Hi Finsbury Park,
Have you heard of Blighty UK Cafe in Finsbury Park? If you like to relax, eat healthy, attend poetry sessions and open mic events and other creative classes, then Blighty UK Cafe is calling you!! We discovered Blighty UK Cafe on Blackstock Road, where we met Chris, the founder of Blighty Commonwealth of Cafes, and Anna, one of the amazing barista’s there, and who runs the London Portrait and Life Drawing sessions at the cafe. Please read on for Chris and Anna’s #MyCreativeHub‘s…
#MyCreativeHub… CHRIS: “My aim is to create the Blighty Commonwealth of Cafes – one for each Commonwealth country. So this is the first one, the Blighty UK Cafe. Blighty UK Cafe was a rundown college, when I got the keys. The second one is the Blighty India Cafe in Tottenham and the third is the Blighty Kenya Cafe, which is coming soon. There’s 53 countries in the Commonwealth, so ideally, I’d like to have 53 Commonwealth Cafes, such as Blighty Ghana, Blighty Australia, Blighty Cananda and all of them would have a slightly different menu, concentrating on a good full English and good coffee, but a different thing on the menu relating to its culture.
I started here because I actually live in Finsbury Park, only 3 minutes away! I’m trying to find a closer commute haha! ‘Blighty’ is a slang name for Britain like the expression ‘Welcome back to Blighty’. It was first used by the Raj in India, where the locals used to point to British people and called them ‘Blighty’, which means foreigner. I am a proud British man, so thought why not go with that name? Finsbury Park is very diverse with people from a mixture of cultural backgrounds – what I’d call the ‘modern Blighty’. Overall, I hope Finsbury Park doesn’t change too much, it’s quite edgy here – a nice mix of people’s culture, wealth and jobs which is nice and makes a good community.
We have cultural things such as life drawing, which is actually run by one of our staff members, Anna, on a Thursday evening. The creative element is an important part of Blighty UK Cafe, as the customers love it and it brings people together. People come up with ideas to run classes – like, once a month we have the ‘Death Cafe’ that’s been seen on the BBC. We also have random open mic nights and poetry events and acoustic nights that you should definitely check out!”
#MyCreativeHub… ANNA: “I’ve known Chris since he opened Blighty UK Cafe through Park Run. I was actually almost a full-time teacher at a college and I met loads of artistic directors and one thing led to another. So I started working in the workspace upstairs in the cafe while I was teaching. I started helping out in the kitchen, where I worked on my favourite banana cake…’Anna Banana cake’. This cake is beloved by Park Run and Blighty UK Cafe!
Thursdays are my life drawing classes and once a month we have a self-portrait class. I recommend you come. I am a photographer, generally, and I run the classes here each week which are relaxed, informal and inclusive. There’ s loads of people from different backgrounds – and people that are creative that wouldn’t usually get involved. The art aspect is so important and people fail to understand how arts can give people the ability to express themselves even without them realising. It’s a creative community. Blighty UK Cafe is an extended family – an area you can lounge in, eat in, be creative and just be yourself. “
If you’d like to get involved and do some life drawing, pop in to Blighty UK Cafe (35-37 Blackstock Road, N4 2JF) on Thursday evenings at 7pm.
For more information on Blighty UK Cafe’s delicious menu, amazing coffee, co-working spaces and their charity Blighty Arts visit – www.blightycafe.co.uk/finsbury-park – or just pop-in and have a chat (they’re really lovely people)!