Tag Archives: Interview

12 Questions for Jack

  1. What is your favourite word? I don’t know Factory East. Susanne – my girlfriend.
  2. What’s your least favourite word? Police.
  3. What’s your favourite colour? Lilac.
  4. What colour or material would be suitable to describe you as a person? What colour or material. Yeah I’m a bright man. Yeah my favourite colour is lilac so, and my material would be cotton.
  5. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? I don’t know. Well that’s a difficult to ask me at the moment.
  6. What turns you off?
  7. What is your favourite curse word?
  8. What sound or noise do you love? The sound of an airplane and laughter. Yeah. Laughter.
  9. What sound or noise do you hate? The sound of police sirens coming to get me.
  10. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A psychologist.
  11. What profession would you not like to do? Politician.
  12. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “I’m proud of you Jack.” That’s what I’d like to hear him say to me. Because I do my work. My work is Jesus alive in my life. I don’t preach Jesus to everyone but he has helped me through a lot. Without him supporting me, without me feeling him, I wouldn’t be here today.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing _Jack Ramadan

Do you have an obsession?

Do you have an obsession?
Yes my charity. This. It drives my family mad. For the nearly seven years that I have done this I have never taken a penny out of it, you know, my brothers and sisters and my mom can’t believe that I’m still here doing what I’m doing working 18 hours a day sometimes and sitting here painting floors doing that for everyone, not really doing anything for myself. But this does something for me.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-36TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-88


What’s a miracle you’ve encountered in your life?

What’s a miracle you’ve encountered in your life?
A miracle. That I’m still here now – that’s a miracle. That I’m still here today, the man I am now, having come from the person I was in my younger days. ‘Cause I was the worst kid in the area at one time. I have done a lot of prisons and I suffered a lot. That’s a miracle that I am here now with all the suffering I’ve been through. The positive side now is that I do the thing that I do. To help the kids, to grab them and to change them is a big thing to me.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-68


British, European or Citizen of the World?

Do you feel more British, European or a citizen of the world.
Citizen of the world.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-50And British?
Yeah and British.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-52And you don’t feel European?
Well I don’t know I’ve never looked at myself as a European. I mean my roots are half Turkish, half Irish and my mom and dad met here in the 60s. So you know with it not being a European country I wouldn’t be here now. So it’s the first time I thought of that question and it’s a good one. Yeah I like European I think it’s good.


Britain and the European Union, to stay or to go?

Britain and the European Union, to stay or to go?
I think that they should be on their own. I think every country should be on its own and deal with things like they need to deal with it. It’s like an individual – if one individual can do it, doesn’t mean that the other individual can do it. And it’s the same with countries – if you try to change one country and make it like another one, then it isn’t working. They can see that it isn’t working. There is always arguments amongst one another. You can never trust the politicians. As they say just things to please the masses. I’m a bit switched on. I don’t vote I wouldn’t vote for them I would vote green party. Because I believe they all just say what the people want to hear and as soon as they get in power they do nothing.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-113



London: Love and Hate

What do you love about London?
Everything. It’s a great city. I was born here. I was bred here. I’m proud of it. I love it. I respect it. Not for the fact, you know, that it is a more developed than most countries. TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-27I love London. It’s my home. I love it. I’ve been all over the world. I still missed where I come from.

What do you dislike about London?
The politics. Yeah. But it’s something I have never thought about. I love London. I love my country. I wouldn’t go to war and fight for it, but if it got invaded tomorrow I would be in the resistance.
TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-135


