In our new series of longer conversations, ‘Bethnal Green; After Hours’, we’re shining a light on all of the fantastic businesses that make E2 such a vibrant place to be at night. The pubs, the clubs, the galleries, the restaurants & the bars – new & old – we’re blessed as an area with some hidden gems and some straight-up institutions that fly the flag for the ever changing, ever-beloved East End.
First up, we caught up with owner Paddy Walsh, from Cambridge Heath Road based music venue Redon. We’re lucky to have such a generous & knowledgeable music man in our midst – nice one, Paddy!
|● Hi Paddy, thanks for sparing the time? what you up to today?
Monday is my day of rest. After a hectic weekend at work, it’s the perfect time to put my feet up and enjoy the sunshine.
● Tell us a bit about Redon – how big is it? where is it and what’s the vision?
Redon is a 250 capacity music and performance venue, located in a Victorian railway arch on Cambridge Heath Road.
The vision was to create a no-nonsense live music venue with excellent sound quality and a well stocked bar. Over the years I’ve been to so many gigs that were ruined by poor sound quality, so getting the sound right at Redon was the first priority. We have installed a brand new Martin Audio PA, which sounds beautifully warm and clear. The decor is by no means flashy, but the space feels very atmospheric and intimate. In my opinion it’s a great place to watch a gig.
Lots of London venues have been closed down in recent years, often due to complaints about noise pollution. With this in mind, we extensively sound proofed the venue so that we can play music at a decent volume without disturbing our neighbours.
In case you were wondering, the name is a tribute to my favourite artist: the French symbolist painter Odilon Redon.
● Why Bethnal Green? Have you got a particular affinity with the area?
I love Bethnal Green. I’ve lived in the area for 14 years, and seen it change a great deal during that time. Gentrification has had a massive impact; the area still retains a multicultural identity but the disparity between the Haves and the Have Nots has never been greater. Personally I miss the more bohemian, arty vibe of yesteryear, but its still a cool neighbourhood with lots to offer. I hope Redon is a welcome addition to the local music scene.
● How can we keep as many people as possible involved in cultural outputs at a time when the area is developing so quickly?
Sadly, much of the artistic and creative community who used to gravitate here have been forced out of the area by sky high property prices. Personally I’d like to see live / work artist studios being subsidised to encourage that culture to thrive. Similarly, it would be great if music venues and recording studios were offered some protection and support by the local authorities. The powers that be have to ask themselves: what kind of a neighbourhood do you want this to be ? Vibrant and creative, or soulless and sanitised?
● Are there any nights you’ve had so far in Redon that have really stood out? What makes for a really memorable night from your point of view as the guy in charge?
We’ve hosted lots of great nights already, too many to mention in fact. One that really stood out for me was a Movimientos party back in April , with a live show by Let Drum Beat. The atmosphere was electric, and Let Drum Beat totally blew me away. If you haven’t heard of them yet, Let Drum Beat are an all-female, afro Brazilian band with a captivating, distinctive sound – I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for a week after that gig.
● Are there venues that you really look up to and are looking to replicate, or is Redon looking to strike brand new chords?
The Jazz Cafe in Camden is one of my favourite venues, I’ve been to countless gigs there over the years. It’s such an imitate venue, where you feel very connected with the musicians on stage. Total Refreshment Centre (TRC) is another inspiration; their programming is consistently excellent. Sadly TRC have been forced to close, at least temporarily. I’m not sure what the situation is exactly, but I hope they are back open again soon. London can’t afford to lose another music venue.
● What have you got coming up that our readers should be getting along to?
We aim to be as eclectic and inclusive as possible with our programming, so I hope there will be something that appeals to almost everyone. In the next few months, we have shows encompassing rock, hip hop, jazz, latin, house, disco and techno, and we’re open to pretty much anything! You can keep an eye on redonlive.com for details of forthcoming events.
This coming Saturday (30th June) we are very excited to welcome Brazilian Funk Legend Di Melo to play his first ever UK performance. This gig was scheduled to be take place at TRC, but following their recent issues we agreed to host the gig instead. I’d also strongly recommend Shakara Soul on 6th July. Their last party with Tim Garcia was amazing, and this time round they have Cedric Woo from Beauty and the Beat headlining the bill.
Finally, I’d like to give a plug to our Queer Cabaret nights, which take place every Thursday. We’ve teamed up with some of London’s best LGBTIQ promoters. who have helped us to create an inclusive and welcoming space for the community. The cabaret performers are often funny, sometimes thought provoking, occasionally outrageous and always entertaining.
