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Amy Smith

Amy Smith

Amy is former deputy Music & Nightlife editor at Time Out London. Her boxing entrance song would be ‘Simon Says’ by Pharoahe Monch.

Articles (44)

The 40 best pop songs of all time

The 40 best pop songs of all time

For this updated rundown of the best pop songs of all time, we’ve recalibrated the canon and focused solely on 21st-century hits. Yes, really: the 40 songs on this list were all released between 2000 and 2021. We've excluded straight-up rock, alternative (whatever that means), and hip hop bangers and focused instead on radio-friendly popular songs that even the stodgiest music snob will sing along if nobody’s looking.  These are the buzzy, zeitgeisty songs that no millennial or Gen Z music fan can get enough of; each one proudly carries on the pop tradition laid out by Motown, MJ and Madge. And once they reach a certain age, they’ll fit snugly on a ‘best songs of all time’ playlist alongside the likes of The Beatles and The Supremes. These are the 21st-century pop songs that stand tall among the greatest of all time.  Listen to these songs on Amazon Music RECOMMENDED:🎉 The best party songs ever made🎸 The best classic rock songs🎤 The best karaoke songs🎶 The best ’80s songs🎵 The best ’90s songs

The 50 best Beatles songs

The 50 best Beatles songs

The Beatles parted ways way back in 1969, but the band never for a second left the pop-culture conversation, their legacy cemented by a catalogue of timeless hits and a neverending debate about which are the best Beatles songs. The Fab Four altered the very DNA of pop music. They introduced the mainstream to cheeky Britishisms, shaggy hair and psychedelia. They went from boy band to experimental musicians, fads to film stars. Now – 60 years past the British Invasion – Beatlemania is once again percolating thanks to Peter Jackson’s buzzy six-part Disney+ documentary, Get Back.  John, Paul, George and Ringo penned some of the greatest songs in modern music during their eight years together, but let’s be honest – not all Beatles tunes are equal. There are genuine masterpieces in their discography. There are also many, many songs about dessert foods, sea creatures and whatever popped into Paul’s brain during his afternoon doobie. Still, even the most basic Beatles number is worth a listen. Which makes ranking the 50 best Beatles songs particularly difficult. In polling the biggest Beatlemaniacs on our roster, we discovered, unsurprisingly, love for every era of Beatledom, from the gruffer Hamburg days to the Ravi Shankar era. As such, you’ll definitely find some favourites missing here (no songs about the sun made the cut, and poor Ringo got left out entirely). But you’ll also find the best of the world’s most influential band. Your preferences may vary, but these are undeniably

The 24 best weed songs ever

The 24 best weed songs ever

Weed, pot, herb, bud, dope, skunk, hash, ganja, marijuana, indo, cheeba, chronic, dank, spliff… it's been celebrated for hundreds of years, under hundreds of names. No wonder hundreds of musicians have written songs in its illicit honour too. From reefer-puffing jazz pianists through red-eyed rockers and ripped rappers, right up to the bong-toking skate-punks of the 2010s, weed's been the catalsyt for all sorts of great music. We're not advocating drug use, obviously, but if you are getting blazed on 4/20 (a day traditionally associated with getting mellow) here's your ideal soundtrack. Did we miss out your favourite? Let us know in the comments box below or tweet us at @TimeOutMusic.

LGBT landmarks in London

LGBT landmarks in London

Did you know that Princess Diana spent a night clubbing with a gay icon at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern? Or that Highbury Fields hosted the first gay rights protest? Take a tour of the key points in the historic battle for equal rights and the current hot spots that celebrate queer culture.

Music festivals calendar: June

Music festivals calendar: June

June’s here, so make sure you’ve got your summer music festival tickets booked and ready to go. June 2019 is a big month for UK and London festivals, even with Glastonbury taking a year off. There are tons of festivals to get to, like Field Day and metal mecca Download all jostling for position on the summer festival circuit. But if you’re still undecided there are heaps more upcoming summer music festivals in store for July, August and September.  RECOMMENDED: More UK and London music festivals.

Music festivals calendar: May

Music festivals calendar: May

It’s May and the summer music festival season is just around the corner, so get your spring 2019 festival hat on with our comprehensive calendar of some of this month’s biggest and best UK and London festivals. Choose from Brighton’s The Great Escape or keep it local with We Are FSTVL. And if you want to be really organised, check out upcoming festivals in June, July, August and September with our full 2019 festival calendar. RECOMMENDED: More UK and London music festivals.

