Not For Me, Not For You, But For Us

A review of the London LnDcowork visit to ScratchHub, a beautiful coworking venue in Battersea

Along with Gill Martin and Gaëlle Watson, I am one of three London LnDCowork hosts , and we are always looking for interesting new places to introduce to our network. Recently, we were fortunate to be given an introduction to ScratchHub, the coworking space at Battersea Arts Centre.

Battersea? Who coworks in Battersea!? Most of our London LnDcowork sessions take place very centrally – and we were interested to see how things would shape up if we moved out a bit, and (shudder) drifted away from the tube network. Any doubts we had were quickly dispersed; the venue is a short walk from Clapham Junction station and for many of our guests that day, it was as easy, if not easier to get to than the centre of the city. One of our guests travelled over from Cambridge, several overcame their ‘South of The River’ syndrome, and I think I had one of the most straightforward trips, a 20 minute train ride and a ten minute walk.

We were greeted warmly at the entrance to ScratchHub, located at the rear of the main building, and given a great space to work in. Battersea Arts Centre is a beautiful place – and a sense of being in a creative space is evident in the ScratchHub coworking area. As well as some theatrical symbols, the walls are adorned with prompts and ideas to encourage personal reflection, and a sense of engagement too. The place has a community feel about it, with a time bank on offer, and some board games. Play is an important part of what makes us human and it’s great to see playfulness being encouraged in a working environment.

‘Non mihi, non tibi, sed nobis’ reads the beautifully painted motto adorning the walls of ScratchHub. Not for me, not for you, but for us.

Beyond the hygiene factors (wi-fi, natural light, good acoustics, and an abundance of plug sockets) coworking is about two things; people and place. Both were spot on for this visit. 10/10.

Jayne Davids, one of our coworking guests, has put together a great short video which showcases both the beauty and creativity of ScratchHub, and why LnDcowork matters. I hope you enjoy watching and we look forward to seeing you at an LnDcoworking session soon; dates and locations of future sessions are available here.

Neil Peart : Rest In Peace

Waiting For The Band : R40 : Columbus Ohio

Rush. I have so many memories associated with this band. As I emerged from my fascination with punk and new wave, they offered something completely different, Rush became and stayed a guilty pleasure through the 1980s. Going to see them at the old Wembley Arena became a habit, and though I became less interested in their music in the 90s, I returned with renewed excitement in the 00s and beyond. The last three tours, Time Machine, Clockwork Angels, and R40 were all very, very special.

My excellent friend Curly and I went to the O2 for the Time Machine and it was pure joy – slightly helped by the fact that I managed to sneak a really nice bottle of wine into the venue up my coat sleeve.

I took the equally excellent Ade, and Curly to Clockwork Angels as a thank you for their support in the aftermath of the death of my Dad. We popped a bottle of champagne over the Thames on the riverbus, and though for me there was a tinge of sadness around the gig (2 reasons – thinking of Dad and I spilled a whole pint of overpriced beer!) the music was perfect and we got to see Rush perform The Garden – it only happened on this tour. For me, The Garden is the ultimate song about death, about passing, about what if anything remains. Beautiful and fitting.

When Rush announced the R40 tour there was no European leg. I was 50 when they toured, and I had some work planned in the USA (thank you Laurie I’ll never forget your kindness). The very lovely Carole suggested I try to link the work with the tour – and so I bought myself a ticket to see Rush live in Columbus Ohio. I travelled via Summer Brandcamp where I got to hang out with Dwane, Jason, Laurie, Michael, Jonathan, Amanda and many others, at an outstanding event which changed me for the better. I went on through Cleveland, spending excellent time with friends Tammy and Frank, before driving down to Columbus which included a brief stop to meet Jackie and some of her colleagues. The Columbus gig was excellent. This was the first and only time I saw Rush perform live without a friend to accompany me, and I watched them bring the curtain down in spectacular fashion.

I love how music and other art forms are able to get under the skin – connect you with others, move you, raise you, and drop you too. I never got to meet Neil Peart – but I couldn’t be happier that Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson did. Neil Peart. 12/09/1952 : 07/01/2020 <3

What Would Joe Do?

A short letter on the occasion of Keira’s 17th birthday.

Dear Keira

When I was a teenager, like you, I was fortunate to have many friends who were and in some cases still are, very important people. But when I was confused, angry, curious, the two people who I paid attention to, who guided me, were my Mum, and through his music, the late, great, Joe Strummer.

Mum taught me the power of curiosity, she encouraged me to be myself, and to question authority. The music of The Clash had that same questioning attitude. After Mum died back in 1984 I was left without her advice, so when I needed help I would often ask myself, ’What would Joe do?’ I’ve always enjoyed listening to his music and the messages and attitude of his songs. Whether they were performed with The Clash, The Mescaleros, as a solo artist or one of his other projects, Joe Strummer always had something to say.  

“Authority is supposedly grounded in wisdom, but I could see from a very early age that authority was only a system of control and it didn’t have any inherent wisdom.”

“We’re anti-fascist, we’re anti-violence, we’re anti-racist, and we’re pro-creative. We’re against ignorance.”

When you were born, Mum kindly agreed to let you take the middle name of Joe, and you’ve worn it very well ever since. I’m pleased that among your hugely varied musical tastes, you have found room for him and his work. To your credit, you’ve always been friendly and kind, and you show a wisdom beyond your years. In the absence of Joe Strummer, there’s now another Joe to provide some inspiration to the question, ‘What would Joe do?’

Remember, the future is unwritten, so make it for yourself. Best wishes and lots of love for a very happy birthday, and an excellent year of being 17.

With love : Dad and Mum

Our letter to Keira is enclosed in this card. I spent ages drawing it and the harder I tried, the less like Joe Strummer it looked. Drawing is hard, and in this case the effort was appreciated. Do the work.