Up your street for Wapping and around and about Issue 5

Mon   Nov 1st   free all week Domestic crafts and arts exhibition. Women’s Library,                                                           Castle Street

Nov 4th     £2 10-1pm Young@Heart 50+ healthy activities at    John Orwell Sports                                               Centre  Tench Street

Fri     Nov  5th  The celebration of Diwali. Waitrose has no dedicated display but Christmas                                                                                                                           goodies abound.



The other review part 1 “Reasons To Be Cheerful” Stratford east theatre.

“Reasons To Be Cheerful” is an outstanding feat with actors both wheelchair-users and non- users working the stage. Through clever antics and managed confusion at the very start of the experience, the members of the audience fall into their roles as punters in an east London pub. It’s the early eighties and a band are getting ready to put on a play.The  action is concentrated on one central space which imitates a typical pub stage around London’s east end even now. A wonderful live band replaces a back screen and furniture after furniture crowds around the actors putting to bed the dictate that wheelchairs and disabled people need free access to manoeuvre.
The grand scale technology heightens the onlookers’ senses through moving images and the actors’ lines on a huge backdrop screen. Sign language flows fully integrated and obvious into the play within a play.
Here we are back in Thatcher’s day with punk rock and its foul language embellishing anarchy and hatred formed in the dingy sitting rooms of impoverished Britain.
It was hard to latch on to the core of the drama. A love story was unfolding. Buttons and Cinders were evident in Doc Martens and tat. Whilst I had expected a socio-political manifesto through script, the observations of the times through the eyes of the diminishing working class were delivered through aggressive lyrics, high jumps and shouting. I remembered I was at a musical. I got over myself and insisted on being entertained. Well there I was then in the over busy set of a pantomime.
The characters were energetic but cliched; kitchen-sink drama roles revived. There was the adolescent searching for approval and tickets to Ian Drury’s gig, (most of the audience at this point asking which web-site shall I search this guy, Ian?), the P45- wielding machoman factory manager, a feisty husband-searching easy-lay, a put-upon carer/mother/wife (yawn), the miserable helpless sick dad. Thank goodness for the signing mini-skirted eye-candy actress.The rest were as dull as the kitchen-sink water.
The singer in the band , him in the wheelchair, and the band were absolutely on the money (as my alter ego, Simon Cowell, would say). The predictable bursts of song every 5 minutes were brash, grimey, and begged applause. The tanked up audience gave and gave. I left.
My mission is indeed all to do with the integrity of the theatre. Let’s remind ourselves that the Theatre Royal, Stratford east is a theatre, was built as that and advertises itself as that. It is not really a community centre, is it? It does engage increasingly with the community, local or otherwise. “Reasons to be Cheerful” was right to be staged in the heart of the east end, and its timing is perfect as we emerge cynical and angry from the damaging recession.
There is a gorgeous warmth about the place but I am not that sure that the continual stench of all-seasons seasoning snaking into the auditorium during a white punk Britain exposition doesn’t compromise the experience.


radio show

Just guested on Mary Blue’s Streetlifefm community radio show at Waltham Forest College. Super. Already booked in next week’s and beyond guests. Mary and I are Silver Sounders, pioneer volunteer presenters and dj’s at  the radio  station. Throughout the year, every Thursday without fail, Mary Blue does her show   ” Lifting yourself up to good living” through from 10am until noon.

She asked me about Openstage the volunteer project run by Charlotte Handel at Stratford Theatre. There isn’t a theatre in Waltham Forest so through Up Your Street, seniors travelled over the boundary and joined in  the training sessions and the work involved to make the local community feel engaged with TRSE, Theatre Royal Stratford east.

Last night we volunteers at Openstage were treated to tickets for the press night of “Reasons To Be Cheerful”. The theatre was alive with Ian Drury fans and attendants dressed oh so smartly in black and white topped off with red carnation button holes. Well done staff! Well done as usual TRSE!

Oh yes! The performance..Well, I had my Simon Cowell moment…….. In one word?…Torture… There I said it!

openstage, Theatre Royal Stratford east

Great day. Went along to Stratford Theatre in the wind and the rain having done line-dancing workshop at Priory Court Community Centre in Walthamstow.

The Theatre Royal is just buzzing and bubbling over what with youth workshops and Openstage volunteers being interviewed by the project interns. Meanwhile the theatre work happens with all goings and comings in the green room. Off to “Reasons To Be Cheerful” production tomorrow at TRSE.

Very excited about a London Street Photography exhibition coming to London Museum next February.