● Finally any advice to anyone who’s keen on getting into the music venue game, but who doesn’t know how to get going?
Promoting a club night will teach you a lot of the skills you need, so that’s a good place to start. If you’ve managed to get a successful club night off the ground, you’ll be a good candidate for a job working in house at a venue like Redon.
When you’re ready to take the plunge and open your own venue – make sure you do a good feasibility study first! These days, all it takes is a few noise complaints to lose your license – so choose your location wisely and think carefully about how you plan to avoid disruption to local residents.
This month, we’re launching a new #Hashtag for our Love Bethnal Green To Do lists, to ensure that as many people as possible get wind of the brilliant breadth of activity going on in and around the area. #E2ToDo will be your monthly dose of what’s happening here in Bethnal Green, plus it gives everyone the chance to share their own activity with us so that we can help promote it. Simply tag @LoveBthnlGreen on Twitter or Instagram (no vowels in Bthnl!) and use the #E2ToDo, & we’ll help get the word out.
Now – to July …… & it’s a busy one
Boishakhi Mela – Weavers Fields
Sunday 1st July – 12 noon – 19:00
Celebrating Boishakhi Mela – the Bangla New Year – in the UK, dates back to when Bengali students came to study here in mid to late Twentieth Cent
ury. When Bangladesh achieved independence in 1971, these celebrations really took off in Trafalgar Square, and as the Bangladeshi community grew in east London, so did the New Year celebrations, with the largest Boishakhi Mela taking place at Brick Lane in May 1998.
This year, for the third year running, the mela returns to Weavers Fields in the heart of Banglatown. Since 2016 the mela has been organised by the council with input from a wide ranging Mela Community Engagement Group and this year yet again, we see a great blend of music, art, food, craft and family friendly activity, celebrating the very best in Bengali culture.
Weavers Fields, 22 Derbyshire St, London E2 6HJ
= = =
TAI CHI LESSONS – St. Margaret’s House
Wednesday mornings 07:30 – 08:30am from Wednesday 4th July
You are invited to practise the martial art of Tai Chi on Wednesday mornings throughout the summer in Bethnal Green.
Start your day moving through an energising and calming session with expert James Mills. James started learning Tai Chi with Master John Ding in 2005. He is interested in bringing Tai Chi to the local community for improved health and wellbeing. He believes that Tai Chi is very systematic and holistic in its approach, allowing each student to grow in their own unique way.
This practice will take place in the garden of St. Margaret’s House, or in the Mulberry Rooms in the case of bad weather. It’s suitable for all levels, & please wear loose comfortable clothing.
Drop-in price is £5, or 6 sessions for £25 through Eventbrite.
St. Margaret’s House, 21 Old Ford Rd, Bethnal Green, London E2 9PL
= = =
What the River Brings – St. John on Bethnal Green
Saturday 14th July – 19:30 – 22:00
Join The Grand Union Orchestra for a spectacular new show with performers from across east London.
What the River Brings celebrates the waves of migration that have shaped east London over the centuries, and continue to do so today. 70 years on from the arrival of the Empire Windrush, we’ll be celebrating migrants past and present, & their music that’s done so much to shape our culture.
With music composed and arranged by Tony Haynes, this show will be performed by people from those communities that have settled here.
What the River Brings tells of their experience and the stories of the East End, through music and song that conjure up both the hope and the hardships felt.
St. John on Bethnal Green, The Crypt St Johns Church, 200 Cambridge Heath Rd, London E2 9PA
= = =
The Providence Row Art Show – Rich Mix
Thursday 19th July – Monday 23rd July
Providence Row is a homelessness charity just down the other end of Brick Lane. It provides a range of services for those affected by homelessness, including a vibrant and creative learning and wellbeing programme which offers a range of groups in art, music, writing, discussion and much more. This exhibition shares with you some of the brilliant work made in these groups.
This is art from the heart of E1, & we can get behind this activity despite the postcode, because we’re so behind the cause.
Rich Mix, 35-47 Bethnal Green Road, London E1 6LA
= = =
Love Carnival – Redon
Friday 27th July – 22:00 – 04:00
Love Carnival is a regular party providing your recommended dose of tropical uplift, bringing in top international and homebrewed guests from the world of tropical bass music. DJs on the night will be running through the spectrum of fresh tropical riddims from Cumbia to Afrobeats, Dancehall, Moombahton and much more.
