Tag Archives: islington pubs

Cate Mackenzie: love coach

13 Apr

Flame-haired Cate Mackenzie makes finding love a lot of fun. From May she’s running more How To Flirt workshops at a pub near Angel. Or you can be a bit more daring and join a session with her to learn how to love better. Like the best of stories it all starts with just one look… Nicola Baird finds out more.

Cate Mackenzie: xx

Cate Mackenzie: international love coach, sex therapist and couples counsellor is in Islington (c) c mackenzie

“Some people say I haven’t produced a boyfriend for them yet. I say ‘I don’t have them in the cupboard!’ A boyfriend will show up when you are ready,” says Cate Mackenzie cheerfully. She’s the most empathetic woman, beautiful, curvy and with a very warm smile who clearly knows how to make flirting a lot of fun. We meet at the picture-filled bohemian Chelsea Arts Club not too far from Sloane Square, an area Islington Faces doesn’t visit much. The good news is that Cate doesn’t rate Chelsea* for flirting. Instead she recommends a trip to… Islington.

NEVER MISS AN ISLINGTON FACES: if you enjoy reading about people who live or work in Islington please follow this blog by email (see how on right hand panel). Fresh interviews are published once a week.

“Go and take an adventure. Dress up and go to Brighton or St Paul’s Cathedral area. I recommend people flirt in Islington – with all its quirky pavement cafes and outdoor places you can relax. It’s rather like Italy. “ This might be stretching anyone’s imagination on a chilly day, even if you know Islington’s long connection with Italy (in Clerkenwell there’s even a Little Italy), but as Cate says: “A lot of what I’m teaching is how to get to be a bit more friendly.” 

The Joker pub on 58 Penton Street, N1 has just been refurbished. If you join Cate Mackenzie's flirting workshop there in May (and once a month after that) you can also try a beer from the new tap wall.

The Joker pub on 58 Penton Street, N1 has just been refurbished. If you join Cate Mackenzie’s flirting workshop there in May (and once a month after that) you can also try a beer from the new tap wall.

Fun things to do in Islington picked by Cate Mackenzie

Upside down ceiling lights at the new Bella Italia in Angel Central.

Search for the quirky: upside down ceiling lights at Bella Italia in Angel Central.

  • “I’ve gone to 5 rhythms dancing held at the Old Finsbury Town Hall on Monday nights.”
  • “I’ve done stand up comedy at the Camden Head, 2 Camden Walk off Camden Passage.”
  • “Islington has some great cafes. Find the little, quirky places! I liked Tinderbox (which was at Angel Central and closed last year). Do you know Candid Cafe? So romantic!”
  • If I have a day off I like to wander around with no agenda and have an adventure just like I wandered the streets when I was a child.”

Cate recommends warming up by laughing. “I started doing comedy partly to help me do talks. I try and make the flirting talks funny. I tell a lot of stories and try to get people relaxed and laughing. Belly laughing and having an orgasm is similar, and that’s when you feel most open,” she says and then starts to explain the power of dance and story telling.

“When you are stressed you can’t take in too much. People are tense. Flirting is about being open, so once you are laughing and feeling relaxed in your belly it’s easier to take new information on board and I can go ahead with teaching.”

Screenshot 2016-04-12 14.57.05If this sounds complicated it really isn’t. A group of ticket holders get tips from an international psychosexual therapist, who also has a love column in Spirit & Destiny magazine and is as happy teaching seduction tips to groups as she is helping people with relationship stress. There’s no problem who turns up as Cate’s session is non gender specific and non binary – she doesn’t say men do this, women do that (though any couples will work together). What she does is help people connect and be willing to take a risk that allows them to get connected. That may just be saying hello, a lingering second look, the exchange of a phone number, or the confidence to up your flirting game.

“There’s an assumption that there’s this perfect way and there isn’t,” says Cate reassuringly.

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Go exploring at an Islington cafe – it may be a chance to flirt, or just have a fine cup of hot chocolate. (c) islington faces

Take a love coach’s tips on how to flirt
From May, every 2nd Tuesday of the month, you can join Cate Mackenzie’s flirting workshops to learn the subtle power of look-smile-connect. But here are some extra pointers:

  • F for fun – stop looking for the one and have fun. Make a list of all the things you would like to do and start to do them. You’ll be surprised who turns up when you start to become more present.
  • R for release – find the gold in every heartbreak. Even if you’ve had a bullying boyfriend recognise the gift that will make sure you never have that again. And if you do meet someone and it goes wrong you need to learn to release the past. Once you have found the learning in the situation say thank you and let go.
  • C for commitment – most people want a signed contract that it is all going to work out without them taking a risk, but it doesn’t work like that. If you really want it, then you also have to be willing to give love a go without expectations. You have to go beyond your own ambivalence. That’s the commitment.

