Treats for the week

Due to popular demand here is a list of telly films for this the beginning of 2014 so you can see if you fancy anything. I love Oklahoma. Never knew it had all those costumes

Tues 31st Jan Channel 5 11.15am “Fiddler On The Roof”
Film4 1.10pm “The Ladykillers”
BBC FOUR 8pm “Kind Hearts and Coronets”

Wed 1st Jan 2014 Sky Arts 2 “Kiss Me Kate”

Thurs 9.30pm Sky Arts 1 “Renoir”

Sat 1.05pm ITV3 “Blue Murder At St Trinian’s”,

Now remember everything repeats. “Oklahoma” is doing the rounds as is every WW2 film (Wait ’til next year! And WW1) Ray Davies of the Kinks is interviewed again on Sky Arts.
“Chaplin” (Sony Movies) and
“The Glenn Miller Story” Wed. Channel 5 1.40pm) are being screened too.

Sense prevailed

2014 New Year Fireworks cancelled

Wednesday 1 January 2014
Highams Park
Leyton Jubilee Park

Unfortunately the 2014 New Year Firework events are cancelled due to public safety concerns linked to the severe weather conditions. We are looking to reschedule the event later in the New Year.


I am learning Romanian online . You’d have thought that while the Boroughs set up free English language learning classes there might be some free Romanian classes. It’s all about the language. When immigrants come in from the Union states then I for one would like to welcome them and show I tried to learn their culture and ways. I went to taster Polish classes in Leytonstone a couple of years ago. Last month I attended beginner Mandarin Chinese free classes in Leyton. In 2006 I looked forward to the fusion of arts with some Polish British music funk and performance poetry. Where was it? This weekend I thought I’d see my Romanian upstairs family neighbours out and about and we’d greet and I’d attempt “Hello” in their tongue. All I did was sort their plastic bag rubbish out of the brown bin because despite a working party all about recycling in this borough the powers that shift failed to educate the new incomers about the joy of recycling and the saving of the planet which happens mostly in Waltham Forest. So why didn’t someone in the art deco offices dream up free learn Romanian and perhaps Bulgarian lessons? Too busy telling OAPs that their bids for a Christmas dinner were unsuccessful.
How gutted must people have been? Last year I put in all my friends’ names and I never got a place myself. Meanwhile people were getting into two dinners! I complained and got a wishy washy reply. Let it go Gillian. Let it go! And before that I attended a tea club for all women in a mosque ante-chamber where the covered old mothers actually said that the Christmas dinner “was not for the likes of us”. Oh yes it is! That’s the whole point. We should all mix up. One racist old blighter said “They do nothing for Eid in this Borough”. Oh get yourself out and about. Take the cloth from your ears. Every year Up Your Street subscribers (and we come from the east London rainbow nation massive) get along for the fabulous Eid, Diwali and Guru Nanak celebrations because the events are for all of us and if they’re not then heads will roll on Persian carpets.
One certain old people’s UK charity dished out free blankets and slippers to the needy poor last month. The needy poor couldn’t be asked so the surplus stock lay in wait for late-comers. My friend has spent all morning re-stitching the woollen square blanket and super gluing the soles back onto the slippers which were given out in good spirit! Some quality control needs addressing especially if those same blankets are dished out to needy incomers in the coming January February and March of 2014.
Adam and Eve it!

Issue 52 of 52. Up Your Street

Sat 21st Dec free Dalston Eastern Curve Garden at Dalston Junction, Hackney

“There’s still time to see the Garden illuminated, as we will have ‘Light Nights’ every evening until 8pm, Sunday 22 December. The Garden will then be closed until 11am, Thursday 9 January 2014.”


Wed  25th Dec free 1.30-5pm. Christmas Dinner in Tottenham

Christmas Lunch for the Elderly and those on their own. Triangle Children, Young People and Community Centre, 91– 93 St Ann’s Road, South Tottenham, N15. Call Rona 07949 107 687 or Maureen 07940 908 150.



Winter Solstice Walk

Sat 21st Dec free     1pm and 2.30pm  with “Walking together in Waltham Forest”.

