The Proud Archivist

The Proud Archivist:

2-10 Hertford Road
N1 5ET


Hoxton Mini Press Presents: ‘51 Faces of Hackney’

For all the advantages London has to offer, the one thing that our great metropolis lacks is open space. The majority of Londoners don’t have the benefit of a garden, and you’ll be hard-pushed to find a “beer version” at one of our pubs. We don’t complain though. It’s our fault for living here in the first place, and it’s a very small price to pay. So what do we do when the sun starts a-shining? We flock en-masse to parks, squares and lidos, dragging our BBQ’s along behind us. Public spaces become our beach and playground. The Thames and the canals our seaside. It’s this last one which is one of London’s success stories. The waterways of London, especially in summer, are brimming with activity. Some would say too much, but let’s not get into that here.

One such place that has jumped on the waterway bandwagon is The Proud Archivist. Smack bang on the Regent’s Canal near Haggerston. A combined bar, restaurant, events space, and gallery, that purports to “revive the traditions of London’s grand 17th and 18th century coffee houses.” We’re not too sure on the accuracy of this description as it’s housed in a modern building for a start, with contemporary furnishings, and one is more likely to find clientele supping down a cooling pint of craft beer or a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, than a cup o’ Joe.

We had made an early afternoon reservation to sample Proud’s weekend brunch menu, but were disappointed to be told on arrival that they had just moved to serving Sunday Lunch – 3 hours earlier than advertised. Granted this was a tad annoying, but neither of us had had a traditional roast for a while so we didn’t complain. On reflection, we’re rather glad they performed a “switcheroo” on us as it was luuuuverly. No real surprises with what was on offer: The Pork Belly was juicy and rich, with a solid slither of crackling, and served with fluffy boiled potatoes and aniseed-y red cabbage. The Roasted Topside of Beef was perfectly cooked: very red, and tender, served with carrots, broccoli, crispy potatoes, and a dollop of spicy horseradish. Topping it off was a most peculiar, flat slice of Yorkshire pudding. What should have been the dishes crowning glory was nothing more than a soft, limp letdown. A bigger disappoint were our drinks, or more to the point: the cost of our drinks. Owing to the lack of visible drunks menu, our waitress happily reeled off the list of fresh juices, however it wasn’t until we paid our bill that we noticed these had cost over £4.50 a pop. We don’t mind paying for quality, but these were not quite in that bracket. We’d certainly have gone for something a bit more exciting had we known. Naughty.


As mentioned above, Proud is a multi-use space, and at the time of our visit they were exhibiting “51 Faces of Hackney.” Effectively two exhibitions in one. Firstly, Jerwood Drawing Prize-winner Adam Dant presenting illustrations from his rather humorous ’50 Faces of Hackney’ series. A fun look at the stereotypes that frequent this part of London, from the “Too Old for a Skateboard” to the “Flat White Bore” via the “Street-food Evangelist”. Rather cheekily there is also ‘Barge Dwelling Fantasist.’ Very apt owing to Proud’s position on the waterway where their nearest neighbours are a community of hippy, canal boat occupiers. Each entails a caricature sketch, and a synopsis of the breed in question. The second part of the exhibition are a selection of Martin Usborne photographs taken from the book “I’ve Lived in East London for 86 ½ years.” A delightful anthology that documents the life of elderly Hackney resident Joseph Markovitch. A lifelong, authentic Eastender, who if you had not guessed makes up the extra 1 to make 51. Although no longer with us, Joesph was a window into a sadly bygone era. A bachelor to the very end, requiring no less than 5 sugars in his tea, and who ventured out of the city on only one occasion in his life for a visit to the seaside with his mother.

As much as the exhibition was pleasurable and interesting, this venue wasn’t the right place for it. The pictures were arranged around the sides of the upper floor which instead of being dedicated entirely to the exhibition, was also doubling up as a seating area for the restaurant. It meant we couldn’t get a real look at what was on display as it would have meant inconveniencing people who were trying to enjoy their meal.

