Hanging words out to dry AGAIN

Another washing line; this time an indoor rotary one on the fourth floor of the new Birkbeck Uni campus in E15. About thirty of us go-getter curious types assembled for discussion and debate with architecture experts from Birkbeck, and the locally based Fundamental  Architectural Inclusion.

DSCF8501Any floor?

Who’d ever know that we meet let alone continue to do so in order to thrash out  our feelings and voice our observations about the London 2012 Legacy? The washing line was where we hung out our scribbled group offerings about regenerated areas. We had personal stories to tell about crime and heritage, history and economics. Not just sandwich-munching community peeps, we! Many of us were state pension age. We represented many walks of life and ethnicity. Well, it is Stratford.2013-09-01 11.26.43Colourful pineapple eh?

This was “East End in Flux” hosted by Leslie Topp and Nick Edwards and attended by subscribers to Up Your Street, mature university students and local east enders. It was extremely well organised as per and we were warmly welcomed. Cuppa tea? Yes please.

Learnt very little myself but enjoyed the experience. After lunch there was a (rescheduled)  walk around Stratford.

015UEL E15

I could not be asked. Those pavements have my carbon footprint echoing in them as I’ve walked the walk many times, pre Olympics and Paralympics, post Olympics and Paralympics and smack into the mystery of The Legacy.

Walthamstow, Hackney Wick, The International Quarter E15 and bake-house hot-house Hoxton were mentioned in corners of the room in terms of their arty incomers: Get me?

The major question was “Was the coming of The Olympics good for the east end?”

The responses were mixed veering towards guilty negative and enthusiastic positive. Mainly we defined ‘east end’ as Stratford and repeated how much of the rest of London apart from Hackney vehemently denied interest in The Games and hadn’t a googling clue about this Legacy thing. The transient nature of Stratford’s incoming residents was seen as an opportunity to shape the Borough to the needs of everyone and stop the outward movement of short-stayers. Participants were amazed at the new build rapid progress in Stratford and the sentimentalists wanted to save old buildings which at least give Stratford and Newham its identity.

All in all residents are not informed about the architectural so therefore permanent constructions in their neighbourhoods, less so those interested in the Legacy and living  outwith Newham. The Council it seems allows property developers to inform the neighbours. That’s crazy but usual as the same thing is happening in the regeneration programmes in Waltham Forest. Often people say “What’s that going to be then?” when a skyscraper hits the clouds. Even the local papers aren’t clear enough and more often what was a plan is reality overnight.

Rapid change can be depressing or rejuvenating to an invisible long-term east end council- tax payer, pensioner and resident. Meanwhile we all wait to see if the answer to the question is a resounding “Yes!” as we learn the language of the ‘engaged’, dip our feet into the many  pop-up restaurants, pop-up art galleries and pop-up theatres, look around for sister-cynics and repeat a positive mantra, “It’s good to talk”.

Issue 47 Up Your Street

Sun 17th Nov free 3-6pmUrdu and Punjabi poetry at the Great Hall E10

                            free   10-3pm Crafts Fair at The Education Centre Queens Road. E1717th Nov 2013

Mon 18th Nov free Last day to bid for a place at the Senior Citizens Christmas Dinner in Waltham Forest.

Wed 20th Nov  free 6-7.30pm poetry sharing fortnightly session at the Centre for Better Health 1a Darnley Rd, Hackney

                             free 10-noon Lloyd Park Sharing Heritage special event in the weekly programme.

Thurs 21st Nov free 10-1pm. A day for older people and their carers at the Epicentre West Road E11. Freebies, Tai Chi  and advice. Event opened by Cllr. Angie Bean.Alice petchRAGWORKS “Leyton Reminiscence Quilt” is on display with notes to explain some of the images. Do add your own.Ragworks_Logo (1)

Fri 22nd Nov free. 7 for 7.30pm Waltham Forest Diwali celebrations. No need for tickets. Fireworks will bang!


Coming up… Eastside Community Heritage day at Birkbeck University Stratford E15 for free. Tea dances in Chingford and Stratford E.15.


Check out in paper or online the dolly knitting patterns in the free Waltham Forest paper!


The new Lea Bridge Road Station

The Lea Bridge Road Station will be rebuilt in 2014. Burwell Road is the last residential Waltham Forest road before Hackney. Burwell Road is shambolic. The even side is in fact miserable-looking industrial lets. The buildings are neglected despite one building having architectural features of recent historical note. I was on a walk once with Walthamstow women and saw their noses visibly curl when they reached this side of dirty Leyton. Burwell Road will surely get some attention before the Station opens.

The pavements on both sides are patchworks of tarmac caused by cable installation and service outlets. The front gardens are holding pens for abandoned furniture, bed bases, uncollected full black bags, and only three reflect any householders’ pride. Litter is blown into the street from dirty yards and the main road because people aren’t soiling their own street, are they? Huge furniture vans park on double yellows, disrespecting the word “residential” as the drivers unload goods noisily into a massive charity shop and a garment manufacturer. Businesses on the adjacent Lea Bridge Road pile their rubbish on the corner and at night the lighting there is inadequate.

Trees are showing their roots as they mature in a flood plain. The roots are temporarily curbed and the new covering tarmac cracks and spreads after each treatment. The areas around the trees are best avoided.

