Dan Hancox

Welcome Dan Hancox to the Placecloud stable!

Dan is a native Londoner who writes about music, politics, gentrification, cities, protest, public space, food, multicultures, social movements, Spain and more, chiefly for the Guardian and Observer, but also the New York TimesLondon Review of BooksNewsweekViceThe Fader, New StatesmanDazedProspect, Frieze and XXL. He is also the the co-host of the Cursed Objects podcast

Dan’s latest book, Inner City Pressure: The Story of Grime (William Collins, 2018), weaves the explosive story of London’s grime music, and its stunning triumph against the odds, into the history of the 21st-century city, where gentrification, pirate radio, police harassment, riots and tragedy are intertwined in the evolution of this stunning and alien new genre. Pulse Films and Paramount optioned it for TV, and even the New Yorker liked it.

Dan will be publishing 15 viewpoints in June, including:

Crossways Estate, aka ‘The Three Flats’

Iconic 1970s estate in the heart of Bow, home to Dizzee Rascal and Tinchy Stryder; it would later be renovated and rebranded as ‘Bow Cross Estate’ as part of the regeneration and social cleansing of the area.

Rhythm Division

Now a fancy coffee shop, this was for a decade the record shop which was grime’s hub, its meeting point, and host to numerous epochal grime videos. 

Roman Road Market

What Wiley called “the nurturer” of the grime scene, its energetic, working-class culture saw the road and its market achieve iconic status in the 2000s. 

One Canada Square

A love/hate building for the working-class kids who grew up creating grime, so near and yet so far away from neighbouring Bow in Canary Wharf – for some, an inspiration to ‘get out’ of poverty and social deprivation, for others, a reminder of London’s entrenched inequalities.

Shearsmith House

The block where founding father of grime DJ Slimzee was surveilled by the police while setting up pirate station Rinse FM, and then arrested, and given a historic ASBO preventing him entering a building with more than 4 storeys.

The Bow Quarter

A huge private gated estate that in the 19th century was built as a match factory – it was site of the Match Girls’ strike in the 1880s. Also controversially the site of surface-to-air missiles during the 2012 Olympics.

Chrisp Street Youth Club

A famous youth club, host to numerous sparring MC battles in the early grime scene – where the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Wiley and Ruff Sqwad learned their trade.

Langdon Park School

Where Dizzee was mentored by Tim Smith, music teacher, after being thrown out of all of his other lessons – and was introduced to Philip Glass, among other avant-garde composers.

Barbican Centre

Where in 2013 a music night featuring grime artists called Just Jam was mysteriously banned by the police, at the last minute, amidst controversy. Skepta would deliberately return here two years later to film his seminal video for ‘Shutdown’.

Parliament Square

Where, in 2010, thousands of protesters against the tripling of student tuition fees and the cancellation of EMA were kettled by the police, and amidst freezing temperatures, held an impromptu party-slash-riot to songs like Lethal Bizzle’s song ‘POW!’

Deja Vu FM, Waterden Road

The heart of what was, pre-Olympics, known as ‘the wild east’, where Dizzee and Crazy Titch faced off in 2003 in the seminal ‘Conflict DVD’ battle.

Copper Box Arena/Olympic site

Where Dizzee returned to from Miami in 2012, to play at the Olympic Opening Ceremony in his ‘Bow E3’ jacket – and again in 2016, to perform Boy in da Corner in full. The relationship between this Olympic regeneration zone – and its new postcode, E20 – and the pre-existing, mostly poor local community remains highly controversial.

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Placecloud shows you sites of significance through short podcasts ("viewpoints"). We particularly value contributions from academics, writers, artists, certified city guides, and other experts.

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