Hornsey Road N7 with some seniors in a group looking at history

Today I took myself up to Finsbury Park, then along to the Michael Sobell Centre then around the corner to the old Hornsey Road Baths and Laundry to get to Platform.Now Platform is for youth and we oldies were visitors searching out the fascination of ye olde worlde buildings courtesy of Buildings Exploratory and their kin.

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What  a disappointment in that the history was delivered in reference to how marvellous it’s been covered over by a spanking new youth centre equipped with a theatre, a recording studio, dressing rooms. a careers room, posh accessible loos, a performance area, showers and a beat café The place is spotless and actually appears never used. I wonder. Not one li’le ole bit of graffiti to be seen on any brick wall indoors.

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We climbed stairs, stuck our noses into the green room, felt the ancient parquet floor beneath our feet and then enjoyed a free cuppa from Tom and his team.

We had many questions in our heads and some boldly asked, especially about the upkeep and finance for such a show house but more of us were interested in just how was the coal delivered and stored back in 1895. No real evidential answers came back.

This is an Islington Council property. This is like a palace in size, structure and heritage. And there it is sitting on the side of the road: rebuilt after The Blitz bombing, no trumpet fanfares, just there next to other fabulous old brick buildings.

wpid-2015-07-30-09.59.58.jpg.jpegOut front.

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Having to miss an opportunity

As if it were mine!

There’s an art project issued by Rosetta Art Centre in West Ham looking for an artist to paint a mural pertaining to Rathbone Market, Canning Town. It means painting up a ladder. No good for the infirm and vertigo-fearing lot although firefighter friends come in handy as art technicians. The project involves engaging with the public by researching about the market and its users. Besides that the public get to see the artist in action over the course of two days.

The fee is the equivalent of the cost of three large oil paintings on the Walthamstow Art Trail at £260. each so not much in it really for the manual labour but not to be sniffed at.

What an opportunity! To be part of the heritage of Rathbone Market as all about it new buildings emerge. My pitch would have been to glorify the skylines as in changing silhouettes, and then to pimp up paving stones to honour all those who trod and tread.

Don’t like ladder work, me.

Am on another art project which is a year long and taxing on time. It surely has its moments.  I got talking to 89 year old Vera on the 55 bus yesterday which was meant to be what with us sharing the same last name and having blue eyes, like.

It’s a fact that we seniors are sick of reminiscence projects but I guess they gotta be done because the newer generations are clamouring to learn about the histories and heritages of their habitats. Not so. Beware of being trawled into any volunteer nets. If you’re sharing memories or even reading them aloud, insist on payment. Someone’s making money out of your grey matter. Amen.

(Blog entry about a creative day in east London). All this and more.

Ten in the morning and Green Street near Upton Park was empty. Wanstead Park Station on the way was dirty looking and I was not impressed. Queen Street Market still had empty stalls and aimless new teenagers roaming around on their bikes. By hook or by crook I was going to get to banner-making, advertised as a textile project, and supported and managed  by Rosetta Art Centre in West Ham. Our venue was a disinfectant- smelling residential sheltered home adjacent to the market. It felt very 1950s with those nasty stone stairs and too low bannisters. Of the few people there a few people had no idea why we were making banners and then the answer in the inevitable celebration of multi-culturalism raised its mighty head.

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The banners made up of screen-printed designs will be finished and flying outside Queen Street Market. Good for you.

We had tea and biscuits and did much cutting with scissors.wpid-2015-07-29-10.39.01.jpg.jpegGreen Street from a second floor window. Yuk

Flew off to The Gate in Woodgrange Road, i.e the public library or  community space to check Sonya Patel Ellis’ art exhibition of dried, pressed flowers. wpid-2015-07-29-12.30.49.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-07-29-12.30.29.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-07-29-12.30.07.jpg.jpeg

The guy on reception didn’t even know it was there. Dried pressed flowers. Memo to self: Never throw anything away.