It is possible for “multi-use” to work but not like this. Proud, either keep the area solely for the exhibition, or don’t have an exhibition at all. End of.

Here’s a few of our favourites from the gallery….




A Hipster Boot Fair


Dalston Boot Fair
Princess May Primary School
Stoke Newington Rd
9am – 2pm

Every Saturday morning I get up and go to the boot fair. Daniel says I shouldn’t let others into my secret of cheap clothing while maintaining a unique sense of style, but for me it’s not about keeping secrets but to create enjoyment and adventures for others to endure and love as much as we do.

This Saturday morning boot fair trip is important to me, not only does it mean I can rummage and explore for treasures but to surround myself with new inspiring everyday people. And no, before you start thinking bloody “Hipsters” or “Dalston Dickheads,” everyone I’ve ever met has been rather intriguing.

If I find something I fall in love with I always ask the owner about this hidden gem. A history. What was once loved is no longer and I wish to find that lost item and love it again. To me there is something quite special here- not to mention eco-friendly and cheap!

So take a look at my treasures I have picked up over time. These items range from 50p to £20. Yes, I said £20. The way I see it what can you get in any retail chain for £20 today?!

You can’t buy style so why but into fashion?

After my morning spree I usually pop into Beyond Retro across the road. I order a flat white and sit in their eclectically furnished cafe while I gather thoughts and catch up with some correspondence. The Beyond Retro vintage shop opens at 10am on a Saturday which finishes my morning perfectly.

The best bit about this…. Daniel still hasn’t woken yet. We both win!

We Are The Best


We Are The Best! (Vi är bäst!)

Dir: Lukas Moodysson;
Starring: Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin, Liv LeMoyne, Johan Liljemark, Mattias Wiberg, Jonathan Salomonsson, Anna Rydgren.
Cert: 15
Running Time: 102 mins.
Lang: Swedish (English subtitles)!

“Punk is musical freedom. It’s saying, doing and playing what you want.” (Kurt Cobain)

City: Stockholm. Year: 1982. Best pals Bobo (Mira Barkhammer) and Klara (Mira Grosin) are surrounded by truly annoying people: young girls who love dancing to disco music dressed in neon-pink lycra, middle-class parents who give a block of cheese as a Christmas present as “an example of culture”, and teachers who make them run laps in PE. How awful. All dramatic, traumatising stuff for any 13 year old to deal with. Not to mention that they’re already outsiders in their social circles, with their quirky dress sense, and love of punk. So what to do? Form a punk-band of course. At their youth club they pick up a borrowed bass and drumsticks, and thrash out a messy one chord song called “Hate The Sport.” No matter that neither can play an instrument, or have any discernible musical talent whatsoever. That’s what punk is about after all, right? Nevertheless, the girls befriend the gifted guitarist Hedwig (Liv LeMoyne) a loner Christian from the year above to complete their unusual line up.

All three girls are different in their own ways, but during rehearsal time we see the trio come together where their unique characters merging and complimenting each other as they focus their energies into their creative endeavour. This youthful energy is the heartbeat of the film: their moods and emotions swing from one extreme to the next: hyperactive then calm; sad then excited. This is the key to the success of the film and makes up for the somewhat sketchy plot. We are shown the world through the eyes of thirteen year olds don’t forget, and how they individually and collectively deal / interact with that world. All the clichés are here: squealing boy talk; the swiping of alcohol from an older siblings house party before embarrassingly throwing up; and of course, the arguments. The shared feelings that Klara and Bobo have for the same boy – and the resulting argument – would have killed an adult friendship, but not here. An innocence of childhood remains. Bobo shuts out all adult domestic issues by putting on her headphones and turning the volume to the max. Her important teenage problems are the only thing that matter.