How do you get to be a love coach?
“I grew up in a community street in Battersea,” she says. “I was happy and I’d say hello to anyone. I was allowed to wander the streets from four-seven years old. After school I popped round to my neighbour, Esther, and danced with her to reggae. It was a very mixed culture. My mother was an amateur social worker and our house was often home to pregnant girls, and refugees. It was also a party house. I thought life was like this, happy.”

But when Cate was 12, Esther died suddenly; her parents split and she moved with her mum and her two sisters to a much smaller place in South Kensington in a street which lacked that community spirit.

“I was only a kid so I closed down,” says Cate who was clearly traumatised by the loss of the life she loved. It was only when she went to study sociology in Manchester that she found a new niche as a community artist, teaching dance and drama – what she calls embodiment skills. “I could feel my heart opening again. All my work has helped me become the person I was,” she says.

Considering how much our childhood experiences shape our confidence and relationships as adults, Cate’s experience has undoubtedly helped her better understand, empathise and respond to her clients’ experiences and then find ways to get them to flourish.

Are sex therapists a bit scary?
Cate’s husband, Paul Wogan, is now also training to be a counsellor. “We’ve done stand up together,” she says recalling two shows at the Edinburgh Fringe “but I really appreciate our conversations now. His learning and exploring means we can talk about anything now.”

“As a sex therapist I’m teaching embodiment. It’s where we find our presence and magic and are able to calm down and relax because we’re not in our heads. Each person is different. I dance every day, but for some it is comedy – my husband is really passionate about it – others play golf, or yoga… or even do the ironing,” she says with her characteristic warm smile. Despite her reassurance it is hard to imagine that a spot of ironing could get anyone in the mood for sex.

What interviewing a sex therapist has shown is that it’s not all about sex.

Cate is brilliant at sharing tips on how life can be better if you can find out what helps you forget your daily cares and allows you to be absolutely in the moment. Once you can do that, then you’ll have no trouble saying hello to strangers – even the ones you think might be worth that lingering second look.

Words*

  • It’s official, Islington is the singles capital of England and Wales, see the story here.
  • If you plan to flirt in Chelsea Cate suggests a trip to the V&A, cafes in South Ken, the Saatchi Gallery or the Serpentine Gallery.

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 or join the Facebook group. Even better follow islingtonfacesblog.com (see menu top right) or follow me on twitter @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 Meet Islingtonians to find friends, neighbours and inspiration. Thanks for stopping by. Nicola

James Lemon: illustrator

25 Jun

Everyone on Islington Faces Blog has a story. Does a career always have to be a choice between money or creativity? After seven years as a banker James Lemon ditched the suit to set up an illustration business. With an exhibition at Newington Green’s eclectic 13 The Gallery planned for September, this summer sees the illustrator expanding his dog and cat portraiture. Scroll down to see what marvels he did with interviewer Nicola Baird‘s dog.

James Lemon

James Lemon: “Out of Islington, Hackney and Haringey, where I’m living now, Islington is my preferred borough.”

Islington’s infamous for being so close to the City that many bankers rent here until their bonuses let them do better… At 26 James Lemon found a place to rent on St Paul’s Road, N1. But after breaking his ties with asset management he remained in the area.

“I kept changing jobs and then getting to the same point where I wasn’t happy. Eventually it dawned on me that I shouldn’t be working in the financial services – I should be playing to my strengths and being creative. It’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable, even though I’ve sacrificed the salary,” he explains when we meet for coffee at the fabulous Lizzy’s café on Newington Green.

James Lemon pet illustrator will have a show at The Gallery in September 2014.

James Lemon pet illustrator will have a show at 13 The Gallery in September 2014.

In order to build his illustration business – and these are no ordinary illustrations, they are witty character sketches – James also works a couple of days a week building sets, interns at an Islington art gallery and works as a trainee chef in central London.

He left the banking world last November (2013), so how did he settle on illustration and pet portraiture? Turns out the animal part was a given…

“My family lived abroad while I was growing up – in Nigeria, Oman and Bangladesh – but I was always very interested in insects and animals. I was always rooting around under rocks or chasing grasshoppers.”

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A new portfolio
“My subject matter tends to be animals, fruit or lifestyle rather than people so a friend suggested I create pet portraits. It’s competitive and hard work – a £60 commission takes a full day – but what I most like about illustration is that I’m constantly building my portfolio. It’s something tangible that no one can take away,” says James showing me his latest sitter, Coco, who is an English Toy Terrier. “She’s a rare breed and quite dainty. I know that everyone likes to depict some sort of image on to their dog – basically an extension of their personality and I enjoy doing that in a playful way. So I depicted Coco enjoying fine dining – eating salmon with a glass of wine. Her owner loved it!”