Tune in to Foundation FM, the Peckham-based station putting women first

Tune in to Foundation FM, the Peckham-based station putting women first

It turns out that if you launch a new radio station in 2018, one of the many challenges is finding the best place to hang a neon logo for Instagram. So when I meet them, the three women behind soon-to-launch Foundation FM are standing in an empty room in Peckham Levels, considering the blank white walls. Becky Richardson, Ami Bennett and Frankie Wells have just two weeks to transform this empty space in a former multi-storey car park into a fully functioning studio and office. And while the neon logo is still to be hung, one key part of their remit is already sorted: their rock-solid roster of DJs, many female. Foundation FM wants to be the station to champion female talent and nurture role models for every girl on the school bus dreaming up perfect mixes. The founders met professionally. Bennett was a producer on Radio 1 and 1Xtra, Richardson is a national radio plugger and Wells was night producer at Radar Radio. Six months ago, they decided to join forces to create an antidote to sexist attitudes in the industry. ‘For us, radio is still a very male-dominated place,’ says Bennett.  ‘This is an opportunity for us to put women at the forefront at every turn. That’s not to say that this is female-only, it’s absolutely not about that. But this [station] will definitely be female-led. I think that’s important because, certainly from my early experiences in the radio industry, sometimes it feels as though the men do all the decision-making and then the women go and get everythin

Late-night bars and clubs on the Northern line

Late-night bars and clubs on the Northern line

The Northern line – birthplace of the 'mind the gap' warning – is now part of the growing Night Tube network, well, the Charing Cross branch of the line at least. We've gathered together those late night cocktail bars, clubs, secret hideaway nooks and pubs all within walking distance of open stations, warm tube carriages and a quick route home. RECOMMENDED: Find out all you need to know about the night tube in London

We went on the hunt for ‘GlastoWolf’

We went on the hunt for ‘GlastoWolf’

I think it was in 2002 when I first spotted it: a bright yellow flag off to the side of Glastonbury’s Pyramid stage, emblazoned with a wolf face – the emblem of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC. Whenever it was, it was definitely ahead of its time. Back then, that lone wolf cut a unique dash. Now, it’s a miracle the Beeb can film through the billowing throng of flaggage. Still, as mates have attested over the years, watch closely through any headline set and you’ll still see the wolf in amongst the pack. As Glastonbury approached this year, I had to get to the bottom of this, well, flagpole. The only clues online were a few football fan forums, from Wolves supporters who rightly regarded the self-styled ‘GlastoWolf’ as a bit of a legend. I left messages on blogs and tweeted the @Glastowolf account. But as it hadn’t posted anything since 2015, I wasn’t hopeful. That was until, months later, a project manager from Bristol called – wait for it – John Holding wrote back... So how did you get into this flag-holding game? ‘It was 1997, so before mobile phones. If someone went for a beer or needed the loo, how would everyone meet up again? Even now, people’s phone batteries run out – then you’re stood with 80,000 other people and can’t find anyone. So, flag technology has stood the test of time!’ How did the crowd respond that first time? ‘Everybody and anybody was meeting under the flag. If we wanted to move, a stream of people would protest – they had also made plans according to the fl

This Father's Day, let's consider music's hottest DILFs

This Father's Day, let's consider music's hottest DILFs

Even though the whole notion of a DILF is, y'know, kinda stoopid, there's a reason we're flagging up a few fit father's this Papa's Day... Very few paternal role models exist in public life right now. In contrast to celebrity motherhood – where whole strands of the media obsess over, for example, pregnancy (or lack of it), celebri-dads are rarely mentioned. Why is that? Well on the one hand, it’s true that dads in music shy away from talking about daddy issues, for fear of being seen as old, less sexy, less trendy. Music is a fickle beast, after all. But it also doesn’t help that society largely equates dads with shit jokes and even shitter dancing. Whether labelling dads in music as DILFs helpful, we really don’t know. But at least we’re having a go. Happy Father’s day everyone – and now, cop a load of these musical DILFs… Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock Donald Glover He’s a true renaissance man (writer, actor, singer, rapper) with attributes galore – including the fact that he’s a certified 24-carat DILF. Glover recently put the child into Childish Gambino with the birth of his son, Legend. Seriously, that’s his name. Legend. Suzi Pratt/Getty Chance The Rapper Cute as a button and wildly talented, this 24-year-old rapper is succeeding at life right now. Chance hasn’t just won three Grammy awards this year – he’s also won Instagram by posting adorable shots of him and his baby girl, Kensli, hanging out. J Stone/Shutterstock Two fifths of One Direction Liam Payne joined Louis

