This Time Next Year

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Featured Profile

Ed Southall

I run a website for booking musicians for events, such as weddings and corporate events. We have around 1000 musicians based in the UK and around Europe. We put them in contact with people, event planners, wedding couples, who are looking for live musicians for their events.

Ed Southall

How do you take your tea/coffee?

I usually drink my coffee with oat milk. My favourite kind is a dirty chai latte; dirty because it has a shot of espresso in it.

What’s your favourite Waltham Forest hangout?

I live in Upton Park, but I only moved to the area about a month ago, so that’s a hard one to answer. Dorothée recommended a place around the corner, Luna. They have good live music there so that’s on my list to try.

Tell us the story so far…

I run a website for booking musicians for events, such as weddings and corporate events. We have around 1000 musicians based in the UK and around Europe. We put them in contact with people, event planners, wedding couples, who are looking for live musicians for their events. I’ve been doing it for about two and a half years. Before I started the business, I was a lawyer, but I wanted to break out and do something of my own. I’ve also been a musician all my life and it’s what I studied at university, so I wanted to start something that made use of that knowledge and skill. A couple of friends and I came up with the idea and it started from there. We’re still growing which is good. It’s all online connecting people, so it doesn’t really matter where the musicians and the clients are. We have musicians based all over the place and we have some musicians in the UK who do a lot of travelling.

Where will you be This Time Next Year?

I suppose, pretty much doing the same thing, but a lot more of it. Possibly with a bigger team; at the moment it’s me and one other person full time as well as a part time, freelance coder. At some point in the next year we’ll probably want to hire our first person, otherwise, continuing to grow the number of musicians we have. Just trying to be as big as possible really!

 

Meet our members

Ed Southall

Ed Southall

How do you take your tea/coffee?

I usually drink my coffee with oat milk. My favourite kind is a dirty chai latte; dirty because it has a shot of espresso in it.

What’s your favourite Waltham Forest hangout?

I live in Upton Park, but I only moved to the area about a month ago, so that’s a hard one to answer. Dorothée recommended a place around the corner, Luna. They have good live music there so that’s on my list to try.

Tell us the story so far…

I run a website for booking musicians for events, such as weddings and corporate events. We have around 1000 musicians based in the UK and around Europe. We put them in contact with people, event planners, wedding couples, who are looking for live musicians for their events. I’ve been doing it for about two and a half years. Before I started the business, I was a lawyer, but I wanted to break out and do something of my own. I’ve also been a musician all my life and it’s what I studied at university, so I wanted to start something that made use of that knowledge and skill. A couple of friends and I came up with the idea and it started from there. We’re still growing which is good. It’s all online connecting people, so it doesn’t really matter where the musicians and the clients are. We have musicians based all over the place and we have some musicians in the UK who do a lot of travelling.

Where will you be This Time Next Year?

I suppose, pretty much doing the same thing, but a lot more of it. Possibly with a bigger team; at the moment it’s me and one other person full time as well as a part time, freelance coder. At some point in the next year we’ll probably want to hire our first person, otherwise, continuing to grow the number of musicians we have. Just trying to be as big as possible really!

 

Elaine Kasket

Elaine Kasket

What do you do?

was an academic, I am a psychologist and more and more I’m becoming a proper writer. What I’m doing at This Time Next Year is working on my book. I had this fantasy that I would be able to work at home. With my daughter at school, and everything quiet I’d get so much done. For some people that might work, but for me, that doesn’t work. I knew I would benefit from being around creative people and so that’s why I came here. For the purposes of This Time Next Year, I’m a writer.

When I left academia, I entered a far more explorative phase. I started doing performances, spoken word and lots of other things that I had never had time to do. I did Mortified, in London, and I’m now on the podcast. I would never have dared to do something like that before. The piece I did at Mortified is curated from a self–published novel that I wrote when I was nine. It’s a very funny piece, but I was also a good writer. I thought, how did I get so far away from this?

Is your writing under a business persona or under your own?

It’s all under Elaine Kasket but I’ve recently rebranded, my branding now needs to reflect my writing role, as well as my psychologist role. My design team came up with a logo and website that reflects the dual sides.