What Director Lukas Moodyson has done here in his 7th feature is present a feel good, coming-of-age-type comedy, that although hardly original, provides efficient dialogue and bright performances. It’s hardly noticeable that our three leads have had no previous acting experience. Fans of Moodyson’s earlier work (Show Me Love; Together) are also likely to be pleased with the return to a more light-hearted subject matter, after his more recent bleak and self-indulgent output (Mammoth).

The one problem we have with the film? At no point do we ever see the girls discussing the name of their band. What band doesn’t have a name, or even discuss it? Perhaps that’s the point Moodyson is getting at: the girls are both too immature, and too distracted by their own ordeals, to be concerned with such things. We’d like to think their riot-like, punch-the-air repost to the angry crowd, at their unsuccessful debut gig, is what they would subsequently christen themselves: “WE ARE THE BEST!” Although we’ll never know for sure.

PS. In case you’re wondering, yes, we did see this film at our beloved local cinema: Aubin! Where else!


Daniel passing through, with his cocktail in hand in the basement bar at Aubin Cinema.

Tom At The Farm



The Mall


Tom at the Farm (Tom à la Ferme)

15 cert, 103mins

Once again Emma and I have found ourselves seeing yet another film away from our beloved Aubin Cinema. This time we are blaming poor luck and lack of patience. Since September we have been patiently waiting for the unannounced release of Xavier Dolan’s fourth feature film since it debuted at the Venice Film Festival. After seven long months, Emma spotted a short run at the International Contemporary of Arts, and snapped their arm off for tickets. As per sods law, what should then happen? You guessed it. Aubin announce a one off showing! Grrrr!

Emma and I arrived early in order to experience the ICA’s café: a large space split across two levels with a huge skylight and views of The Mall, make for a peaceful setting. Very apt considering this is a gallery after all. We chose a couple of small, light dishes from the menu: hummus, gherkins, shallots, chickpeas and olives served with flat bread was as you would expect; and a smoked trout, cucumber & dill salad. Tasty, but the fish was full of sharp little bones. Inspecting one’s food with a fine toothcomb between every mouthful becomes very tiring! From their cocktail menu we ordered an Amaretto Sour, and a Cucumber and Elderflower Martini. The Sour was a mix of shaken Disaranno, lemon, and an organic egg white. Lush. As for the Martini, Hendricks was the gin of choice to accompany the cucumber and elderflower liquor. We enjoyed it so much we made one at home the next day.



The cinema itself is a bit of a let down, mainly owing to my pet hate: poor seating layout. The gradient is extremely low, to such an extent that if someone was sitting one, two, or even three seats in front of you, the screen would be obstructed. Fortunately the screening was only partially full, so we were able to shuffle along down the line when a couple of latecomers disrupted our view.

As for the film: Xavier Dolan’s previous three offerings have been slick, stylish affairs with unforgettable soundtracks. Here the young, French-Canadian filmmaker presents an arguably more grown-up piece: a tense, psychological thriller adapted from a play by Michel Marc Bouchard that channels both Hitchcock and Polanksi with a dramatic string heavy score and puzzling aura.
Tom (Dolan), a young, gay man from Montreal undertakes a grief ridden pilgrimage to a remote agricultural town in upstate Quebec, for the funeral of his recently departed boyfriend, Guillaume. He finds himself at a gloomy, secluded farm that perfectly forebodes the isolation that hangs through the entire film and it’s characters. It’s not long before its made clear to the viewer that the deceased’s mother Agathe (Lise Roy) doesn’t have a clue about her son’s true sexual orientation. Guillaume’s imposing, bruising brother Francis (Pierre-Yves Cardinal) makes it his mission to maintain this status quo through threats and brute force aimed squarely at Tom. After the funeral is over with, Tom becomes trapped in this “hicksville” both physically and emotionally: helping maintain the lie and placating Francis. Tom feels close to Guillame’s memory at the farm and feels guilty at the prospect of leaving Agathe. After an indeterminate amount of time, Stockholm syndrome sets in: we see Tom almost enjoying the vicious way Francis treats him, and learn that Francis himself is lonely too.

