The London Blogger Interviews #25: Urban 75

This week’s blog should need no introduction, a heavyweight of the London online landscape for nearly 15 years Urban75 displays the kind of personality and community that makes London great. We were able to grab some time with the founder to discover a bit more about the organic, dynamic nature of the site which so reflects its Brixton birth.

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If you had to describe Urban 75 in less than 15 words how would you do it?
A great seething mass of photos, features, obsessions and pisstakes held together by a lovely community.

How and why did the site come about? What about London inspires your site?

The site’s roots lie in an early 90s political football comic called Bluebird Jones, based around the lives of hedonistic, drug taking Cardiff City fans. The strip tries to take on the (then) widespread belief that all football fans were knuckle dragging Neanderthals and used humour to challenge the prevailing stereotypes.

The comic moved on to the web when it became apparent that footie fans would also be impacted by the Tory’s dastardly Criminal Justice Bill. To draw attention to what was going on, I drew a strip showing what might happen to football fans, got it published in loads of fanzines across the UK and unilaterally declared myself the leader of the mighty Football Fans v the CJA campaign group (total membership=1). I figured having one of those new fangled web sites would make the campaign more credible and incredibly it did, with the mainstream media immediately taking an interest in the campaign. Learning the lessons from the comic, we added daft games to attract traffic (games like ‘punch a politician‘ and ‘slap a Spice Girl’) and starting adding our own reports from demos and marches, along with legal information about protesters rights etc. From there the site grew organically, adding a comprehensive photography section, London features, Brixton ‘then and now’ archives, drug info – even a section on old railways – while the bulletin board community slowly grew to hit over 45,000 members. London, and specifically Brixton, has been a constant inspiration for the site – as a photographer, how can I not fail to be inspired by the energy of such a remarkable city?!

Read the rest on Londonist.

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