THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Men's Style-Paddy Cullen is Mr Cool
3 October 2004
Situated on a five-way junction at the heart of London's Hoxton district, the FOUNDRY (84 Great eastern Street, London EC2A, tel: 020 7739 6900) is an oasis of creative madness and chaotic subversion. Graffiti satins the walls and arts flyers proliferate, but the Foundry's real skill is in combining elements of local-arts-centre worthiness with the slapdash anarchy of Amsterdam squat life and the hard-drinking ethos of an East End local.
Performance spaces, mini-galleries and milk-crate stages define this warren-like interior, and the Foundry has become a showcase for every stripe of artist and performer. The patrons are a varied bunch too. Crusties, punks, art critics on the slum, high street bohos, backpack hobos, eco-warriors on R&R and sundry voyeurs all drift through the door to sup cheek by jowl with low-life celebs such as Billy Childish and Irvine Welsh.
But the Foundry is chiefly a hothouse for the unsung, the unknown and the resolutely marginal. On Fridays the space is transformed for a live radio broadcast (photograph: left, Resonance 104.4FM, noon to 1pm), while Sunday nights feature open-mic poetry sessions with a multitude of first time ranters and rhymers.
Which means, in the face of a profusion of fussily furbished theme lounges and all the symptoms of creeping-loft syndrome, that as long as the Foundry stands proud on its junction, Shoreditch - or Soho East, as the locals have it - will always boast a radical edge.
by Paddy Cullen