Paralympic Swimming at The Olympic Park

Went on my senior ticket which I booked ages ago or won through the lottery system. Miserable cold damp weather would never stifle the joy emitted by the  Games Makers. Anyway the seat was right at the top at the back, up loads of steep stairs. Yuk. You sure get what you pay for.

Exciting swimming, jubilating crowd for GB and a mad rush to get away at the end. There were loads of babies. People had booked their tickets then found out they were pregnant I suppose. It was okay. Really I wanted a peek into the Aquatic Centre.

Guildhall, Barbican, Shoe Lane, Keats House.

just sharing some dates not in my 6 London 2012 region

Tues Sep 4th   free Barbican Library “Expose by Diversity” fabric, ideas, textile art exhibition (until 26th)

Wed Sep 5th free 2-3pm .Guildhall Library, treasures and history tour. Book on 02073321868

Sun Sep  9th  free  3-6pm film “We Are Poets” Keats House, Hampstead  book on 0207 332 3868

Wed Sep 12th free  12.30-1.30pm Shoe Lane Library, Little New Street EC4. meditation techniques demo. No need to book.

Loads more stuff. Pick up a free brochure at your chosen venue. From Waltham Forest end a 56 bus goes near the Guildhall Art Gallery. Tube is good of course too. Or 55 to Old Street and pick up a 76.

Can Altay, a walk in the park.

All these years I’ve been saying how good my local corner shop is. “Ah Can Can is good” Nope we have to say “Jan”  Live and learn.

On a hot 22nd Aug I climbed the 2 floors of the refurbished William Morris Gallery in order to listen to a talk by a young artist Can Altay working in Walthamstow via Create and The Gallery at William Morris.

Now I am open to hearing all about what’s occuring and one can go into one of two camps: One  can just say “Artbollox” or one can listen and get to grips with the artist working here right NOW.

The work Can does is all about utilizing public spaces for art and that engineered art in turn engages people with their environment.  For example, a public under-used park space lacking in inspiration can be transformed by people as artists into a useable self- created area. It  becomes a different, people-owned place. The fight is surely on.

Starting in Istanbul, Can transformed, with the labour of perhaps non-park users, a green area into a living green area. Whilst army guards from the nearby barracks were surely relieving their boredom by looking over the high fence, Can’s people grew vegetables and immersed themselves knowingly or not into the artist-made geometric wooden shapes around them. All was organic. They were  part of the process and the end.  The landscape was changed forever and through the artistic experience so too were the participants allegedly. The park was altered by the people. They had engaged with a public space and made it their own.

Can’s next project engaged residents in social housing somewhere in deprived London. Here journalistic headlines  arranged  to mirror the divide and rule of society motivated people to start talking about their spaces, the spaces they believed they  no longer owned or in which they had any influence. The arrangement of the headlines produced emotional spurts. The participants had become engaged in their community again or for the first time through seeing and feeling words. There was no follow up but a promise by residents that they would continue something. Yep.

Can’s latest work is all about a familiar ignored item of importance, the door-knob. He again invited residents in social housing to examine how going through doors influences their existences. Door-knobs on the beaten worn track: Waltham Forest places of interest.

How is being a social change innovater being an artist? It’s all done through passion. Musicians use music. Writers use words. Artists use the landscapes in front of them.

I got it all. Topical projects are all about people’s stories and how they react with and inhabit their environments. We are saturated with those themes currently especially as LOCOG needed to mobilise the masses to get them on their side to justify the Games expense. Every neglected part of deprived London was map-marked for projects guaranteed to make residents feel engaged with their London, their Games. Every back alley was elevated to a walk route and any smidgen of history was amplified to bring in those who do prefer the beaten track. It was a game within the Game. And then of course, stuffy William Morris Gallery had to keep up with Newham and Hackney and be part of the bigger 2012 picture. In came artists somehow  linked to William Morris and his socialist leanings, artists for and about the people.

I enjoyed Can’s talk. It was well considered and user friendly. It is all just a frame too far for anyone expecting art to be a bunch of dahlias in a vase. I wanted to know how non- social housing residents would be invited to participate in an Altay project and whether the guinea pigs in social housing and deprived areas knew they were in an art project, that’s all. Course they didn’t!

Can Altay’s lecture was the first of many curated talks to come at The (new) William Morris Gallery. Excellent free education  (now that’s socialism). I will not forget it.

William Morris Gallery is in Lloyd Park, Forest road E17. One beautiful place.

