27 Hours

UK Action for Refugees

I’m sat drinking in the churning of the waves on the shores of Petra, Lesbos. They’re much louder tonight than the gentle graze of shingle we’ve grown accustomed to. The weather took a turn for the worse yesterday as predicted but the boats still came. Admittedly there haven’t been too many but in this weather it gets easier to see just how grave these peoples’ plights are. Watching from Eftalou this morning we could see how turbulent the water was on the Turkish side and yet still, across they came. By lunchtime, three hundred refugees had walked the hour hike from the beach to Eftalou where they found us with clothes, hot soup, medical assistance… and open arms. The first of those they’ve seen in a while.

Last night we were forced to abandon the Fiat Panda for Kathe’s Hyundai. The dirt roads on the stretch of coast we watch have…

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Cheap as chips up the Village aka E17 aka Awesomestow

2015-11-29-12.22.30.jpg.jpegLorraine Ward “Across Chingford” details.                                                2015-11-29-12.24.22.jpg.jpeg

Detail of  Luminous Leytonstone by Sharon Foster

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Free art at Vestry House Museum, slashed prices on meat and hens at Spar where the bread is posh but is it as nice as Hoxton’s Centre For Better Health’s artisan bakery. Same bloomin’ price, And then more art at another gallery by Eden Road and then outside for anyone (here I am ) to take, a whole load of quality canvas bags.. They smell deliciously new like sacks before the potatoes pile in.

The wind was terrific too.

So I took photos of my Vestry House  gallery look about bearing in mind that the four featured artists won commissions from Waltham Forest Council arts and culture lot. The Museum was a-buzz with a Dickens Reading Group and a Stella C. forum thing. Not interested one iota. Refuse to spend my Sunday in The Village when Leyton and Whitechapel call. Mind you, The Castle E17  lunch time menu was appealing. ….. Hen to pepper up.


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Brendon’s Coronation Gardens

Sba Shaikh

Freezing morning but a brisk walk through the Mini Holland that is privileged Walthamstow millionaires’ rows of streets and to the very busy Vestry House Museum I went specifically to see Sba’s work  which is a collage textile hanging.  It is delicious. Look at the colours: a veritable peacock and outstanding in a brown place.

It moves to Leytonstone Library and I expect a guest launch ticket as was missed last time. Yes.

This is a commissioned work by Waltham Forest culture lot celebrating 50 years of its Council. Three other artists* took Chingford. Leytonstone and Leyton as their focuses. Sba’s was E17.(*see next blog)

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Crikey O’Reilly at the Queer Festival (Mostly nudity. Sexual graphically. PG advised).

Oh really, did I want to see vulvae and willies after sampling chilli jam and stinky cheese at St Peter’s/ de Beauvoir’s Christmas Craft Fair? Let’s face it, I was lost on some lost streets off the Hoxton main road. I saw only dinginess and grey pavements and felt the biting chill through my mack. I’d spent all my odd change in the fair and at the Women’s Institute stalls and was full on samples of this and that in St Peter’s crypt. I stood at a road junction and espied the old Hackney Archives building. Maybe I’d see Stephen or Pauline in a carpeted room doing computers. Couldn’t have been more shocked really. I followed some lesbians into the dismal building that is Open School East. I saw some snacks on a table through the smudged glass door but turned on my heel to disappear downstairs without making eye contact with the reception staff or the coiffured men around me to the basement and studio. I did not want to be community engaged or otherwise.


2015-11-28-12.44.55.jpg.jpegLove this one

The gallery was like any old warehouse set-up but the sections here were separated by voile curtains.


Oh my word. Art deserves better.


I tried to look at the porno photos as to me they were. You know. women licking something whilst naked must be some kind of rudeness or nature. If the montage had been up on a pristine wall I could call it art, captured moments, through a looking glass and more. There was an unknown going on in my mind triggered by the fact that I was underground and had no idea how many rooms of willies there were. Well there were walls of willies and a couple of vaginas all painted with urgency and sometimes by numbers or at least by colouring in.


Some works are thrusting with potential





Why were the  queers here always  painted as nudes?


