Issue 77

Monthly newspaper and online publication targeting 18 to 35 year olds. The ultimate guide to the hottest parties, going out and having fun. Music, fashion, film, travel, festivals, technology, comedy, and parties! London, Barcelona, Miami and Ibiza.

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6 Issue 77 / 2015 GUESTLIST How's it going? Everything good with Passing Clouds team? Yes, we're awesome thanks! Slightly melting in the heat but we're about to have ice cream - it's a beautiful time to be alive. Tell us a bit about how Passing Clouds came into being. There are so many rumours about how Passing Clouds started - everything from being an illegal squat to the vanity project of a member of the Cartier dynasty! I quite enjoy the rumours but here's the actual truth: Passing Clouds was founded 9 years ago by the force of nature that is Eleanor Wilson. She was heavily involved in the African music scene and wanted to open a space that would showcase all this incredible talent, as well as being a community hub for creativity, activism and grassroots political and artistic movements. She saw this empty building one day, knew it was The One and managed to talk our landlady into the idea. With a team of musicians and creatives (many of whom still play and put on nights here) she transformed the building from a burnt-out warehouse into the first version of Passing Clouds. It was all a bit ramshackle - the bar was just an actual canoe (still lovingly worked into the room upstairs), the till was a bag stuffed down Eleanor's top, the accounts were on the backs of envelopes… We've gradually built the place up into what you see now and we're still constantly growing and evolving. And Eleanor's now gone off to the Gambia working on her next community project and figuring out how to eradicate ecocide. Force of nature like I said. Activism is at the heart of Passing Clouds and this is something that sets you apart from other arts venues. How do you support and fight for the issues that are important to you? We try to focus on doing the small, everyday things that can contribute to a wider change. We're strictly a vegetarian venue and don't allow meat in the building as a way of trying to get everyone who comes through our doors to be conscious about what they're putting into their bodies, even just for the time they're here. Likewise we have a ban on Tesco products and Coke (long live Dalston Cola!) We really try to support local businesses and initiatives, on the basis that localised action spreads out even further. Campaign-wise I'm very much working for Team Woman myself, so I'm on a big Mooncup campaign at the moment. The amount of landfill taken up with disposable sanitary products is so depressing. I also signed us up for the Good Night Out campaign to try and help combat sexual harassment in the venue. I think because we're so liberal and hippy sometimes men think they can get away with it here, but Clouds is largely run by women and we have an absolute zero tolerance stance on sexual harassment. It can't be easy to run a venue with such a diverse schedule whilst also staying committed to various causes and remaining commercially viable. What have been the biggest challenges you've faced in running Passing Clouds? Finding ethical tonic water is probably our biggest challenge right now! I think one of the hardest things is trying to be 100% ethical, and I'm not sure if it's even possible. Like, many of us are vegan for environmental reasons but now the wonderful animal-free protein source that is quinoa is messing up the lives of people in Bolivia thanks to Western demand. We do our very best to remain conscious and our bar stock reflects that by being as organic, Fairtrade and free from big brands as possible, but then we end up having to have something like Jagermeister because people want it and there's no real alternative. And of course the costs involved in keeping a venue open are immense, particularly if you're trying to maintain the kind of principles we have. We don't make any profit as any money we do bring in is poured back into the venue (there's always something to fix!), so there are some areas where we have to make less green choices just to stay afloat. It feels like we always have to make compromises but we do genuinely do our best and the whole team is totally committed to being as green and ethical as we possibly can. And can you pick out a highlight from your time at Passing Clouds? For me it was the very first Spring Equinox Forest Party we held back in 2012. It was my first experience of programming a night (along with our former events manager Olivia) and I had this really strong desire to put on a 21st century pagan party to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Olivia and I were SO nervous that no- one would come, and then I looked down Kingsland Road and saw this massive crowd of people all dressed up as forest faeries and wood nymphs, stomping towards Passing Clouds all covered in ivy and glitter with huge smiles on their faces. It ended up being our biggest party to date, the birth of Cloud Factory Adventures (the theatrical wing of Passing Clouds) and I think that's when I really fell in love with creating amazing events. "Think Global. Act Local" is your slogan, so as well as wider concerns you are passionate about the local community. What are the biggest issues that Hackney is facing at the moment? It's been said a lot but it's definitely true that gentrification and the impact it has Passing Clouds is a unique live music venue and community arts centre, born from the vibrant Hackney music scene. As well as putting about activism and supporting the local community, making them truly one of a kind – like they say "Passing Clouds is not just a venue: Gudrun Getz to learn more about the fantastic work that they do Good EGGs: PassinG Clouds

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