Hoxton club night PigPen to be held in memory of founder Gabriel Hardisty Miller

Gabriel Hardisty Miller

Gabriel Hardisty Miller - Credit: Archant

A special club night in honour of an inspirational campaigner for the rights of autistic people, who sadly passed away last year aged just 25, takes place in Hoxton next Sunday.

Gabriel Hardisty Miller, a non-verbal autistic man, co-founded PigPen – a cultural night featuring poets, musicians, bands, artists and DJs – along with his friend, artist Ben Connors.

The pair met in 2006 when Mr Connors was employed by Mr Hardisty Miller’s step mother, artist Mary Lemley, to become his mentor and PA.


“Together the idea of PigPen evolved through my working with Gabriel and our shared love of music,” said Mr Connors.

“Gabriel was an amazing taste maker, he had an ear for the best music, poetry and performance.

“Many of the acts he chose for PigPen with a definite ‘Yes, Yes’ early in their career are now finding success.”

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Between 2008, until Mr Hardisty Miller passed away in 2012 from a degenerative neurological condition, he curated 18 PigPen shows.

He went on to become a tireless campaigner for the rights of people with autism – a developmental disability affecting how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people, and how they make sense of the world around them.

In 2008 Mr Hardisty Miller and Mr Connors wrote a blog for the National Autistic Society’s I Exist campaign, and NAS asked them to attend the House of Commons for the introduction of the white paper for the Autism bill in 2008.

Mr Hardisty Miller shared his story of living with autism, lobbied politicians and became one of the faces for NAS’s Think Differently About Autism campaign.

Mr Connors believes Mr Hardisty Miller changed how people think about disability. “He defied the usual preconceptions and expectations of a non-verbal person with autism,” he said.

“He never let his autism, or the further challenges of epilepsy, stop him from meeting people and going places.

“I am proud to have been his friend and collaborator and hope many will join us for this very special memorial show in his honour.”

A show to celebrate Gabriel’s life and his achievements will be held on Sunday, February 24, at The Macbeth in Hoxton Street from 4pm to late.

With a line-up of some of Mr Hardisty Miller’s favourite acts, all proceeds go to the National Autistic Society. Tickets cost £7 or £5 concessions.