After a local barman tells Tom a story of how Francis violently assaulted Guillaume’s first boyfriend, he is quickly shaken out of his sadomasochistic romance / nightmare as it becomes clear that Francis is capable of more than simply dishing out a few punches. It prompts Tom to make his haphazard break for freedom, and sets up a tense and compelling conclusion.

Despite the move away from Dolan’s preferred film location: Montreal, and it’s creepy nature, this is still very much a typical Dolan film. One that focuses on what love is, and how it affects us in different ways.

A Cheeky Parlour

The Cheeky Parlour

1st Floor, 64-66 Redchurch Street,
E2 7DP

We may be completely wide of the mark with what we’re set to propose, but we’re pretty confident that we’re not……

We reckon there are many women out there that have gone to a bog standard salon to get their hair done and felt somewhat disappointed with the whole sorry experience. It’s supposed to be just that: an experience, remembered for the right reasons. Wanting you to return again in near future. The surroundings should be exciting, the staff experienced and friendly, and the product premium or at least have a premium feel. More often than not, one or more of these aspects are lacking. Flipping through a well-worn copy of Cosmopolitan from June 2001, sipping a tasteless mug of tea with a stale custard cream whilst your hair is setting doesn’t exactly scream glamour does it?

Fear not ladies. There is such a place that can offer you more. At The Cheeky Parlour on Redchurch Street – the younger, upstart of a sister to the successful Cowshed – you can get your hair styled, nails painted, eat lunch and / or chill out with a coffee all under the same glorious roof. Hosted in a bright, expansive loft space above Aubin & Wills, this is the best blow dry and manicure bar you’ll have ever seen. They’ve really got a great concept on offer. Operating on a purely walk in basis only, if you want some work down, one simply takes a ticket and chills out on one of their comfy sofas (if it it’s busy). Once your nails are done, why run off and risk all that work being smudged as soon as you walk out the door? Head back over to one of the sofas and have a freshly squeezed orange juice until they’re dried. The best way to describe this whole set up is: hangout. You don’t want to rush away from this place.

The Cheeky cafe offers a tempting selection of home-made foods, snacks, and beverages. You don’t even have to come here to get any work done to enjoy it either. Emma and I strolled in to use it like any other café. We ordered some dishes from their all day brunch menu: poached eggs on toast, and an omelette. On the face of it, simple sounding dishes, but both were faultlessly executed. The poached eggs came on thick cut, crispy granary; a heap of olive oil dressed salad, and hefty chunks of avocado. Emma could hardly finish the omelette. Not due to lack of appetite mind, but because it must have been made from at least 5 eggs!

Cheeky are definitely on to a winner here. Salon’s of Britain and the world take note…..




A Dishoom Breakfast to Start the Day


Dishoom Shoreditch – Breakfast

7 Boundary Street,
E2 7JE

Breakfast menu served 8am–11.30am on weekdays, and 9am–12pm on weekends.


As much as Emma and I like trying new places, we just can’t stay away from Dishoom. Yes we were back…….again. Hold your horses though. We can justify it (not that we need to of course):We were up bright and early a couple of Sundays ago and eager to make the most of the very early spring sunshine. We asked ourselves where has: outdoor space; that’s comfortable; and serves a tasty breakfast? Dishoom of course. We had only breakfasted there the once over a year ago, so thought it was definitely worth a visit and share with you all.

What’s great about Dishoom’s outdoor space is that it can be used for all seasons. For the last few months it’s been a glass pavilion offering a warm, cosy shelter from the winter weather. On this visit – for probably the first time this year – the shutters and glass had been cast aside and the rood lifted. Transformed into an al fresco terrace. Admittedly with it being only 9am in early March, we were taking a definite gamble on sitting ourselves here rather than inside because there was still a real nip in the air, owing to our shaded spot. But as the sun rose higher in the sky, and our cheeks felt it’s warmth, we knew we’d chosen wisely. Unsurprisingly, the tables that had been empty around us were quickly filled!

