Barry Causton: events manager

5 Nov

Everyone on Islington Faces Blog has a story.  Oxjam Islington Takeover Manager & film extra, Barry Causton, 38, has been working and living in Islington for nearly 10 years. “Islington is like a northern town, small enough that you always bump into people you know, yet big enough to have so much packed into it...”  Well, do you agree? Q&A with Nicola Baird

Oxjam Islington Takeover Manager Barry Causton poses on holiday. He's recently had to move out of Islington to find an affordable home but still does occasional filming work in the borough and is a committee member of the Friends of Gillespie Park.

Oxjam Islington Takeover Manager Barry Causton poses on holiday. He’s recently had to move out of Islington to find an affordable home but still does occasional filming work in the borough and is a committee member of the Friends of Gillespie Park.

Q: How come you work in Islington?
I already knew the area as I would come to Upper Street to meet friends. When a job came up, I went for it, 10 years later I’m still working here, as Oxjam Islington Takeover Manager.

Another role I do is as a film extra – I regularly am called to jobs in Islington, because it’s able to form the setting for many films and TV programmes. Just shows the rich diversity of Islington – a place you can potter around and always see something different. I’m an extra in Our Kind of Traitor, which is due out soon and New Tricks. And I’m in loads of adverts. I just missed out on Batman – parts of it were filmed in Farringdon. I use Casting Collective for my film work. They take people on their books (for a year sign up) in December 2014, check out www.castingcollective.co.uk.

 REQUEST: if you enjoy reading about people who live or work in Islington please follow this blog by email (see how on right hand panel) or join the Facebook group (which had 99 followers in January 2015). Fresh interviews are published once a week. Thanks. Nicola

Q: What’s Oxjam about? 
Oxjam is the musical arm of Oxfam, of which I look after the Islington area. Our main task is to put on a multi-venue festival, which myself and other volunteers have been doing for nearly 4 years every October now. The 2014 festival had 100 acts over 10 venues. You can see the full line up on our website www.oxjamislington.com.

The majority of our team are local residents and as such, rather than simply putting on fundraisers, we create community events, that give back to the area as well – such as football matches.

Q Are Islington people generous – how much does Oxjam raise?
Truthfully? It’s a complete mix – we have some venues where, despite paying £5 for a drink, people are not willing to put money in the bucket for the bands they’re going to hear. Thankfully the majority of Islington people are generous, to the point where we vie for top spot for highest amount raised of all Oxjams, with Chiswick. That’s bloomin’ marvellous seeing as there are 60 Oxjams! Over the three years we’ve been running, Oxjam Islington has raised more than £37,000. By the close of this years festival, we hope to take that to £50,000!

Q: Which bits of Islington are special to you? 
I lived on Highbury Hill for eight years and loved it. I knew lots of the neighbours. We got together and held street parties, and joined the Friends of Gillespie Park. Unfortunately the rising prices meant, when it came to buying, we couldn’t afford to stay in Islington. I’m 38 now and if I win the lottery, I’d gladly move back, as I loved living in Highbury.

The Ecology Centre becomes a jazz stage with a cafe behind during the Gillespie Festival (on the 2nd Sunday of September).

The Islington Ecology Centre is one of Islington’s best kept secrets. From March-December there’s a Sunday lunchtime cafe. It’s also used for weddings and birthday parties.

5 places Barry Causton loves in Islington

  1. Record shops – but they’re slowly disappearing from Islington. Flashback Records, 50 Essex Road, is great, and the Oxfam Music and Book shop, 48 Upper Street, has so many classic albums for £1!
  2. The Islington Ecology Centre – it’s a hidden gem at the top of Arsenal Stadium where you can feel like you’re no longer in London. More about the Friends of Gillespie Park here.
  3. Indian Veg Bhelpoori House, 92-93 Chapel Market. The same price as a fast food joint but tastier and all you can eat buffet.
  4. Highbury Fields, good place to meet mates on a summer’s day or just grab the paper, read a book or people watch. 
  5. Union Chapel, Compton Avenue – do brilliant free daytime gigs and it’s a great building to wander in.
  6. And a cheeky 6th – the Tower of St Mary’s Church on open house! It’s on Upper Street and you can see out over all of London from it. 

Over to you
If you’d like to nominate someone to be interviewed who grew up, lives or works in Islington, or suggest yourself, please let me know, via nicolabaird.green at gmail.com. Thank you.

If you liked this interview please SHARE on twitter or Facebook. Even better follow islingtonfacesblog.com (see menu top right), @nicolabairduk

This blog is inspired by Spitalfields Life written by the Gentle Author.

If you enjoyed this post you might like to look at the A-Z  index, or search by interviewee’s roles or jobs to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by. Nicola

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