tony: Someone told us a story, didn't they? We interviewed this bloke who used to catch eels in the canal and bring them up to the pie and mash shop and sell them.

Adam: You could still do that now, dredge some old crap out of the canal, put it on a nice stall and sell it to the yuppies.

Tony: For what we're doing Broadway Market has its advantages. It was quite easy to pick on. It's where we're based and it's quite a contained space. And it's going through a lot of changes. Even since we've started it's changed enormously.

    Part of the local thing as well is that there's so much media stuff out there, and they're all competing for the same ground. We found something that no one else was writing about, because it's so specific, so small. And it seems to work really well.

Adam: We had someone recently saying they wanted to do one in South London, which would be great.

Tony: We're a local magazine but we don't really do local news. All we can do is bring things together so that people can catch up. Take a bit of notice of actions and things that have happened. You shouldn't just walk blindly through it, without any involvement, like a lot of the people round here.

    People with political preoccupations often assume everyone's as informed and interested as they are. For the ones involved in the 'Save Broadway Market' campaign issue three was the high point, because we seemed to be going down a very conscious political road. But all we were really doing was collating stuff and trying to make sense of it for people.

Adam: It just happened to be prevalent at the time. We're quite happy for the politics to drift in and out. It's that thing where we've only got two weeks to do the next issue: we go to the fridge, get everything out and cook something up. And if there's no politics in the fridge then we're not going to force it.

Tony: The political stuff's come back in the latest issue. But a lot of people find it dry. If we'd gone down that route exclusively . . .

Adam: We wouldn't have got any fun out of it.

Tony: Even now there are times after finishing an issue when I don't want to go near Broadway Market for weeks.

Adam: And it can be hard getting going again. We usually leave it till the knife is at our throat.

Tony: That's when you need to get out there and gauge things.

Adam: That's the bit I really enjoy. I'm too full of ideas half the time, so 'The Specialist' [a series of interviews with local businesses] is a way for me to have a bit of action. It's entirely selfish, purely about me getting into buildings.

    Having to keep going out there all the time is great. We couldn't sit in and make this magazine here. Completely impossible: there'd be nothing in it. The resources are out there, you've just got to go and see what's going on and get inspired. That's what keeps it going.

Tony: The first issue had a lot in it about local businesses. That was in the summer of 2005, and the launch was in the Percy [the Perseverance, a local pub]. We were very closely associated with that crowd, and there were people there who thought we were just going to carry on writing about them. But most the stories weren't that interesting. I've lost count of the number of times I heard about how in the old days everyone used to leave their door open.

Adam: As long as the right sort of person walked in. With The Eel we're waiting for the wrong person to walk in.

Tony: That stuff wasn't really what was inspiring us. We wanted it to be more of a mixture. We do try and do a bit of that, saying what it used to be like, but if you're not careful you can become really retrospective, printing stories about the good old days and being a document for people who feel that they're being trampled on. And that just gets boring. You need to find a balance. We'd rather find more dynamic characters.

Adam: What we like is the surprises. Like when somebody like Tex walks up to you, comes up in the street and grabs you. How that came about was, 'There's a bloke on the street. How am I going to grab him?' So you say 'Right, who are you? Come out on the piss with us and we'll write your story up.' We see people about and we know where to pounce. It's a way of delving into your neighbourhood.

Tony: And we've earned the right to do that now.

Adam: There's a lot of apathy round here: lots of people coming in and just sitting there passively, feeling pretty secure while they gather their equity. It's too comfortable, too safe, and we do sneer at it. You think, 'Fuck's sake! You can do a bit better than that!' It's not a class thing either. The people who sit in the Percy getting pissed up every Saturday night, I put them in the same boat as the ones who do bugger all in the Dove, just play Cluedo and drink a couple of halves and talk about how the Olympics are going to make them more money. The people who interest us are the ones who are doing things.

    Having a collective in 2007 is really like talking about shortlife housing to young people. It's merely a weak, misguided way of thinking you can actually make things open access; that you can get random or temporary help for any given situation. We have various people who do stuff with us. I tend to be a bit stronger on the graphics and the visuals. Tony has a lot more strength on the writing and editorial and assimilating. I'm not a writer but I can stir up a conversation as long as somebody can take me down. Rocky does all the copy proofing, which is brilliant. Coventry David helps with the music. Ross might come in just for two gigs to raise some money for us.

