Our favourite on-the-ground reports of 2023

Local heroes, community-led movements, MMA fighters and a girls’ holiday in Zante: these are the best stories we went out and reported on in 2023.

Victory Lap is broadcasting the UK rap scene’s fresh energy

For our summer issue, FACE Music Director Davy Reed headed down to Victory Lap in Peckham, South East London, the radio station that’s reinventing cyphers for a new wave of up-and-coming MCs. There, things have come a long way from ferociously competitive, old school grime clashes, or big budget, pre-recorded freestyles, instead allowing for underground UK rap talent to showcase its brilliantly independent spirit.

Read more here.

How MMA reignited Liverpool’s fighting spirit


Next Generation, a mixed martial arts gym in Liverpool, has spearheaded a cultural phenomenon that’s helping to breed some of MMA’s biggest names. Writer Kieran Morris visited the space back in May, to meet the wannabe athletes and students populating this community hub in search of a more rewarding alternative to a bog standard gym session.

Read more here.

The ​“white-van man” stereotype is over

According to a survey carried out this year, 43 per cent of van drivers in the UK are actually women – entirely subverting the white-van man” stereotype first coined by the Sunday Times in 1997. Writer Didem Gokpinar went to meet 10 of these women to ask them all about their strangest deliveries, what they listen to on the job and what they love most about hauling vans and lorries around for work.

Read more here.

How Londis N16 became the coolest corner shop in London


This humble corner shop, located in Stoke Newington, East London, has been run by the Patel family since 1979. Now, though, it’s morphed into a lively neighbourhood hotspot serving up much more than booze, Lost Mary’s and household essentials. The Patels are now busy making and selling homemade Gujarati food cooked round the back of their shop, much to punters’ delight.

Read more here.

24 hours on a girls’ holiday in Zante

(Left) Kate, (right) Mollie

A few months ago, we sent FACE Digital Director Brooke McCord to Zante on a package holiday. She spent a heady few days partying with Mollie, Millie, Lillie, Kate and Hope, all mates from East Lancashire, in 38-degree heat, reporting on the bunch’s booze-fuelled hedonism. It was, by all accounts, a real riot.

Read more here.

What is Critical Mass?

The world’s biggest leaderless bike ride, it turns out. They meet en masse on the last Friday of every month and welcome every type of two-wheeled vehicle, from fixies and Choppers to Bromptons and scooters. In October, we joined these good-time cyclists as they set off on a Halloween ride from Waterloo Bridge.

Read more here.

Spending the morning at 10 Foot and Goldie’s South London pop-up

The legendary graffer and drum’n’bass pioneer linked up for a once-in-a-lifetime shopping experience this summer. Photographer Charlie Kwai captured punters as they lined the streets in Deptford, South London, eager to get their hands on some exclusive merch handmade by 10 Foot in his own back garden, with Goldie manning the stand. Love it.

Read more here.

The age of K: how ketamine became the decade’s defining drug

Recreational ket use is more popular than ever. We’ve all heard of ketamine therapy more times than we’d like to admit and references to the drug in pop culture are rife. So it only felt right for us to do a deep dive into what’s become the 2020s’ most sought after narcotic – one that’ll likely continue to mystify us for a long time to come.

Read more here.

Banging the Drumsheds: building Britain’s biggest club

You’ve probably seen TikToks and Reels aplenty about the old Ikea-turned-club that recently cropped up in North London. We sent FACE Consultant Editor Craig McLean down there when the Drumsheds team were in the throes of building the behemoth dancefloor.

Read more here.

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