This was the life.
Smiler’s portrait of London’s squat communities in the 1970s, 80s and 90's
He’s done it before and he’ll do it again. The visionary Gareth McConnell of Sorika publishing knows exactly how to put together a beautiful object. In recent years he has given us the drug memoir Horse Latitudes, the kaleidoscopic compilation of rave-goers in Ibiza Close Your Eyes and most recently Smiler, a twin publication featuring a collection of photographs taken by Smiler, aka Mark Cawson, a photographer who documented squats in London in the 1970s, 80s and 90s and words by Neal Brown.
Originally published to accompany the show Smiler: Photographs of London by Mark Cawson at the ICA in the autumn of 2015, Smiler has just launched its second edition as the first sold out faster than you can say 'what rhymes with Trump'.
We urge you to flick through this tactile edition. The book poetically and graphically captures squat living in a time, when living in the basement of a schoolhouse for free was still possible. Smiler, who squatted for years himself, is not an intruder. He is in and amongst the characters and buildings, which shaped and inspired an era of anti-establishment thinking. With the housing crisis in the capital in full swing, we feel it’s the perfect time to reflect on how London has changed and the direction the city is taking.
The Riot Side of History
The art installation that could shake up your political apathy
Do you shout at the TV when Trump comes on? Do you get upset when you see refugees being beaten back by batons at the Macedonian-Greek border? Do you think, “We’ve got to do something about this,” but then head back to Facebook or Instagram to see who liked your last kitten post? Perhaps it’s time to head down to Bruton, Somerset. Here an unlikely shipping container may just spark the fighter in you to do something about the things that get your goat.
The artist James Cauty, famous for burning one million pounds in a performance called 'Watch the K-Foundation Burn a Million Quid' after earning it in the band KLF in 1994 and for his riot piece in Dismaland last year, has created a monumental post-riot landscape in miniature and housed it in a shipping container. In this dystopian model village, which you can look at by peering through peepholes, riot police roam the streets, media teams remain scattered among the otherwise deserted land where capitalism has eaten itself and civilians are nowhere to be seen. The diorama, which is bound to amuse, disturb and wow you all at once, will have you thinking, “What if…”
Beginning its journey in Bruton on April 23 and ending in Bedford on Christmas Day, the shipping container – named 'The Aftermath Dislocation Principle' (ADP) – will stop in places, where at some point in history, there has been a riot. This is your chance to be on the right side of history. Don’t just stand by, catch the ADP Riot Tour.
Psst. Check out his stash
Rob da Bank shows us the three essential T's on his bedside table: tiger balm, trees and Tudors
You wouldn’t have thought that Rob da Bank, the man who recently joined forces with Soho Radio to launch Bestival Weekly, and the mastermind (along with his wife Josie), behind the award-winning Bestival and Camp Bestival, would have any time to read at all. But here he is flaunting his bedside table, like it’s the most natural thing in the world to have nine books on the go at the same time, some of them with the words “Tudors” or “Capitalism” in their title. Folk asked him a few questions about his stash...
Have you actually opened all those books on your bedside table or are you still trying to impress Josie, your wife?
Hand on my heart I am a total bookworm. I tend to read a lot of books and I don’t like not finishing a book either. In my teens I was really into fiction, when I hit 30 I started getting more into factual books and after turning 40, I got into new-agey stuff, such as books on yoga and meditation.
There are a couple of random but key items on your bedside table that jump out here. Let's talk crystals...
That’s an amethyst, it’s meant to be good for calming and it’s pretty. I don’t want to sound like we’re mad hippies. It’s my mid-life crystal. I did the sports car when I was 30, am doing crystals at 40. Is that the wrong way around? I got that in a mad shop in Scotland, one of those that also sold dinosaur teeth and minerals and rocks. We all bought something. I’m painting a picture of us being a weird hippy family. We’re not really like that…
We can see you only drunk a little bit of water last night, do you worry about having to get up to go to the toilet in the night?
That water is there because our youngest son, Miller (5), has currently got some flu-cold thing, and he’s been sleeping in our bed. That's for him when he wakes up with a parched throat.
What has the book The Wisdom of Trees taught you so far?
It's a great book actually, not just on botanical stuff, it goes into the more philosophical side of things. Obviously trees can't think or speak, but it’s got interesting stuff such as that trees have to be self-germinating, self-reproducing for insects, I’ve learned about why the sycamore thing flutters down like a helicopter and that birds and bees didn't exist when trees were first about. I want to know a lot more about that kind of stuff.
