Edition 22: Hackney Hear

Our iPhone app Hackney Hear is now on iTunes.

Woman listening to iPod in London Fields

There are more details on our Hackney Hear web site but a quick reminder for those who haven’t been following us. The app triggers sound via your GPS. It works anywhere in London Fields or Broadway Market (London, E8) and it’s free! Just download, put on your headphones, and explore the area – either stopping to hear more of each story or moving on to hear something new.

We’ve commissioned some of the borough’s artists to write pieces specially for us and you’ll hear our Hackney Podcast regulars too:

  • Writer Iain Sinclair unravels the layers of history in his beloved local park
  • Performance poet Shane Solanki’s new piece, “Lido”
  • Photographer Tom Hunter tells tales of the 1980s Hackney squatting scene
  • Composer Kaffe Matthews’ “London Fields”, commissioned for us
  • Commentator James Meek outside the Dove pub to consider multiculturalism
  • Local residents tell secrets behind their neighbourhood, from first kisses to gang etiquette

This Hackney Podcast gives you a sample of some of the stories you’ll hear, but if you live in London, or are visiting, we really recommend you download Hackney Hear and give it a go on-site as it’s really a different experience!

Hackney Hear was nominated for a TechCon Award by the Radio Academy (just beaten by the BBC) and the judges said it had “potential to really change the game in the radio industry.” We think they’re right. This technology means for the first time you can integrate sound and place and play with non-linear storytelling: the walker decides the narrative of the documentary. If you’re a fan of the Hackney Podcast we know that we don’t need to convert you to the wonderful world of audio, but this app really proves why sound is such a strong tool for the imagination – as you wander the area your eyes are wide open, but the sounds and stories are taking you to different eras, and your mind to different places.

If you don’t live here, we encourage you to visit our official Olympic borough and try Hackney Hear to learn the stories behind the closed doors! But if you can’t make it, you can at least have a listen to some of the stories here in this, our 22nd Edition.

BBC warms to Wild Hackney

A lovely quote from Julie Myerson, one of the judges of the Online category for the BBC drama awards. She says:

Wild Hackney picked me up, took me somewhere quite other, startling and wrong-footing me along the way. It entertained me with its strange, slippery beauty, scared me with its all-too believable predictions, and by the time it dropped me again, i was a different person, just a little less complacent and comfortable than before. Can radio drama do more than this? I doubt it.

What’s Gong On With Us

Wild Hackney” has been shortlisted for two of the inaugural BBC Audio Drama Awards.

The awards aim to celebrate and recognise the cultural importance of audio drama, on air and online, and to give recognition to the actors, writers, producers, sound designers and others who create narrative drama with sound.

The winners will be announced by actor David Tennant at a ceremony to be held on Sunday 29 January.

Hackney Hear nominated for Technical Innovation Award

Hackney Hear is excited to have been nominated for the Radio Academy‘s inaugural Technical Innovation Awards. As you all know thanks to the Arts Council we’ve been building a prototype app over the summer around the London Fields area and we’ll be launching it to iTunes soon so you can all have a go.

We’ll be presenting our prototype app at TechCon at the Radio Festival on 31 October. There are just three nominees so fingers crossed for us!

About Hackney Hear

Hackney Hear is an audio iPhone app which triggers interviews, features, poetry and new writing depending on your location by GPS around east London. Funded by the Arts Council, and created by the award-winning Hackney Podcast, Hackney Hear is an immersive soundscape scoring your journey with stories and music, whilst eavesdropping on
conversations from all walks of life. Hackney Hear is due to launch in December 2011 for iPhone for free.

For more information about Hackney Hear visit: hackneyhear.com

For interviews, email hackneyhear@gmail.com or call 07817 168339

About Amblr

Amblr is a new digital platform for the creation of location-based experiences across a widerange of genres. It was founded by Alex Butterworth, the prize-wining historian and crossmedia author along with Stuart Lynn and Joe Zuntz, two veterans of Zooniverse citizen science projects. It’s first slate of projects, developed with diverse partners and collaborations including Hackney Hear will be announced in October 2011.