Rude Man

Went to Agewell Computer Club after a journey decorated with police sirens, crazy ambulanci and prams packed onto platforms.Just nuts. So we 8 seniors sat at our workstations and waited for the film crew from Hatrick.  In came a weird- looking tall guy with Jimmy Saville hair and an air of someone in charge of the world. Completely swamped our teacher’s words and mispronounced our names, interrupted any question-asking from us and swore profusley. He kept speaking into the cameras. The crew was serious and the members just got on with their work. One of us was completely turned off so I kept my eye on him. Later he turned to show me his screen and he’d found the page about “Facejacker”! The secret was out but we students kept quiet allowing our teacher and weirdo to squabble over the meaning of life. It was a mad afternoon. At one point I believed I was in a parallel universe. Some would just say “Oh yeah? Hackney!” Glad I went. The film crew were shocked that we’d worked out the deal. After all they were sucked into the same ole same ole stereotype that we old uns could not fathom out computers. Scream and kick. Facejacker said we were a ‘befuddled lot’ unable to work out the computer. Well of course, an empire is built on the myth and now media firms are filming seniors touching keyboards and beckoning other cocooners to come in. And you know what?  I make money from it too!

Anyone seen Stuey off “Family Guy” who is desperate to live in tv playland (based on Telly Tubbies) and he finally gets there. He finds it’s all a sham. He cries. Hey, what’s that remind you of?

the world wide web

Very excited as have been invited to Agewell computer club at The Lawns, Matthias Rd in Stoke Newington. Hat Trick films (seen that name on telly!) are coming in to film seniors and computers. We are the new black. All wonderful and Age Concern gets some money.

Then launched is the new arts east 17 culcha mag for Walthamstow. Leyton wake up! We do have “Up Your Street” mais oui. The mag needs to know about http://www.balconytv/fr and that will happen.

And so much else too. Rag Roof dance company’s back in town for the next tea dance at Finsbury Town hall, Islington.  Ooh! November is looking gay.

Freezin’ but sunny out there.

Hermitage Moorings

Had a wonderful morning at The Hermitage Moorings. The sun was strong and bright and I’ve just lost all my gorgeous photos. They uploaded but I see only one.  Over it. Wapping will be there tomorrow. Saw too many wojjers today  (Wapping Joggers). They were all over the place. Imagine living in Wapping. Just as I thought all the green spaces are coloured golden and brown with leaves all over the ground. And the river was sparkling. Had a cuppa with Sarah, project leader and a big chat. Went around on the 100 bus across to Shadwell just to check out how the docklands is now, not that I ever knew it before! and D3 bus to Limehouse to the John Scurr Centre. Remembered The Thames had no fish smell about it. How great was my day. Loved every minute of my day out.

We’re embarking on coffee mornings to get folk in to share their experiences of the area and The River Thames. Just up my street! The venue, a real mooring, is ace and being altered for the better as I blog. It’s a posh raft surrounded by duchesses of old boats in/on which live their owners. Can you imagine what it looks like in the snow? There is always a lovely welcome and a cuppa.

Jus’ reading about The Black Irish whilst catching up on Bob Dylan The 1966 World Tour Home Movie on SkyArts. “Unseen footage” cos it wasn’t  worth watchin’  before either mate! (Spot Bob). We live in hope…hour to go.

Went to the Beeb recording of Songs Of Praise last night. Very very good night out. However I am in shock;  never knew Dame Beverley Knight had gone all Pentecostal. Was so disappointed. The funny thing was that a day before I had attempted to play her Jools 2004 gig and couldn’t because it was worn out, by me, back in the day, and I wondered “Where is she now?” Doin’ interviews with Aled, that’s where. I just know that she wrote excellent lyrics and didn’t need to re-hash Christmas carols on a Sunday show and call  it giving back something to the human race. Whatever pays the rent, baby.

Just know that she worked hard to get where she at. I totally get that bit. Totally. Check out Neech’s music and all the singer-songwriters on Balconytv..com


Enjoying Balconytv Paris on internet. Such eye-candy. Such free music and great filming. Found Vintage TV channel 369 on Satellite as well.

Haringey Independent Cinema. Now that’s good. They show films at West Green Centre, Tottenham.  £2/£3. The venue is great and the theatre/film space is such a gem of a place. So went along to see “Daratt “. Chad film excellent on every level. Tons more films around and free too to celebrate Black History Month 2010 especially at Hackney Museum and the refurbished Pheonix Cinema in East Finchley, London.

I have written this blog using all my will power not to dwell on the huge amount of negative stuff which speared me this week. My positives are fab: enrolled on a free seniors’ Pilates course, had 2 poems published in vanity press, and had a cheery hello from the recycling bin guy. All adds up. Good weekend ahead: film at National Portrait Gallery and BBC filming at Union Chapel Islington. I have also seen myself on the BBC/Post Office promotional site aimed at encouraging people to get on the internet.

Corri tonight and X Factor tomorrow. HOORAY!