If you really want to get to know London and its writers, check out Influx Press. Pick up any one of its books and you could find yourself behind a barricade with Hackney squatters, circling east London’s haunted marshes, soaking up all the unreliable stories that gather at the edges of the city or, in the case of one of Influx’s latest books, thrown into the midst of the ‘aggression, bravado and hypermasculinity’ of grime.
With its punchy descriptions of the genre’s most popular tunes, stereotype-busting exploration of black masculinity and cutting interrogation of how the music is represented in the media, ‘Hold Tight’ by Jeffrey Boakye caught our attention and, with that cover, it’ll catch yours too.
Boakye says that grime, which originated in Bow, east London, isn’t just about West End clubs and dimly lit raves. He told Time Out: ‘Grime is essentially a London soundtrack. Politically, the protest and anger so often referenced in grime is the result of urban disenfranchisement, which London so often typifies. The slang, references points, imagery and rags-to-riches energy of grime is rooted in the capital. You just have to consider grime videos, so many of which feature London as backdrop and context, from huge aspirational landmarks like Canary Wharf and The Shard to humble locales such as bus stops and chicken shops.
‘In an important sense, grime can be read as a black male success story. It’s a culture that, in recent years, has established itself as both relevant and commodifiable. “Hold Tight” fundamentally celebrates this, throwing the spotlight on a culture in which young, black men are the tastemakers and authority figures.’
To keep telling stories like this one and continue its support of emerging writers, Influx Press has launched a Kickstarter, with the aim of raising £15,000 by Monday April 24.
As with most Kickstarters, there’s a sliding-scale reward system starting at £6 (which gets you an e-book) and going up to £500, which will get your manuscript edited by Influx editors and founders Gary Budden or Kit Caless and keep your shelves stocked with Influx books until the end of 2017. If your pockets are particularly deep, £1,000 gets you a lifetime subscription plus free entry to Influx events and a cheeky drink on the house at each one.
Pre-order your copy of ‘Hold Tight’ via the Kickstarter now and you’ll get your copy before it hits the shops.
Find out more and donate here.