David Boote invites us to

a walk for the winter solstice sunset

Saturday 21 December 2013

either, for a long walk, from Eagle Pond, Snaresbrook Road E11 1SP (by W12 bus stop    opposite Rivenhall Gardens) at 1pm

3.3 kilometres

or join at Leyton Green E10 6AE (from outside Cottage cafe) 2.30pm

4.6 kilometres

to finish at the Princess of Wales pub on the Lea Bridge Road about 4pm

For the first section from the Eagle Pond, wear footwear for rough bumpy grass and wet    muddy footpaths

The second section from Leyton Green to Lea Bridge is mainly on firm surfaces, with one    railway footbridge

no charge; welcome to everyone who can look after themselves

local walks, revisiting our open spaces, sometimes finding new ones, pointing out    a bit of history occasionally, in a relaxed atmosphere;

Anyone interested in getting updates is invited to email

Issue 51. Up Your Street

   Tues 17th Dec     free  until 21st Dec 3-8pm Ovalhouse

  “Re-Staging Revolutions:
Alternative Theatre in Lambeth and Camden 1968-88
An exhibition featuring community, experimental, Black, Asian, lesbian, gay, women’s, disabled, political, Theatre-in-Education, agit-prop, physical, visual,  performance art, vernacular drama, new writing, satirical and many other theatre companies; championing a generation of artists whose work has influenced and shaped present day British theatre.”

Included in this listing because Unfinished Histories started and continues at Chatsworth Palace, Hackney.


Thurs 19th Dec   free 6-7.45pm Hackney Central Library

Reading Lane Book Group Christmas Special

“We will be reviewing A Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst  and  we  hosting a Xmas quiz with prizes and refreshments and looking back over our great reads for the year.”

RAGWORKS exhibition continues at the Darnley Gallery, Hackney.



Lloyd Park E17 as RAGWORKS

For a couple of weeks I’d befriended a large spider which came out in the evenings to survey her world above a picture on my kitchen wall. Today I had her removed because yesterday this false black widow bit me. The pain was nasty. It spread up my forearm from my finger and I’d never experienced that kind of pain before. I’ve been eaten by mosquitoes and survived malaria when my friend didn’t. I’ve been loved by clouds of midges and had a wasp sting. My stomach was upset too.

So I couldn’t make the Lloyd Park Sharing Heritage event today. I’d made bread pudding with stale gluten-free bread as well. And I wanted to share my latest RAGWORKS “Lloyd Park Sharing Heritage” which depicts representations of the moat, the house, gate pillars, the willow tunnel, railings, trees and plants and a nod to William Morris by way of the work’s organic nature and the pattern on a 1960’s discarded tie, sparrows, pigeons, swans and the skate board site.

Never mind.

lPSH rags 2

Blow me down if a very important and necessary proposed heritage project recording the experiences of African-Caribbean and Asian Waltham Forest residents from 1940-1990 didn’t win funding. Shocked am I! How many tick-boxes are there? In fact it is the funders who keep ethnic groups from mixing together by providing money for this and that project as long as some people are included and others are excluded. How many Asian women welfare groups do we really need? And African-Caribbean cultural centres? Maybe as long as advert makers and catwalk designers neglect people from Africa, the Caribbean and Asia in general.  And maybe as long as women feel intimidated by and miserable with their husbands in the UK in 2013.

I was looking forward to the Waltham Forest project because Mauritian women in east London were lining up to tell their stories of factory work in Wood Street E17. Octogenarians were gearing up to share stories of being mixed race in days gone by. Local history stories must include the history of all residents. It can’t be all 1950 London suburbs. I am quite aware that things are gradually changing in my area but it’s not out there.

Do you know about RAGWORKS? How the work is all hand-sewn and refreshed materials are used. It was funny leaving the launch of the RAGWORKS exhibition in Darnley Road Hackney carrying my champagne and flowers and my friends spying the refuse containers  outside a leather factory choc-a-bloc with red silk, fur and black lining. Thanks to my local garment manufacturer, my cupboards are full. Factories in Hackney?? Still?

RAGWORKS continues up until Christmas at the Centre For Better Health,  Hackney. Free exhibition.

By Fitzroy Johnson



Thank you for giving us platform

to render voices and perform,

our poetry,

amongst your vivid  array,

bright hues, intricate patterns,

interesting captured hanging stories.


Thank you also for providing space,

for us to appreciate peace.

and to be at ease,

amongst your most treasured works.

Your creations are immense

They should fill you with confidence

as they will live long in our memories.


Tonight what with the jolly good company, the flow of the wine and the whiff of cinnamon in the bread pudding, the RAGWORKS art exhibition launch at The Centre For Better Health was a blast.

