Floating Cinema

Boiling I was to be sitting on a moving boat in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the curtains drawn and the expectation of seeing art installations dashed. I was on a boat with a speaker promoting his supervision of art projects mainly oop North and no knowledge of the River Lea. Imagine! What rhymes with slap?

And then came Jo Bell’s poetry. She is the watery Canal Laureate.* What? Her poem, what we heard of it because moving boats like barges make scraping rumbling noises as they sludge along and obliterate sound tracks on Powerpoint, was Plathy but I will visit it on Google somewhere so as to raise my positives.

Stuck in a boat and nowhere to run. Stuck on a boat in a  too-small life-jacket wondering how really communities along waterways are engaged through art when 33% of water-users when asked will have no truck with such Hirsts and the nod to diversity is shown through some rehearsed South Asian dancing next to a lock. One -offs and we ain’t fooled for one minute.

Time up and the rain was pelting down outside in the desert of yellow tarmac that is the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

floater 1

Back into the Floating Cinema after five minutes for mulled wine and old films and new about rivers. Now all was relevant for when you talk ‘rivers’  you talk  ‘Thames’ and then along come the inevitable rosily filmed chummy films about the London Docks back in the day. But that today was good for Up Your Street subscribers are on the Eastside Community Heritage course about shipbuilding herstories. As far as I’m concerned after seeing brilliant films from 1917 up to 2011 we’ve covered the life of a docker,  the magnificence of  big ships, exports and imports, wool and tobacco, tea and sugar and the life of men. Job done. Ah, this part of the Floating Cinema day out was just great what with friendly Simon and the Park volunteer who spoilt us with warm wine and blankets. It was very cold but hey it’s winter. We were on a boat in a treeless place with wind and rain all about us. We sandwiched and crunched nuts. Two others rustled their choccie papers oblivious of the silence of a silent film. It was like a proper pictures.

We were so happy we went despite some people getting muddled up on their ticket times, others losing their way and never getting on board and one of us had a returned phobia of all things wet and watery so she scarpered….into Westfield, where else?

I gave my friend my copy of Len Taphouse’s “Spirit of the Iroquois” all about ships and knots. I’d introduced a young couple to the Floating Cinema and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as well as senior members from the area around the Park.  I’d been on board The Floating Cinema before the Olympic and Paralympics 2012 and thoroughly enjoyed my tour of the waterways in the making besides being in the company of Mr Michael Smith. He never knew he was in my company. His films were shown today “Drift Street” (2011) and “Mystery River”(2013). Fantastic. (Goof: watch the milk flagon in “Drift”). And I loved the music by Tim and  Matthew Olden  on the film “Barging Through London” (2011).


Look what I found for FREE. Nov 29th 3.30-5pm Book at Eventbrite. Wrap up WARMly

To mark the final weekend of Newton’s Cottage we will be celebrating with a series of performances and a toast to the project. Please join us for dance, poetry, warm drinks and more.

Performances begin at 3.30pm and include:

Poetry by Jo Bell
The Canal Poet Laureate, Jo Bell will perform her specially commissioned response to Newton’s Cottage along side reciting a series of her work that relate to the waterways.

Dance by Jorge Crecis
Working with East London Dance, this piece of dance will respond to the unique environment of Newton’s Cottage and will bring the structure to life with a contemporary choreographed piece.

Presentation of Newton’s Cottage by Ruud Reutelingsperger
Hear more about the aspirations and inspirations for Newton’s Cottage along with learning about how this artwork was built and where it is going to go next.


* this my clause has been used by The Guardian before me.

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