Hackney on a freezing afternoon

032There’s a great art exhibition on at present at the Centre for Better Health. Hear me, put a chair or two out for spectators to sit and soak in what they are looking at. You can’t whizz through art which needs some translation in the ole brain. There’s a load of technology being used in the structures made with obvious passion by five students, Lea, Karoline, Claire, Tony and Carolyn in their final year at the University of East London, Docklands. 2012-11-30 14.18.57

I took a trip out to UEL when it was hotter weather having mooched around the Stratford site for ten minutes to get a feel of the place for some potential students. UEL Docklands is beautiful and 2 minutes from the DLR station, not even that.


City Airport’s over the road and stinks of flight fuel. The reception and security staff were kind and customer aware. Just like the reception staff at BSix in Clapton Hackney. Take note Rich Mix staff.

So the art at the Centre for Better Health is just great………………2012-11-30 14.17.46Back in the day when I was asked at my interview at Hornsey Art College what I intended to do after graduation, it was very clear that careers education  and advice had not been implemented in grammar schools and I gave a feeble answer, The governor shouted at me “We want people to design, design phones and other practical things”. Yep he got his wish. Smart eh?

Hackney Museum has a fabulous exhibition about Jamaica and Independence.

2012-11-30 14.45.57It is very well presented and absorbing. The exhibition even goes on on the floor by means of a great big spongy mat showing a map of the West Indian islands. Great. Lots of history is clearly documented on a timeline and all is relevant to Hackney onlookers. It is very popular with local schools. Well done Hackney Museum.

The Hornbeam Café’s staff had to call in support as the place was buzzing. There was a smell of freshly chopped vegetables and home-made soup, local women chatting about charity and vintage shops in the area, a young couple discussing meet-ups over a laptop, a cyclist in from the cold, a father with his little boy, Organiclea workers in and out for their tea breaks and there was I up on a ladder hanging RAGWORKS characters in the form of The Pied Piper with furry rats and Simon’s jolly Pie-man with a leg-caressing kitty-cat.

IMAG000927More RAGWORKS goes upstairs for the enjoyment of working groups and children in creches.

A very busy day of culture.

Issue 19. Up Your Street

Fri 30th Nov free New exhibition from the RAGWORKS collection at the Hornbeam Vegan Café in Hoe Street E17. RAGWORKS is a collection of wall-hangings made from recycled textiles.

£4.50     6.50pm Book at Stratford PictureHouse E15 for 11th Dec Gala evening at Stratford PictureHouse to see Lesely Garrett and Amore and Hoffman’s film “Quartet” with Q&A.

Sat 1st Dec    free 9 am  Re-opening on the View Tube, Green Way E15. Accessed from Hackney Wick or Pudding Lane Station (DLR)

Sun 2nd Dec free 1.30-5pm Christmas Fair .  Christ Church Spitalfields E1

Thurs 6th Dec free   2.30pm – 4pm Disability History Month Reminiscence Session at DABD, 177 Valence Wood Road, Dagenham, RM8 3AJ,  With Eastside Community Heritage.

Fri 7th Dec       free 2.30pm – 4pm Disability History Month Reminiscence Session at DABD, 177 Valence Wood Road, Dagenham, RM8 3AJ, .

7-9pm  Red Door Studios E6. Night Party (craft fair).

Sat 8th Dec free 9am start Nordic walking group then a 3 course Christmas Dinner at The Eagle in Snaresbrook £10.99. Book with Dan on 07971539050

free 12pm – 8pm.Launch of AbPhab’s latest project, “Making Music”, as part of the the Together! 2012 Disability Arts Film Festival, UEL Docklands Campus, beautiful place.

Sun 9th Dec free 7.30pm St John’s of Jerusalem Church, Lauriston Rd E9 . Brahm’s “German Requiem”.

free noon-4pm Hackney City farm Christmas Fair

Week beginning Monday 10th December. Free Senior Citizen Christmas Dinner courtesy of Waltham Forest Council. Various venues and times. Phone the WF Council.