On Politics and Youth Projects

Is there a cross over between your project and politics? Do you get an opportunity to share your opinions with politicians?
No not really. Because with politicians it’s that they are not passionate, meaning that it’s just a statistics thing behind their projects. For example the government right now is opening up 500 schools like this, to support their election campaign, but they are not thinking about doing boxing education or getting people in and running the place and giving them the opportunity of coming to work with us. We on the other hand have already been doing it five years ago. For example with us if a youth played up we won’t phone the police and get him arrested because we would defeat the object of what we wanna do in the first place, which is to keep them away from trouble with the police and then to involve them again would be contradictory.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-114It was on the news the other day where they arrested a youth at one of the government funded projects and it becomes bad publicity because it shows other youths that if they go there you end up having trouble with the police anyway. So people ain’t really gonna go and feel that they are free and that they are happy there because they are walking on egg shells.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-133But again on the positive side we work with the police in the community now. The police are supporting the project that we do. They realize that the community wants this and it’s not going away. They don’t give us anything yet, but it’s in the pipeline we are having meetings and you know hopefully we can build a good relationships with them and they can come and help our kids.


On Camera Community Cohesion (CCC)

What happened with the cameras afterwards?
They would come back and share their footage as there was a lot of history involved when the older people that they interviewed told them about the old days. The war days and so the kids get a respect for where they actually come from and realize they are actually lucky to live in a country like this because you know in some other countries they dont care about anything. So yeah that was a really good project actually and from that project every other youth facility in the borrow started doing the same thing. So I’d like to think that we are a bit in front of the system in the way that we do things. For the system it always takes something bad for them to realize that something is needed. Well, with us we want to change it even if nothing bad happened because we want the community to integrate. So trough the boxing we put on shows, invite people, you give the youths a bit of pride through this as they are somebody and don’t have to smash a window or attack the police to have a trophy or a reputation. Through this we are giving them a different sort of reputation that they can respect and people can respect them for.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-80TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-86TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-62


What is an issue in your community?

What is an issue in your community and how would you go about changing it if you where in a position to do so?
Well, it would be community integration. So everybody knows each other and even if they don’t know each other, to have a place to go to and get to know each other. For example we did a project with the lottery and it was all about community integration. Where basically the old people in the area were scared to go to the shops, some of them would turn around and go home when they saw a gang of kids standing at the corner and they wouldn’t go to the shop. And because we realized this problem we thought we are going to run a project where we would give all these young people cameras and they could go into the stores or the local market and sit and get to know the people and capture their experience. This way they would get to know the area and the people differently that they see everyday. The area they have been in for years and the people they never say hello to because that’s just the way this society made it whereas before everybody knew everybody and you’d always know who it was that was causing trouble and things. This is an important issue to me, community integration, by giving people the chance to meet each other through positive rather than negative things.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-26


The community needs more beneficial support than the development of new buildings

Then during the time we lost the building, we became a registered charity and carried on doing our work from everywhere we could: Talking to kids from gangs in parks and trying to educate them, to do something positive, trying to get them into employment, running projects and so on. In August 2014 there was the three year anniversary oft he London riots, not a very nice anniversary, as we know, but so many kids came to us, asking: ‘What are you going to do for us this year. Are we going on trips or could we go there or there?’ But we did not have any funding or anything so what I did was that I took a group of kids out. We took our cameras with us and we went to loads of different facilities and youth clubs in the area to find out on the day what kind of activities were happening at the different facilities. TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-137But not one, of the six youth clubs we went to had an activity for the kids, even though three years before they had additional millions of pounds to spend after the riots. Between 2011-2014 statistically, the poverty in this country dropped from 6 million to 5 million because many peoples from corporations obviously pumped a lot of money into the system but that was just wasted because after the riots they developed thousands of mentors and thought that this was the way forward to deal with the youth, but.. anyways.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-139So we went in with the cameras and there was nothing happening and we went to local business man telling them our story and how our kids got nothing to do and one business man, who owned the building we are in today said: ‘Okay I have got a space for you that I would like you to move into’. And because he is an East End boy he is well and he understands and said: ‘I love what you do for the kids so I will give you a space where we want you to carry on your projects’. Since then we have had a lot of other companies and a lot of other people supporting us to get us where we are now.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-145