Your ultimate guide to Field Day 2017

Your ultimate guide to Field Day 2017

East London braces itself for a day of cutting-edge music as Field Day brings the best new bands and some veterans of alternative music to Victoria Park on June 3.   Here’s our 10-hour dash through Field Day – follow us for maximum festival fun. Noon Good morning! Those people who set their alarms early, or just didn’t go to bed, will be rewarded with boisterous wavy bass from producer Tom Demac on the Bugged Out! stage. 1.30pm And if you’re still wiping sleep dust from your eyes, get transported to a sumptuous sci-fi frontier of bleeps with LA composer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith at the Resident Advisor stage. 1.45pm For some spiritual jazz and majestic horns head to the Moth Club stage: you can’t go wrong with the sprawling joy of cult ’70s band Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids. 2.20pm Next, find a spot at the RA stage and get comfortable. First up is Abra’s excellent dark and moody R&B then Forest Swords’ sampling brilliance. If you need to dance, sexy stomping glam rockers HMLTD will be hurling punky glitter mayhem all over the Crack Magazine stage. 3pm Have a toilet break or a sit-down. It’s important to pace yourself. 4.25pm Buy the first of many churro cups and prepare for full-on feelings as Croydon rapper Loyle Carner takes to the Eat Your Own Ears stage to woo all with his chilled yet eloquent hip hop. 4.50pm Head bang all that emotion away with the live riot of Death Grips. Feel the full force of their screaming, jagged riffs and MC Ride’s bristling noise rap at the Crack s

May bank holiday parties

May bank holiday parties

Skip, bounce and bogle into the new season with our round-up of the long weekend’s best club nights from Friday May 27 to Sunday May 29 2017. If you feel a sudden spring in your step, you could go for a full three-day bender. Just make sure you plan for a very quiet Tuesday. RECOMMENDED: Your guide to the May bank holiday in London

Listings and reviews (1)

The Nest Collective’s Campfire Club

The Nest Collective’s Campfire Club

Folk and flames is one of those magical combinations that just makes sense, like ham and cheese, and it's why Campfire Club is such a winning formula. The night I cosied up by the fire, we were introduced to a secret location that is well worth the ticket price itself: a magical collection of sheds and woodburners nestled around the back of Bow tube station. Yes, there was the typical folk crowd, a sea of bobblehats and top knots gathered under strings of fairy lights and homespun bunting. But don't get put off thinking it's only for chin-stroking folk aficianados – the vibe is really friendly and welcoming. This latest series of outdoor gigs comes courtesy of the Nest Collective, folk lovers who have built up a strong reputation over the last decade, running nights at venues all over London and festivals further afield, which means you can expect artists at the top of their game. I was treated to The Rheingans Sisters, recent winners of best original song at the BBC Folk Awards, and also the rare chance of seeing a stripped back, more melancholy side to klezmer band Tantz before they bounce UK festivals this summer. The Rheingans girls are the epitome of winsome, smoked folk. Daughters of a fiddle maker, they pull on fingerless gloves to keep warm in the chill of London springtime. All evening planes thunder across the sky just to remind us we are slap bang in the city (and directly under a flight path). Toes are a’tapping and bobble hats are, erm, bobbing. It would take the

News (107)

Drop into Look Up, Stoke Newington’s pop-up record and bookshop curated by Gilles Peterson

Drop into Look Up, Stoke Newington’s pop-up record and bookshop curated by Gilles Peterson

