A view or two

Today there was a massive and free event in London created by ‘ KT-Equal ‘(Sheffield)    to discuss issues around seniors and their engagement or not with digital stuff, all part of the new science. Seniors go from 50 to upwards which is a marketing dream of course.

Well, here’s the thing… Digital engagement can never be a solution to loneliness amongst,  in this scenario, the aged and infirm (often clumped together). Loneliness is a state, something like grieving where the subject is lonely for a life experienced through another, often a partner/spouse.  And/or loneliness can be a grieving for the person they once were. All part of the challenge of ageing. There is no way that tapping into Facebook, which is probably going to buy Skype by the way,  or pressing buttons directed at a Government given digital telly will alleviate loneliness. We should all know about “Facebook Suicide”, that wondering ” what is the point and how come no-one finds my crashingly inventive posts worth ‘liking’?” In the playground you’d poke out your tongue and find another skipping rope to turn.

This is not a time to feel sorry for lonely old people. Digital engagement is so not the the remedy. There’s a whole mass of population who need literacy-confidence or they’ll just abandon the remotes, key boards, touch-screens and all the fabulous apparati on the widening Broadband landscape on the sideboard. Digitalisation cannot compensate for society (Ref Bernstein “Education cannot compensate for society”)

The big guns need to get their marketing images right if they want to include we seniors and flatter the government before end 2012. Posed Anglo Saxon, white-haired couples snuggling together in cane furniture somewhere in 1950s Welwyn Garden City doesn’t do it for me anymore than the jolly West Indian senior photographed in a smiley state for diversity’s sake convinces me that we’re all included.

Still never mind, beside doin’ all that engaging we’ve got the Permaculture brigade ready  to charge money to show us how to gather and hunt. Be up for it all!

I have been out in one area and interviewed seniors about their take on computer classes. The results will be in the “Hackney Circuit” at Hackney Museum. The newspaper is the culmination of  ‘Mapping The Change’, a project to engage people with the coming Olympic and Paralympic Games. Right up my street that!

an afternoon well-spent

Attended the afternoon with Age Uk in King’s Cross . It’s a well-known fact that the government wants all seniors to be digitally included by end 2012. We don’t have to envisage all seniors in retirement homes balancing a lap-top, an aluminuim tray of food and a box of tissues on their polyestered laps. No, digital access can be through other means than a computer. So we discussed ideas. Not one person exchanged an email address with another of the 6 participants afterwards but we probably want online communities or do we?

On the tube home I practised my silent reading skills with Jennifer L. Schenker’s  (she must wear glasses) “What’s Next In Mobile?” all about big Internet players taking centre stage while mobile operators find their way. (Raconteur Media) There I was thinking I had the Metro in my hand as I sidled into the crowded carriage. I got it all.

Blow me down when I got on the bus and spied a text message next to me “Old people suck”. Well, yes they do young lady. They do.

Waiting for a ‘Blackberry’ to come up on ‘Mega Drop ‘ on Bid Up TV. With Groupon I bought a gorgeous Adidas watch for £20 instead of £50.Not bad eh? Not for me . I don’t do rubber. I may one day. Everything is possible.

Valentine’s Day 2011

Where did we all come from? How did we all get there? The Newham Valentine’s Tea Dance was jam-packed, rammed: You couldn’t move. Every senior was there, Asian, Caribbean, White, mix-ups, the whole caboodle. It was the best tea dance I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen many many. Must have been 300 people in that gorgeous venue and every one glammed up. Wolf-whistles to the siren with the Zimmer frame and doubles to her carer in the sparkly top. Men were in their seventies and their element, 6:1. Girls galore and in Carmen come-get-me reds. The DJ from East End Radio was ace as always; the volunteers led by Mary Patel superb. Just a handful of welcoming younger mainly women doing all the work. Dishing out cake, fruit and teas, juices and all. And you know what? We paid not a penny. We the  crowd coming via Up Your Street5 were showing off the footsteps we’d learnt 1-2-3, 1-2-3 at Malcolm’s FREE ballroom classes on Mondays at the Round Chapel. That’s Hackney Music who arrange that and Missy came down with promotional leaflets. She was amazed by the crowd. When the line dances came on , so did every woman worth her salt and the mass looked like a red blancemange moving synchronised across the room. Fabulous! There was nothing to fault today at all. There never is at Stratford Old Town Hall tea dance. It is always well-organised and we are welcomed properly. Much appreciated.

A few hours later I watched Puccini’s opera, “Tosca” coming from The Met via satellite (repeated from 2009). More bloomin’ red. Absolutely loved it. Luc someone was the producer and apparently the old guard booed on the first night because of his interpretation from the original script.