Lizzie's on Newington Green is an oasis with fine coffee and cake. It's opposite the oldest row of terraces in the UK.

Lizzy’s on Newington Green is an oasis with fine coffee and cake. It’s opposite the oldest row of terraces in the UK.

Places James likes in Islington

  • I love running through Highbury Fields and like including the Emirates in my route. I’m looking to beat my older brother’s 10k time (43 minutes), but I’m not a particularly good runner.
  • I like a lot of the architecture on Holloway Road – like the unusual tiled front on the Coronet (now a Whetherspoons pub) and the Odeon. They are slightly dilapidated but still in use. I also like some of the other iconic buildings, like Holloway prison and the Sobell.
  • I use the Sobell’s squash courts.
  • I used to work in the Alwyne Castle at 83 St Paul’s Road – it’s a very nice pub (it opens again after refurbishment on 26 June 2014). I also like going for drinks in the Swimmer with my friends who live on Holloway.

Pets for the petless
As well as A4 portraits James caters for the petless, with his range of witty tea towels greeting cards and info-prints.  “One of the most popular designs celebrates the diversity of British fish with blonde rays, conga eels and skate – not many people know we have such exotic fish,” says James.

James Lemon: "I see your dog wearing a nice red suit with a collar and brass buttons, but a bit scruffy – Pete Docherty style." Turns out I couldn't resist having a portrait of my dog. "it's a digital illustration, but I drew and inked him by hand before scanning the image to apply colour."

James Lemon: “I see your dog wearing a nice red suit with a collar and brass buttons, but a bit scruffy – Pete Docherty style.” Turns out I couldn’t resist having a portrait of my dog. “it’s a digital illustration, but I drew and inked him by hand before scanning the image to apply colour.”

James can be found on stalls at fairs around the borough – I met him at the Holloway Festival – and can’t wait to see how my border terrier will turn out under his artistic gaze. Will he be a smug journalist, would-be banker or a talented scruff like Pete Docherty? What better way could there be to frame man’s best friend than the James Lemon treatment?

  • 13 The Gallery, 13 Green Lanes, London N16 specialises in fair trade, community and internationalist art – it was the first Cuban art gallery to open in Europe and is part of Whitechapel Gallery’s First Thursdays. http://www.13thegallery.com/  info@13thegallery.comTues- Fri 11am-7pm; First Thursday 11am-9pm; Saturday 10am-6pm. Closed Sunday & Monday
  • Lizzy’s on the Green, Stoke Newington Green, open Monday – Friday 7.30-16.00 and Sat – Sun 10-17.00 for coffee, cakes and ice cream. Added bonus: public toilets, lovely playground for kids and a view of the oldest terrace in England (look for more details on the community noticeboards).  lizzysonthegreen@gmail.com

Over to you
Would you like to nominate someone to be interviewed? Or would you like to write a guest post for this blog? if the answer is yes for either please email nicolabaird.green@gmail.com

If you’d like to feature on this blog, or make a suggestion about anyone who grew up, lives or works in Islington please let me know, via nicolabaird.green@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

Joan Lock: crime writer

10 Sep
XX

Joan Lock: “When I finished Dead Born and read it again I thought: ‘I did a lot of research’, so that’s why I wrote the history of The Princess Alice Disaster.

Everyone on Islington Faces Blog has a story.  So far during 2013, crime writer Joan Lock has had two books published – a Victorian crime novel, Dead Born, and a non-fiction book about The Princess Alice Disaster. Later this year she is to have a book re-released. She has also been a winner in a John Lewis art competition. Not bad for someone just about to celebrate their 80th birthday.  Join in the competition to win a copy of these books, see how below. Interview by Nicola Baird

Dead Born – the latest in Joan’s popular Detective Sergeant Best mystery series to be issued in paperback – starts with the handsome hero, Sgt Best, living in Barnsbury next door to a suspected Islington baby farm. The plot deepens when Sgt Best ends up on the Princess Alice, a pleasure steamer which sinks on the River Thames, in 1878, after being rammed by another boat at near Woolwich. Around 650 people drowned, making it Britain’s worst-ever inland waterway disaster.

“The Princess Alice went down in two minutes, taking with it a lot of people from Islington who were enjoying the sudden improvement in the weather with a day out on the river. Their chances of survival were hampered by the fact that both sexes wore boots, the women  wore long skirts – and  most of them could not swim. Islington vestry (parish council) had turned down the suggestion of public swimming baths so, after the disaster, they were severely criticised by the Islington Gazette,” says Joan from her desk in her Barnsbury flat.