Back to the 58 bus queue where people scratched at their scratch-cards, coughed on their fags, trundled their trollies full of pound shop bargains and avoided the wind-blown rails of new stock shalwar kameez. To the Thatched House and into soap-making at the Central Baptist Church in Stratford’s Grove. What a great sight. Tables were laid out in a spacious hall. Is that where the church congregation sway and clap? On each table were kiddies and seniors creating things. Up Your Street subscribers were out in force, using glue guns, pipe-cleaners, tweezers, recycled tubs, and anything to hand. Refreshments were politely ignored in the first hour. It was fun, fun, fun and very busy. Not engaging, but busy.

We manufactured gorgeous soaps of many colours. The cellophane wrapping did the trick at the end. On the bus Sue of Leyton realized she’d left behind her creations. I left her and took the bus into Hackney.

I had a good natter with Vera, an 89 year old Hackney woman and left her an Up Your Street business card.

I’d at last reached the Black British Girlhood art exhibition at the Centre For Better Health in Darnley Road. There had been a little stir of controversy about the launch of the exhibition last Friday as only black girls and women could attend. What? By the time the ruling was relaxed then all the free tickets were gone anyway. The ensuing exhibition is a sharing of private thoughts and realizations about one’s existence as specifically black and female all manifested in drawings, paintings, collage and photography.wpid-2015-07-29-16.34.44.jpg.jpegwpid-2015-07-29-16.34.56.jpg.jpeg wpid-2015-07-29-16.35.02.jpg.jpegIt’s a springboard for what’s to come. The facets need to be harnessed so that the journey through the art on the walls has a progression, I think. We need to see how the child learning about cane-rows grows into the positive young woman who wants to celebrate her facial skin and features without make-up. Tough challenge but well worth the effort as the power in the creativity is magnificent. Some great work there.

Over the road then to Hackney Museum for the exhibition about Cambodia past then a nod to Lydia, coffee, cake and reading group library worker up in the Central Library.

Lea Bridge Road, where the Lea crosses underneath was red with fire trucks, fire-engines and then unmarked and marked cop cars.  Bus drivers whispered that someone had fallen into the river. What were ten fire trucks for then?

(Posted morning of 30th July 2015. RIP Young man as he went under in the River Lea canal after a police chase.)

Home for quiche.

Issue 29. Up Your Street

Mon 27th July all week  free 10-8pm The Centre for Better Health 1a Darnley Rd  Hackney. Art exhibition. “Black Girlhood”.

Tues 28th July  free 12-3pm Re-Trash workshops regarding re-cycling at Central Baptist Church, The Grove. Stratford E15.

Book at Eventbrite. Take along that old thing you were going to re-vamp or chuck out!

                               free 10.30-12.30pm One of five  writing workshops with Sonali. Book at The Mill E17

Wed 29th July Re-Trash workshops as 28th30 July 2015

Thurs 30th July free 3pm . William Morris Gallery E17

No need to book

 


Join curator Rowan Bain to gain a unique insight into the artists and books that inspired Announcer.

 

Sat 1st Aug £3 11-1pm Tie Dye workshop. Canning Town Caravanserai
110 – 116 Silvertown way
E16 1EA London

Take a white article or more.

Mon 3rd Aug free 3-6pm Royal Festival Hall no less. Level 3. Take your 20 cm x 20cm squares of knitted purple wool  for a sew- together, be-together sew-up squares session. Book at Eventbrite. Tea and cake too.

Thurs 6th Aug free 7-9pm Maya Angelou Festival.  Tottenham Green Centre Phillip Lane N15 Great venue. Live music too. Book at Eventbrite (16 tickets left)

Thursday’s date

Dream to Change the World: ‘Unending Journey – selected writings’ by John La Rose

Discussion featuring Linton Kwesi Johnson, Roxy Harris and George Padmore Institute Trustees

Venue: Islington Museum
Dates: Thursday 30 July 2015
Time: 6.30-8pm
Admission: Free (no booking required)

The Dream to Change the World exhibition portrays the principles that John La Rose practiced in his life in politics, culture and community activism. Join Roxy Harris, Linton Kwesi Johnson and George Padmore Institute Trustees in a discussion around the themes and ideas contained in John La Rose’s essay collection ‘Unending Journey’, published as part of the current ‘Dream to Change the World’ project.