Jack Ramadan — an Introduction

Jack Ramadan is a proper East-Ender, boxer, founder of ‘Factory East Charity‘ and has a great passion for his community. We met him and his girlfriend Susanne in the newly renovated Boxing Club in Bow. It was great to see what a committed community is able to achieve even without significant financial means. During our visit we encountered first hand what the Boxing Club means for the kids in the area, when three teenage boys came storming in. Tacking on the boxing sacks and wanting to share with Jack what has happened to one of the missing boys who crashed on a stolen motorcycle the same day. It is this mix of acceptance, leadership, love and the opportunity to channel energy that appears to fill a void in the local community. There is much more to come as we see it and we hope to see the charity grow and with it community cohesion, social mobility and peace (The Minks).


What is your full name?
Yeah, my name is Jack Ramadan

Who are you?
I am a local man who lives in Tower Hamlets. I am passionate about my community. For the last seven years I have been working hard, trying to make a difference especially in young people’s lives. But when we opened back in the day it wasn’t only young people and their parents in need of help but old people and people with disabilities as well. A lot of people are feeling lonely. We opened up a facility and lots of people came to use it. Even though it was just boxing. We had a music studio as well and a film studio, making a lot of music and film productions, short films, giving kids cameras to go out into the streets to explore and get to see their communities through different eyes.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-7This was another way of integration. In 2008 when we started the project there was a lot of opression in this area, loads of youth clubs were shut down, there was just gangs. Gangs of kids at every street corner doing nothing. Taking drugs, drinking and causing trouble in the area. And I’ve seen this and thought I am going to do something about it. That was in December 2008 that I took on a warehouse on Farefield Road. It was left for 7 years and no one cared about it really. We went in , done it up and spent a lot of time on in. Got lots of support from other business men, individuals and companies which helped opening it.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-24Then three months after opening, a really bad thing happened in the area, where two 17 years olds murdered a grandmother and her 17 year old grand daughter in a flat in Bethnal Green. It was over a drug deal worth 15 Pounds that someone never paid. Pauline, the lady that was killed went to school with my mum so I have known her my entire life so this was a very bad time. As we were three months into operation I realized even more that this area really needed a change, we can’t rely on the police or the government to bring change. So sometimes it’s down to communities to step in and do something for their own community and I had a word with a few people and we decided that this is what we are going to do.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-18From there we had a bit of a difficulty with the building because we, as a community had to manage it all by ourselves. Then when it was done, loads of kids started to come and join us from all over the country to do with the music and lots of these kids were involved in gangs. So the police thought that we was some sort of a gang or whatever and they did not like it because they were not involved and always tried to find something to be able to shut the place down. But we was never doing anything wrong so that never happened.TheMinks_LondonPeopleProject_Factory East Boxing-33But then what happened was, that the building owners wanted to develop the property because from the place you could see the Olympic Stadium. So this was at the time when the olympics was getting built. So everyone at that time just wanted to sell their properties. The owners sold the building to developers which got 550 kids and me chucked out to the streets basically and no one cared about them and aehm.. for four years we carried on working with the kids, doing projects to develop kids. History projects of gangs to let kids know how gangs came about and it’s not only just been a recent thing etc. but actually started in the 18th century in London and that it was worse than today. You know just educating really.