Mixing real Victorian news events with fiction has become Joan’s speciality.

“When I first decided to do some fiction I wasn’t sure I had enough imagination so based my first crime book, Dead Image, around the real Regent’s Canal boat explosion in 1874,” she says with a wicked chuckle. Joan is being modest though. Her first two books were autobiographies about her experiences working, first as a nurse in the north-east and then as a policewoman in Mayfair and Soho.

Joan Lock’s flat is full of books she's written, and pictures she's painted. She is a member of a local art group and also paints when she stays at the John Lewis’ staff and ex-staff holiday hotel Brownsea Castle on an island in Poole harbour.

Joan Lock’s flat is full of books she’s written, and pictures she’s painted. She is a member of a local art group and also paints when she stays at the John Lewis’ staff (known as partners) and ex-staff holiday hotel Brownsea Castle, wich is on an island in Poole harbour.

Lady of the night
She left nursing because she was “underpaid, overworked, and the conditions were awful”. She then left policing when the feeling of novelty was overtaken by recognition of the limited work and career opportunities for women. “It’s all in the book,” says Joan patting her hardback copy of Lady Policewoman. “As a police woman in the West End I went to film premiers and all the Royal occasions, like Princess Margaret’s wedding, which was all rather fun but the work was probably less interesting than that in the poorer and more residential areas such as the East End or Islington. At the time, the West End was teaming with prostitutes but when the Street Offences Act came into effect the authorities were anxious to find out how the women would now seek customers. I had had this disastrous red hair rinse, which rather clashed with my new salmon pink duster coat, which may have been why they asked me to pose as a prostitute and go to newsagents to enquire how much they would charge to advertise ‘my’ services.”

Reluctant Nightingale, to be renamed Please Nurse! (which is about Joan’s student nursing life in the 1950s) is due to be re-published by Orion this autumn in part due to the popularity of the TV show Call the Midwife. A new edition of her The British Policewoman may be published soon, while her only modern crime novel Death in Perspective and the non-fiction Blue Murder (about police officers suspected of murder) are about to come out as eBooks.

“Policing and nursing are very similar. A large part is dealing with people under stress and pretending you know what to do next,” said Joan with characteristic good sense. “As a police woman I saw some sad things such as the senile, mentally retarded couple who had not been seen for a couple of days. When we broke into their flat we found them in bed.  The woman was cuddling and talking to the old man’s lifeless body and she refused to be parted from him, or to believe that he was dead. The mentally disturbed seemed to gravitate towards me. I also dealt with quite a number of attempted suicides.”

20130906_112445Joan is well-known in policing circles for her history of The British Policewoman: Her Story (published in 1979, 60 years after first police woman joined the Metropolitan Police), as well as campaigning articles and radio programs asking questions such as ‘When would the first female chief constable be appointed?’ Her efforts paid off when Pauline Clare was appointed to run Lancashire’s policing in 1995. Though there’s clearly a way to go as of the 52 chief constables only seven are currently women. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_constable

After finishing as a police woman Joan opted to work part-time on a John Lewis in-house journal to give herself enough time to do her freelance writing.

Early life
Joan was six and had just started school in New Malden, Surrey, when World War Two started. “I remember a test siren and all this panic,” she says. “We moved to my father’s home Barrow-on-Furness and settled there in the middle of the shipyards as people thought the German bombers wouldn’t have enough fuel to get that far. They were wrong and we were bombed to bits. I wasn’t allowed to go to school there because my legs were too short – I just couldn’t run fast enough to reach the bomb shelter in time,” remembers Joan with regret.

“We slept under a steel table but were constantly being dragged out to go to the air raid shelters.  I have a vivid memory of my mother, Ena, screaming for us to get out of bed blending with the scream of a dive bomber…”

The family managed to escape to an aunt’s house in Cartmel in the Lake District – now famous for sticky toffee pudding – and then moved to Tyneside where they were duly bombed again. “I attended 10 schools, but not to grammar school because I failed the entrance exam. After leaving I did various jobs and then went into nursing the same as my mother,” she explains.

Take a break
Joan might have stayed working as a nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead if it hadn’t been for a fantastic birthday present. “My parents gave me a trip to Paris for my 21st. On the way we passed through London where I saw a police woman sheltering in a doorway and thought ‘That’s an idea!’ It wasn’t exactly a vocation, but I wanted to go to London so I joined the Metropolitan police and was posted to West End Central, just behind Regent Street. There were 20 of us women at the station and six hundred men – which was very good for our social life! It’s where I met my husband, Bob. We married when I was 24.”