Legendary London DJ Gilles Peterson is curating a pop-up record and bookshop this week to raise money for mental health charity Safaplace. And he’s recruited music luminaries including drum ’n’ bass icon Goldie and trip hop veteran James Lavelle to join him there for informal interviews. For one week, Stoke Newington’s Edwards Lane Gallery will be transformed into the community-focused pop-up Look Up. ‘As a longtime resident of Stoke Newington, it’s an honour for me to curate this space for the week,’ Peterson says. ‘It enables me to choose some of my favourite recent records and books. I’m also keen to talk to some of the guests and hear their stories, and discuss music with people who I respect. The 6Music DJ has been a vocal supporter of local charity Safaplace, which was set up after two Stoke Newington schoolchildren tragically took their own lives in 2016-17. All proceeds from the pop-up store and  ticket sales will go to Safaplace. Other informal interviews at Look Up include ‘Popworld’ presenter Miquita Oliver chatting with revered art duo The Connor Brothers. Peterson says the aim at each session is to speak freely about mental health. ‘It’s a terrific space to discuss art, literature and music with some of the most important figures on the scene – all based around the issue of young people and mental health and how they can positively overcome these issues,’ he explains. View this post on Instagram Preparation is well underway. Look Up opens tomorrow

Stefflon Don interview: Meet the east London rapper taking over the world

Stefflon Don interview: Meet the east London rapper taking over the world

Stefflon Don is the Clapton rapper whose teenage dreams of global domination are actually coming true. You’ll know her from ‘Hurtin’ Me’,  a smash collab with NYC rapper French Montana that’s racked up 100 million YouTube views. But that classy slice of dancehall-pop shows just one side of Steff. She can also hop between trap and grime, her bold bars switching seamlessly between an unmistakeable east London snarl and a punching patois. Born in Birmingham to Jamaican parents, Steff (real name Stephanie Allen) spent her childhood in Rotterdam before settling in Hackney aged 14. As a teenager, she worked as a cake decorator to fund studio time where she’d spit over grime tracks, looking to legendary ’90s rappers Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown for inspiration. She first snatched attention by jumping on a remix of Section Boyz’s breakout hit ‘Lock Arff’ back in 2015. Then her own track ‘Real Ting’ sealed the deal. When she boasted in it that labels were chasing her, she wasn’t exaggerating: Steff has since landed a seven-figure record deal. Now, it looks as though she’s about to crack the lucrative US market. This year she became the first ever UK artist (and the only woman this year) to be included in XXL’s prestigious Freshman Class, a list of hip hop’s next gen. When we meet at her central London studio, she arrives looking shoot-ready: flawless make-up, poker-straight Barbie-pink hair, Gucci accessories and a massive silver chain showing the numbers from her record label 54 London

45 years of Pride: LGBT+ Londoners chat dating, culture, clubbing and activism through the decades

45 years of Pride: LGBT+ Londoners chat dating, culture, clubbing and activism through the decades

This year marks 45 years of Pride. To celebrate we brought together different generations of LGBT+ Londoners to chat about dating, clubbing, activism, culture and erotica over the decades. ‘We thought our story would die with us’  Andy Parsons   Jonathan Blake, 67, was a founder of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM), the ’80s group immortalised in the 2014 film ‘Pride’. He meets Savva Smirnov, 26, a member of Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants, a protest group modelled on the original group. This is the first time they’ve met Savva: ‘In the film “Pride” there’s a sense that gay people in London almost whimsically decided to join LGSM. What was actually going on?’ Jonathan: ‘It was a political time, Margaret Thatcher had galvanised everybody into activity! And there was always going to be support for the miners. It was a no-brainer.’ Savva: ‘Outside of LGSM, were other people trying to support the miners?’ Jonathan: ‘Oh yeah, but this was specifically lesbians and gay men and we wanted to be upfront. There were all kinds of difficulties because the National Union of Miners didn’t want to touch us. You have to remember it was the start of HIV.’ Savva: ‘Why did you get involved?’ Jonathan: ‘I had just been diagnosed as HIV+ in October 1982. In the December I tried to commit suicide and didn’t succeed, so I thought “If I can’t kill myself I better get out and do something”.’ Savva: ‘Wow.’ Jonathan: ‘I got my strength together, arrived in Marchmont Street outside Ga

