We’re very excited to introduce our new recommendations series, Essential Remedies. Each week we’ll be sharing things that have given members of our creative community joy, strength and new ways of seeing the world. We hope it will be an ever-growing source of material to help us all feel alive, inspired & informed amid life’s challenges.
First up is a big hero of ours, Emma Warren. Emma is a writer and DJ whose tastes and insights have helped so many of us to understand the cultural movements and moments we are part of. She’s worked with hundreds of people across the world to help tell and promote their stories, and last year published her first book ‘Make Some Space‘ to tell the story of Total Refreshment Centre. For anyone who doesn’t know it, TRC is a studio/venue in Stoke Newington that since 2012 has become a true home for music-makers and appreciators, from Alabaster de Plume to The Comet is Coming to Nubya Garcia. It’s hard to paraphrase the value of TRC because there’s so much we want to say, which we suppose, is why Emma wrote the book.
For now, here are her Essential Remedies.
Barbara Ehrenreich ‘Dancing In The Streets: A History of Collective Joy‘ (Granta)
There’s a lot of joy in this book and I learned an important thing: that the Romans didn’t dance. I’m marinating on that, to paraphrase André 3000, mid-flow on Spottieottiedoppalicious.
Recommended sellers from Barbara’s website here.
Angel Bat Dawid ‘The Oracle‘ (International Anthem)
I could choose a million things here but if we’re looking for recordings that opened up new ways of thinking or feeling then this has to be it. She recorded it on her phone. It was released as a 100-run cassette and ended up as a record of the year in all the major publications. The coverage doesn’t matter, but the intention does. And the intention and the signal in Angel’s music is extraordinary and powerful. She introduced me to a concept I’m living by: if you look after the music it will look after you.
One more thing
I read a lot of poetry. We the writers need to. This poem is hope and survival, encapsulated.
Roger Robinson ‘A Portable Paradise’ (Peepal Tree)
And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace it’s ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath.
And if your stresses are sustained and daily,
get yourself to an empty room – be it hotel,
hostel or hovel – find a lamp
and empty your paradise onto a desk:
your white sands, green hills and fresh fish.
Shine the lamp on it like the fresh hope
of morning, and keep staring at it till you sleep.