There are many things I would have expected on your night table, but the book Tudors by Peter Ackroyd is not one of them...
I got suckered into Wolf Hall and all that. I do love those books by Hilary Mantel. They are probably two of the best books I’ve read in the last ten years. I love that period. I’ve read about five books on Henry VIII in the last year. I suppose when you get older you want to look into history a bit more. I’m not a huge history buff, but Henry VIII is a fascinating character. I love trying to imagine what it was like to be alive then. You might live to 20 and drop dead, so at the time it was quite an achievement to be alive at 40. Also am mid-life, thinking about mortality and that sort of stuff. That’s how I got onto Tudors. Peter Ackroyd is an amazing author, I've read most of the stuff he's written. It’s historical but not dry. He makes you feel like you're there.
You have three boys, with a fourth on the way - has Steve Biddulph's Raising Boys been helpful?
He has actually. He is a very lovely, huggy American guy. You can tell he's an amazing dad. He says life is short, to hug and kiss your boys, do everything you can to raise them well, don’t spend all your time working… He goes from toddler to teenager years. I don't like re-reading books, but I do dip into this one again and again because it’s got good little chapters.
You have Buddha on your table, as well as two books that have mindfulness at their core: Finding the Space to Lead: a practical guide to mindful leadership - by Janice Marturano and A Life Worth Breathing by Max Strom. Do you practice mindfulness? How does it impact your life?
I'm not a Buddhist or Christian, am nothing really, but in terms of the spiritual side of my life, I’ve been practicing yoga for 15 years and doing meditation for about five. I enjoy that side of things. Max Strom, who wrote the breathing book is an incredible guy, he was born with a disability and has become one of world's best yoga teachers. It’s about simple things really, such as how breathing properly can help you out of a lot of situations.
How long do you manage to read before you fall asleep?
Reading is not necessarily a night-time thing. I travel quite a bit and usually have two or three books in my bag. I try to read a little bit before bed. We all got into a habit of being on the ipad and am trying to fight that in our house. I want to make sure we don't all go to sleep with bright lights on our eyes. Books are the future.
To listen to Rob’s new weekly show Bestival Weekly on Soho Radio London head to www.sohoradiolondon.com on Thursdays between 2 and 4pm.
For Bestival Live (archived performances recorded live at Bestival), head to www.sohoradiolondon.com on Saturdays between 10pm and 11pm.
Here We Go Magic
Folk Playlist IV Curated by Sam Hardaker (Zero 7)
When a playlist starts with Caetano Veloso’s Um Canto De Afoxe Para O Bloco De Ile, and finishes with T. Dyson & Company - It's All Over, you know the stuff in between is going to be stellar. Nuff said. Just listen.
Listen Here →
What do you put in yours? We’ve been slurping on Super Danke’s Green Machine
In Munich, there is a green smoothie joint called Super Danke! Established by the same three fresh-minded dudes behind the Flushing Meadows Hotel – where Folk created a loft studio room a few years back – the James T Hunt bar and the inimitable Bob Beaman club. We could write a whole story about how these guys (Niels Jäger, Sascha Arnold and Steffen Werner) are changing the landscape of the city with their award-winning venues, but we won’t, because you need to just make that trip for yourself. What we want to do today is show you how to make their slam-dunking green smoothie: the Green Machine. This bad boy of blenders has six of your five a day in it, tastes like that spring day when everyone’s pheromones flip for the first time and will give you the energy of a collie who is yet to round his sheep. “Super Danke”, by the way, is a friendly and appreciative way to thank someone in Bavaria. Don’t worry about it. Anytime.
Recipe for 400ml
Combine the following in a blender:
- 150g Mango
- 10g Lemon
- 40g Celery with leaves
- 15g Parsley
- 80g Cucumber, minus seeds
- 10g Agave syrup
- 52g Ginger
- 2g Olive oil
- 140ml Water
- 4 Ice cubes
And in other news;
Why we want to speak the Bamara and how to minimise your travel wardrobe to one item
The author Mari Kondo bangs on about only keeping items that spark joy in your life when deciding what to get rid of or keep in your house. At Folk HQ, this bleached denim swing dress is currently sparking hella lotta joy. It’s the kind of dress that would sort you out for an entire holiday. Dress up, dress down, throw it over your bikini. It means you can play the game “I packed my suitcase” and rather smugly just have one item in it.