To accompany our cappuccino and chai (spiced with cinnamon), Emma and I both chose the Sausage Naan Roll. A yummy, charred naan (baked in house) packed full of grilled cumberland sausage, herbs, cream cheese, and chilli tomato jam. This mix of filling means it’s cool, sweet, and spicy all at the same time. It’s very difficult to admit this, but I’d choose this over a standard banger and brown sauce butty any day of the week! As I was feeling extra peckish, I also ordered the Fire Toast as an extra. Why the name? The bloomer bread is buttered, then chucked onto a fiery grill until it’s char-striped. Sorry boring, household toaster. This is how it should be made. The fire is not just in the process either. The chilli jam it comes with makes it feel like it’s still fresh from the flames!

What’s also a great surprise is that the breakfast menu (like everything else at Dishoom) is very reasonably priced. These three items and two drinks came to less than £15.00 . Terrific VFM. Not that this should be what sways you. If it was twice the price, we could still not recommend it enough.


Jackson + Rye


Jackson + Rye

56 Wardour Street

We appear to be caught up in a seemingly never-ending obsession of all things American at the moment here in London. There doesn’t appear to be a week goes by without a new burger (or hotdog) joint springing up. Think Five Guys, Honest Burgers, Dirty Bones, etc. Even Forrest Gump fans are eagerly awaiting the London debut of Bumba Gumps in the next month or so. The current on-trend outfit to model? East coast cool. Particularly “edgy” Brooklyn. Trouble is, most of these places are anything but edgy. Take Brooklyn Bowl for example, housed in the comfortable commercial surrounds of the 02 Arena. The cool kids of Williamsburg would laugh their brightly coloured mismatched socks off at the sight of it. One can probably count on one hand how many establishments capture the design, atmosphere, and heritage of the things the US does well. And no, TGI Friday’s and Frankie & Benny’s don’t make the cut!

One hopeful contender is Jackson + Rye. An NYC inspired diner on Wardour Street, Soho that’s lauded as a homage to the American Dream. Why were we here? a) as a warm-up with some friends for an upcoming stag party in Las Vegas (good luck Ross), and b) we love whisky, and this place has a fine selection from the other side of the Pond. The Redemption Rye went down a treat, and our Old Fashioned’s were spot on.

Our J+R experience didn’t start well by any means though. When trying to make a reservation a few weeks earlier for a party of 12, I was told by a J+R reservations hostess that between Thursday and Sunday they did not accept bookings for more than 8 people because “it gets really busy.” I’ve never heard such a ridiculous booking policy in all my life. There’s always a way around these things. A few hours later I simply made two separate bookings for 6 people each under different aliases. A cunning plan. On arrival we then politely asked the head waiter whether we could have our two tables positioned next to each other. Job done. Take that booking policy!!

I would strongly recommend that anyone looking for an ounce of privacy to put in a request to sit in the basement. The ground floor is very loud, and tables are stacked pretty much elbow to elbow. Not very well thought out. Sacrificing customer comfort and quality of experience in order to maximise the head count is a big no-no in our book.


The food: typical, hearty American fare that’s not going to win any Michelin stars any time soon, but is priced pretty fairly. Our orders were a bit hit and miss: The “truffle” popcorn tasted like the standard salt variety. My Buttermilk Fried Chicken was light and moist, but covered in far too much batter for my liking, and there wasn’t a hint of spice in my spicy coleslaw. Emma went for the left-field choice: seabass, which had a real crisp skin, and was successfully accompanied by a tasty fennel & apple salad with a dill sauce. The desserts went down better all round, but that should be no surprise. Sweet, unhealthy treats are what Americans do best right? That said, the peanut butter cookies were more like jammie dodgers than anything else. Emma and I shared a liquid dessert. The Pretzel Shake. A blended mix of bourbon, pretzels and vanilla. The only description I can offer up on this experience is that it was like drinking sweet, salty bread… liquid form! How can something so wrong, taste so right?!


