Birds of a feather shouldn’t flock together – February 2008

The newly opened Water House restaurant on Regent’s Canal Shoreditch was the choice of venue for our ninth event. Established by the award winning charitable regeneration agency the Shoreditch Trust, the restaurant aims to be the most sustainable, ethical and community driven restaurant in central London, with all profits going back into regenerating the neighbourhood. Director of the Trust, Micheal Pyner credits the rich mix of talent in his team for the trust’s pioneering work, though clearly such initiatives wouldn’t get off the ground without Michael’s remarkable energy, charisma and maverick approach.

For ‘Birds of a feather shouldn’t flock together’ Pyner was one of four enterprising individuals to extol the virtues of working with people of different backgrounds and talents, surrendering control and personal accolade to explore what can be achieved when people join forces. They say two heads are better than one. Well we had four. Joining Michael was Shelagh Wright, an Associate of Demos, a think tank for everyday democracy, whose research and links to organisations and social entrepreneurs influences policy making; Ed Baxter, co-founder of Resonance FM, London’s first radio art station which gives airplay to a vast community of volunteer presenters resulting in unconventionally spectacular auditory experience; Peter Stevenson, Chairman of The Really Terrible Orchestra, an amateur orchestra group famed for its unapologetic commitment to lowering standards for the sake of enjoyment.

Rousing the group into debate was the spirited Peter Jenkinson.

The event was sketched by Julia Harriman and photographed by Marcos Bevilacqua.