Burwell Road is dull, needing attention and a disgrace. Long-term residents are fed-up especially as they’ve seen the roads resurfaced on the rest of what was once the Burwell Residential Estate. It’s hard not to turn the corner and say “Fancy bringing kids up here.”

Saturday at Stratford

East London in Flux – a focus group                                                                

StartsNov 16, 2013 10:00 AM
Finishes                                Nov 16, 2013 04:00 PM
Venue            University Square Stratford, 1 Salway Place, London E15 1NN
Booking details
Free entry; booking required

Event description

London is moving East and this area of London is changing fast! Have you ever wanted a greater understanding of regeneration or to question the How’s, Why’s and Wherefores of our area’s attraction to major developers, politicians, international companies, academic and sporting institutions? It can’t just be ex-industrial cheap land, can it? In a fast changing environment knowledge is everything – if the thousands of new jobs, businesses,  homes and neighbourhoods, being planned actually materialise you could be a key intermediary communicating that knowledge to your family, children and wider community; helping to raise the aspirations of local people to truly benefit.  Or perhaps you have just moved into East London and want to meet new people and understand the area better; what makes it tick?  We are considering setting up a series of informal adult and family orientated evening classes and events to explore the regeneration on the horizon. But first we want to gauge your interests and views – so we can put together a stimulating and practical programme of enquiry.  Whether you think “The Olympics were the best thing to ever happen to East London”; or maybe you are sceptical about the whole thing. Perhaps you haven’t really thought that much about it?  Whatever your view point please join us on Saturday 16th November between 10am – 4pm at Birkbeck’s brand new building in University Square Stratford for a free, fun, informal focus group session including food and a walking tour of the rapid changes to the area.
Contact name


November             2013

Mon Tue Wed Thu

Pigeons upgraded.

Fitzroy presents his experiences at Lloyd Park Sharing Heritage through poetry. Thanks for sharing…..

Culumba Livia 

Against an angry grey sky

a speckled flock stretched wings and decided to fly

Returning, they landed.

Spindly, fine pine needle rain, sprinkled us.


Displaying their blue-green, turquoise necks

beaks pecked away mimicking machine sewing needles

constantly moving, simulating bee hive activity

on a crowded dance floor.


Others joined making it more

Amongst them a spectacular white came into eat

moving nearer and nearer to our feet.

A chequered bird supped water from a discarded rusty brown leaf.


Sensing danger, they stilled, activity ceased

then wings flapped, created turbulence and rose as one

turned, soared and were soon gone.

Reminding me of the ephemeral nature of things.


The pigeons came back to us again

pecking and cropping thrown grain.

Thin rain drizzled without ease

Blessing  the gathered group.


When rain falls,it blesses us all

it wets all our roofs

an umbilical chord

connecting everything to everything.


Culumba seemed bold and yet shy

under the rain they still kept dry.

Tamed, they have served us well

As war heroes, saver of lives, decorated

bred for fancy spectacular plumage, for the vain

Eaten as  tasty morsels

And raced for sport and trophies


Some of their brave deeds have witness

conveyors of documents

from Gwent to Kent

they delivered when sent.


Rain made their discovery very special.

I have passed  them many times

Blind to the myriad of colours on display

thought them nuisances- to shoo away

Now I see pigeons, with clearer eyes.

                                                     Fitzroy Johnson  09.11.2013

Awesomestow on a Saturday morning.

Yes rather than enjoying Da Village on a Saturday afternoon, it’s good to go-a-wandering at 8 am on a November damp early riser. You will pass people but they will never say hello…ever

.autumn village (2)

And the senior guy in my photo calls them “mobile wanderers”. I call them arrogant swains.

A downside to living upmarket is the hoot of the train shaking the quietness and the faint sound fall of Autumn leaves. Yes, the other hiccup is the slippery lino of wet Plane leaves.

As I walked along Eden Road, a chap fell off a ladder and then a flock of sparrows just missed my ear. Drunk, see!

Aweganic continues. In uptown E11

Word Song wow!

Twas great to be part of Word Song today at Leytonstone Library E11 with Andrea co-piloted by Karl. Whoever knew what to expect and we didn’t need to worry either cos  the song and words workshop  was organic in its process.sara wordsSara taking notes.

Remember Michael Rosen’s “Hackney Streets” performed by Brooke House (BSix) drama students at The Round Chapel, Clapton about 7 years ago (before it turned hipster) ? To me that was an ace production using words alone and real experiences all rehearsed then set in a dark cold space. Today we appreciated songs and poems, rapping and singing by interacting with texts physically and each other. andreaAndrea directing.

Not a mass of participants as per at these given workshops, designed to engage the community whatever she looks like but we were quality. It was vibrant and was story-telling, voiced in harmony and individually. A good experience in out of the rain.dianaEnergised at Leytonstone.

We were asked to bring along any songs we’d written so I scribbled mine down in fat felt-tip and recorded on my mobile phone. Sara brought along a poem dedicated to her mum whilst Mary gave us an hymn written by her fabulous father. We cried, laughed, showed off, spoke French,  got rid of our inhibitions almost and lunched together mid-way through the three hours of intense creativity.

Elton John move over!

My song

my song