Breakfast at The Russet with the Irish


The Russet

17 Amhurst Terrace, London E8 2BT

Hackney is no longer short of a decent café or two nowadays is it, but how many offer: “Every Thursday – Toddler Yoga”? This is what Emma and I were greeted with on our arrival at The Russet, within the Hackney Down Studios. A café-cum-creative hub far removed from it’s ex-industrial print works past. Before any of you think we have stolen / adopted a screaming young tot. Rest easy. We haven’t. Pick yourself up off the floor / end that 999 call now. It’s simply an activity that was mockingly pointed out to us by our lovely friends Lucy and Jamie from the cafés events leaflet as we joined their table for a well deserved spot of brunch last Saturday. Wagers on whether a perfectly executed Sirsa Padasana can be performed by a 2 year old aside, it sparked off a (fortunately) brief conversation on neighbourhood gentrification. A topic that has many detractors, but one that I fully support. I just didn’t expect to witness it here in such advanced stages of evolution. In a spot that could so easily be frequented by annoying young hipsters, it’s just as open and welcome to the newly grown up hipster parent and their hipster babies alike.

Visually, the Russet is an effortlessly pleasant collection of begged stole & borrowed objects and mismatched furniture. It’s all very rough and ready, which is completely at ease with it’s environment.

The menu is an ethical eaters wet dream: bread and vegetables are all locally sourced where possible, the meat provided by Ginger Pig, with Dalston Cola to wash it all down (a creation of one of the co-owners). Even the beer list is a whose who of local microbrewery’s with Beavertown, Five Point, and Partizan all on offer, so you can get bladdered and continue to be socially aware.

From the brunch menu we plumped for a couple of “Double Pippins” (basically a large full English), and a couple of servings of pancakes with fruit and Greek yoghurt. The highlight of the Double Pippin for me were the Ginger Pig sausages: dense in texture and rich in flavour. A couple of low points: part of our order – an extremely crucial side of toast – never materialised, and we were almost caught in a trap of paying £4 for two extra rashers of bacon. That’s one pricey pig. Fortunately our waitresses saw sense and removed these from our bill.


The Grand Budapest Hotel at Screen on the Green


Screen on the Green
83 Upper Street
N1 0NP

The Grand Budapest Hotel


As we’ve told you before, if there is a new film Emma and I wish to see, we will visit our beloved Aubin Cinema. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to get seats at short notice. Just such an occurrence arose last week when we suddenly realised that The Grand Budapest Hotel was being released! Queue frantic (but fruitless) attempt to book tickets on the Aubin website. Fortunately, this bad luck could be turned into a positive as it gives us an opportunity to tell you about one of our “back up” cinemas: Screen on the Green. A lovely one screen theatre that’s part of the Everyman group, at the bottom of Upper Street, in Angel. Why is it such a good back-up? Well, like Aubin it has a bar that serves alcohol (always a big tick in our books), and comfy sofas with footrests. Perfect, on the face of it.

We hadn’t visited this theatre in a while though, and couldn’t help but compare it to Aubin, quickly noticing a number of areas that illustrate why it isn’t our first choice:

– the cinema holds about 4 or 5 times as many people than Aubin so there is a lot of background noise by comparison. We prefer intimacy, as if you are watching the film in your own living room;
– the floor elevation is very flat from front to back, so if you’re in one of the more expensive sofas towards the back of the theatre, it’s very easy for your view to become obstructed should someone with a long neck and busy hair should be sitting ahead of you (yes this happened to us!). If one is paying for a premium seat, one should expect to have premium viewing position;
– the footrests are a fixed to the floor and can’t be moved, so people with little legs like us don’t really get the benefit of it; and
– the sofas and cushions are starting to looks a bit tired bless them. Everyman definitely need to think about re-upholstering them, or completely invest in new furniture.