This dance takes place at excellent Bethnal Green based venue, Redon, on Cambridge Heath Road. It’s well worth a look, with an exemplary soundsystem and a welcoming team, plus it’s only a short walk from Bethnal Green Underground.
We’re giving away 2 sets of tickets to Love Carnival. Just get in touch here & tell us why you should win. We’ll announce the winner on Wednesday 25th July.
Redon, Arch 289, Cambridge Heath Road, London, E2 9HA
LoveBethnalGreen.com has a new weekly interview format, which will explore the great stuff that’s happening across the E2 area. It’s for those who don’t want to go deep, but want to be in the know.
First up, we have Oxford House. We caught up with CEO John Ryan so that he could test drive the Bethnal Greeners format. Each interviewee will be given 5 simple headings to respond to in no more than 30 words, offering our readers an angle on their past, their present and their future, all shot through with why it is they love Bethnal Green. Easy as that. Here we go then….
- Your history
Oxford House was established in 1884 as the first “settlement house” where students and graduates from Keble College, Oxford undertook a period of residential volunteering to learn first-hand about the realities of urban poverty.
- Your business
We provide affordable office space to organisations. We’re also a multipurpose arts centre with a theatre, gallery and dance studio. We provide a range of volunteering opportunities where you can gain valuable work skills.
- Your passion for the area
We’re part of the furniture in Bethnal Green, & have been for over a century. We look to reflect the community in our programming and in who we host, and always will. Long live Bethnal Green!
- Your offers
As a charity, we understand the need for flexibility and the importance of good value for money. For where we are, you’d struggle to find a better deal on space and we’re proud of that.
- Your future
We have exciting times ahead, with Heritage Lottery backed renovations on our Grade II listed building starting now! (see below!) We’ll have new cafe, offices and roof terrace for the community by 2019 + a new Cultural Programmer.
Love Bethnal Green and Oxford House are looking for a Marketing & Communications Freelancer to join the team for 2 days a week between now and March 31st 2019.
We’re on the hunt for a social media savvy communications freelancer who is passionate about east London, to join the team part time to work on the ‘Thriving High Streets’ programme – that’s our partnership with London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
This role is the ideal stepping stone for someone looking to build experience in blogging, communications, social media, as well as building an understanding of local government.
It’s paid London Living Wage of £10.20 / hour and applications are open until noon on Monday 25th June.
Role: Marketing & Communications Freelancer (part-time)
Reporting To: Partnership Lead
Hours 14 hours per week
Salary £625 pcm, fixed term until 31/03/2019
Key Objectives: Furthering the partnership with London Borough of Tower Hamlets, supporting local business & increasing footfall in Bethnal Green.
Thank you for your interest in this role. Oxford House is looking for a social media savvy communications freelancer who is passionate about east London, to join the team part time to work on the ‘Thriving High Streets’ programme. This role is the ideal stepping stone for someone looking to build experience in blogging, marketing, communications, social impact and public services.
This role is to be delivered on a freelance basis, and as such the successful candidate will take responsibility for paying their own national insurance and income tax contributions.
About the ‘Thriving High Streets’ strategy
The Thriving High Streets project is funded by the Greater London Authority, and Oxford House has been commissioned by and working with Tower Hamlets Council to deliver the project until the end of March 2019. The project involves supporting the delivery of a programme of activity that covers the points below;
- Business support to improve performance of local businesses
- Public realm improvements, making Bethnal Green greener, & street markets improvements
- Supporting events & activities programmes that promote the area
- Marketing & promotion of businesses and organisations to improve footfall in the area
- Passionate about community, with an interest in supporting local community activity.
- With a passion for Bethnal Green & for east London, the ideal candidate will live locally.
- Experienced with social media and happy to manage Love Bethnal Green’s channels independently, including Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.
- Strong communication skills, written and verbal.
- Confident and able to work autonomously, and always a positive team player.
- Organised and able to manage time very effectively.
The role will include the following tasks, and flexibility will be required as the candidate takes on other tasks as the role and the project develops.
- Develop and keep updated a comprehensive list of businesses in Bethnal Green District Centre
- Promote participation amongst businesses and traders in business initiatives funded by the Council
- Engage with schools to get them involved in activities in Bethnal Green Town Centre
- Helping to engage with properties owners with vacant units and promote options for activating the units and adding to the offer in the town centres once the actions from the feasibility study are agreed
- Support the promotion of businesses and of the market via gathering stories and putting out messaging on social media and the Love Bethnal Green Website
- Support delivery of activities and events managed by suppliers commissioned by the High Street & Town Centres team to help animate and promote Bethnal Green District Centre
How to apply
To apply, send a short supporting letter (200 words max) explaining your suitability for the role to email@example.com. Please include an up to date CV as an attachment (max 2 pages) with detail of 2 x referees who can be contacted upon offer of the role.