Wed 12th Dec. free noon-3pm  “East End to East End”, talk by Ted Parker about the anti-aparteid movement and anti-racist movements in the east end of London, followed by a reminiscence session facilitated by Eastside Community Heritage, Vestry House Museum, Walthamstow, 12pm – 3pm.

free 6.30pm. Ramfel Conference “Migration Matters”, “Luo Community in East London” Exhibition and Film Screening at the Old Town Hall  Stratford E15. Free tickets at  Eventbrite UK London

Theatred out

Today I finished blogging for “A Season of Bangla Drama”. I had responded to the Tower Hamlets call for bloggers from 3rd November to 25th November and as I was assumed to be a non-Bengali speaker I was given assignments accordingly. I knew another blogger came on board and I applauded her reviews on FaceBook.

It was all a valuable experience. No-one else wanted to share it with me though. I had complimentary tickets coming out of my ears. The Brady Arts Centre couldn’t be better; the staff are truly welcoming and it’s right near Whitechapel Station and the Royal London Hospital so its easy enough to find… after the first visit.

The events organiser had wanted the seminars to be academic. At one seminar we were told that the Bangladeshi youth were enthusiastic about writing plays and performing in English. The youth chose to absent themselves from SOBD performances. Fair enough; it’s hard to get anyone to a theatre. My disappointment grows.

The tickets were cheap and one might have expected support from the families in the surrounding social housing. The programme was designed to appeal to the Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets. In my experience  the words “community” and “theatre” place expectations on people who pencil outside entertainment low down on their must-do lists. I have worked with seniors who have never been to a theatre. I’ve never been to a rugby match because I have no reason to do so. At SOBD who was the audience? I don’t know. I was there.

So I went to enough performances and spent evenings in Whitechapel. I was never assigned to the Rich Mix in Bethnal Green. That didn’t bother me as I find Rich Mix so not my cup of tea. The reception staff are off-hand and I’ve yet to feel welcome there.

I felt honoured to promote the tenth “Season”.

LSO St Luke’s EC1

I used to go regularly on a Friday to Jerwood Hall in St Luke’s up Old Street for the free “Discover” lunchtime recitals and collected Hugh Masakela’s and other illuminaries’ autographs there. I’d meet my octagenarian Polish mate and she’d bring salami and beetroot sandwiches and we’d share chocolate cake and a cup of tea down in the crypt café. “Ah, lightsome days!” as they say in Westray. My friend became immobile and I became annoyed at the unchecked crawling babies under my Jerwood Hall seat when I was trying to educate myself about stringed instruments or whatnot. I complained about babies and toddlers being allowed to spoil my experience and was indeed told by St Luke’s/Barbican staff that others had complained but that nothing could be done because the lunchtime programmes were not age restrictive. I turned away from the beautiful venue and settled to SkyArts without hassle. Mahler would bounce off my living room walls.

Things changed at St Luke’s in that now there are specific under-5s musical experiences so the au-pairs and parents, mainly mothers as per, can take Tarquin and Cloud along to run around on the massive play mat.  Babies are welcome even though there’s only one baby-changing cubicle and unseen to the naked eye those future inmates of fee-paying schools socialise and rank accordingly as they look on at another mother’s full breast of milk. Classical music experiences are destined to remain the domain of the white middle and rising classes. (As I write the presenter on BBC Radio 3 has a pop at Bacharach not really being Radio 3 material. Imagine that?)

The events are professionally child-centred and cost almost nothing (£3 and you do wonder why the charge is attached). See how the change went from a free Friday event when everyone and anyone could come to a fee paying parents and babies event. Let you know that the baby and parent market is a money- net at present. There are baby yoga classes around at £8 for 20 minutes and, of course, mothers pay or someone does. There’s a lot of money being exchanged for old rope. Business is business and anything which can produce better citizens in the future gets my vote.

The music for kiddies at the event in St Luke’s yesterday was just lovely. We or rather the toddlers were treated to a Billy Goats Gruff story-telling a la Peter And The Wolf, then we had some “Westering North” and “Frere Jacques”,  some West Side Story in “I Like To be In America”, and some jazz and when the musicians smile the picture of joy will be complete.