About TechCon

Tech Con celebrates technical developments in the radio industry at the Radio Academy’s annual Radio Festival. The Technical Innovation Award is new this year: “Whether you are a station engineer who has devised a new idea which helps your station interact with their audience, increase production standards, reduce costs or create revenue, or perhaps a manufacturer or supplier who has brought out a new product or service which helps stations achieve this … We want to celebrate technical minds throughout the industry who are thinking outside the norm, going the extra mile and achieving the extraordinary.”

Edition 21: Wild Hackney

A little girl peeking from behind a fence

Photo by Squint/Opera

Wild Hackney is a docu-drama taking you through an imaginary landscape of the Lee Valley after the seawater has risen.

Made in response to the canal and the surrounding ancient flood plains, the piece takes as inspiration the Victorian Gothic novel After London by Richard Jefferies. Written in 1885, the book imagines London reverting to nature after a flood, with only a few survivors roaming the marshland.

Using field recordings of the area, the feature moves through scenes of a future Hackney combinging elements of documentary and fiction to reflect on the allure of urban ruin.

Continue reading

Edition 20: Writers on Walking

Photo by Shehani Fernando

We take four authors for a walk through Hackney. Sean Borodale’s poem Notes for an Atlas guides us through, we rise early to join Iain Sinclair for his morning perambulation to the A12, Lemn Sissay takes us from his local shop Palm 2 (where all walks begin) to hear of his tale of going barefoot for a year, and Stewart Home walks us from Kingsland Basin to where he used to live in the 80s near Victoria Park, finding it now just a pile of rubble.

Continue reading

Edition 19: Coffeecast

A cup of coffee

The Third Wave of Coffee is pouring its way in to Hackney. Cafes such as the Penny University, Mouse & De Lotz and the Counter Cafe pride themselves in their artisan beverages, meticulously measuring the temperature of the milk and the pressure of their carefully ground beans. But while this demand for the artisan cup might be a 21st-century phenomenon, coffee has a role in Hackney life that goes back to the age of the Enlightenment. Dr Matt Green takes us into the world of the 18th-century Hackney coffee house, a bustling social space but also a hub of news information. The substance they drank may have been served from cauldrons and tasted like soot, but this was the place for journalists to find stories on finance or religious dissent.

Continue reading

Edition 18: Night

Blurry lights at night

Photo by Shehani Fernando

“Night in London is a brief period of infinite possibility” wrote the journalist and travel writer HV Morton in the 1920s, and nowhere is this truer than in Hackney, which from doors open till dawn chorus becomes an asphalt jungle for revellers, criminals, artists, lovers, all night eateries and taxi drivers.

In the latest and most extensive in a series of themed editions, the Hackney Podcast brings you a night in the life of this 24-hour borough through the words of its inhabitants, as we meet Mare Street’s moonlight bookseller, skirt the edges of a Dalston stabbing, rescue a lost and disillusioned party-goer, feast on a Turkish spread at Somine, trail a Homerton rubbish truck, and greet dawn with the street traders of Broadway Market. Along the way we hear readings from HV Morton and commentary from Night Haunts author Sukhdev Sandhu, helping to reveal some of the strange allurement of the dark unknown.

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Edition 17: Buses

photo by Felix Carey

Hackney depends on buses. With no tubes, they’re how we get around. But what do you do while you’re on the bus? Read, eye up the guy opposite? Is it a space for reflection? Or just irritation? Hackney’s bus riders tell us. We hear from Alfie Dennen about his Bus-Tops project, from Anthony Morris the bus mechanic who keeps the wheels turning behind the scenes and from driver Pauline Jacobs and passenger Carole Allen who helped deliver a baby on the 394 last year. Plus bus-themed performances from poet Michael Rosen and musician Earl Zinger.
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Hackney Empire exterior

Edition 16: The Empire

Hackney Empire exterior

photo by Felix Carey

In this programme we trace the shifting guises of the Hackney Empire – from music hall to bingo hall, from television studio to wrestling venue, to its current incarnation as a home for populist theatre and comedy. Elisha Sessions and Francesca Panetta follow a group of local Hackney Empire aficionados who call themselves The Elders as they prepare to say goodbye to another era in the theatre’s history. The gang of mates who ran the Empire since its resurrection in the mid-1980s have been shown the door, and as a new chief exec reconsiders the theatre’s “business model” the Elders want to know what happens next. Continue reading