7 ways to sing your heart out in London this week

7 ways to sing your heart out in London this week

Fancy grabbing a mic and performing for an adoring crowd without the fuss of thinking up a band name? Face your fears at one of London’s great karaoke or mass singalong nights 1 Gotta Sing! This established musical theatre night draws all the West End wannabes down below the Phoenix Theatre for a post-show performance. Whether it’s heart-wrenching Sondheim, classic Cole Porter or anthemic satire from ‘Hamilton’, with a West End musical director on the keys you’re bound to feel like it’s opening night at the Palladium. Good seats are limited so go early to secure a spot and your moment in the spotlight. Phoenix Artist Club. Tube: Tottenham Court Rd. Thu Aug 9. Register for free in advance for guestlist entry. 2 Phantom Limb Celebrate the South-east and East Asian origins of karaoke with this one-off party thrown by artists exploring the experiences of the Korean diaspora. There will be a humongous choice of tracks, including 27,600 songs in Korean, 4,300 in English, 2,000 in Chinese and 3,500 in Japanese. If you’re feeling a bit shy, you can always grab one of the tambourines and down a few soju bombs – a shot of the traditional Korean spirit dropped into a pint. Jihwaja. Tube: Vauxhall. Thu Aug 9. Free, register in advance. CherrYO!kie 3 Karaoke Hole London’s newest karaoke bar has certainly lived up to the hype. Not only are there disco balls and wind machines surrounding the stage but the hosts are a crack squad of drag starlets. Join for the evening session, or a late-ni

Kurupt FM's guide to raving in London in the '00s

Kurupt FM's guide to raving in London in the '00s

Kurupt FM give us their personal highlights of raving in London in the noughties Having a party on the bus in the daytime ‘You see the vibe you get on night buses, yeah? That’s what daytime buses were like back then. People were Bluetoothing tunes on their Nokia phones, playing them at the back of buses, MC-ing. You’d see all the people on the bus turning around, tutting along to the beat. And sometimes, out of politeness, they would clear the top deck, just to let you have a rave-up.’ Collecting flyers so it looked like you’d been to actual raves ‘Record shops was a big part of London culture back then. (For any young people reading this, a record is like a CD but heavier.) Most of the time you wouldn’t actually buy any records. What you would do, though, is take all the flyers to put up in your room. People would come round the house and they’d be like :“Rah, did you go to all those raves?” ’   Getting your wardrobe right ‘Every genre of music has its own clothes. Steves started on the gabber scene, so he used to wear the kind of neo-Nazi bomber jackets all these racist people like. But then the garage scene was a bit more smart: your Moschino, your Ben Sherman and your Reebok Classics.’ Trying to get into superclubs ‘Beats wore his dad’s suit to get into Ministry once – he looked like he was going for a job interview at a call centre.’   Hanging around in the venue toilets ‘Garage crews Heartless and Pay As You Go had this mighty rave at a club called Destiny’s in Watford

'We are the Brentford Beatles': Time Out meets Kurupt FM

'We are the Brentford Beatles': Time Out meets Kurupt FM

  Kurupt FM is the (fake) pirate radio station capturing the nation’s hearts. Now they’re releasing a (real) mixtape they found in an Umbro bag. Amy Smith meets them. Photography Andy Parsons Chabuddy G is standing in Time Out’s reception with one cowboy boot up on the desk. He adjusts his tinted sunglasses, smooths down his leopard print shirt and starts thrusting his hips towards a globe held, spinning, at crotch level. It is, quite simply, the most erotic thing that has ever happened at Time Out. And, more importantly, it’s a symbol for what’s happened to Kurupt FM in the last few years. ‘I’m fucking the world,’ says Chabuddy and he’s not wrong. The lads from Brentford’s most famous fictional pirate radio station truly are fucking the world right now. To some metaphorical slow jams. Chabuddy G, DJ Beats, MC Grindah and DJ Steves have come a long way since they started broadcasting from Steves’s nan’s house back in 2001. Not physically – her house is still Kurupt HQ – but Chabuddy now gets two-for-one cocktails at his local Yates’s and the boys are about to release ‘The Lost Tape’. It’s a mixtape of grime, garage and Kurupt originals that they recorded back in the day and recently rediscovered in an Umbro bag at Beats’s mum’s house. Today, though, they’re taking over Time Out, and it’s fucking chaos. During the five hours the boys have been in our headquarters they’ve broken into the CEO’s office (please don’t fire me) and Facetimed our sales team’s mates. They infect every

