In the deepest darkest heart of Hackney, under the moonlight which shone upon the sinister looking gas works, and the eerily silent Regents Canal backwater, we walked down Andrews Road. We passed under a dirty heavy metal bridge, and the road dipped accomodatingly, leading towards a series of warehouses and silence. This was the kind of bridge and kind of street which your urban instinct would tell you to avoid. Vague abstract representations of rape, muggings play for your attentions, with more optimistic fantasies of peace, tranquility and an undisturbed moonlight. The road was silent except for the occasional car, usually a brand spanking new silver Mercedes, which would bomb down the road as if breaking away from some crime scene, bouncing over the speed bumps. We walked past what looked like a container warehouse, I looked through the gates and across the courtyard in the middle of which a security guard stood silently smoking a cigaretter under the moonlight. The presence of the security guard prompted a paranoid reaction. How many security guards are looking through nooks and crannies and CTV cameras at us walking down what seems like a completely deserted street? We worked our way to the side of a set of studios, entered through the security gates and made our way across a courtyard to this big block of office blocks, neither friendly nor hostile, but cold, empty, functional and neglected in this land of forgotten concrete tucked away in the hinterland that is Hackney. A lift greeted us on the ground floor – why would I want to step inside this lift at half past one on a Saturday night? The distant sound of partying began to warm my soul. The lift took us all the way to the top floor of this five storey building. At the top there was a concrete balcony which stretched the entire length of this fifty metre building. Out in front of us stretched the east end skyline of London – Canary Wharf and all – and then the City of London. A priceless view. And inside a beautiful selection of people – fun loving – jovial types – neither wimpish nor agressive – friendly, affectionate, sexual and not overdone. The music – stilted – and yet eclectic and emotional – eighties classics such as Prince and Dexys combined with more contemporary urban hip hop and Turkish grooves. And a generous Australian who bought six hundred cans of Carling with him.
A party in an art studio on Andrews Road, Hackney, circa 2008