Do you drink tea or coffee? How do you take it?

I started drinking coffee during a work–heavy time in my life and I still primarily drink coffee, even though I’ve left workaholism behind. I’ve been trying out the soy milk thing and liking it. So, I would say Soy Cappuccino, these days.

Do you feel like having that space has been conducive to getting things done?

Being at This Time Next Year, it’s a reconnection. I’ve got time, I’ve got flexibility, I’ve got possibilities, I’m meeting people from various backgrounds and it’s given me space. I’ve got my settled desk and if I get a creativity block, I’ll go spin in a chair or go to another floor. I move through space in the same way I’m moving through my head at the minute. It’s a parallel mirror of what’s happening in my life, that’s why I feel like it fits me so well.

I’d never considered a coworking space before that deadline started getting closer. People think you should be able to write anywhere. My partner thought I was spending money for the sake of it, but there’s no comparison on the productivity I’ve had here. My brain doesn’t always deliver up the words while I’m here, there’s no guarantee that I’ll get into that flow, but being here stacks the odds in my favour.

Do you live locally?

Yes, I’m in Leytonstone, I used to hate commuting every day, but an eight–minute bike ride is fantastic.

What are your favourite Waltham Forest hot spots?

It’s hard to narrow it down, there’s so much good happening. I love Laura Lea Designs, she’s done a lot for the area by supporting local artists, I love Wild Goose Bakery and The Red Lion. I love the energy of the place, there’s so much burgeoning, I’ve lived here for ten years and it’s changed so much for the better in that time. I’ve lived in lots of places and I’ve never experienced the community I’ve found in Leytonstone. It makes a massive difference to the quality of life.

Can you tell us a bit more about the book?

It’s called All the Ghosts in the Machine and it’s being published in early 2019. It is about the unexpected and consequential intersections of death and the digital; the consequences we have not anticipated of our data sticking around online when we’re no longer physically alive. It looks at issues that are as much about life as they are about death. Things like privacy, identity and corporate ownership; how the entities that process and manage our data when we’re alive, end up having a substantial influence on how we’re remembered. Power has been taken out of the hands of those who have historically held it, such as families, and placed with the likes of Facebook. It’s a confusing roundabout of laws that were put in place in the pre–digital era.

I’ll give you an example, in 2014 Hollie Gazzard was murdered by her boyfriend with whom she’d just broken up. He came into the salon where she worked and killed her. By the time her family went on her Facebook profile, it had been memorialised. On the page, there were seventy–two pictures of Hollie together with her killer. The family got in touch with Facebook and asked them to remove the photographs of Hollie with her murderer. Facebook refused, saying they must protect the privacy and preference of Holly as assumed at the time of her death, the only alternative would be to take the whole page down. Having exhausted all options, the family received a call from a man identifying himself as the Web Sheriff, someone who cleans the reputations of celebrities online. He had seen the story on the news and offered to take care of it pro bono. A week later, he calls them up and says it’s done. That family got that help because it was a huge media story, but there are thousands of other families in similar situations with no one to help them.

All the Ghosts in the Machine: The New Immortality of the Digital Age will be published in early 2019 (Robinson/Little Brown).

Jack Fleming

Jack Fleming

Company

Soop Stories – Stories On Our Plate

How do you take your tea or coffee?

Good solid builder’s tea, splash of milk, strong brew, no sugar.

What’s your favourite Waltham Forest Hangout?

I live and grew up in Snaresbrook, so I know Waltham Forest relatively well and seeing the area grow over the years is a joy. I absolutely love the Hornbeam café in Walthamstow, they do some work that is similar to ours, and of course, Deeney’s down the road for the Haggis toasties.