Edition 15: Bookies, brunch and bats

A folded betting slip

photo by Stephen Gill

Photographer Stephen Gill talks to Francesca Panetta about his particular fascination with Hackney Wick, an area he has documented over the last eight years in noisy images ranging from the backs of advertising boards to the banks of the River Lea.  A Series of Disappointments brings together discarded betting slips picked up from the floors of Hackney’s bookies over a period of six weeks, and which for Stephen portray fragments of human emotion.  Inside these shops we hear from the punters themselves, before questioning the Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, about his campaign to reduce the concentration of betting shops in the borough. Continue reading

Edition 14: Water

A rainy dayThis Sony Award-winning programme looks at water and how it fits into the lives of people in Hackney. Author and psycho-geographer Iain Sinclair follows the route of Hackney Brook, a subterranean ghost river which runs from Highbury to Hackney Wick and still makes its presence felt in ways both immediate and oblique. Then to Clissold Leisure Centre for Wet Sounds, a new music event in which electro-acoustic composers Francisco Lopez, Stefano Tedesco, Tom Haines and Leafcutter John serenade their floating audience through speakers both above and below the water. Continue reading

Edition 13: Cornelius Cardew, mushroom sandwiches and the Dalston Mill

The Dalston Mill

photo by Eliot Wyman

Francesca Panetta meets the dogs and dogwalkers of London Fields, London Review of Breakfasts editor Malcolm Eggs goes in search of the Magic 9 ingredients at Stoke Newington Farmers Market, and we visit the Dalston Mill, modelled on environmental artist Agnes Denes’s New York work of 1982, and providing a rural retreat on some disused railway line in Dalston. Plus a report from the Drawing Room‘s recent season of events celebrating the work of experimental English composer Cornelius Cardew, whose graphic score for Treatise will be on display from November. Continue reading

Edition 12: Olympic Park Tour

An overpassFrancesca Panetta joins John Hopkins – the Olympic Delivery Authority’s Project Sponsor for Parklands and Public Realm – for a tour of the site in East London.  This will be London’s first major park since Victorian times, and is intended as a contemporary take on the great British landscape and garden tradition.  The 100 hectare parkland will accomodate an 80,000 capacity stadium, a velodrome, a Zaha Hadid-designed aquatic centre and a media centre for 20,000 journalists.  How sustainable is the development and what will be its legacy for Hackney? Continue reading

Edition 10: Kingsland Road

Man in night club

photo by Briony Campbell

Buzzing, maddening, chaotic, dirty, dangerous and fun is how locals describe this section of the A10 between Old Street and Dalston Junction.  Hackney poet Shane Solanki has written us a song all about the Kingsland Road, starting a bit further north, up in Stamford Hill.  We meet some of the stall holders at Kingsland Waste street market to find out what drags them out of bed even on the bleakest and rainiest Saturday mornings. Then it’s down to Crooked Billet Yard to meet Oliver Bulleid of Cox Bulleid Architects for a tour of their Shoreditch Prototype House – a model for low energy living in dense urban environments. Continue reading

Edition 9: Interior Design, Meg Hillier MP and F Cooke Pies

Pies from F CookeRichard Shed, creator of the Here Hook, is our guide to some of the borough’s interior design workshops including Studio F1, where we meet Simon MaidmentGitta Gschwendtner and Sam Johnson. Sheridan Coakley, director and founder of manufacturer and retailer SCP, describes recent trends in British design and how the industry will be affected by recession. Meg Hillier, Home Office minister and MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, talks to Francesca Panetta about immigration and English language learning. And we end with a glimpse into the kitchen of the F Cooke pie shop, established over 100 years ago. Bob Cooke shows us how they make their pies. Continue reading

Edition 8: DIY Cocktails, Victorian book clubs and the London Assembly

Trees reflected in waterOff Broadway’s cocktail consultant Benji reveals his method for the perfect Martini.  Jennette Arnold, Chair of the London Assembly, explains how she and the rest of the Assembly hold Mayor Boris Johnson to account, and why the Dalston regeneration scheme may have to reconsider their goals and think about new partners.

