A few Up Your Streeters went into the “Disobedient Objects” free exhibition at the V&A. Here was a crammed-in collection of ephemera representing grass roots events which spurred on social change. It was all very like a student’s bedroom with walls plastered in posters, pictures, banners and badges. Too much at once and too many people milling around, treading on toes. I was not amazed by the patchwork quilts full of the DNA of women at Greenpeace, nor by anything else but I will try it all again because the title is great. Was it put together by a curator’s intern? Not possible. Those unpaid twenty-somethings haven’t a clue about the alternative histories, do they? (I read the blogs from the technicians who mounted the objects. Paint drying times.)
Not one of our senior Muslim women went for a glance. Maybe they are dis-engaged from the struggles of the past. In the seventies they had their own issues to deal with, like their neighbours, as they shifted factory hours around husband and children upbringing. Same aged West Indian women recognized the Greenpeace section, swished by, and again reminisced about putting food on the table and keeping in line in a host country.
The journey home was funny as women in our group talked about their reasons for having cleaners. I told them how I was aghast that my sister paid a woman to do her ironing and the irony was lost as I told them how I queried my sister’s behaviour as after all she had a husband who could learn how to iron. One woman cleans her floor then uses vintage hessian rice bags to walk over the laminates as the floor dries. Another takes two hours to tidy up before the cleaner arrives. I remember being surprised that families in Hampstead employed me to do their washing up on Christmas Day. I should think Jonathan Goodluck employs young girls as house-girls rather than educating them.
Last Year I chucked out all my “Spare Rib” magazines.