2013-08-19 15.46.58

People came from  Hackney, Haringey, Waltham Forest and Islington to enjoy wall-hangings, embellished bags, poetry readings and story-telling. The time went past quickly in a warm basement gallery out of the fog. People loved the nod to Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn” in the form of “Girl With A Pearl Earring”. Another woman wanted to take “Cinderella” home and a guy gave us all  a West Indian story prompted by “Anansi” who is depicted hanging onto his RAGWORKS rope.

pearl version 2 at Hornbeam 090713

We had poems about a beloved father, pigeons in Lloyd Park Walthamstow, being in a prison cell, ‘duppies’ in the dark and experiences of being homeless. There was much more.

                                                                  Hornbeam bags 2

Someone visited from the art therapy class so we enjoyed more vibrant art and smashing words.

In the Gallery  yellow light,  the RAGWORKS wall-hangings look sparkly with their winking sequins and shiny buckles. “We Three Kings” are imposing in their finery and size. The Leyton Reminiscence Quilt served as an adornment and a practical mat for any visiting toddlers .

Debbie from the poetry-sharing sessions at the Centre For Better Health presented a bouquet of gorgeous carnations to the artist  as a gift from one creative being to another. Much appreciated . She read poems galore then shared some of her very interesting stories about machine sewing back in the day.

Do you know how nice it is to sit amongst the cream of human beings who want to share their craft, their captivating words, and to be under the colours and shapes in the textile wall-hangings? Beautiful.

Twas an organic evening!

Half Of A Yellow Sun

**Interview with Mrs Chinyere Achonu from Leyton about

Half of A Yellow Sun by  Ngozi Adichie.

The half of a yellow sun refers to the Biafran flag design.Biafran flag

“A story,  a story. Tell me a story”.

Chinua Achebe, master Nigerian story-teller and  Adichie’s mentor and  fan praised her story-telling craft. The Daily mail went so far as to describe the book as a classic. There’s a whole queue in front of Adichie’s work a vying to be classic let alone read.

During the Biafran War many of the Ibo community members from Nigeria comprised of minor civil servants  lodged in Walthamstow. It was the late sixties, early seventies . Years after the Nigeria-Biafra War they moved back home retired and elderly . They left behind a population of mixed race offspring raised by professional white English mothers. Only those  forgotten mothers  can have any idea about the impact of the war on Nigerians in London but like their spouses they relied on pro- Nigerian government news on BBC TV.  The men meeting at The British –Biafra Association  meetings in Red Lion Square,  Holborn during the war outbid each other in their guilt for being safely away from the mutilations, rape, curfews, black market trading and starvation and then wrote group cheques for their unknown comrades in the field In a bid for self- salvation. After the war no-one spoke about it.  The important thing then was to know your enemy and get Nigeria back on its feet.

Who in London wants to remember let alone review the war? The book is a story and has to be that. Adichie knows that memories are warped and elaborated. She pays homage to her parents and grandparents by writing down what they revealed. She is the dutiful daughter and the privileged tutee of the master story-teller,  Achebe.

For me I respect  Adichie for gathering  stories from her traumatised parents whose related experiences of the Biafran War inspired her to  shape characters in a time she never knew when a country was  rapidly- changing and being mortally fractured in the process.  Exploring those  memories and  by creating  three main characters,  Adichie  shows  the way people use their instinct to survive,  and their capability to adapt to circumstances and fellow humans. The impact of the novel is by way of its crafted story-telling . The reader needs to empathise with those desperate people in villages and towns where running water and electric light never existed,  in places where some people have much and most people have nothing . She does a good job taking the reader there and setting the scene. She is however more interested in relationships and how people tick.

Hope reigns in the novel. There is an Igbo saying , “No condition is permanent”.  It used to be painted on the overcrowded public transport together with prayers to God.  It’s a mantra deep down in the psyche of eastern Nigerian people.  It suits the book.  So could suit, “Nothing surprises us!”.

I disliked the main characters: The white visiting professor searching for something deep in Africa and looking weak  in the process,  the houseboy daring to be intelligent and thinking with ambition and cunning  (going right against the grain!) and the young learned daughter of Biafra who would be all right whatever happened. Cream always rises.

The book tails off at the end as though the story-teller is exhausted and the reader has to form their own conclusions especially about who the narrator is . (Spoiler alert).

Here is a book I can easily forget and others say the same. It is worth celebrating as Achebe does but one not worth revisiting.

C. Achonu (Mrs) August 2013_________________________________________________