Category Archives: ideas

On Beer: East London’s Burgeoning Beer Mile (and a bit)

The CultureJukebox team are fond of a real ale or two (or three or four…)  So, it’s great to hear about some awesome new breweries opening up close to our home in East London.

In fact, the team here thrilled that some of these new breweries are putting purpose before profit too. Opening up near each other, this new brewing scene is top tribute to a fantastic beer culture that is brewing in our corner of the capital.

So, what’s new?

The Magic Spells Brewery, Leyton

The newest and latest independent Craft Brewery in East London currently produces three bottled beers:  A Craft Lager, a Pale Ale (called Hackney Hare) and an IPA.

Magic Spells’ beers are a somewhere between modern brewing techniques and old styles and methods; taking inspiration from classics and adding a modern twist. The brewery creates distinct flavour profiles for the beers – an up front and bold hoppy flavour, a satisfying bite to the beer, smoothly balanced due to a nice malty body and warming alcohol.

The brewery sources most of the malt used in its beers from the UK plus British hops boosted by punchy flavoured hops from New Zealand and America.

It was founded by Jas Hare, an Eastender born-and-bred, who has a fantastic track record in the drinks industry as well as being a craft beer enthusiast.

Magic Spells Beers are available in both 330ml and 500ml bottles with an RRP of £2.49 and £2.99 respectively. They’re all available online, and in venues around London too.


Nirvana Brewery, Leyton

Another new brewery for 2017, Nirvana does something completely different. A low / no-alcohol brewery – sure a great idea for our increasingly health-conscious times.

It’s the UK’s only micro brewery dedicated to zero and low ABV craft beers. Beers on offer include Mantra (an IPA at 0.7% ABV), Kosmic (a stout at 0% ABV), and Chakra (a stout at 1% ABV). The team at Nirvana promise “no compromises” on flavour, so we’re excited about our first visit!

Pretty Decent Beer

Opening up just down the road in Forest Gate, Pretty Decent Beer Co has just opened its doors.

On Sheridan Road in Forest Gate, near Cann Hall Road, this brewery looks like one to watch. The team promise: “We make decent beer and do decent things with the money you spend drinking it. We brew our beer in London and every bottle helps to fund sustainable water projects around the world.”


The CultureJukebox team hasn’t had chance to visit yet, but this brewery promises to be really superb – we like what we’ve seen on Instagram so far.

And Pretty Decent Beer Co is just a few minutes walk from some of Forest Gate’s best independent venues – The Wanstead Tap for an incredible selection of real ale and provocative programming, Burgess & Hall for beautiful wines; and the quirky and delicious Hawkes cider HQ.


A proper round-up of some of Forest Gate, Leyton and Leytonstone’s best watering holes for this summer is coming soon. Where do you think should be on the list? Send us a Tweet and let us know where we should visit..


On Ideas: The Happy List 2017 Nominations Open

The CultureJukebox team are passionate about finding ideas to make the world a better place. So it was great to receive an press release about this year’s Happy List. And there’s never been a time that an idea like this has been quite so important!

The Independent opened the nominations for its annual Happy List this week, on Monday, marking the International Day Of Happiness.

The concept is now in its ninth year and is a celebration of the 50 people across Britain who enrich our lives. The whole idea is a clear counterpoint to the idea that profit should come before purpose.

Charity workers, fundraisers, mentors, entertainers and those who perform small and large acts of kindness form our collection – and what makes it so special is that they are nominated by members of the public.

What The Independent is looking for is anyone whose motive is increasing our happiness, rather than feathering their own nest. Previous years included a teenager who sold his football memorabilia to help an ill friend, a nun who provided shelter for sex workers, and cousins who saved a man’s hand by preserving it in a bag of frozen Brussels sprouts. Who should be on it this year?

“The current climate of fear, mistrust and negativity means it’s arguably more important than ever to celebrate the inspirational people whose kindness, ingenuity and bravery make the UK a better place to live” ~ Christian Broughton, Editor of The Independent

These volunteers, by their nature, are not generally attention-seekers, so The Independent needs your help to publicise the search for those who deserve to be celebrated in your area.

Anyone can send their suggestions – a including their name, a way to contact you (or them), and the reason why you’re putting them forward – by email to or by writing to: Emma Ledger, Happy List Coordinator, The Independent, Room 121A, First Floor, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry St, London, W8 5HF.

The Happy List is this year sponsored by JustGiving, the social-giving platform. Nominations close at midnight on Friday 28 April 2017. The selected entries will be revealed by The Independent in May. Individuals cannot nominate themselves.

More information is available here.  Enjoy!


On Ideas: The Cambridge Ideas Festival

Was great to receive an email from the Cambridge Ideas Festival – the event returning for its ninth year – tackling the theme of movement.

It tackles some of the most pressing global challenges we face, from migration to human trafficking to Brexit and more.

This year the Festival, which runs from 17 – 30 October, features a number of leading thinkers and innovators, including Fiona Hill, Joint Downing Street Chief of Staff, lead author of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and author of A Modern Response to Modern Slavery Report; Professor of International History David Reynolds; Developer and Founder of Skype, and co-founder of The Future of Life Institute and the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, Jaan Tallin; Europol Director Rob Wainwright; Director of the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime Tuesday Reitano; Director of the UK Intersex Association Dr Jay Hayes-Light; and award-winning Guardian correspondent Luke Harding.

Bookings open at the end of this month, details are on the Facebook page here.

At the heart of this year’s Festival is the theme of ‘movement’, which encompasses some of the great movements in history, technology, art, politics, music and people. The movement of people and in particular migration has been a major topic over the last year, making the headlines of every major newspaper on a daily basis.

