In the mid 90s a large church in Kentish was occupied by a loose affiliation of people from the Rainbow Tribe to form the Rainbow Centre. I had dropped out of university and was spending my days depressed in a psychiatric day hospital in Archway. I was pretty isolated especially as all my school friends and university friends were away at college. I went to a club night ‘Club Alien’ at the Rocket on the Holloway Rd., picked up a flyer for a celebration of Bob Marley’s birthday at the Rainbow Centre, went to that and then got involved. There were at least weekly music jam sessions; Eliot then formed a band ‘Sounds Anonymous’ and we gigged at the centre and round and about.The Rainbow Centre was incredibly important for me at that stage, it gave my life purpose, re-politicised me, connected me with many musicians and created a social network. The track that was placed was a quick collaboration between myself and Eliot looking back to the vibe at the time.The Rainbow Centre is now occupied by an evangelical church. Looking around it is amazing that roughly 15 years later there are still signs of the times on the building including a CND sign, a yin yang and a pointer to the creative space.
On the bus on the way down to the old centre I was wondering what was my motivation for placing the sound system and I rested on giving thanks. The relatively quiet street in Kentish town had suddenly come to life with police, a street sweeper and work men unloading a truck. It suddenly felt like London was paying attention to what I was doing for the first time in a long time. Or was it just me really paying attention to the spirit of the city? I went to pick up a coffee to give the area a chance to calm down a bit and for me to get up my nerve. When I switched the sound system on and played the CD at maximum it was clear that the volume was not going to cut it on a London street during the middle of the day with the traffic to consider. The track was not going to make much impact on the passers-by but I pressed play, walked away and did not look back. When I stood up the release however was immediate and physical, I was not aware that I was carrying so much emotion from the Rainbow Centre but the SSM project was demonstrating otherwise.
The exact spot
Rainbow Centre 2011
Rainbow Centre mid 90s