Sorry, enough with this negativity. Despite the above, there are certainly things we do like – the fact that orders placed at the bar are then brought to your seat when they are ready – is one of them! A very simple, but effective service that even good old Aubin doesn’t offer. Stick that up your perfect be-hind eh!

As for the film: The Grand Budapest Hotel. the new wacky comedy creation from Wes Anderson. Such a delight and probably the most Wes Anderson of Wes Anderson films to date. Once we have made our way through three (yes three) prologues (as if for a we have fleetingly swerved in to a sequel to Inception) we finally settle on where the action will lie and revolve: the famous and charismatic concierge Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes) at the preposterously pink mountain top hotel in the imaginary state of Zubrowka during 1932. Without wanting to spoil the plot too much for you, this film concerns a lost last will and testament, a stolen priceless artwork, magnificently box-packaged cakes, cable cars, jail breaks, and feline murder. Who would not want to find out how all that comes together?!

The cast is astonishing. There are countless big names, many of whom have the smallest of parts with next to no dialogue: Tilda Swinton and Bill Murray for example probably have 5 lines between them with a combined screen time of about 5 minutes. It’s a credit to Wes Anderson that all these actors clamour to be in his movie no matter how insignificant the role. Ralph Fiennes though is the unexpected revelation of the piece – such an unlikely star in an Anderson film, as well as an underrated comic actor. His arrogance and ridiculous meticulousness are all pitched to perfection. To top it all off Anderson invented his very own scent for him: “L’Air de Panach.”

What is often bemoaned of in Anderson films is the way he seems to miss the trick of making the most of mystery. Rather than leaving his audience questioning what is coming next, he instead dives straight in and reveals all to the viewer, allowing us to relax and enjoy the artistic detail of what he has created. To me this is no bad thing. After all an Anderson film is all about colour, camera composition, and picturesque displays, so why let a silly thing like the plot (no matter how splendid) get in the way.


Ziferblat 3p a Minute


388 Old Street

I’m sure many of you will already have heard about Ziferblat, London’s first ever pay-as-you-go café (3p per minute to be exact) situated on the corner of Shoreditch Highstreet and Old Street. Well, we were both a little sad to hear that the Shoreditch based venture is already in dire straights less than two months after opening. Apparently their landlord has issued an eviction notice for breaching the terms of their lease because it’s use was intended to be a “co-working-space,” but the landlord just sees that it is being used as a bog-standard café. The short-sighted so-and-so. As a result, Ziferblat have created a crowd-funding campaign via Kickstarter in order to raise £45K to source new premises.

Emma and I can’t help thinking whether it’s really a concept that can survive in our dog eat dog Capital? It’s something we’ve debated since we visited them at the start of January: We discovered a buzzing room of people chatting away, or silently typing on their laptops, sitting upon non-matching vintage stools, armchairs and sofas. “Staff” encouraged us to make ourselves at home, help ourselves to tea and biscuits, and treat it like it was “ours”. It was a lovely space with plenty of potential. A real hang-out. But we couldn’t help thinking that the “community” ethos behind it would ever really take off. It’s almost a bit too naïve for its own good. It is in our nature to abuse things that are “free” or don’t belong to us. For every one person who would treat it as a space to enjoy and take care of, there is likely to be another five who simply see it as a place to drink 6 cups of tea each, and gobble down a box of biscuits in 11 minutes (=33p). Neither of us were surprised to hear that less than a few weeks after opening, Ziferblat were looking for funds to purchase a new coffee maker after their one packed-up. Had it genuinely died, or had simply too many people mistreated it? The pessimist in us think the latter. Too many of people don’t care for things that aren’t ours.

We do really hope Ziferblat raises the money it needs, but we can’t help but think that us Londoners aren’t ready for such a not-for-profit type enterprise. And before thinking Emma and I are claiming to be holier than thou about this: we’re not. ….the only reason we actually visited Ziferblat was because Emma was absolutely desperate for the loo…..and we wanted to be nosey to see what the fuss was all about. Although, for the record, we didn’t have any tea or biscuits….


March 2018
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