I returned to the queue at reception to redeem my tickets for the 10 minute shorts aka short films all about boys loving elephants and whatever else on show. I could not pretend to myself that here was an enjoyable cultural experience.

Someone else’s party.

Volunteer Overload

I never knew that. Businesses ask that their young (graduate) workforce do a  day’s volunteering one day a year. With what kind of Cameron Big Society tick sheet does that comply?

So yesterday at The Claremont Project there were volunteers galore, all young things flitting around offering to help stall holders write price tags, fetching tea, being at the beck and call of their seniors.

RAGWORKS woz there.2015-11-27-11.32.21.jpg.jpeg

Not knocking anything. They were like all interns in the intern system 95% white children. 95% white and the rest.

Then I went to a concert in Hackney, one of the most multi cultural places in the world. The choirs were brazenly and obviously 95% white and the audience 94% white. What what what! It’s Hackney. What should I notice?

The reading group in Hackney last week though took the biscuit. Took the biscuit, hard and stale.

Watching Sky Arts “Rembrandt”, new programme. Listening to the interpretations by somebodies. “Perceptability”, a word with a depth of art education in it..

Bow Arts is doing a celebration of something with affordable prints up on its website. For £85 I could get this beauty.


Gonna check out the people in de Beauvoir Hackney today. Heard they hardly touch the cobble stones with their nimble feet.


Nights in ‘Ackney

Had a white night in Hackney

Had a music night in Hackney

Was wet in the rain outside St John at Hackney waiting for a gig to start.

Had a stupendous evening listening to The Kin Choir, London Contemporary Voices Choir

and then some: Anil Sebastian. (singer and musician), Gwilym Gold (singer and  pianist) Hrim (lady singer) and Phoria euphoria sound making band).,

And the beat boxer, not introduced audibly but severely applauded2015-11-27-20.23.56.jpg.jpeg





Reading in Reading Lane

Another month went by and today was reading group. Hmm, not impressed when the library worker come organiser has to attend a staff meeting at our allocated reading group time as was and has been for at least the last six years. We are adults so could manage our selves. But that was dumb.  Out of five women present only two had actually read the book in question.

Finished that, packed up a couple of croissants from the table and left the building to be accosted by beggars walking, beggars on bikes, beggars singling me out, a lone person on the high road. I even saw a guy bee-line for me. To the one on a bike I gave my croissants and to the Big Issue seller I gave a pound smiling.

No time to wonder why: I had stuff to organise for the Claremont Craft Fair.

Tough day to process…

UK Action for Refugees

Tough day to process.

Desperation is a difficult thing to comprehend. Our first boat came around nine. Afghanis, we think, judging by their black life vests which we’re told are often stuffed with wood and foam… Struggling, fifteen of its occupants went overboard and trod water for some thirty minutes before the arrival of help. We stood watching, breath baited, powerless to help. Frustrated. Eventually, some volunteers with a little more bravado than us jumped in and eagerly began swimming out – eager for 50 metres or so before they clearly tired and showed signs of being too proud to turn back… You might think, ‘well at least they were doing something’,  but we’ve been seriously warned against acts of ‘baywatchness’ after an incident involving the rescue of more than refugees…

One of the boat’s occupants had given his papers to a lady, asking her to hold them. He came to…

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Calm Before the Storm?

UK Action for Refugees

Sorry we’ve been out of touch! It’s been quiet. Jobs to do have mostly been watching for boats that aren’t coming (not yet, anyway) and cleaning the beaches. There are a number of factors being speculated as to the quietude, but the ones we can give most credence to are the weather – a southerly wind hacking into the Turkish coasts stopping the boats from launching – and the possibility that the recent G20 meeting in Turkey has upped the security, preventing crossings from happening at all. Truthfully, we’re not sure and there is a sincere belief that things will pick up again very soon; that the backlog of refugees waiting on Turkish soil to cross will begin, in force, to make the journey they’ve waited desperately to embark upon. We just hope the weather improves..

Map7 Our jurisdiction, as it were

DSC_0780.JPG Unfortunately, smugglers who want to return to Turkey with the boats…

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