The Gentle Author – Spitalfields Life

 

On the 26th of August in 2009, an anonymous blogger promised his audience a story every single day about life in Spitalfields. The identity of “The Gentle Author” is still shrouded in mystery to many – the blogging sphere has become overwhelmingly egotistical, according to TGA. “I found it very liberating to not be bound by my gender, my class or my race.” Having amassed over twenty thousand followers since that first post in 2009, The Gentle Author reminds us that in a culture that craves social media stardom, the opposite can be just as rewarding. His early anonymity guaranteed that the reader was interested purely in TGA’s writing, and not the online persona he had created. Perhaps this is a generational difference – TGA comes from an era before the craziness of Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, so I would imagine it being much easier to stop yourself from getting sucked in.  

                                                                                           heartfelt comments from 2009

The Gentle Author has eloquently told the stories of 1,500 people living, working and simply existing in Spitalfields. Through his literature on the Spitalfields Life blog, he discovered that his very own grandmother grew up a mere 50 yards from the house he lives in on Brick Lane. His writing is felt in the hearts of people living in different continents, and he is still working towards his goal of 10,000 posts by 2037.

Hannah Crowe – Communications Editor

My name is Hannah and I’m one of the co-authors of the Quaker Street website. I’m a 20 year old journalism student originally from Newcastle, currently living in South London.

A lover of music, art, reading and writing, on my days off you can usually find me in my pyjamas glued to the news app or the Hold My Juice Box sub-reddit. I love discovering new music and illustrators that I can relate to – one of my favourites is @ThisisAliceSkinner , a talented, witty artist from London that represents all types of women and issues in our society with her sketches and murals.

I thoroughly enjoy listening to people’s stories or problems, and will help where I can. I’m a massive believer in everything in life being intertwined and happening for a reason, although it’s easier to apply this to positive events in our lives. I also love animals, but still eat meat which is something I’m working on!

For myself and many others, Quaker Street is so much more than a place for people to grab a coffee. It’s a place that feels like home for creatives and artists, where community is at the forefront of every decision made. This is becoming increasingly rare in a culture that’s obsessed with the facade of social media notoriety, and not making genuine connections with the people around you. Quaker Street removes this barrier and provides a nurturing and developmental environment for those at the beginning of their creative careers.

 

 

DJ Tigas – Quaker Street resident DJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiago is a DJ and researcher of music originally from Brasil who has been living in London for a year. He is a lover of Brazilian and world music, and took interest in artistic and creative projects very early on in life. Many different sounds appeal to him, and some of those include Brazilian jazz and funk, Bossa Nova, MPB e Samba, sounds of North of Brazil, Mangue Beat, Tropicalia, Brazilian RAP and Hip Hop. His research surrounding world music looks into genres such as nu-jazz, nu-funk, reggae, dub, chillout and ambient music, disco, jazz, funk, rap and hip hop.

He has been a part of the N’calma project for nearly a decade, having recently brought this to Quaker Street in the last few months for people to enjoy.

 

Can you tell me why you decided to leave Brazil? How often do you get to go back home, and do you miss it?

I decided to leave Brazil to move to London. I first came to London in 2013, because my brother was living here, so I came just for a year from 2013 to try to learn english and live with my brother for this time – then I found this amazing city! But after this period I came back to Brazil to finish University.

And now, one year ago, I decided to move myself definitively to London, and since I’ve moved here I’m yet to go back home to visit family and friends, but I’m going to try and go to Brazil at least once a year from next year. And yes! I do miss my family and friends a lot. But it’s a decision that I made in my life and I know the consequences. And my family are special, they support me all the time with my ideas and my choices in my life, so I’m fine with myself. Just living happy and in peace.

 

How old were you when you first became interested in music?

I’m 28 years old now, and music has been a part of my life forever! Since being a kid, my parents showed my brother and I good music, and it’s a big influence for me too because of my brother’s bands. He was the one who taught me how to play guitar, bass and even a CDJ for the first time.

As a DJ, I’m in this industry since 2009 because of my friends and our collective, N´Calma.

 

What was difficult about leaving your home country, and moving to London? Which part of London do you currently live in, and is there anything you wished you knew before you got here?  

The only hard thing to move out of my home country is to be far away from my family and friends, and for me that’s it. Now I’m living in west London, in North Acton, next to Shepherds Bush.

London is great and I came to live here because I wanted it. As I was here for a year 2013-2014, when I came back to live permanently I knew I was sure of my decision.

 

Nicole Calistri – Design Manager and Coordinator

Nicole Calistri is design manager and coordinator at Quaker Street. Hired to enhance operations until the co-working space opens next door, Nicole works on projects to decrease the impact of businesses on the environment. She aims to bring the method of Environment Centred Design (a term she coined) to institutions, organisations and individuals. You can find her in the cafe in the mornings, She’s always looking to have a chat at Quaker Street. Pop in to say hi!