“The role of the Festival of Ideas is to challenge people’s thinking and the status quo. With movement and changes across the globe now happening at a dramatic rate, we want to ensure that areas which affect our lives are being properly questioned and explored. A core aim of the Festival is to share with the public, in a two-way process, some of the incredible research and thinking that is happening in Cambridge and beyond across disciplines and institutions. We very much encourage audience participation and their questions. Every year, we welcome thousands of people to hundreds of events, including talks, debates, performances, films and exhibitions. This year, we look forward to doing the same.” ~  this year’s Festival, Coordinator, Malavika Anderson

The Festival sponsors and partners are Cambridge University Press, St John’s College, Anglia Ruskin University, RAND Europe, Microsoft Research, Cambridge Assessment, University of Cambridge Language Centre, Arts Council England, University of Cambridge Museums and Botanic Garden, Cambridge Junction, Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Festival media partner is BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

More information is available here.


On Data: Dress For Our Time explores global migration

Dress For Our Time, by award-winning artist is a unique installation that brings statistics and fashion together to explore one of the world’s most pressing issues – migration.

The installation has been created by designer Helen Storey MBE RDI (London College of Fashion, UAL Centre for Sustainable Fashion). By using innovative technology, the latest data and Helen’s unique voice in fashion, Dress For Our Time delves into the complex matter of human displacement in a pioneering endeavour to change the social narrative of this complex topic. A really impressive idea.

image c/o Holition
image c/o Holition

The dress itself is a decommissioned refugee tent which once housed a refugee family in Jordan and was gifted to the project by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In giving the tent a meaningful reincarnation as a public installation, Dress For Our Time transcends both data and fashion by humanising the numbers to tell a bigger story.

“Worldwide, one in every 113 people on the planet is now either a refugee, internally displaced, or seeking shelter – but numbers means nothing, if they don’t affect your own heart. This project uses the power of fashion to help us connect to the previously unimaginable and asks how each and every one of us can remain a humanitarian in such a time of colossal and irreversible change”. ~ Helen Storey, Professor of Fashion and Science at London College of Fashion, UAL

The UNHCR has logged a record 65.3 million people currently displaced worldwide and 21.3 million refugees.  Dress For Our Time uses the very latest data, representing one year’s worth of UNHCR statistics collected by its Field Information and Coordination Section. This information will be used to visualise the refugee crisis and demonstrate its true human element, through a striking animation that will be projected onto the dress itself using data visualisation developed by Holition. The animation is formed of points of light, each representing one hundred human lives and creatively illustrates the journey each one takes in search of a better life. The lights flow from six points, depicting the continents where the refugees have moved from, before populating the countries in which they find shelter. The image that emerges is not a world map of countries but a map of human migration.


The piece opened to the public earlier this month, and will be on show at The Science Museum until September 4th. For more information click here and follow the hashtag #Dress4OurTime. A powerful, timely and beautifully produced idea.

Our Neighbourhood: Audio Tour And Dance Fusion in Wanstead Park

Imagine a walk in the park where memories float around your ears and dancers animate the landscape… Memento: Wanstead Park is a world premiere – a unique mix of dance, exploration and storytelling taking place in East London this July.

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East London’s spectacular hidden treasure Wanstead Park is the location for a new immersive experience, bringing dance into its wonderfully green open spaces together with a blend of untold stories and dream­like music. Memento: Wanstead Park­ is part of an East London trilogy of the sound walk series by creative producers ScreenDeep.

As a self guided experience wearing headphones, each walk is unique and an alternative way of getting to know a location with Redbridge Council having supported the initiative through their arts grants scheme.


Park stories come alive as locals are interviewed about their connection to this parkland and now dancers interpret moments from the soundtrack in a new, one-­off event. The dance event is free and takes place as part of the 2016 Big Dance week on Sun 10 July with choreographer Hannah Anderson­-Ricketts | Hannah Meraki Dance leading the visual experience.

“Site­-specific work is always an exciting experience as a viewer and choreographer, you never know what random events may happen on the day! This is a great chance to bring dance to the sound experience ­ fusing different art forms to create a unique event” ~ Hannah Anderson­-Ricketts, Hannah Meraki Dance.

The local reverend, the girl who grew up there, the historical enthusiast ­ all kinds of voices guide you through this tucked away green space, once a garden for Wanstead House and its charismatic owner.

“The history and local connections to the park will further come alive through this event. We’re always exploring new ways to make all kinds of places cultural and memorable” ~ Olivia Bellas, ScreenDeep.

The Event is free and lasts 1.5 hours including a walk back to the start point (Wanstead Tube Station). Equipment will be provided, and comfy shoes are recommended. More information is here, and ticket are available from here.

This is a a chance to explore a hidden corner of East London – put on your headphones and switch on your senses.


On Ideas: An Airbnb For Local Farm Tourism

As someone who grew up in rural North Lincolnshire, I was immediately intrigued by this Farmcation idea. It aims to connect the food-curious to local farmers, reducing food miles and (I guess) helping people to eat more healthily.

See below for more details.

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Farmcation is a U.S. born initiative that facilitates a meaningful connection between consumers and the origins of their food by allowing them to meet the individuals who grow it, and the places where its produced.

The founders – Grace Lesser and Caitlyn Toombs – are hoping to combine a contemporary preference for experiences over possessions, by giving farmers the platform to share their knowledge.

The website – check it out here - allows for a both a ‘Guest’ and a ‘Host’ sign up and matches a tick list of interests to the relevant farm. Activities include: farm tours; fruit picking: canning, jamming, pickling and cooking workshops; cheese making classes and farm to table meals.

Grace and Caitlyn hope that their idea will help to foster support for small-scale farmers while connecting an increasingly food curious population with the land. How long before it comes to London we wonder..?