Tony: The Eel is lots of things under one umbrella. Not just the fanzine but the events we put on, which invariably involve different people with different skills.

Adam: Recently Jamie came to us with an idea for some subversive TV stuff: the Eel TV Department. Great. Anything. If someone wants to do it, then do it. We can only struggle this amount, so if someone wants to set something up . . .

Tony: We'll help out all we can.

Adam: So with a collective if you want to arrange a festival or something you can get people in. If they can be bothered. In actual fact a collective is a crap way of trying to do anything. It really is. I've done it before and it always ends up being a few people that pull it together.

    We just have the reins of it really, but I'd rather somebody came and took the reins off us. I'm quite happy for passive coups going on all the time: 'I'm taking this today. You're not having this issue.' I say 'Great! Do it! Please! Impress me!' Cos it's bloody hard work sometimes.

    Launching the first issue at the Percy was perfect for us. We can drink there anyway, it's a good enough pub. We did a couple of launches there and then moved on to the Seabright. For the last one we've gone up to Uncle Sam's in Dalston. We've also done benefit gigs at the Bethnal Green Working Men's Club. Moving things round is perfect for us. With one issue it was three days to print and we hadn't got a cover. So we thought 'Let's get down the George and Dragon and get some people dragged up and do a nativity scene.'

Tony: Working with the George and Dragon is a way of spreading down into another area, Shoreditch. It's an extension of our audience. The George has got a following. We've covered them from day one, when they used to do all the drag queens at the Bistrotheque. And when they had that thing at the ICA, we did something on that.

Adam: The 'Flash Eel' [for the 'Mile of Art' event in London Fields] was a bit of a milestone. It came out of our frustration after three issues. We were a bit stumped for ideas, so I thought, 'Open access, that's a cheap way of doing it. Just put out a load of typewriters, get people writing and see what happens. Shove all the paper in a carrier bag, bring it home, and two or three weeks later get it out and go "Right, what are going to do with this stuff?"' As it happened it worked really well. We got loads of parents with their kids. A few boozers too. But drink being involved, some contributions were lost in the collection process.

Tony: We also do an occasional stall in the Saturday market. The way the market's taken off is incredible. But it's mostly just knicknacks and stuff you can do without.

Adam: And now there's a power struggle going on. The Council didn't really support the market initially. It was pretty much unregulated. But now they think they can wrestle control of it, and present it as a flagship for them to show off how clever they've been. Then they can export it to Newham and other places as their 'model', and excuse themselves for doing things like destroying the Four Aces and 'regenerating areas'. In actual fact they're just Johnny-come-latelys. But that's the nature of grass roots things happening and politicians jumping on board.

    For us it's a necessary evil to do the market. We started on the first anniversary. We set up a stall, plugged in a record player and started flogging issue one. We gave it away at first. It lets us offload 150 copies and we need that money. There's a perception that if you're running a magazine you're making money and contributors should get paid. What they don't realise is we're a bunch of losers who aren't making money at all. It's almost like commercial suicide. We go into debt every time we put it out. We've got jobs and we can afford to pay for it. Every issue we recoup the money back bit by bit, almost to the level of the printing. The advertising helps, but we do lose out in the end: three or four hundred quid every issue.

    The Saturday market is also a frontline to gather more material. I'm quite happy to just go and accost people. We're greedy for all of it, whatever comes. You go 'Give! Give! Give!' or 'Do something!' and you get one out of twenty maybe who might say 'I'll take your address; maybe I'll do something.'

Adam: Part of the hook of having a record player on the stall is you draw people in.

Tony: They remember a song, and come over to have a look at the records and you collar them.

Adam: We try so many different ways to describe The Eel to people on the stall. One day someone asked what it was about, and I thought, 'Jesus, not again'. So I asked Amaia [his partner], and she said 'It's a magazine with no head and no tail.' And I think that sums it up really. You can take it even further. We've got no direction, no ambition and no achievement. Anybody can jump over the hurdle to get in. Our threshold is very low, and I think that should inspire people.

Tony: There does seem to be a core audience of people who are a bit like us who get it. They don't need it explaining, but you can go up to other people and if you don't have a hook line they won't have it. And because we don't have a specific idea of what we're about it's difficult to explain it to somebody else.