Guardian journalist and Clapton Pond blogger Dave Hill takes us to his local corner shop Palm 2 to meet proprietor Abdullah and his wide range of olives. Continue reading

Edition 7: City Furnishings

Francesca Panetta

photo by Shehani Fernando

Francesca Panetta is joined by Joanna Smith from English Heritage for a tour of the buildings at the heart of the furniture trade in Victorian and Edwardian Shoreditch. Brad Lochore from the campaign group OPEN Shoreditch and George Galloway MP for Bethnal Green and Bow argue for sustainable development on the advancing City Fringe. Children’s Laureate and Hackney resident Michael Rosen performs his agitprop Regeneration Blues, recorded at a recent OPEN event at Cafe OTO.  Plus we visit the art gallery FormContent, a curatorial project space in Ridley Road. Continue reading

Edition 6: Iain Sinclair

Iain Sinclair

photo by Belinda Lawley

London chronicler and Haggerston resident Iain Sinclair talks to Francesca Panetta about Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire: A Confidential Report.  It’s his eagerly awaited ‘documentary-fiction’ based on forty years of living and working in Hackney, a borough he describes variously as exotic, seductive, radical, difficult and bloody-minded.   Hear about the author’s walks with photographer Stephen Gill and fellow psycho-geographer Will Self, the mysterious world of Kingsland barbershops, and how the Olympic vision is set to erase Sinclair’s own beloved topography. Continue reading

Edition 5: Legacy in the Dust

The Four Aces bandFrancesca Panetta attends the premiere of Legacy in the Dust, a film charting the history of the Four Aces in Dalston. She talks to the club’s founder Newton Dunbar, singer Winston Reedy and the film’s director Winstan Whitter. As construction is underway to redevelop the site into a major transport interchange, we hear the views of OPEN chairman Bill Parry-Davies and Hackney mayor Jules Pipe. Our resident philosopher James Wilson offers his thoughts on healthcare and quality of life in Hackney, and we end up on board a British Waterways maintenance boat in the company of Alan Farmer and Colin Wright. Continue reading

Edition 4: Beyond the A12, And What She Found There

Graffitti on hoardingsFrancesca Panetta reports from the first Hackney Wicked, a festival showcasing emerging artists and galleries in Hackney Wick.  We join Hashley Brown of the London Review of Breakfasts for some Turkish menemen at Cafe Alizza on Kingsland High Street.  The council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Sustainability Sophie Linden is questioned on green issues by our dedicated Environmental Advisor, Duncan Clark. Finally, with all eyes on the US presidential race, Jane Howe of the Broadway Bookshop recommends some American literature, from John Updike and Philip Roth to Jonathan Safran Foer and Don DeLillo. Continue reading

Edition 3: Sound Designs

A tower blockFrancesca Panetta visits Cafe OTO, the new music venue in Dalston run by Hamish Dunbar and Keiko Yamamoto, and meets one of their regular performers, Atsuko Kamura.

After a lesson in brake tuning at bicycle cafe Lock 7 and a bell-themed sonic adventure along the Regent’s Canal, we conclude with an architectural tour of one of London’s key post-war social housing developments, Woodberry Down, with the Twentieth Century Society’s Suzanne Waters. To join other walks like this visit the Hackney Society. Continue reading

Edition 2: Shoots, Leaves and Shops

Man in his shop

photo by Tom Hunter

Francesca Panetta joins Hackney artist Tom Hunter for a stroll down Mare Street whose many and varied shops are the subject matter of his latest exhibition of photographs currently on display at the V&A Museum of Childhood. In the first of a series of ethics lectures James Wilson ponders the question of difference in Hackney, while Diane Abbott MP offers her views on education in the borough and London mayor Boris Johnson. Plus we catch up with the Manor Garden Allotment community of Hackney Wick at their watery new home in Leyton. Moro restaurant’s Sam Clark was there to sort the leaves from the weeds. Continue reading

Edition 1: Herbed Beans and Olympic Conspiracies

Eggs at Ridley Road marketFrancesca Panetta invites Hashley Brown of the London Review of Breakfasts to sample an alternative Full English at Little Georgia at its new home in Goldsmith’s Row, Haggerston – never before have baked beans come under such close scrutiny.  She drops in on Ridley Road market where she meets some aggrieved stall holders, and questions Hackney mayor Jules Pipe on market regulation.  We end up at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston in the company of arts correspondent Andrew Dickson who reviews their latest production, Torn by Femi Oguns. Continue reading