A brief history of women in music with dildos

A brief history of women in music with dildos

Björk has just delivered your new favourite image of the week. The awesome, eyebrow-raising artwork for her new album, ‘Utopia’ (out November 4), has just dropped. In one shot, she’s pictured looking customarily amazing with a pearlescent vagina on her forehead (below). In another, she’s pictured chilling out, playing a recorder and casually rocking a shiny claret dildo.   The timing was sublime for us here at Time Out. Just last week, Grace Jones told us she was still working on her promise to ‘fuck every guy in the ass’. Which obviously got us thinking, how many other musicians have strapped up and strapped on over the years. Worry not, we’ve done the legwork (or should that be pegwork?). Nicki MinajOur Nicki has always loved attention-grabbing outfits. Back in 2011, Minaj pulled on her own, erm, anaconda – whipping out a dildo during her ‘I Am Music’ tour. It actually, sort of, makes sense with the glittering ’60s intergalactic space vixen jumpsuit she was wearing. That same year, Minaj attended the VMA’s draped in a different type of toy – a giant cat-eared giraffe doll. Aww. Miley Cyrus Miley has always been chasing Nicki Minaj’s steam, so it should be no surprise that in 2015 for her Dead Pets tour, she dressed as a topless unicorn complete with a ridiculously large strap-on that not only had light-up balls, but was also bigger than her horn. Peaches To be honest, if outrageous performance artist Peaches isn’t swinging a dildo, something must be up. The electro-punk rap

Big festival news: All Points East is coming next year with The xx and The National in tow

Big festival news: All Points East is coming next year with The xx and The National in tow

It might feel like you’re only just shaking off the glitter of a most excellent summer of festivals in the capital but steady yourself: news has arrived of a new ten-day music behemoth hitting London next year. All Points East will take over Victoria Park in Hackney from May 25-June 3 2018. The festival kicks off with a three-day bank holiday weekender and we can announce Wandsworth’s finest The xx as the first headline act. Everyone’s favourite trio of electronic heartbreakers will play the main stage on Saturday May 26. It’s been quite a year for the band, who enjoyed a record-breaking sold out, seven-day stint at Brixton Academy this year. They'll be supported by Popcaan and Lykke Li. We can also confirm that those masters of melancholy The National will play Victoria Park on June 2 – as part of three standalone headline shows that close the ten-day run. In fact, expect hours of feelings that day, as support comes from majestic rockers The War On Drugs, plus intense synth-poppers Future Islands, sparky shoegazers Warpaint and garage rockers The Districts. Warpaint © Robin Laananen       Further details are still hotly guarded at this point but we expect great things as the team behind All Points East, who previously worked on the huge British Summer Time gigs, have made the bold promise to deliver the best ever sound quality to ring across Victoria Park. Vicky Park is no stranger to parties, of course. It has become a treasured outdoor music venue over the last 40 years

Deaflympics striker Coco Victoria Briden: ‘Being deaf makes us better players because we have to be so alert’

Deaflympics striker Coco Victoria Briden: ‘Being deaf makes us better players because we have to be so alert’

More Londoners than ever are working out – and it’s not all about beach bods and muscle gains. Amy Smith hears inspiring stories from exercise evangelists. Portraits Andy Parsons Coco Victoria Briden, 26, plays midfield for Hackney Women’s Football Club. She is also playing for Great Britain as a striker in the Deaflympics this month. ‘Sport makes me feel good. Living in London can be lonely: it’s a big place and it can be hard. The Hackney club is like a family, everyone is so welcoming. ‘I’ve played football since I was six, just with boys in the street and the park. I had a friend, Sarah, who I’d known since I was born, and we did everything together. Football was our thing: we would travel together, play together. She died at 19 and I just stopped playing. A few years passed and I realised I could play in her memory. ‘I used to be a size 18. It has taken me a long time to get to the shape I am; in the last two years my weight has dropped massively. Now I’m toned and the definition is starting to show; with the Deaflympics, I’m exercising like a maniac! Playing for Great Britain, I have to keep fit and when the season is on, I’m playing a match and training once a week as well as hitting the gym three or four times a week. ‘The deaf community is so close and enriching. We have a unique language, so when everyone gets together we can always understand each other, even when we’re from different countries. There’s no community like it. I think it makes us better football play

How watching ‘Whip It’ inspired Alix Nardella (aka Wiley Minogue) to join a roller derby team