It is remarkable how relevant these themes and ideas are today in the 2015 political, social, economic and cultural landscape in the UK and beyond.

Those wishing to attend and who would like to obtain a copy of ‘Unending journey – selected writings’ by John La Rose please contact newbeaconbooks@btconnect.com or call 020 7272 4889. Copies of the book will be also available to buy at the event

Nip it in the bud

Sometimes you just know something’s wrong but need to know through which channel to get it sorted. To do anything on Facebook invites aggressive behaviour and a besmirching of your sensitive being. Twitter is useless unless you have allies ready to brunt the storm with  you by being spiteful in a rationed verbal spate. You can gamble and be optimistic that your observation posted as a status update on Facebook is merely a helpful way of introducing another viewpoint for consideration. You can elevate yourself  and think that people will reciprocate your generous warmth and giving nature. Like the time I simply put forward a possibility that Warner of Warner Estates in E17 was a rich businessman with his wealth originating from the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Currently it’s okay and topical to ask questions about the wealth of British slave-owners because of the BBC 2’s current airing of  the University of London’s research into the ancient British architecture and how such flamboyant wealth was collected and then inherited by whom. The two programmes fired up people’s emotions. One tweet on Twitter was a rude suggestion that all white people should be watching the programme. Maybe all people should have watched the programme. It’s BBC2. Fat chance.

 

By the by, curators at Hackney Museum did some evening sessions to launch Hall et al’s university research into the houses of Hackney, bringing home how wealthy Hackney was and how the slave trade money was the foundation for the massive houses on every street corner. Even Jill Public was invited to comment on the texts and she did. Hackney Museum is always ahead.

 

School and therefore government syllabi come under fire always during hidden history episodes yet much of  our heritage learning must come through family stories and parental knowledge, surely. We cannot continue to blames teachers for what we don’t know when we can actually learn pro-actively from other sources. That of course is a whole blog site on another day.

 

 

My Facebook question produced interesting results and a bit of paternal advice. The latter was the stuff that encourages lengthy Facebook essays which go nowhere. There is no point engaging unless you prefer the life of a troubled soul. Anyway all in all old Warner, the housing magnate,  was indeed the beneficiary during his lifetime of his wife’s wealth through her family’s business in slavery. Remember, in those days, what’s hers is his.

 

An art event was advertised on Facebook but not on the promotional material as being for black women and girls only. I emphasise an “art event”, not a meeting together of abused women wanting a safe haven, not a coming together of women exploring their skin, and not a union meeting for black and ethnic members. Like others, I was disturbed because this is UK 2015 and more than that Hackney 2015. We’ve moved on publicly from alienating swathes of people in the community. If we’re functioning in a community centre then the rule is that the doors are open to all in that community. I’ve seen project administrators under Council permission advertising their projects as targeting certain ethnic groups in the public domain. There is no way on Hackney’s earth that the project organisers can turn away the non-targeted people from the event or workshop let alone police at the entry door.

 

In practice, everyone is welcome if not to just make up the numbers and gain Brownie points by evaluating shared experiences on the Lottery Heritage Funding or any funder’s criteria tick sheet.

 

Someone else  complained about the wording for the art exhibition with their moral stance and a heap of people experienced in wordly matters as their back-up. The Facebook status was changed. No-one approached the actual organisers only the venue management. It turned out that the management were ignorant of what was happening in Cyberspace. Rather than feeling that she may be hated by a few, the big mouth felt that inexperienced and enthusiastic event-makers and non-vigilant venue managers would be aware of their domain and efficient in their wording next time in order not to offend anyone.

 

I myself get all the arguments about the whys and the wherefores of finding spaces for those someone else labelled at the time as marginalised groups but heard it all before in 1980. There are wrong and right ways, remember, held up by the laws of the land.

 

On another platform, art in the community  is for all. Discuss.

 

The Pamper Shop

dates to come yet.

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