You used to live in Italy, which part and how long did you live there for?

I was born in Brazil incidentally. I was 6 months in my mom’s belly when I suddenly decided to be born in Rio de Janeiro! My mom’s plan was to give birth in Italian land. I guess the universe wanted otherwise. I moved to Florence (Italy) when I was 2 years old and spent all my life there. Thus, I feel thoroughly Italian. I cherish all the years I passed in Italy and love it with all my heart. Since I moved to London, however, I became more aware of my mixed background. I am grateful for this, as I believe this awareness opened my mind towards acceptance and tolerance, fully integrating my identity to that of London.

 

How did your chance move to London occur?

I have a qualification and a diploma in Fashion Design and Operations. After my final exams in 2014, I was accepted at Polimoda to undertake the BA Business of Fashion. The course was run entirely in English. Thus, why not spend the summer in London to learn the language?! I came here on 15th July 2014, and a month later I had made my mind to pursue my studies in the capital of the world. I was just in love with the city and the people. I had also fallen in love with the course BA Design Management and Cultures. Thus, I spent an entire year learning the language to then continue my studies in October 2015. Moving to London was the most random occurrence in my life – and randomness is what makes life exciting!

 

Was there a specific moment or event that registered your interest in environmental sustainability?

There is no specific event or moment. Many moments and events since I moved to London have influenced my awareness and later the interest I have into making businesses environmentally sustainable. The BA Design Management and Cultures was probably the first input. During my first year, I was able to expand my knowledge of the fashion industry from a Design Management perspective. Having learned the impacts that this has on a global scale, I have not bought a piece of clothing in four years. Successively, I was hungry to know the environmental impact of human beings from a philosophical point of view. The exhibition held in 2015 at the CCCB (Barcelona) HUMAN+ was a significant inspiration. The reading of Sapiens (Harari 2014) and Homo Deus (Harari 2018), helped me visualise the enormous impact our species has on the environment and our contribution to the Anthropocene.

Learning about Planetary Thinking also aligned my values to environmental sustainability. A talk held by Andres Colmenares, co-founder of think tank IAM was my first encounter with the concept. Planetary Thinking implies that everything is connected and that all our actions and choices have an impact on the planet – no matter how small and insignificant. Almost 8 billion people on earth make decisions every second around the world – Planetary Thinking pushes you to reflect on the past, present and future of everything you wear, eat use and buy. Every small habit changed can have less impact on the Earth. Armed with Planetary Thinking, I collaborated with a great team on Choices – A movement and an app that facilitates the transition to environmental sustainability for business and individuals.

 

Do you have an opinion on whether or not the planet can survive the human race and climate change?

I am fascinated by utopian and dystopian futures. However, I believe that the human race will always live in a world which combines both. Nations and individuals are becoming more aware of environmental issues. My positive self is confident that policymakers, companies, organisations and individuals will gradually change for the better of the planet, and my vision is to help them do so.

 

Cecile – Barista

Cecile is a Quaker Street Barista who is originally from Marseille in France. She completed a degree in management before starting work in the insurance industry, but after the routine became tiring for her, she decided to travel Australia and Asia for two years before moving to London. She lived in Sydney working in hospitality for a while with the aim of learning English and seeing new things. After saving enough money to travel around Asia as well as Australia, she arrived in London for the first time last year for a few months, but realised how much she loved it and decided to move permanently in March.

What was it like to go from working in the insurance industry to travelling?

It was very different, you know. In the insurance industry it’s an office job and most of the time you’re behind a computer, but working in hospitality we’re always running and moving about and I liked it – I was very hyperactive when I was a child! And I love to talk with people! I also learned how to make coffee and I really like it, and still after 2 years. I need to be around people also!

What did you learn about yourself during your time away from home?

I learned that I’m very adaptable, which I never thought about before I began travelling. I can live with 14 people in a room in a hostel, I can travel with a backpack and live in a van. During this gap year I learned to be more sociable, more open with people and more than anything I’m definitely more open minded.

Is there one thing you want to have achieved by a certain point living in London or working at Quaker Street?

Working at Quaker Street I would like to progress and become a manager! I love Quaker Street. It’s not a coffee shop as any coffee shop – we are trying to build a community which is amazing! I love my team, we’re kind of a family now! I also wish to have a successful professional life in London doing something I really like.

Where do you have next on your list of places to see in the world?

My travel list is endless – I’m always adding new countries to it! I’m planning Brazil for next year, and a city trip to Portugal for the end of this year which is where my boyfriend comes from!

 

 

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