Before that Corrie. Hey! Superb script, acting, suspense etc. Peter had been given ‘looking dark’ shots about a month ago so I knew his devil would be exposed. Clever clever writing.

Am on the brink of not printing out “Up Your Street5”. Via the web is so the way to go and  seniors just have to get on that cybership.

The Graft

at  Theatre Royal Stratford east NOW.

If you want to see real drama in a theatre production, this is the one. There’s genius lighting, superb acting and acting skills  (slow motion episodes, stage-fights) rationed sets but pointed markers for time and place, (the settee and chandelier, the pub table, ) poetry in the words (the father “I looked around….,I looked around…”), swift scene changes, pacey action , tons of wonderful paraphrased cliches, neat colour coordinations, shocks and surprises, a strong flow, and a bloomin’ strong cast,  outstandingly well directed and produced.

TRSE smashes it again!

Tammy, beautiful  shiny, gloriously tarty Essex woman, begins by telling us that everyone is six yards from someone they know. From that the circle of connections builds and the rapid scenes and revelations add to that truth so that we the spectators are updated and in the know. Sometimes we’re logged into Eastenders but it doesn’t matter. It’s Essex that rules here typified by the stereotypes, the gangsters, the Molls, the get-rich-quick scams, the language, the swearings and still Tammy manages to call others “pond life” as she does her best to quip in the mire and find love in the violence and raw openings of the life she chose. 

Take away all the amateur psychoanalysis, the feeling you’ve been there before and see the play for that: an extreme drama, a fabulous experience, a chance to fall in love with theatre if you hadn’t dated it before. The energy is electric.

Up Your Street5 issue 7

Tues Feb 15th      free 10-5pm  Exhibition “Walking Proud”Tower Hamlets History Library E1 4DQ

Wed  Feb 16th       nb Mahogany Bar closed for one evening at  Wilton’s Music Hall.

Sat     Feb    19th  £3   Tea Dance  2-5pm Rag Roof Company, Finsbury Town Hall, Islington.

                                free   Hackney 2 mile walk . Meet  Hackney Town Hall 2pm. Walking the ancient market porters’ route. Book with the Hackney Society

Tues   Feb  22nd  £2.50 Leyton Tea dance . 2.30-5pm Plumtree Studios by Blockbusters in Bakers Arms Leyton.

Thurs  Feb 24th  free  10-12 Homerton Library,Hackney .Seniors morning

                                     free    5.30pm Clapton Library  ‘The Wordlovers Society’ poetry with K.G Lester.

Fri    Feb  25th  Red Heart Day…wear red!  

                                      free            7pm Cinema Club at Wilton’s Music Hall “The Wild One” (1953)       starring Marlon Brando.

Sat    Feb   26th free     “Walking Proud” exhibition ends 5pm  in Tower Hamlets History Library.

                             £3      5-7pm   Gypsies inspired entertainment evening with an open mic. Round Chapel, Hackney.

Walking Proud in East London

Yes yes yes! There it was loud and proud, a fantastic exhibition from River Cultures showing the diverse appearances and reactions from LGBT members of our communities. Just to get that exhibition up would have been a mammoth task and then to centralise it in the Stratford Cultural Quarter was a great and valuable achievement. If we’re talking tagging, Wapping , Walthamstow and Barking were prominent as preferred places for communities to tolerate, celebrate and recognize differences and similarities. London’s predominantly multi-cultural  make-up is seen as a good place to feel comfortable and that is an historical fact too.  

The exhibition is quietly sitting in the ice-cream foyer at Theatre Royal Stratford east. Cheers TRSE! There’s a great exhibition on too at Hackney Museum with close-up photographs of Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Bisexual people coming out and narrating their experiences. Just inspirational!

And cheers Open stage 2012 at TRSE. You buy your tickets to “The Graft”. I’ll not say too much. My thanks to the cast for allowing me a preview of what is a fucking good drama. All great elements happening in that play. Bring ear-plugs if your ears have never heard Essex-speke but never you miss out on a smashing take on the criminal world because of good old fashioned swearing. There is colour, movement, ah, the movement, spangly dresses, fabulous lighting, sets to die for  and a magical screen. It is pure class in Stratford epitomised by the gorgeous chandelier.  Only the interval ice-cream was missing. (I’ve told you about the ginger and honey flavour.)

The production is full of violence in action, words, gestures but who hasn’t watched “Reservoir Dogs”? Every character is memorable which is the essence of the play really. I rate this play highly and be careful because it is selling out fast.