UDAC

UDAC Uniform distribution and accreditation centre for GamesMakers for the Paralympics is set up in what may have been a factory:-

Purpose of Report / Proposal

Demolition of all existing buildings and the erection of four buildings subdivided into

twelve units totalling 10,621sqm for B1c (Business – Light Industry), B2 (General

Industry) and B8 (Storage and Distribution) employment uses with ancillary yards and

parking

next to dire Star Lane area in dire Stephenson Street in dire Canning Town adjacent to  the fresh and newish Star Lane DLR station. I travelled to aforesaid dire area on a 276 bus and lo and behold the bus was on a London 2012 diversion so I was totally lost, in strange deserted land. The driver was kind and dropped me off at dog- turd alley so I could walk the 10 minutes to the station. I was never tempted to turn back because part of my job to collect my GamesMaker uiform was to covet my pair of Adidas trainers. I had been successful last year in being given the chance to be a GamesMaker at the Paralympics but was in two minds wheher to take  up the post for many reasons, eg security, travel to and fro.  A pair of trainers clinched the deal really.

Got across from Star Lane into Stephenson Street via the station footbridge. I was carrying an old pre -Olympic Park map page of the address from the  “Master Atlas of Greater London NHS Trust London Ambulance Service”  which was of little help as it was from way back when at a time when Carpenters Road was busy and dirty full of second hand car workshops called garages and at a time when no-one cared about Canning Town. Oh!  They still don’t.

I saw the flags and a litter of GamesMakers in front of the UDAC building. I showed my passport and stated my business.I entered the massive busy place.Got mi trainers…..

Then it was try on for comfort the uniform. No mirrors. Can’t fault Adidas quality of course but I hate Adidas trousers. They are never quite the generous size around female bum and thighs. So I made do because the next size up looked like Ronald McDonald’s painting overalls. The polo top and jacket are as comfortable as silk. Already others’ stuff’s up on Ebay.

Went along to the collection point. Oh My goodness. So well done, so organised, so army. I was given a bag, an Adidas bag, and  my peers put in clothes after clothes, then the trainers then other whatnots. Never knew until I emptied the bag indoors what goodies I had as well as an Oyster card. There were 2 polo tops, 2 pairs of yuk trousers, 2 pairs of Adidas socks, my trainers, jacket, unbrella just in case, my cap, Coco Cola drink bottle, Swatch Watch, notebook and epaulettes or something I’ve not opened yet. Amazing! Awesome. I am grateful. My only hardship really is getting to my job for 0615h ! Aren’t I a lucky one? I did get the job via interview I said to myself as another GamesMaker spoke to me and I wondered what form of English I’d just heard.

Think of that Shreddies advert and the Wonga one then know that in real life all those grannies are out there GamesMaking in on trend Adidas trainers.  Good on their spirit. Shame on Shreddies for not smashing the stereotype. The only knitters I know now live on a remote Scottish island or are tote maze in Dalston.

I run Up Your Street and it was originally formed to engage seniors with the coming of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. I believe becoming a Gamesmaker,  sold out to Adidas or McDonalds or Coca Cola, (I had to research Atos), is the culmination of the work of Up Your Street. What makes me glum is that seniors I know still have not been into the Stadium. They never saw the adverts for cheap tickets or what? £5 tickets for seniors to get into the Paralympics? Opportunities to become Gamesmakers? You have to grab!

Now let’s see how I get on! You have to be in the mood for all that American style gushing. Don’t get me wrong. I can do that! I cannot do the Stadium stairs. They are steep , high and many. Even the youth say that. Not as bad as the gods in O2 mind.

I live on the back of The Stadium. I was naive such that when I applied for Gamesmaker I imagined myself ambling through Orient Way or catching the W19 as a case was made for it to reach from E17 to E20. Never happened. The roads were all closed off. I became an outsider in my own habitat. I was stoooopid and naive and gave in to some officiating Olympic body my enthusiastic plan for High Street Seniors to walk on the perimeter of the Park at dusk throughout the Olympics. We weren’t wanted there mucking up their security. I was a flea in the big plan eh?

When I texted my sister that I was now a uniformed GamesMaker she replied, “What’s a GamesMaker?” Cheers!

PS  The (UDAC) site is located along Stephenson Street in Canning Town near the Cody

Road industrial estate and is located within a predominately industrial area.

The site is rectilinear in shape and roughly level and comprises a range of

existing commercial warehouse buildings and hardstandings. At the front of

the site, adjacent to the main vehicular access, is a locally listed two (plus

attic) storey building. The building was the former offices of the Canning Town

Glass Works, built around 1925.