My London: Groove School
Music educators Richie Littler, Simon Parkinson and Damian Byrne introduce Grooveschool: an independent charity striving to do great things for kids in London and beyond.
What’s your favourite area of London?
RL: ‘London has so many cool hangouts. I love being right in the mix in town; over east it’s alive. I’d have to say my favourite area is south as I spend most of my time there.’
SP: ‘Definitely south London is my favourite. Streatham, where I live, for lazy family days, coffees on the high road and rummaging for vinyl in local charity shops.’
DB: ‘I really love the South Bank. There is always an eclectic mix of art and entertainment. It’s also a fantastic place for street food.’
What’s your most vivid London memory?
RL: ‘One of my first memories was living in north-east London as a boy. Cycling around the garden, hit the brake and went straight into a rose bush!’
SP: ‘Nanny Ivy taking me on London adventure days out on red double-decker buses and on a boat to Greenwich down the Thames.’
DB: ‘Going home on a 159 bus from a day trip to the Science Museum in 1981, and being told that the bus would be diverted as riots had broken out in Brixton! Scary when you’re only eight years old!’
What would your perfect London day out involve?
RL: ‘The perfect day would be chilling, taking in some sights, then meeting up with friends and partying.’
SP: ‘Spending time with my wife and daughter, lunch out, record shopping and partying hard with the Groove School boys in the evening.’
DB: ‘Good food with family; absolutely perfect!’
What would your perfect London night out involve?
RL: ‘A perfect London night would have to be a great meal and a fair few drinks with friends and then off to a club with a few of our favourite DJs playing.’
SP: ‘DJing with the Groove School crew, a few too many drinks, partying hard and laughing until dawn.
DB: ‘Going out with close friends to a club or bar, great music and atmosphere that cannot be beaten.’
What makes London unique?
RL: ‘London’s unique on so many levels, but I think it’s the people who continue to pleasantly surprise me, and that’s the main reason I stay.’
SP: ‘The diverse mix of cultures, people and food, and nothing is more than an hour away.’
DB: ‘London is a multicultural city with something on offer for everyone. It’s not as expensive as other capital cities such as Paris! We have a great number of historic sites which attract so many tourists from all over the world. London has a vast and varied night life which is second to none.’
Which season do you most enjoy in London?
RL: ‘Each season has it’s own special aspect to offer. The environment changes with the colours but when the sun’s out in summer, you can’t really beat the vibe it creates.’
SP: ‘Summer nights and winter days. I love it to be bright and dry but don’t mind the cold.’
DB: ‘Definitely summer in the city; the whole atmosphere changes when the sun comes out.’
Where in London do you feel most creative?
RL: ‘I feel most creative at our music workshops, when everything falls into place and it’s a hub of energy.’
SP: ‘At Groove School in Streatham, or whilst DJing in Brixton.’
DB: ‘This changes all the time. I’ve been working on a project in the heart of Soho. And I have found walking through the area extremely inspiring, lots to see and great for people watching.’
Where in London have you never been, but have always wanted to go?
RL: ‘I would have liked to have visited the Tower with the poppies but I didn’t get the chance. Other than that I’m sure there are places I haven’t seen yet but wouldn’t know where they are.’
SP: ‘Portobello Road Market. Never been up early enough!’
DB: ‘St Paul’s Cathedral. I work with architecture every day and it’s a bit of a sin not having visited London’s jewel in the crown.’
Who is your favourite Londoner?
RL: ‘It’s either got to be Del Boy, or Mike Reid, growing up with Only Fools and Horses and Runaround!’
SP: ‘Michael Caine, classic!’
DB: ‘The Radio broadcaster Robert Elms. He is very passionate about London and its past present and future. I always find out something I didn’t know about London listening to Robert’s show.’
What do you think is London’s best kept secret?
RL: ‘One of the best things about London is it’s best kept secrets. At the moment I’d say the POW, Prince of Wales, is pretty cool. Terrace action in downtown Brixton! My favourite place in the summer had to be the beach parties by the river!’
SP: ‘Totally agree: POW and Gordon’s Wine bar – which is not so secret anymore.’
DB: ‘Whitecross Street food market; amazing quality food at very reasonable prices. It’s suprising how many people don’t know about this place.’
Which song, book or film do you think best encapsulates London?
RL: ‘It has to be Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks.’
SP: ‘London Calling by The Clash, or Westend Girls by Pet Shop Boys.’
DB: ‘A song by Light of the World called London Town! Smooth jazz funk that gently takes you on a stroll through the city.’
What do you miss most about London when you’re away?
RL: ‘When I’m away I miss the vastness of it all and that each day feels different.’
SP: ‘The sounds, buzz and hustle and bustle.’
DB: ‘I would say the fact that London is such a diverse place, you realise this more when your away from the city.’
How does London drive you mad?
RL: ‘Slow traffic, crowded tubes and buses.’
SP: ‘Traffic and trains in the morning, and having to get into a late night bar before 11pm.’
DB: ‘Our overcrowded transport system.’
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
RL: ‘Why don’t you have a go at doing music workshops.’
SP: ‘Always sleep on it.’
DB: ‘I love to cook and always wanted to be a chef, until my Uncle advised me about the long hours and terrible pay.’
Where would you go in London to revisit your past?
RL: ‘South-east, as that’s where I spent my late teens and twenties.’
SP: ‘Bagley’s in Kings Cross for old rave nights, or Turnmills for the Heavenly socials nights – sadly both are no longer with us.’
DB: ‘Crystal Palace Park in south London. I spent a lot of happy times there, and often visit the park now. It has also got a great bit of history attached to it.’
Where do you go in London to relax?
RL: ‘Certain pubs and café gardens, and parks.’
SP: ‘Local commons and parks, mystery walks.’
DB: ‘I have found a cold beer on the roof terrace at the Prince of Wales in Brixton to be a great place to relax lately.’
Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
RL: ‘My parents with their love and support.’
SP: ‘My Dad succeeds in everything he put his mind to.’
What would you recommend everyone in London do at least once?
RL: ‘Everyone should go at least once through town at the front on the top deck of a bus.’
SP: ‘Climb the steps of the Monument, go down the Thames on the Clipper to Greenwich and meet the operator of the lift to the tunnel under the Thames.’
DB: ‘Take a trip on the Thames Clipper river bus service in the summer. It’s a great way to see London.’
What projects do you have in the pipeline?
RL: ‘I’ve got more detailed music workshops coming up. We’re spending time experimenting with new technologies sent through to us.’
SP: ‘Teaching my daughter to mix. There’s plenty of time she’s only 10 months!’
DB: ‘With Groove School we are looking forward to taking the kids to Fabric nightclub.’
RL: ‘When you see the fruits of your labour take on a life of its own.’
SP: ‘Family and Groove School.’
DB: ‘A place where the music is playing, the sun is shining and everyone is smiling.’
Groove School and We Love Vinyl present The Big One with Terry Francis, Nathan Coles, Sam Russo + many more DJs on Friday 5 December at:
The Prince of Wales
467- 469 Brixton Road
Tickets available from:
For more information about the charity please visit. grooveschool.org and justgiving.com/grooveschool/.