sparrows and eagles

A fat cat bank was making a telly ad to address the fact that older people are evidently isolated more and more because of their lack of love of all things digital and that adverts starring those older folk would do good…for the bank.
Bearing in mind that most ads starring older people whether puppets, models, actors  or Joanne Lumley are mono- cultured and do not reflect the ethnic diversity of our land, then I was interested myself to see which sparrows hailing from near Marble Arch, who could access a tablet and cow-tow would make the grade and soar with eagles. So far my predictions are correct with my list containing the token person of colour.
The pay and dinners were out of this world.

Up On The Roof

Today I followed Buildings Exploratory with Age UK Islington into the Angel Building in Islington itself. Boy oh boy! The elephant in the room was ignored; the treacle spoon, that gorgeous sculpture /art installation in the foyer and which celebrates the nursery rhyme “Half a pound of tupenny rice”. We went upstairs to see Design Council staff beavering away overjoyed to be working by a window with trees blowing in the April wind. Didn’t see the point of that excursion: We did notice the patterns on the lift floors matched those on the landing floors. Whoop whoop. Take me to the roof.
It was blowy up top but what a scene!
I did realize the tour was for we seniors to appreciate that built environment that apparently irks us so.
Yesterday was excrutiatingly awful for me. I couldn’t escape for I’d left my Freedom Pass in the workshop space. I had joined a group of about ten seniors as we visited an art gallery and then we were led into a space for brainstorming, squiggling, and a stroke of art appreciation. We were exploring our reactions through our senses to objects in order to apppreciate , never mind ‘understand’ the curated exhibition. Tis the way of the community engagers in all the art galleries now. An assumption is made that seniors who arrive in community groups are ignorant about art and have limited means of seeing and going to art. The ways of engaging seniors is big business. The fear now is that as seniors live longer with 91 years of age soon to be the new three score and ten then the community engagement programmes will stretch as same in content to be delivered to seniors described as from age 55 to 91. Clearly irksome.
Big business indeed but as a receiver I am neither engaged nor tempted to go deeper into galleries. Others will be. I am tired of being treated as someone with special needs simply because I am an older person.
One fat gallery’s director in north east London has declared support for studies which say that illness is the main reason older people do not frequent art galleries in London and intends to address that situation by installing a coordinator to do workshops for appreciating art with bussed in older people. Same ole, same ole.
Admirable maybe. Do-gooding yes. Appealing perhaps. Box-ticking surely.

Issue 15. Up Your Street

Tues 14th April £5 1.00-4.00pm. Tea dance at Old Town Hall, Adelaide Rd. Leyton. For that money I expect a china cup.

Wed 15th April  £4. 11 am  Empire Seniors film screening E17 in The Scene

“Birdman” (15) with tea and biscuits.

Thurs 16th April free Artist Michael Whelan’s exhibition of older people (75+) at The Mill, Coppermill Lane  E17. Drop in and be amazed.

Sat 18th April    free 10-4pm St John’s Church Broadway Stratford. Book in advance as

Iroko Theatre Company goes local to teach story-telling techniques as in Africa..

Sun 19th April  £9  5pm and 8pm Arcola Theatre Dalston E8  short plays. Tickets at Booking office. Margaret Perry showcases her play.

                                  free 3pm  British Museum preview of “Indigenous Australia ” with Rosetta Art Centre. (Clay sculpting students were offered. See Wed  22nd April re: over 60s treats)

indigenous_australia_464v2Credit British Museum photo.

                                          £6+  7 am Swimathon in Better pools

*Waltham Forest Walks’ takes place usually on Tuesdays and Sundays. The local walks are free, guided and very welcoming too. Please go to the web site for updates.*

Tues 21st April free  NOON Visit to Vestry House Museum and for the exhibition about Muslims in Waltham Forest  since 1950.Picnic in the garden. Bookings done.

 free    10-4.30pm Winns Gallery Lloyd Park until 26th April 2015

“Discover the rich heritage of Lloyd Park, through the creative interpretations of the Lloyd Park Sharing Heritage Over-50s Group.

Enjoy Lloyd Park seed giveaways, tree trail, sharing heritage film, old park photos and maps, poetry and much more.”

lPSH rags 2

Lloyd Park Sharing Heritage wall-hanging by RAGWORKS

Wed 22nd April free 10-1pm. Seniors clay sculpturing at Rosetta Art Centre

West Ham. Digital photography too. Phone for a place.

