event type

A Panel discussion exploring the present and future state of affairs for a city in limbo: London.


07 October 2017


The Silver Building, London, United Kingdom   

Supported By

Our first talk! Wow. We can’t speak for the panelists or the audience but we will definitely never forget that first talk. First of all, the space. The Silver Building before it became The Silver Building. There were holes in the floor, cables everywhere, different levels were connected by time-pressured, half-complete, revolving stairways - just like in Mario World!  If you are unfamiliar with how obsessed the British are with health and safety - this space was the opposite of what you usually expect in a public event. If someone from Newham Council’s Health and Safety walked in their entire cosmos and understanding of self would have crumbled.

“It was one of those conversations where for a brief moment, time stopped, and everyone in the room understood, the gravity of the madness that was enveloping the city around us.”

To this day we do not know how we were allowed to be in there. But allowed we were - and we made the most of it. The Silver Sehnsucht exhibition was wicked (you can find more about it here) and we were blessed to be able to do our thing over an afternoon and into evening. For the talk, we had to get locals Focus E15 involved. For those that don’t know, they are a group of single mothers from the Carpenter’s Estate in Newham who received national attention when they organised and challenged eviction orders issued to them by the Council. It was a pleasure to have Phin down. He probably put more time and thought into his opening presentation than we had put into the entire event. Killed it. And Rut - what a don. We had interviewed her for a podcast months earlier and had enjoyed the conversation so much we had to keep it going. The real star of the show was the audience. Incredibly engaged and thoughtful, there were some really beautiful, heartfelt moments when questions were asked and reflections given. London - and its many problems - were clearly being felt by everyone there. One member of the audience was on the verge of tears. It was one of those conversations where for a brief moment, time stopped, and everyone in the room, strangers for the most part, listened, and understood, the gravity of the madness that was enveloping the city around us.

After the talk finished, we had an hour or so to chill out (!). For some that meant going and continuing the conversation. For others, it meant setting up for the party. Yes, of course, we had a party. Exactly one week prior, a few of us had been at the exhibition’s opening party, programmed by the good peoples at NTS. A few weeks before that, a few of us had been at another party, of a more illicit orientation. By the time our time for shenaniganing had come round we had got a good sense of how the space worked. There was a brief moment at one point in the evening, probably around 10.30pm, when the building was packed, and the don John Swing was in full motion, when we could say with a pretty unimpeachable peace of mind, that this was the best bloody party we had ever been to - let alone organised. People still say that to us today.

Would it have been the same if we hadn’t been brought down to ground zero during the discussion earlier in the day? There is definitely something interesting in that relationship, between panel discussion and party, that we should organise a panel discussion about. We are also inclined to think that it was the space which made the whole day so bloody good. We still can’t believe we got to use it the way we did. In a day dominated by conversations and reflections on how terrible London is, it was nice to do something like this and show that shit can still turn to shine.