​what does the word “radical” mean to you?

6 of London’s real radicals to recount what the word really means to them

by Felicity Kinsella
18 February 2015, 5:25pm

By involving only those over the age of 50, Reba Maybury has ensured those featured in Radical People are true pioneers of what they believe in and have fought for those beliefs their whole lives. From Sade bassist Paul Denman to i-D's own Culture Correspondent Princess Julia, London's radicals teach us a thing or two about punk values, social constructs and human compassion as they handwrite something about their own perception of the word "radical," whether it be a story, memory or reaction to the word. Published alongside portraits taken by Kingsley Ifill, with graphics designed by Jamie Reid, their tales are eccentric, heart-breaking and enlightening. Catch a snippet of their fantastic lives below or read the full anecdotes in Radical People, available this Thursday at Hoi Polloi at Ace Hotel London Shoreditch, or in the full issue, arriving this March.

1. Paul Denman
"Nov 1st 1977: The Day Punk Changed My Life. Sheffield top rank 10.30pm. I am covered in sweat, spit and beer. The Clash have just left the stage and I know my life as I knew it is over. I am gonna go out there and get me somethin' better, somethin' bigger, somethin' that will take all my courage, energy and guts and fight but I am gonna quit my factory job, say goodbye to my trade union mates and go out there and be somethin'. Be some-fucking-body."

2. Judy Blame
"After years of troublemaking, drug taking and experimenting with every part of my life, it seems the most radical thing you can do today is to care for yourself and other people!"

3. Ms. Lana Pellay
"I'm often viewed as a radical because I believe things like 'gender is a myth' and that it is an essentialist social construct and existentialist truth for some, but for the most of us who are awake, there is no truth in it at all! Because the real truth is to become the true expression of a trans person (which is to transcend all ideas of binary genders and embrace the possibility of living in some consciousness that does not enter the gender state."

4. Ms. Princess Julia
"Ashley [Veirs, Princess Julia's housemate in 78] was hysterical, I never really knew what he did but I could guess, he'd often make up far fetched stories. He once told me he'd sometimes have sex with the rent collector in an exchange for a month's free board. I do remember walking in on a very camp guy as money was being exchanged (or rather not being exchanged) dressed in a pair of loose fitting dungarees in which he appeared to be wearing no underwear and behaving in a very overt fashion."

5. Jeffrey Hinton
"1994. Back in London after acting up, demonstrating and numerous benefits, I was mentally exhausted having watched 80% of my friends from around the world die of AIDS. By my side on this journey was my best friend Space Princess (Peter Hammond)… I remember being in my music room and Julia saying Space was on the phone. At that point he was about 6 stone, had lost bladder control and had dementia. My last few days with Space were terrifying me. He asked me where I was and why he hadn't seen me, he then asked me who I was and why he was in pain… I had lost him and the light went out."

6. Ron Athey
"The Sublime happened when the monthly theoretical parties began hosting there [The One Way] in 1981, and the old guard leather men began mixing and fucking with the punk boys, a kink hybrid, which included the downtown LA art eccentrics, young punk and show bands, new queens like Vaginal Davis, and old school celebrities like Lily Tomlin and my favourite I had some chicken with, Edie the Egg Lady: Edith Massey."


Photography Kingsley Ifill

Ron Athey
princess julia
judy blame
jeffrey hinto
lana pellay
paul denman
radical moments
radical people
reba maybury
sang blue