Adam: You might say, 'We're reporting on swingers and bicycle thieves'. Or you could get a bit more earnest and say 'We're a collective centred around Hackney E8.' And if that doesn't work you could go, 'Well, if you want to do something for it you can get published. People get involved and they start to do things, and you don't know the effect it's having on them.' In the end you almost have to go 'Look, just take it'.

Tony: We give it away a lot.

Adam: There's times you get so pissed off you think you might as well dump them. Once we sell a few hundred we don't offload many more. So we start giving them away for free, shoving them around the place to keep them in circulation. Sometimes on a Saturday I go into the newsagent and put half a dozen copies on top of the Guardian.

Tony: So there are people who get a free Guardian with their Eel.

    That's the thing about taking a punt on something. I'd go and try out a few 7"s, and if I saw a fanzine I'd go and buy it if I liked the name. But not everybody's like that.

Adam: We were sitting on the stall last Saturday. And it's nice, you know? A lovely sunny day, people going back and forth. And we had this little game. I said 'Five quid if you can flog an Eel to a girl with big bugeyed glasses, a frock and a mobile'. And it was impossible. We tried everything. We thought there might be an edge to some of them, that some of them might get it. But we had no takers at all. They'd wander over, talking into their mobiles, and you'd be in a buffer zone without any engagement. And they'd drift off. But then I suppose we did look like a couple of middle-aged Socialist Workers. Of course it was all a bit of fun, targeting a pretty young girl who's only interested in juice and frocks, but it was sort of symbolic too.

Tony: We were outside their comfort zone. Outside what they had put into their heads that they were going to do: 'Get a croissant, get a Guardian, and go and sit outside the Cat and Mutton.' It might be fear of it being something political.

Adam: I pulled a copy apart on Saturday, to lay bits out on the stall and try and flog it. And I'm looking at some of the political stuff and thinking 'Christ, that looks unappealing! Nobody's going to read that!' Because we're not very strong on graphics. We don't get any help with that. So I try and pull out the bit on bicycle thieves. They love all that. Sold twenty copies on the strength of it.

    We can only draw most people in on a temporary basis. Our benefit nights have entertainment value. We're a tiny little speck in the massive area of people's concerns. But the outlet bit is really tricky. There's a shop in the market called 'Buggies and Bikes', and one day Rocky made some pisstake about it being renamed 'Buggers and Dykes'. And the woman who runs it confronted us. We could have stood there and had a laugh about it, but she went way over the top. She even started crying. She's going 'I'm really upset cos you're slagging off my business.' So we're saying 'We're not slagging off your business. It's just a flippant comment, a play on words.' But the point is she genuinely feels very earnest about what she's doing, the service she's providing for her nice clientele. In her mind she's doing her best, and here's a couple of blokes who come along and make a pisstake about it in among everything else. She probably thought she was with us. But what's all this 'you're with us and we're with you'? Who said we were all going down the same road together? So in terms of stocking the magazine there's an outlet gone.

Tony: For a long time the guy with the beard who runs the trendy video shop resolutely refused to stock us. Even now he keeps it under the counter. He doesn't reckon we're political enough. And that makes me annoyed, because I think, 'If you don't know what you've got here . . .'

Adam: We did a launch at the Percy, and that same guy went off on one. We'd shoved up a big banner saying 'The Eel', and he thought we were local yuppies who'd bought the pub and renamed it. I asked him if he'd ever been in there, and he said no. So he's happy to have a downtrodden Irish pub on his doorstep . . .

Tony: And to defend people he'd never speak to.

Adam: It's outside his remit.

Tony: Some of the people involved in running the market were really unsure about us to begin with. But they've started to realise that what we're doing is of value to the area. But there are others who really hoped we'd go away. They're pissed off cos we're still hanging around. I remember one of the Saturday traders saying to us, 'You just don't like the new stuff. You hate everything that's new.' That's rubbish, but it's the way we're preceived. So in some ways we stand out like a sore thumb the more we do it.

Adam: A lot of them don't like us because we don't fit into their idea of a progressive, aspirational East End. People like the Bistrotheque, who didn't support the Vyner Street Festival [which the Eel Collective organised with the Victory pub], even though it was on their doorstep. The Victory actually got quite annoyed. They said 'You're treating us like cockneys. You think you can walk over us and say "We know what's good for you."'

