LYNKS/Clay 1 of Many: A Design For Life 7

LYNKS/Clay 1 of Many: A Design For Life

Some of the Rising Sun Co op members

Lynks (anarcho musician) and John Clay (director/author) discussed the fight to keep the former’s housing Co-Op (The Rising Sun) safe from being levelled in the name of luxury flats. The legacy of collectivism in the modern artistic endeavour is also explored in this first of a series of in depth articles between the pair.

‘It’s a generous environment I guess and that comes from that communal thing of ‘if one of us does well then everyone does well.’ It’s not something that comes about naturally these days, sadly.’ – Lynks 

John Clay: Give us a brief history about your home.

Lynks: Five years ago the first group known as, ‘The Rising Sun Collective’ moved in. They were a couple of ex arts students who had a vision of a creative space. They looked for a really long time and were close to giving up when they chanced upon the pub and invested loads of time and money into renovating the space to create a fully functioning recording studio. There’s a large space here that can be used for bands to rehearse and host gigs for the local community.

As a creative you get used to spending an extortionist amount of money on rent and then put cash towards recording and rehearsing. Having those two elements/spaces combined under one roof is game changing as it makes the whole creative lifestyle viable. It’s had this legacy of the last five years being an environment where people can come and use the space.

John Clay: Why is it under threat?

Lynks: Scott and the others have done all this brilliant work on the building as the landlord has been very hands off, but the sad reality is that we don’t really own the building. The landlord (as is his right) wants to sell it off. By virtue of it being based in Nunhead – being developer central at the moment – means that the developers coming round are keen to essentially knock it down and build a block of flats or an ASDA, I don’t fucking know. 

John Clay: Like we fucking need more of them!

Lynks: Exactly! That is likely the way it’s going to go if we don’t save this space. It’s not even the case of the evil landlord. The guy’s like, ninety seven years old. He’s let us develop the space as we saw fit. We just don’t like the idea of this place being sold and all this beautiful history being destroyed. We want to maintain this place and all the wonderful stuff that’s been created over half a decade.

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John Clay: Given the damaging effects of neo liberalism on society it must be heartwarming for you to be part of a campaign that positions collectivism over individual gain. Tell us what personal lessons you’ve taken from working on a team goal as opposed to a singular artistic payoff. 

Lynks: You’re right cos something that I definitely gain from living at The Rising Sun is well… It can be actually a cut-throat world in the modern artistic scene. There’s only so much pie and we’re all fighting for our slice of that with everyone being very nice but you’re a little bit weary as people get a little bit jealous when you get those payoffs.

I was definitely like that before moving in. I definitely have a little bit of that still, we all do. Before I moved in I was very, like, ‘Me! I wanna do well!’ But then I moved in here and I found that everyone is so generous with their time and their resources here. They wanna collaborate without the assumption with the whole ‘so hey, what’s gonna happen next, what’s in it for me?’ There’s a level of trust and safety here. It’s a generous environment I guess and that comes from that communal thing of ‘if one of us does well and everyone does well.’ It’s not something that comes about naturally these days, sadly. 

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John Clay: It is a bit of a myth that for one to succeed, one has to be out for oneself and no one else. Ultimately, once people get an idea that working together has a more healthy legacy then there is a knock on effect. You guy’s winning this Isn’t just about the here and now, it’s about when you all move on from The Rising Sun there will be a space for future generations to use the space. 

Lynks: Yeah, that’s it, you’ve hit the nail on the head. That is a really big part of it. The funny thing about all of this is that we’re putting in all this time working on it and trying to spread the word on it and everything and realistically, we won’t even be the ones to really benefit from it! In the short term it’s great as we get to stay on here and all that, but the real legacy is that about twenty years down the line (once all the investment has been paid off), the building will be self-sustaining. We’ll be in a position like the Brixton Co-Op for example, where they can afford to offer rent as low as two hundred pounds a month, or even one hundred and fifty pounds a month to people that really need it. That’s eventually where The Rising Sun should really end up, where the money is used to maintain the building and fund community events we create and contribute towards.

The great thing is that it’s a catchy and contagious thing. Co-ops fund co-ops, that’s the model. The Sandford Co-op for example has helped fund others and get them started. The more there are, the more they can fund till we hopefully get to a tipping point where hopefully half of London has housing co-ops until, eventually, all of London is housing co-ops. We’re not quite there yet, but it’s great to be at the grassroots level of that potential housing utopia. 

John Clay: Once it proves itself to be a successful venture It will only improve arts and culture. It does provide a model for artists who are persuaded into thinking ‘I’ll do this band for another five years before giving up and becoming an accountant. Cos hey, to live in London where everything is apparently happening I have to sell my soul in order to make money’.

Lynks: Exactly.


Follow Lynks and John Clay to read future parts of their conversation and do take a moment to see how you can become an aid to assisting The Rising Sun.



Donate to The Rising Sun Collective:


John Clay:

Buy the mixtape here:



God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.