Well done, Jerwood, St Luke’s or what’s in a name. St Like’s is appropriate.

Issue 18. Up Your Street



Fri 23rd Nov £5 6.45pm play “Londonee” at “A Season of Bangla Drama” in Brady Arts Centre     http://www.dramabangla.wordpress.com

 Sat 24th Nov free noon onwards.The Mill E17 Christmas Fair.

                           free 10.30-4pm Give and take sale with Forest Recycling Project at Mission Grove School, Buxton Rd E17 off Walthamstow Market.

Sun 25th Nov. free  11-1.30pm The Mill E17 Community breakfast with guest speaker Mary Katherine of Streelife Radio in Waltham Forest

free 11am Leyton Library High Rd E10. Leyton Gallery art  exhibition “Winter”

Mon 26th Nov £4  1pm Greenwich PictureHouse reminiscence Screening “Miracle on 34th Street” (1947).  96 mins long.Turn up or book on 0871 902 5732

Tues 27th Nov free 7-9pm  Meet photographer Duncan Holmes at The Mill E17

Thurs 29th Nov free                                 Tottenham Music Festival begins

free 7pm Hackney Historic Buildings hosts at the Round Chapel E5 Big Bold Brass Ensemble. Fabulous venue, great music and a warm welcome.

Fri 30th Nov free 10-2pm until Dec 2nd .”In and Out of Form ” exhibition at Darnley Gallery E9

Sat 1st Dec free 10-6pm. Glebe Road Studios 18 Glebe Rd E8.Ceramics to see and buy.

free 3-5pm “Drawing The Culture” award ceremony Tokarska Gallery Forest Rd E17

                      £5  8pm Camden Rock, 18 Kentish Town Road N1 (by Camden Tube Station).   John Arthur, The Walthamstow Bard, sings and plays guitar.

Sun 2nd Dec free 1-5pm Bruce Museum N17 Folk music.

11-5pm Glebe Road Studios 18 Glebe Rd E8 beautiful and functional ceramics to see and buy.

£3.50 ish      2-5pm Tea dance at Finsbury Town Hall Islington. Grand, friendly, eats and tea, demos, teaching. Dress up , up to you.

Wed 5th Dec free. 6.30pm Commonwealth Carol Concert at St Martins in the Field (tickets via Eventbrite)

Thurs 6th Dec free 6-9pm Salon 111 private opening party night. Phone Forman’s gallery in Fish Island for an invitation.


Asda supports BBC Children In Need and in the advertising booklets on Asda’a counters there are money off coupons for eggs and butter.(Sounds like World War 2 rations!)

There are free weekend places available with the Legacy of the  Olympic Park bus tours. email mailer@springmail.co.uk

Sharing Haringey Independent Cinema listing

Just a quick reminder that the next Haringey  Independent Cinema film will be on this Thursday. That’s THURSDAY 22nd NOVEMBER. As ever, we will open the doors at 7pm and the night will start at  7.15pm. The film we are showing will be the classic John Sayles film MATAWAN which is a  fantastic film about the struggle between workers wanting a better life and  bosses bent on maximum profits over everything else – full description  below.
For those of you who have been coming to the film  nights for a while, you may have noticed that there is a slight buzzing from the  speakers at the venue. We know this has put of a few people over the past  months. So, we are really happy to let you know that the venue have now sorted  the problem and we have been assured the sound, in their words, is now “crystal  clear”. So, that’s brilliant.
For supporters who have hearing problems, sadly  there are NOT sub titles on the film.
For supporters who need to use Dial-a-Ride the  evening should end just before 9.30pm.
The venue is still the West Green Learning Centre  which is behind the blue metal fence where West Green Road splits from Philip  Lane. Buses: 41; 230; 341; 67. For all other details check out our website at: http://www.haringey.org.uk/hic/
We will go to KK McCool’s pub across the road from  the film at the end of the night and be great if anybody wants to join us to  chat more about the film or indulge in a bit of socialising.
Haringey Independent Cinema
(John Sayles, USA 1987)
The US southern Appalachian mountains, the  home of bluegrass music, was the site of intense class struggle in the twentieth  century.  John Sayles’ 1987 drama tells the story of the 1920  battle of Matewan, a bloody confrontation between striking West Virginia coal  miners and mine owners’ thugs. Matewan was a “company town” where the miners’ lives were  controlled by Stone Mountain Coal Ltd. The company practically owned the town,  paying wages ‘scrips’ only redeemable at the company store, and renting the tin  roofed shacks that housed the workforce. When African- American workers were  brought in by the company as strikebreakers the stage seemed set for a violent  confrontation between black and white workers. Matewan is a forceful depiction of the inherent  violence of US capitalism and of the possibilities for solidarity and resistance  from within it.

