Up Your Street issue 1. Jan 2020
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Sat. Jan 4th FREE 10-12 noon. Hale End Library
“Art With Sue”. Series of exploratory art. Booking at Eventbrite. Some already booked through me.
Sun Jan 5th FREE 11a.m. Tate Modern exhibition Olafur Eliasson. Book by emailing me. Up Your Street subscribers only.
FREE. 2-3.30PM Guided tour of Abney Park Cemetery. Book at Eventbrite.
Happy New Year
Three of us met at Streetlife Radio which became StreetlifeFM.It was down in St James area down the bottom of Walthamstow Market. Age UK probably Age Concern then invited through a posh white woman advert in the local paper 50+ people to do a course in radio producing and presenting. Four years later I said to a mate “What does Age UK actually do?” She said “They gave us a radio course”. Put me in my place. Four years later she said to me, ” I am leaving volunteering for Age Concern because they don’t care if I come or not. Do you know how much the director earns? I will do one more year to get my ten year gift then leave.”
He He. Say it like it is.
Ten turned up and the clever radio peeps from outwith the borough sent us to do vox pops. We saw rats roaming in broad daylight by where the buses turn and pounced on anyone to get practice in turning on and off the mic. Back at the studio aka a back room on site we processed our work. I remember most people were not ofay with using a mouse. Rats and mice. We were sent into a hall while three people at a time were using the three edit machines. So Up Your Street was born as three of us way back then and younger chatted about why we came to a radio station. We exchanged contact details but I was the only one with an email address. Thirteen years on and the other two women still don’t have an email address. One doesn’t have a mobile phone and the other doesn’t communicate with me anymore despite having seven phones. Seven!
The main mission of Up Your Street was to motivate seniors to use emails and therefore the internet. Failed that, huh? They’d receive bulletins weekly by email about free events and activities for seniors around the QEOP.
I wrote with a biro to both women and from there and other promoted by me activities the organisation expanded through collecting email addresses. I wanted to set up another platform called “4Diversity: Together As One” but two women fought over who’d be the accountant. Turned out no-one had an email address anyway. I sighed.
From the radio course two of us went to level 2 radio presenting situated at Chat’s Palace in those days when the toilets were manky and the front door was a thief’s delight which was that badly taught and managed so that everyone passed. One of my colleague’s does her own magazine radio show weekly since those heady days. Dedicated. The others vanished into the crowd. Two opened another radio station later. Who knows what piles up in Cyberspace?
In 1986 I was at a Leyton school meeting with the head and another teacher present whilst we awaited the members of a larger group. A conversation was flowing agreeably. I answered someone:-
“Yes, I am multi-cultural”.
“Why do you see yourself as multi-cultural?”
“Because I just am. I’m aware of everything around me”.
I wasn’t sure whether the questioner were trying to trip me up or think of a question to ask hopeful interviewees for jobs in the school.
Akala said how all his life he is aware of racism. Myself too. And I taught the next generation down as much as I could. I stopped my sister almost my age, brought up in the same neighbourhood, from using racist words.
Myers tells us about her own mother who married outside her people, tribe, and suffered not necessarily because of her or her man’s racism but certainly she put her own mixed race children into a vipers’ den, into a 1980s era of Racist London as was, is now and ever will be despite laws, despite mixing up.
People say stupid ignorant things and somehow expect me to let them pass.
All my personal peers, not my friends, are racist and not multi-cultural. I am always on alert and always have been. I have supported people put into difficult personal positions because of their colour. I have been in those positions myself.
So Akala and Myers, well done. Your writings could not be clearer.
Where I live is in the bosom of art trails. Sandwiched between the cleavage are parishes without such jollies. It’s all about anxious artists wanting to stamp their places on paving stones. It’s art with fierce promotion reaching out to other artists because everyone I talk who’s not dabbling in acrylics and rags hasn’t a clue about art trails, community art and any art.
You have to fork out readies to be included in a brochure. Whoopee. Facebook picks up more footfall.
Some art -trails have so much on that you have to sit down and plan out your route and hope that on your personal artogy you feel up to it and that the sun doesn’t drive you into the shade of an art caff where you’ll find an excuse to stay all day. Chumming along is good because you can mutter “Mmm” to another quizzical face. But looking at art alone by yourself is a meditative experience, spirit-raising.
I wanted people to see my art, so booked it into a caff after agreeing to down-size my work for the smaller walls. To get a tableful of my peers to munch amongst acrylics and recycled textiles was very difficult let alone the angst of having to remind the café to put up my work. Had to be done and now it’s done I question the whys and wherefores and I won’t join in again.
Someone else’s party.
Get rid of the assumption that all white people think the same and all black people think the same. Cast away any negative that some commentaries at some events demonise the white or other race. Today was a learning day on a boat with one hundred and ninety-nine other people with those being mainly of African-Caribbean heritage. It was fantastic.
It was all of that because it was well-organised and strict. We were on a boat up and down the Thames so no mucking about. Everyone had paid their £35 tickets, had arrived in time as warned and expected to be entertained and taught something.
What wonderful hosts. What a lovely welcome and what a trip.
The boat was packed. It was no way a luxury craft. The upstairs deck was for standing only and downstairs was cramped. No-one took off their coats so I think it was chilly.
There were no refreshments except bar-fare. Those who needed and wanted a chair got one.
The commentary by Steve Martin was ace in that it showed much thorough research and was delivered via tannoy with an informal and engaging tone. Steve had a wealth of snippets of information up his coat-sleeve.
Up Your Street seniors were out in force writing notes and taking in all the information, turning their heads to port, to starboard, hearing the names of un-celebrated “Negroes”. and nasty slavers. We learnt again about eighteenth century literate lawyers from African and Caribbean descent and Africans pining for home. Historic women writers of colour were brought to life by today poets and contributors in costume. How fabulous.
Books and writings were continually recommended as we sat amongst Black activists in this our twenty-first century, dames, and writers, agitators and book-sellers, Windrush and before descendants, artists and museum guides, senior staff in London schools and Auntie Thomasina Cobbly and all.
London by boat is fine at anytime, Today the bridges looked majestic and the glass of the City Of London forced us to reflect on the fact that the City was built on the riches of sugar and slaves. Those rich Georgian traders included astute but now immoral people of colour who worked alongside watermen and a maritime workforce and their bosses; often employers full of viciousness and able to treat their servants like churlish dogs.
Aah, but we know much of this now. The high rating we gave this event was down to the welcome, the inclusiveness and generous invitation and the fact that human stories were brought to life through Steve and others’ accounts of the lives of people who were just “lodgers, if that”. Black people in London over five hundred years.
Poem no.3 IWD 2019
As long as people call women
Old men will poke prod touch breathe on
Slap tickle fondle stroke bend lick kick
Own disown see unsee deny hurt pinch
Throw break lie ignore trample set fire
Caress force spit pressure tie drop leave
Disregard disallow dismiss not see just feel
Touch n go move on.
Tate (@Tate) Tweeted:
How can cultural institutions re-imagine themselves to address new political and cultural realities? Join us on 16 February @TateExchange for a day of discussions bringing together museum, artist, and activist voices. https://t.co/a2YWdr32LL https://t.co/KmQi7DW7vL https://twitter.com/Tate/status/1093282192766193666?s=17