How watching ‘Whip It’ inspired Alix Nardella (aka Wiley Minogue) to join a roller derby team

More Londoners than ever are working out – and it’s not all about beach bods and muscle gains. Amy Smith hears inspiring stories from exercise evangelists. Portraits Andy Parsons  Alix Nardella (also known as Wiley Minogue), 28, performs as a star jammer for the London Rockin’ Rollers, a roller derby team celebrating their tenth anniversary this year. ‘I got into roller derby after seeing “Whip It” when I was a teenager. You hear of so many people who got into it because of that film! When I moved to London from Australia, I signed up for the London Rockin’ Rollers’ “fresh meat” course. ‘I was originally going to use the name “Dame Judi Hench”, but I’m quite small and not particularly hench. Being Australian, it kind of made sense to be called “Wiley Minogue”. ‘I work in hospitality, so there’s a lot of late nights. I hadn’t found anything I was passionate about enough to get up early for, but then I fell in love with roller derby. Now I train twice a week and go to the gym: there are so many squats in my life now! I train as a jammer: the jammer is the person who has to duck and weave to get the points. ‘My previous self would not believe I’m going to gym and training six hours a week. I’ve changed my diet, I’ve quit smoking… all sorts of things. We are told to stand in the middle of the tube carriage and not hold on to anything to improve our core strength. Rush hour is a great chance to practise running and ducking. ‘I definitely feel a lot happier now. I’ve never been par

How professional hooper Symoné ended up choreographing a routine for ‘Cheerleader’ singer OMI

How professional hooper Symoné ended up choreographing a routine for ‘Cheerleader’ singer OMI

More Londoners than ever are working out – and it’s not all about beach bods and muscle gains. Amy Smith hears inspiring stories from exercise evangelists. Portraits Andy Parsons Symoné (Rachel Brown), 24, is a Tottenham hoop, vogue and dancehall instructor-performer. She discovered the joy of hooping six years ago. ‘I was always one of those girls who pretended she didn’t want to do running at school but secretly did want to. The hooping started six years ago. I came across it randomly at a party and was mesmerised. I was someone who felt they couldn’t achieve, but at that party my mindset completely changed. I went home and searched for tutorials online. That first year, I went to Toys R Us and got a children’s hoop, which is such a no-no! ‘I definitely get inspired by how other people dance, in the club or in my classes. I love to see how people use their bodies, because everyone moves differently. Last year, I was asked to make a soca hooping routine for OMI [the man behind massive hit ‘Cheerleader’] at a pre-carnival concert in Trinidad and Tobago. It was amazing! And I realised just how well dancehall and hooping go because both include a lot of squats and wining of the waist. ‘I tend to rehearse routines on the tube, which can look absolutely ridiculous! I also train without the hoops in parks around London, at the gym and at home. I’ll do handstands, squats and planks – planks are my absolute favourite! Hooping tones the whole body and you can hoop from knee to chest,

How a London boxing club founder is using exercise to help the homeless and tackle mental health

How a London boxing club founder is using exercise to help the homeless and tackle mental health

More Londoners than ever are working out – and it’s not all about beach bods and muscle gains. Amy Smith hears inspiring stories from exercise evangelists. Portraits Andy Parsons Sam Hadfield, 54, has been a boxing coach for more than 20 years. Sam’s battle with depression inspired him to set up Caris Boxing Club for Young Homeless People, which has provided free boxing coaching since 2011. ‘I come from a family of boxers – my brothers all boxed. I trained in loads of clubs but I used to struggle; I couldn’t do the discipline. In those days people didn’t know about ADHD. ‘Right now, I’m training a lot of people with mental health problems. This one lad hadn’t been out of the house for 20 years, and if you saw this fella now, you wouldn’t believe it. I go to his house twice a week and he comes down to the club on Sunday. I’ve got this other boy with autism and he’s loving it. Coaching works in different ways. The most important thing is you do a bit of exercise and get motivated. ‘I still have bad days with my depression, but what I tend to do is cry for others now: I feel for other people. The club is about me keeping busy, it’s my medication. It started with me volunteering at a homeless shelter for under-21s in Islington. One night I brought down some boxing gloves and pads, and that’s how the idea came to me. It was an accident really, and now we take referrals from all over London. Lots of these lads and girls are like family. They come round to mine for dinner. Some of t