Fri 24th April free noon visit to Geffrye Museum and Gardens. Picnic too.

Bookings just completed.

                        free multiple times Brixton Reliance sound exhibition. Book at Eventbrite.

                        free 6.30-8pm Radio Art installed by mostly Up Your Streeters at

Tate Britain as the staff launch “Reclaim The Waves”.

The Centre for Better Health has free Shiatsu sessions on offer. CHeck at Eventbrite or phone them in Hackney. Thanks to Susan in Clapton for alerting us to the fact that the Centre has no apparent disabled person’s access points.

They do have £1 Sourdough sticks in the mornings from their Artisan Bakery by Hoxton Station.


The Pamper Shop and Shiatsu

excel 2015Calm Clinic

An open clinic for 30 minute FREE  Shiatsu treatments. Clinic starts on 15th April 2015 and runs for 12 weeks from 11.30 – 2.30pm. Also 30 minute Cranio-Sacral tasters on 6th May, 20th May and 3rd June 2015. You need to book online at the Centre for Better Health in Hackney via Eventbrite. Loads of spaces available.

Dilston Grove

Today was the first 2015 session of Seniors Art School at Dilston Grove, Southwark Park. Well, the daffs are showing off through the railings and, of course, it’s school Easter holidays so all the parents, buggies, scooters, toddlers , babies. kiddies and dogs were out splattering colour across manicured grass bits.

In a posh place by a concrete church was a group of older people all warmed up nicely with a cuppa and raring to revitalise the art in them. It’s free. It’s a workshop.

Two experienced artists in the community led us fourteen students (three from Up Your Street thanks to Bridget Virden) by encouraging us to feel and relate to works of art in the exhibition inspired by Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons”(1914) . This text is free to read online. Just Google her name.

Oh we had lots to say and it was all honest stuff for, let me tell you, we had not read the press release and the artspeke yet.

Time went swiftly but we were managed well. After a picnic lunch in the sunshine it was time to go into linear narratives, charcoal and fixatives, pencils and knee-jerk marks on kitchen paper to thrown-out words so we drew space and heaviness, tenderness and something else. We’d listened to the words of Stein but gathered no clue from them. We knew we were exploring the unexpected. No-one was judging anything.

A few of us thought we were being treated like primary school children but our age group is on the ear for that always and get over it before you can say Jack Kerouac.

One has to book for these workshops and the next session is for two days in May.

I love the journey down on the East London Line to Surrey Quays. Just love passing new Haggerston, new Hoxton and my beloved Wapping with its glinting river and boats. Surrey Quays has nothing except Southwark Park. Am I wrong?

Alexander McQueen at The V&A “Savage Queen”

This is a stupendous exhibition and well worth the £17.50 entry fee.

Just as McQueen has a vast capacity for imagining so the curator has excelled herself in

presenting the master’s work dramatically and cleverly. Every metre of the walk-about display is inspiring; breath-taking.  It’s a treasure chest in the dark. It’s like looking at the Crown Jewels in the Tower.

From tribal and primitive to tartan and ethereal images, from jewel-encrusted platform boots to wispy feathers, rags and lace, from geometric helmets and masks to naked bottoms and pubic hair in a dark wonderland with relevant music we shuffle around the solid manifestation  of a designer’s crazy visions and weird mannequins.

There is much to love and gold to stun.

Issue 14 .Up Your Street

 music 2

Tues  7th  April free 1-3pm Doodle Club at St Joseph’s Hospice Mare St Hackney.

Arts and Crafts get-together with tea and custard creams. Disabled access. Great fun.

Wed 8th April free noon. Up Your Street community group off to “Savage Beauty” at the V&A

Nicely booked up and welcoming new subscribers thanks to Shirley, Sally and Anna

Thurs 9th Apr. £3 1pm Hackney Picturehouse “Meet Me In St Louis”. Reminiscence screenings. Lovely hot drink and one biscuit too included.

free and tomorrow. 11 am Dilston Grove art classes for seniors. (Surrey Quays) We had to book in advance. Next sessions in May. I will alert you.

free 6-9pm Start of Roehampton Alumni photography  exhibition at Oxford House, Bethnal Green.