“My relatives in Alnwick, Northumberland say all their friends are jealous that they can borrow my flat in Islington right at the heart of London. When they are here they like to breakfast at Carluccio’s. I like the egg and chips at the Workers’ Café opposite the Town Hall.”

“My relatives in Alnwick, Northumberland say all their friends are jealous that they can borrow my flat in Islington right at the heart of London. When they are here they like to breakfast at Carluccio’s. I like the egg and chips at the Workers’ Café opposite the Town Hall.”

JOAN LOCK’S LIFE IN ISLINGTON
Q: What do you love doing?

I write for around four hours a day. I go to the RA, Tate and the Mall Gallery exhibitions; play board games with neighbours and I’m a long-time member of Book Circle at Islington Central Library.

Q: Where’s good to eat?
Recent very good finds have been the John Salt in Upper Street with very innovative food, and the Pig and Butcher, Liverpool Road – hate the name but loved the food.

A favourite Turkish is The Gem in Upper Street – nice family place with wonderful lamb (a farmer relative was most impressed!) and it is a very convenient place to meet friends alighting at the Town Hall bus stop.

Q: What about shopping?
I use the shop and drop service at Waitrose, Holloway Road so I don’t have to carry my shopping home.

At The Sampler wine shop in Upper Street you can taste before you buy and get a chance to at least savour wines well above your price range.  Wish it had opened before my husband died – he would have loved it.

Moving to Islington
Joan has lived in London since that birthday trip, moving to Islington in the 1970s. “I’d been to the Tower Theatre with friends and thought Canonbury looked very attractive, so when we had to move out of our police flat near Tottenham Court Road we asked for one of the police flats in Canonbury Park South.” When Bob retired the couple found a Barnsbury Housing Association flat, on the other side of Upper Street, where Joan still lives.

“I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. London is the best city in the world and Islington is perfect – it’s very lively and so near the West End and all my research places:  the British Library; Guildhall and the marvelous London Metropolitan Archives where I found the Princess Alice disaster inquest papers.  The local Coroners who drew attention to Islington baby farming were Dr Thomas Wakeley (founder of The Lancet and MP for Finsbury) and Dr Edwin Lankester who carried on Wakeley’s work by insisting on proper post mortems and inquests for the babies and encouraging murder verdicts.*

While researching in The Islington Gazette about the finding of baby’s bodies behind hedges and railings Joan came across a report on the Police Fete at Alexandra Palace.  “This set me off writing Dead Letters (2003) which is to be the next in the Sergeant Best series to come out in paperback – except that he is now an inspector – a reward for the hard time he had in Dead Born!”

Find out about all Joan’s books and life story at http://www.joanlock.co.uk/ Also see Joan Lock’s amazon page, here http://www.amazon.co.uk/Books/s?ie=UTF8&field-author=Joan%20Lock&page=1&rh=n%3A266239%2Cp_27%3AJoan%20Lock

COMPETITION & BOOK GIVEAWAY: If you would like a FREE copy of Dead Born and/or The Princess Alice Disaster please add a brief comment below stating (1) which book/s you want and (2) whether you knew anything about Islington baby farms or the Princess Alice sinking before reading this interview. (3) You’ll also need to include your email. Names will be picked out of a hat two weeks after this interview is published (so last comp entries will be at midnight on 24 September 2013). Entry only accepted if you have a UK address the books can be posted to.

WORDS*

Islington Vestry – the Vestry criticized by the Islington Gazette would be the Parish Council – similar to today’s Islington Council.

 The Book Circle at Islington Central Library also known as The Central Library Reading Group meets monthly on the penultimate Monday of the month between 6-7.30pm. Meetings are held in the Gallery at the Central Library. New members are always welcome. The next meeting will be on Monday 23 September, and the group will be discussing Bring up the bodies by Hilary Mantel.

Islington baby farming – there was one at College Cross, N1. According to Joan: “Amongst the last of the baby farmers to be hanged (in 1903) were Annie Walters of Danbury Street, N1 – behind Islington Green near the canal and Amelia Sachs of Hertford Road, East Finchley.”

Over to you

If you’d like to feature on this blog, or make a suggestion about anyone who grew up, lives or works in Islington please let me know, via nicolabaird.green@gmail.com. Thank you. 

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

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

If you enjoyed this post you might enjoy the most popular of all islingtonfacesblog posts, Nina Marcangelo from Alfredo’s Cafe on Essex Road which had 800 viewers in a week, 187 views on its 2nd day up and 97 facebook shares.

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