Emma Warren began documenting influential under-the-radar London venue Total Refreshment Centre for a very simple reason—it was going to close. She decided to make a quick oral history, maybe interviewing ten people, just to make sure the story didn’t slide into total obscurity. 18 months later the venue was still open and her fanzine idea had grown into a book which she published DIY in spring 2019.
The first pressing of 1000 copies sold out within three months. Make Some Space: Tuning Into Total Refreshment Centre was covered extensively and featured on Best Of 2019 lists in Mojo Magazine and Vinyl Factory.
At CTM she’ll be arguing that we need spaces to gather, that low-resource ingenuity is the future, and that TRCs story might help us protect the spaces we have left. She believes that we lack the language to articulate the personal and cultural importance of spaces used for nightlife, and that articulating their importance can act as a protective force. Warren will posit that finding and sharing stories like TRC’s can also link us to a powerful lineage of people and places that have done it before, so that knowledge is shared and built on, rather than being lost.
Emma Warren has been documenting grassroots music culture since she and her friends started Jockey Slut magazine in the mid 1990s. She worked on staff at THE FACE and then spent six years as an editorial mentor on Brixton’s youth-run Live Magazine. She independently published Make Some Space in Spring 2019.