Sat 11th Apr. free   1-3pm. Upcycling  Church Lane Community Garden,Harold Rd E11


I’d take an old dress or shalwar kameez, old neglected something then no need to book; just trot along.

free  7.30 for 8pm at Epicentre, West St E11 a talk about George Lansbury. Just turn up.

Tues. 14th  Apr. £5  1-4pm Leyton Great Hall, Adelaide Road, E10 5NN. Tea Dance


Highly recommended by users:-

“Wednesday, 25 March 2015 – Saturday, 31 October 2015 3pm – 6pm
Open Cinema is an 8-month long digital film project offering free training, free events, and the opportunity to collaborate on the production of an exciting 2-day cinema event in Hackney. The project includes opportunities for training in: collecting, digitalizing, editing, camera use, audio recording and programming. Age group: All ages. Open School East, Rose Lipman Building, 43 De Beauvoir Road, N1 5SQ. Disabled access: yes. Contact: Laurence Taylor. Email: view website

If you find out which days we attend, do share info.


Sun 19th Apr. 7pm – 9pm Sutton House
“The Goldberg Variations are probably Bach’s most loved and revered piece for keyboard. A rare opportunity to hear this astounding and moving piece in the intimate surroundings of Sutton House. People with disabilities and their carers: free. £10-12 otherwise.

 Sutton House, Homerton High Street, London, Hackney, E9 6JQ. Contact: Sutton House Music Society. Email: Telephone: 07505609757 .


Saving Integrity.

Was slightly peeved when some media types set homework  for me to find vouchers on t’internet for me to use  to take out older people to dinner . Mother hen there. That is so NOT

Up Your Street.

Haven’t even started on that Wowcher etc stuff as it is actually holiday time with reference to resurrections (although I did hear that telly advert production never stops), Benedict Cumberbatch is on repeats  in all those delicious episodes of Sherlock: For fear of missing a grimace or of the codes appearing on the screen I cannot multi-task. Then, importantly, I have listings to get out to seniors highlighting the myriad of events such as festivals and workshops for wiser older people who don’t want to spend £15 on a discounted dinner of leaves arranged on a plate.

Seniors are targeted everywhere now especially since they were outed as isolated and lonely. I find events and activities for seniors which are free or as cheap as chips around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Last week I grabbed the last free places on a clay sculpting course in West Ham. No vouchers required just a peek into tweets and emailed newsletters. After that and after a fabulous choral evening I gathered places on a choir workshop for seniors to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon. Who knows to where that may lead? A coming highlight,  a little out of our manors but related to Hackney, is a great afternoon out at Keats House in posh Hampstead when Michael Rosen gigs and seniors picnic on the lawns…on benches of course.

Seniors can find their own vouchers for discounted wares and food on the internet. The ones I know have collected vouchers and money-off coupons all their lives. If I do my homework I will need to find mega bargain deals in my target area.

On it ….after my hols.

Oh and they weren’t media types. They were media themselves.

@Digitaleagles homework

The team at the 50+ Show is always on the lookout but interestingt for ways to save you money. Our friends at have recently launched the Silvercard+ which is the first and only discount card for the over 50s in the UK.

Today we are inviting you to try it out.

You can benefit from straightforward cash discounts and great offers from some of your favourite brands on a wide range of holidays, flights, travel insurance, theatre tickets, car breakdown cover, restaurants, clothing, and technology.

You could save hundreds of pounds every year online and in store. All you need to do is go to and register. You can start using discounts online immediately and it’s free.

Straightforward savings from leading brands. It’s simple with Silvercard+.

The 50+ Show and Silversurfers Teams.

The Script

Booking at a London museum for Up Your Street community group. Enough to make you weep.

Me          Please can I have a booking for 15 seniors on June 4th 2014 for THAT exhibition?

My name


Up Your Street


What’s your number? I need to talk to you

Me                 Number

waiting(photo  credit The Mill E17)


Phone call, Museum speaks, Can you tell me about your organisation?

Phone call   Me     It’s for seniors . We’re on your database.



Museum What did you want to see?

Me            THAT exhibition

Museum     How many people?

Me       15

Museum when do you want to come?

Me June 4th

Museum What’s your contact number?

Me   Number

Museum How many pupils?  How many staff?

Me We are all senior citizens.