Ich Bin Kentishtowner: Alex Proud, gallerist and club owner

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‘The Libertines were almost killed when Noel Gallagher walked on stage to join them for a duet’


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Alex Proud: '' Photo by Perry Curties
Alex Proud: ‘My favourite smell? The unknowable and slightly disturbing aroma outside Rio’s’.
Photo by Perry Curties

Alex Proud founded his first venture, Proud Central, nearly twenty years ago. In 1999 he set up the publishing company, Vision On, with local photographer Rankin. Proud Galleries now has three exhibition spaces in London – in Embankment, Camden and Chelsea; and he opened Proud Camden Bar in 2006, attracting everyone from Amy Winehouse to the Arctic Monkeys. As well as regular appearances on Channel 4’s Four Rooms, he has close ties with Mencap, and has put together club nights encouraging changing attitudes to people with learning disabilities.

When were you happiest?
In a lock-in at The Oxford with Gooner friends.

Where would you like to live?
On top of the hill.

What is your favourite sound or smell?
The unknowable and slightly disturbing aroma outside Rio’s (the “relaxation spa”).

What is your greatest life achievement?
Being here.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Still being here.

What is your earliest K-Town memory?
Getting locked in at the Oxford.

DJ Jodie Harsh DJs at Bad Sex, Proud Camden
DJ Jodie Harsh DJs at Bad Sex, Proud Camden
What makes you unhappy?
My staff having more than 20 emails in their inboxes at one time.

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
A little red Ferrari.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Too many to mention: driving dumb ass cars like little red Ferraris.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Very late night food of any description.

Where do you hang out?
My venues (I am a boring bastard).

Who or what do you hate and why?
Coriander; and the spineless politicians running our country at the moment.

What’s been your best experience in the area? Worst?
Best: a particularly pleasurable end to a first date in a pub, in the pub.
Worst: meeting said date in the harsh light of day for a walk on the Heath the next morning.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Everything – I’m getting old.

Solving everything? A merkin. Image: Creative commons
Solving everything?
What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
“You let me down.”

Tell us a secret.
I’m bankrupt.

What has your career taught you?
A merkin solves everything!

What is your favourite dish and why?
Beef Wellington – my mum makes it for me.

What was your worst gig and why?
At Proud, the Libertines were almost killed when Noel Gallagher walked on stage to join them for a duet. We had only one member of security in the room at the time. (It was also the best gig.)

Describe yourself as an animal.
A rhino.

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