Tell us how SOOP came about

I’m one of two directors of Stories on Our Plate, we started nearly three years ago building on the foundation of celebrating people’s culinary identity through food. We primarily train home cooks to run their own pop up restaurants around London. We began life as a monthly supper club series which was all about celebrating the home cook, their food, their influences, their narration and helping them share that with paying customers. We take cooks through a mentoring programme over two or three months leading up to a collaboration and offer varying support around tasting, practising and storytelling. It’s all about trying to get out of them what they want to share with people, having them think about what they want their diners to leave the room having experienced. For example, an Egyptian cook we recently worked with is challenging the stereotype of middle eastern cuisine as a region and showcase the difference of Egyptian cuisine to neighbouring countries. She wanted to engage with the Egyptian diaspora that had not been back to their home towns and may have forgotten how to cook traditional Egyptian recipes; doing her own pop ups in London has been a way for her to reach those people. Previously we’ve ran training programmes for migrant refugee cooks, which tailored more to teaching them food hygiene and culinary skills.

We’ve just finished our first book, which is called Stories on Our Plate: Recipes and Conversations, featuring twelve home cooks that worked on the supper club series. We’re taking the book on tour in September and October and our second edition will be coming out the following October. It has been a fascinating eight–month project, working with two anthropologists and my co–director, who is a food anthropologist as well. Our aim was to strike a balance between having a conversation in a kitchen and cooking to recipes. Each recipe shoot was a two–hour long informal session with the cook; having a natural conversation with them brought up themes such as moving to London, sense of belonging, preserving recipes that have been handed down and taste memory. Allowing them to lead the conversation has built a portrait of each of them; twelve cooks, each with three brilliant recipes along with an understanding of who they are and why they’re doing what they’re what doing.

The idea behind taking the book around the country is to encourage local cooks and local initiatives in other towns to take up a similar project with support from us where needed. We’re looking to do three or four editions of this book because this approach of stepping away from a traditional cookbook has got so much potential.

What led you to setting up SOOP?

I spent five years in community conflict resolution in Bradford, working with people on conflict, relationships and day–to–day life. Food always played a role, there’s custom having tea and snacks first before tackling conflict that takes place across different cultures. Personally, I’ve always had a good relationship with food and been a good home cook, but what I saw at that time was an emerging conversation of how we see food as a restorative communal activity. I moved back to London and joined a small NGO in Amsterdam which was working on a project in the south west Balkans, using food to resolve post–conflict reconciliation. Essentially setting up communal meals between local communities and business leaders to re–establishing scarred, fractured relationships. After spending a year there, I came back and during my master’s programme I did a research project on culinary citizen cooperation; looking at projects across Europe and North American that use food as a bridging gap between fracture communities and communicating that to public administration and government. My world was gastro–nationalism, hummus wars and nationalism through food. And that’s when SOOP was born, my earliest thought to focus on people’s food identity whilst providing a social and economic opportunity. I reached out to the food anthropology community; the second or third person that responded became my co director, she has the same approach to food but being a food consultant and anthropologist, she brings a different perspective, so a perfect match.

In the beginning we looked at who would be best served from this kind of project within London, and we really wanted to work with people who might not being getting the same opportunities to express their food identity, so we focused on engaging with those from migrant and refugee backgrounds and introducing the idea of pop ups to them. The organisation has evolved naturally since then. In the last, eight or nine months about 90% of cooks that get in touch with us are everyday home cooks with all sorts of stories. We’ve responded to the demand, and it’s made us realise that this is for everyone from all backgrounds.

Where will you be this time next year?

Over the next year, we’ll be doing a lot more on the book project. The pop–up series continues to thrive, we do that once a month, primarily across south London and we’re now taking that out of London as well. My co–director is relocating to Canada with her family so she’s starting up a series in Toronto with a slightly different twist to it; working in schools and doing early age food story–telling programmes.

We want to keep going and enrich the foundation blocks of what we do. You won’t see a change in direction in the next year, but you’ll see a more of what already exists. There will always be limitations on what we do in a business sense, but we don’t want to be steered by things we feel we ought to do, we’ll continue to do what comes naturally to us – not just for us personally but for what we feel is right for SOOP. We’re a community interest organisation and so will remain true to the name. We continue to strengthen relationships with the cooks that have been part of the series and out of that are able to share more opportunities for them. They’re not employed by us, however, we’re able to signpost them to opportunities such as private party and corporate event catering requests, this makes us more of a network organisation and speaks true of our organic approach to the business.

And you?

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