hic mailing list

Issue 17. Up Your Street

Sun 18th Nov free 2.30pm Walking around Leyton High Road discovering about its creation, with Waltham Forest Walks. Meet at junction of Church Rd and Leyton High Rd opposite where once was the pub The Lion and the Key. Walk ends at Leyton Station around 4.15pm.

£5 6.45pm Brady Arts Centre, Whitechapel E1. Comedies by Tagore in “A Season of Bangla Drama”.

Tues 22nd Nov free 3.30-6pm “The Big Stick Up” craft afternoon making cards at The Garden Cafe Cundy street E16 3DJ. All welcome and refreshments too!

Fri 23rd Nov free 11-2pm Active Club 50+    Chandos East Hub, 90 Chandos Road.E15

Sat 24th Nov £3 7-9.30pm Hornbeam Café  E17 Film: “A Farm for the future.”No fossil fuels                                              
Transition                                                          Walthamstow 

In the same building,  “RAGWORKS” textiles on display.                                                                                                    

Sun 25th Nov   ( Bring a contribution). 11.30-1pm The Mill E17 Sharing a community breakfast.

free 2-3.30pm pm Peter Ashan’s walk discovering Black Britons in Walthamstow. Meet at The Mill E17

Thurs 29th Nov free 5-7.30 pm. Hackney Museum . Poetry workshop for adults with Walthamstow wordsmith Adisa the Verbaliser. On the theme of independence explore your own prose potential.  The first of 2 events.

Patrick Vernon

“Jamaica has a firmament of national heroes including Nanny, Sam Sharpe, Marcus Garvey, George William Gordon, Paul Bogle, Alex Bustamante, and Norman Manley. This presentation will make the case for J. A. Rogers to be recognised as another candidate worthy of such recognition. Rogers was one of the most interesting and dynamic Black historians and social commentators of modern times. He spent over fifty years researching and publishing the contribution of Black people to world history.”
On November 15th at Hackney Museum, Cllr Patrick Vernon OBE will give a presentation and talk. This is a free event in a welcoming venue. 6-7.30pm

Forman and Field

I was unable to take the opportunity to use my booked places at the Open Day in Hackney Wick on 10th November. I was off to A Season Of Bangla Drama in Whitechapel.

Forman and Field, the ones who refused to move, who have expensive and posh hampers and a market obviously had organised a family day at their premises. The tour of the SmokeHouse was the magnet for me. Hackney Wick can never be. Billingsgate tours are way expensive. So I gave my tickets to some Up Your Street pensioners because I promote what’s out there for seniors for free remember.  And to see Hackney Wick.

This is what Mrs A texted me. I thought it was a great reflection on the free fishy Open Day in a few words.

“Hi Gillian, had a fab time. Formans is impressively tucked away among the canal and the historic dwellings of a bygone era and the street art. I had a good time.”

Floats my creel.

The Pamper Shop in November 2012

Finding free and cheap pampering sessions for seniors from massage to herbal scents in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (2013).

Tues. 13th Nov £2  1.30-2.10pm Gentle Seated Yoga at the Centre for Better Health Hackney

 £2    2.30-4.30pm Open Art sessions to further your interests practically.  The Centre for Better Health Hackney.

Fri 16th Nov £2 2-4pm Open Art session at The Centre for Better Health.

£2.50 12-2pm  ongoing HergeHerbs course at the Mill E17.

The Centre for Better Health has Aromatherapy sessions (Wed) , Sivanda Yoga (Wed)  and creative dance too.