12 Questions for Lois Anderson

  1. What is your favourite word? Mesembryanthemum or so however you say it. Ill get back to you by that. I like play of words though.
  2. What’s your least favourite word? Haha I don’t know.. Do people come up with that? Meaning or actual word.. id be thinking about the exact look of the word as well.The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois Anderson-147
  3. What’s your favourite colour? A slatty blue. White, black, blue.The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois Anderson-151
  4. What colour or material would be suitable to describe you as a person? A grey sandstone, maybe a slate.
  5. What turns you on creatively spiritually emotionally? I guess nothing specific but sometimes a mixture of situation of music and weather and you have an exalted feeling of happiness. But I am actually quiet pragmatic and spiritual, rather cynical person.The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois Anderson-144
  6. What turns you off? Boring films, music, things rather inspired by commerce not talent or actual independent thought. Things that aren’t interesting.
  7. What is your favourite curse word? -
  8. What sound or noise do you love? Radio in the background
  9. What sound or noise do you hate? I guess some loud chinking noises in your ear, the noise of traffic in the background.
  10. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? An economist or something like that.
  11. What profession would you not like to do? Dentistry.
  12. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I don’t think I can stretch myself that far.The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois AndersonThank you Lois for your time and for sharing your life over the month of April.

In 20 years

Where and how will you be living in 20 years from now?
No idea. Maybe here. I don’t have any plans to leave though Iam not sure if I wanna get old in London really. I’d go to Scotland I guess, probably to Glasgow to my home. The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois Anderson-106In my imagination I’d go to the Pyrenees. But I don’t know how that would suppose to work out. I don’t know what sort of stone they have there so that sort of thing. So yeah probably Scotland.

The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois AndersonWe met Lois Anderson in her North London letter carving workshop for an interview.



What is a miracle you have encountered recently?
A miracle. I have been to Lourdes where apparently miracles happen but did not experience anything. I guess I must say that I don’t believe in miracles.The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois AndersonLois Anderson in her North London letter carving studio.




Do you feel yourself more British, more English or more European or a citizen of the world?
Scottish but as a part of Europe. Not just Scottish. But I live in England so I am supposedly a rather selfish Scot in that way one might say. But I think we should all join not separate. Scotland should not be on its own nor should Britain.The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois Anderson


Lois Anderson is a North London letter carver.


The Fumes

What do you dislike about London?
I really don’t like the fumes. I don’t know, people complain about London but actually I don’t know what they are talking about. I think its actually quiet friendly, the transport works fine. But I guess I cycle so I don’t have to drive.TheMinks_London People Project_Photography

We met Lois Anderson when we stayed at her place for two weeks.


Cohesion – a possibility in Stamford Hill?

Do you think cohesion could happen over time with no external influence?
It would be good if there was some sort of a forum. You know we have a ‘rubbish war’ in our street with some people putting their rubbish out the right way and some who don’t do so. That’s the sort of level I am talking about. So I guess a forum could help to speed up cohesion in such regards, as everyone would better understand what the others are doing or not doing. This I guess would be a good thing.The Minks_London_Interviews_Photography-1

Lois Anderson is a North London letter carver.


A need in South Tottenham

Is there a need that should be tackled politically in your community and how would you go about changing it?
I think the first thing that comes to mind is some sort of cohesion in the community as I live in a very diverse community. There is a large Jewish population, lots of eastern European recent immigrants and some cohesion would therefore be a good thing. So everyone would better understand what everyone else wants.EastEnd_Kanals_StepneyGreen-139Not sure how to change it. Possibly schools, educating people but it also just takes time. As people live alongside each other they will learn to understand each other better. Id say one of the problems really is that all the groups are rather separated and don’t have much to do with each other. It is quiet poor where I live. So people first of all try to make a living.The Minks_London People Project_Stamford Hill_CanalsLois Anderson is a North London letter carver living in South Tottenham next to Stamford Hill, the area with the largest Hasidic Jewish population in Europe.



The Art

What do you regard as art?
Not this anyway. Not lettering generally, although there are lots of artists using lettering. It might be work that changes your opinion, lets you see things in a different way or helps you to identify things that you may not have identified otherwise. The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois Anderson The Minks_London_Letter Carver Lois AndersonSomething that will challenge your mind, not just your eye. What we do here is craft. But there are people who take it further. Like Hamilton Finlay, he’s not alive any longer but he used lots of lettering. But he used it to make art rather than what we do, which is decoration and information.

We met Lois Anderson when we rented her upper bedroom in South Tottenham.