Why It Matters: ‘radical feminist choir’ Gaggle open a shop in New Cross

We’ve provoked some strong reactions – like the man at the front of the NME stage at Leeds shouting ‘gash’ …

We’ve provoked some strong reactions – like the man at the front of the NME stage at Leeds shouting ‘gash’ repeatedly

Gaggle, with Deborah Coughlin front centre (with orange fabric around her neck)

Founder of Gaggle, the ‘weird, alternative all-female choir’ Deborah Coughlin explains why she’s opening a shop themed around her musical creation in New Cross

We’ve won awards, had critical acclaim and provoked some really strong reactions – a man at the front of the NME stage at Leeds shouting “gash” repeatedly was just one. That kind of thing sometimes happens when you’re a radical feminist choir.

Ever since we started we’ve been asked by journalists what’s next and I always reply: “‘Well Gaggle can do anything we want, we can be a shop, a newspaper or a political party if we want.'” When we released our debut album last year I said on Lauren Laverne’s 6Music show that we’d be putting ourselves up for Government.”

Gaggle Cave In SituSo, last Thursday, we launched the first of those possibilities! The Gaggle Cave is a temporary shop, gallery and summer school next to the legendary Royal Albert Pub in New Cross.

Curator Holly Simpson is the one responsible for making the space habitable. Taking on the shell of a beautiful shop which had been chopped into a night club entrance for the Paradise Bar, she has been fundraising and grafting to turn it into Insitu, a new non-profit project space.

Gaggle Cave in Situ blackboardGaggle will be the first residency. For three weeks we will be selling inspirational products we love – including homewares, books and comics. We have a fashion collection by international designer Angela Maria Platt, who is behind Gaggle’s costumes, and three visual artists-in-residence; Dilraj Mann and locals, Rebecca Strickson and Takayo Akiyami. Plus we have organised a programme of life-changing workshops with iconic leaders in their fields. Scottee Scottee on body positivity; Queen of crafts Jazz Domino on pussy patchwork; vocal coaching from 1960s Feminist Improvising Group legend Maggie Nichols; sound engineering for girls and feminism for boys.

The shop will be open for just over three weeks, and we hope to redress imbalances in skills, as well as inspire people with ideas and products they can take away with them – and generally empower people by getting them together. We hope to make it affordable and accessible, with a range of products and events that mean everyone can take part in some way. We are also raising money and awareness for a cause close to our hearts Women’s Aid.

We’d love to invite everyone into the Gaggle Cave!

Oh and check out our debut album

Words: Deborah Coughlin, creative director of Gaggle; pics: Gaggle.

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Visit the Gaggle Cave at 460 New Cross Road, SE14 6TJ, nearest Tube New Cross. Opening hours: Midday-8pm, Mon – Fri; Midday-11pm, Sat & Sun. The pop-up’s ‘finale’ day includes late opening, from 7pm onwards.

Find out a list of all the workshops and talks going on (from welding for beginners to ‘extreme make-up’ lessons to a Sunday sermon about the importance of music journalism from the editor of Kerrang). For full details of all events, pop-ups, freebies and any changes, follow @GAGGLE on Twitter.

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