The deadline for this role is 12 noon, Monday 25th June.
Interviews will take place week commencing 2nd July at Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, E2.
Funded by Tower Hamlets
Supporting our High Streets and Town Centres
This is the first meeting we’ve had for a while, as we’ve been preparing our work for the coming year or so. We’re looking forward to sharing our plans with you, and hearing your news too – so please do come armed with updates on your business and your projects that we can then support via some promotion.
We’ll be covering off the following points on Tuesday 19th, so please do join us, and share the meeting far and wide, as we all get more out of these interactions when there are more people in the room;
- Training opportunities; what is available from LBTH for local business to access?
- Characteristics of Bethnal Green; what needs particular attention & what can be done to support?
- Markets; Our ambitions to engage with traders and inspire new ones
- Promoting footfall; Profiling local businesses, getting pragmatic around Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s, and key events later in the year.
- What have you got coming up? Fill us in on what you’ve got coming up so that we can build stories around your activity
‘The Green’ will run for an hour or so, starting at 6pm.
The meeting takes place at Oxford House, Derbyshire Street, E2.
We look forward to seeing you.
Photo by Elliot Caunce, Falmouth University. For Love Bethnal Green, 2018
& so we move into June, a month that welcomes another outrageously over-hyped sporting gathering to our cultural calendar. The World Cup in Russia may well bring some entertainment to our screens, but that can’t take away from the frankly appalling behavior of football’s governing body FIFA. Over racism & corruption, they are peerless in how often they let the world down, so keep the football in context this month, & open yourselves up to some of the wonderful stuff happening right here on your E2 doorstep…
RISO PRINT CLUB REVIVAL – The Common House
Friday 15th June – 7 – 9pm
The Common House is aiming to get people involved in working collaboratively & contributing to the running of their Riso’ Print Club. If interested, you should come along & understand what they do first, learn how the print machine works & agree to teach other people how to use it in return. Once introduced, it may be possible to print some of your own work but the emphasis here is definitely on working collaboratively, creating a visual commons & becoming a contributing member rather than just a consumer. This is a gathering that would suit E2 residents interested in exploring being radical and being grass roots.
Unit 5E Pundersons Gardens, London, E2 9QG
‘THE GREEN’ – Oxford House
Tuesday 19 June – 6pm
Come & participate in the monthly meeting of ‘The Green’, to hear how LBTH plans for Bethnal Green are developing. If you are a business owner, come & represent your business & share your ideas with us. If you’re a resident, come & have your say on the issues that are important to you.
To get involved in the meeting & to add an agenda point you feel needs addressing please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The strength of these meetings is in the guest list, so please do share this opportunity far & wide; businesses, residents, organisations – all welcome.
Oxford House, Derbyshire St, Bethnal Green, London E2 6HG
Bags of Taste – Eating Better for Less; Quaker Social Action;
Wednesday 20 June for 4 weeks
Quaker Social Action provide free hands-on cooking classes, improving confidence & getting you eating better for less. Over four weeks, Bags of Taste will have you cooking great-tasting simple recipes from all over the world, all at less than £1 a head. The sessions are relaxed & friendly, no F-words – we promise! They’re filled with people who want to learn new recipes & ways to save on their food shop. Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or eat halal, the team will have something fantastic for you.
Walter Newby Centre, Bethnal Green Methodist Church, Approach Road, E2 9JP
An Evening of Bengali Experimental Poetry & Talks; St. Margaret’s House
Saturday 23 June, 6:30pm
This unique gathering is organised jointly by the Gronthee, a leading literary magazine, together with one of the foremost groups of little-magazine & experimental poetry in Bangladesh & RadhaRaman Society. A critically acclaimed platform here in UK will bring the splendour of Bengali Folk Music to the Bethnal Green stage. The event also offers critical discussion on the current trend of experimental poetry in Bangladesh.
The evening features performance from some of the most prominent Bengali poets of the 90s, an extremely fertile decade in Bengali poetry, The evening also includes a guest poet from Bangladesh – Zofir Setu.
The Hall at St. Margaret’s House, 21 Old Ford Road, E2 9PL