Cheers! Men’s Shed launches microbrewery

THREE new locally-produced beers are about to hit Islington’s bars, once the brewers have come up with a name for them.


The stereotype of men spending their retirement in pubs has been turned on its head by Brewer’s Group, a new not-for-profit microbrewery based at St Luke’s Community Centre. The men there, aged from 52 to 70, have created three seasonal beers based on ancient recipes and using locally grown ingredients. 

Three local businesses are keen to sell the beer after tasting it at Whitecross Street Party last month. The only missing ingredient is a name.

The Brewer’s Group are all members of the Men’s Shed at the community centre. One of hundreds worldwide, it offers a dedicated space and activity programme for older men to combat loneliness and isolation.

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Spectre of Abandonment

A GAME of creative “Chinese whispers” between artist Lorraine Clarke and poet Sarah Reilly has spurred Spectre of Abandonment, the latest show at the Candid Arts Trust.

Highbury resident Lorraine creates striking shamanistic sculptures – in her piece Fertility Dolls 116 dolls stare lifelessly from a collection of jars trapped in hanging cages. Much of her work summons the rigidity and perversity of Victorian anthropological collections as she provokes the invisible workings of the human psyche.

This work was a feature of Lorraine’s earlier large-scale solo exhibition Nosce Te Ipsum/Know Thyself, from which she posted a call-out for creatives to respond to the show’s theme – links between magic, medicine and religion. Sarah’s poem The Meal proved fertile ground for Lorraine, who has, in turn, created her own response for this exhibition. Two other poets, Agnes Meadows and Sue Johns, have also created response pieces and Lorraine has returned serve by choosing pieces from their anthologies to trigger new works. 

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e industrial at Cubitt

BEFORE a visitor enters Cubitt’s latest exhibition a member of staff scurries to set off a blast of mist from a waiting fog machine. The effort is worth it: the small gallery takes on a magical quality and freezes the work of Jean-Michel Wicker. This attention to the visitor’s experience is reflected in the enthusiasm of curator Fatima Hellburg and gallery manager Fabio Altamura, who are keen for visitors to seek them out on visiting the gallery for a conversation on the work. 

A 70-metre scroll is spread across the floor in folds, impossible to lay flat in the space. A concertina of text, Wicker’s trademark “e” stands out along the length and also appears in posters on the walls. 

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Marina Abramovic

While Marina Abramovic confiscated iPhones and slept at the Serpentine, a performance art pug sat outside the gallery wearing a familiar jet-black wig for very present interactions with the public (assisted by the fabulous Hannah Ballou).

And have you checked out The Marina Abramovic Retirement Fund of America? A tumblr ‘dedicated to stopping Marina Abramovic from creating further artworks’. This is an artist who demands a response, and has been ever since she started launching herself; face first, into lover Ulay in the 70s. The BBC’s Will Gompertz will be hoping Abramovic is in the mood for chatting at this Intelligence Squared event.

*First published in Le Cool London*

Safe Word

What’s your safe word? C’mon, you can tell me. Who knows where this might lead? Just close your eyes and follow my voice. Trust me, I’m an actor.


This new piece from theatre company Fye and Foal at the Pleasance treads that sometimes wafer-thin line between pleasure and violence. The catch? It will be largely performed in pitch-black. Limiting the senses purely to the soundtrack allows the audience to fall and tumble straight into the depths of our imagination. The beauty is that no matter how much the duo behind Safe Word tries to control and lead, each person will see different shapes and forms emerge out of the dark and out of their subconscious.

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Wilton’s Strike! Festival

Artists seem to be eating strikes for breakfast lately – Wonderland at Hampstead Theatre, Made in Dagenham at the Adelphi, Pride in cinemas everywhere and Pits and Perverts coming to RADA Studio Theatre soon.


But Wilton’s Strike! is less whistles and political slogans and more plies against the barricades. Ken Robinson, who won the world over with his staunch views on the death of education, defended his belief on Radio 4 recently that dance and maths are equally important. “You live in your body all day long,” he said. “And our physical condition – how we relate to ourselves physically – is of fundamental importance to our sense of self.” Don’t play it safe with your evenings and lead the march towards Wilton’s three-day festival championing emergent performers and choreographers. Focused on the theme of metamorphosis (Wilton’s itself is going through a transformation as its front of house is under renovation), the events are accessible to all through live streaming – so do check it out.

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Sugar is poison. It really is. Not because your waist accommodates it so well but because the European sweet tooth drove centuries of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Lives were swapped in return for ‘white gold’, with the sugar trade accounting for a third of Europe’s entire economy. In fact, many of the sugary treats – biscuits, cakes, sweets and toffee – that Mary Berry has been extolling aa classically ‘British’ trace their roots back to this deadly trade triangle. Matilda Ibini’s new play Muscovado imagines the complicated relationships between slaves and overseers on a Barbadian sugar plantation in 1808 – months after the abolition – and rightfully wags a finger at British involvement in the slave trade. 

Holy Trinity Church

Clapham Common North Side, SW4 0QZ

View Map



How much?

£10, (£8 concs)

*First appeared in Le Cool London*

FEATURE: Holloway music producer Semothy Jones helps teenagers ‘Gain Ctrl’

BY the age of 14, Andrew Hughes had effectively left Holloway School, instead spending his days at former video game shop 308 Games in Holloway Road. By his early 20s, Andrew, aka Semothy Jones, was working with rapper Plan B. At 28, he was listed as one of NME’s Top 20 Hottest Producers when celebrating a top five hit with Just Be Good To Green, a record featuring Lily Allen and Professor Green.


Andrew, 32, is now running Gain Ctrl music production workshops at Platform in Hornsey Road to encourage teenagers in Islington to use music as an outlet for their thoughts and also to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of what can be a cut-throat industry. He’s pulled himself back from creating formulated pop songs for Simon Cowell to return to his origins in Holloway.

The trigger came from an unlikely source: a proud tweet from Islington Council about the borough’s provisions for young people. Andrew responded incredulously and the people behind @IslingtonBC upped the ante, invited him to a meeting at the Town Hall and an hour later Andrew left having promised to lead music sessions. 

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Theatre Column 21/08/14

• RUSSELL Grant may be better known for reading horoscopes but he will be returning to his original career as an actor starring as Mrs Meers in a new production of Thoroughly Modern Millie at Theatro Technis from October 1-25. For tickets

• PARKOUR beatbox and… the Bard? Shakespeare has been performed in endless locations but in September Pia Furtado (pictured) is taking Titus Andronicus to a Peckham multi-storey car park, complete with beatboxing composition from female beatbox champion Bellatrix, fast-paced choreography from Temujin Gill and a community chorus of local residents from south London. It may be across the river but this one looks worth the boat ride. For details visit

• LOOKING ahead to next year: the Royal Court will be staging a new play by Palestinian writer Dalia Taha. Her show Fireworks (Al’ab Nariya) follows the impact of war on two Palestinian children during the conflict. The show was first developed in Dalia’s International Residency at the theatre. Fireworks will run from February 12-March 14. For tickets call 020 7565 5000.

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Therese Raquin at Park Theatre

SONDHEIM meets Kate Bush and 19th-century literature in this musical adaptation of Emile Zola’s novel transferred from the Finborough Theatre. 

Zola wrote with uncanny skill to reveal human flaws and peculiarities and is therefore ever contemporary. Though set very much in Victorian Paris, this thrilling adaptation from Nona Shepphard also manages to avoid feeling “period”. 

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