    For the first few issues Tony used to write the editorial and call himself the Outsider. That's how they saw us. We're doing what they'd like to have done, so they have animosity towards us. They think we should be speaking for them. On the one hand you've got the video shop crowd. They want to be able to rely on us to parade our left wing credentials and bash the yuppies. And on their side are the yuppies hoping you'll write something nice about them. Everyone wants to sew us up with their camp.

    Tony's great at shoving a poker in everywhere, and I always like to keep a big spoon in my back pocket. There are people who think they're right on and thought they were with us, but they're not so sure now. Their attitude is, 'We thought we liked you but you're actually a bunch of pisstakers.' You get people coming up and saying, 'It's great the way you take the piss out of the Dove', and then a little later they're going 'I thought we were all a gang together, but you're taking the piss out of me now'. But if we can't all take the piss out of one another, what is it that we believe in? It's like a leveller.

    The Eel is an access magazine, so you can't guarantee the readership is going to know where it is with you. Having said that there's always that Private Eye sort of angle. The other day some young people came up and said 'It's really left wing your magazine, it's like Crass or Class War.' And we're going 'Wha?!' It's sad, but for them The Eel is hardcore left wing. They don't disapprove: they like the way we stick the boot in and make people think. They just don't know.

    It's sad, but we find it really hard to draw young people in. We've had kids going 'You've got no aim in that magazine'. And we say 'Yeah, that's the point. If you've got better ideas, you take it. Take half of it: make a name for it.' And they're backing off, going, 'Oh no, no, no.' It's so frustrating. Inside you're shouting, 'C'mon kids, take it over! Take it, please! Smash it to bits! Chop it up! Do something different!'

Tony: You need fresh input to give it some variety. One thing we'd really like to do is go into a school or a college and get them to do half the next issue.

Adam: I'd love it if anyone took over half an issue. I don't know why someone doesn't come up and say, 'Right, we're getting rid of you. We're having that now.' Like I say, my attitude is, 'You want it? Take half of it.' If I could rip out ten pages, and say 'Bring that back in three months; meet the deadline and it's in', I'd be quite happy.

    There's no great game plan, but what we do try to do is stir things up. I want it to be interesting to live round here. I don't want to get to the point where I can't be bothered. If it gets too comfortable I'll move out to Hackney Wick, find a pub where something happens.

    The energy in E8 won't die. But it will get weaker. A lot of the peripheral stuff will get wiped out. And with it will go some things that are good and genuine. But we're years off from that. It gets trimmed all the time, like a cauli nub. It's difficult, but you can still find pockets to live in, loopholes, further east and on the estates.

    The general feeling is it's getting trimmed too far, with the yuppies buying into the area and the people who live here feeling they're being pushed out. And casting a huge shadow over everything is the Olympics. But round here there's no more room: Broadway Market's full up now. So the next thing is the developers trying to encourage newcomers to go down to Well Street. The high street down there has obviously got potential. That's the next one. You heard it first in The Eel.

Tony: Developers like to package boundaries. Now people are fixated with being inside this Broadway Market area. The Dolphin's become a trendy place to go because it's just a few hundred yards away from the Cat and Mutton or whatever. It's like points connecting up. But at least people get off with each other there and it gets a bit messy.

Adam: I hope we're not coming over too po-faced. We don't have a serious plan and we're not over-serious about slagging people off or putting people down. I wouldn't want people to think we were an active version of nimbies or whatever. Like I said, we want to encourage people to get out there and do things. Those are the people we relate to and are focusing on. They're the ones who inspire us. Down at Alma Arts [a gallery in Vyner Street] the other day, we saw these teenagers from Norfolk on acid playing their folk music. They were so good I went up to them and said 'We do a bit of a thing in the summer with a pub down here. You in?' So they're booked. It's that 'no game plan' thing again. I don't know who I'll run into this week. If someone stands in front of me with some great energy, and they want to do it, then they can have it.

Tony: Out of encounters like that you can create a melange of stuff. A bit like E8 itself.

Adam: Yeah, you create your own menagerie. You've just got to get it across to people: 'You can participate. You can write. You can pick up on things. You can do something.'

Tony: It's not that difficult to create something interesting yourself, instead of waiting for something to happen.

 

This is the full version of an interview that appears in the E8 publication