Comfort Women at E15 women of steel
Another white evening in London town.
I was lucky to get a pre -booked seat at the Lilian Bayliss theatre Islington next door to the Flamenco centre of the universe. The programme was emceed by Hakim aka Dr Impact and the free treat was an evening of contemporary dance choreographed sets with room for positive comments from an audience caught like rabbits in headlights. I kept my mouth shut.
It was when the “elders ” dance troupe came on I realized that all the dancers were white people. I saw only white older people and apart from the MC everyone on every stage was white.Sure we had a Cambodian and another not actually white British dancer.
Even a film set in truly multi cultural Liverpool looked like it was set in Bournemouth with imported youngsters.
Okay showing off about diversity when you mean age. Great bringing in dancers with disabilities. The fact that a performance includes old and young participants is an organisers wish list come true but that was not engineered by right on discrimination. It was luck. The elders’ troupe’s choreographer may have invited her aunties to join in but by the colour of the moving shape on stage they declined. It looks like in Islington only white seniors represent golden oldies.
The dance or shuffle performance by the Lilian Bayliss elders troupe was sad, disciplined and theatrical. To me it was the highlight of the show.
Two out of ten for the whole caboodle cos it was not
Took me a whole 90 minutes and three buses to get to Coldfall School in Muswell Hill and frozen and early I went for a walkabout on the once notorious and once prettier Coldfall and once fully council estate in Haringey.
First let me share my observations of Colney Hatch Lane leading downhill to Alexandra Parade oppodite The Minstrel Boy. What scabbiness. It’s a North London version of self-appreciating Hackney Wick. It’s unkempt and gaudy and then totally not in keeping with the surrounding architecture of past glories is the green build that is South Friern Library closed at 9.30 on a Wednesday morning.
It is half term but I heard no sounds of families and babies or the smell of curries from the compact dwellings. I felt an atmosphere of barren homes and isolation and neglect. The estate is cut off from the posh Muswell Hill and its once suburban neighbour Friern Barnet and never the two shall meet.
The caretaker met me in a school buzzing with cleaners and construction workers working on the new hall’s new roof. Solar panels adorn the 1928 roofs of the old building which stands strong and utilitarian.
Part 2 follows right now.
I got myself back to the twenty first century and bravely entered the Muswell Hill and Friends Facebook site and in came women I vaguely knew by name from my childhood. Working on that because rather than nurture interest in my Headscarves Project all that happened was that hens devoured each morsel of every other woman’s outpouring of knowing someone’s gran and “Yes .I remember you” so I the interloper was left out in the cold. I gave my email and left direct messages while I waited a couple of days to get onto the under populated Coldfall Avenue Facebook site. Being accepted was like being visible at any reading group into which I’ve ever dipped my non regular Barbican going feet. There I boldly advertised my project Headscarves 1950
What does flat50arts actually do? Find out by tuning into East London Radio on Thursday 10.30 at Mary Katherine presents. Oh yes she do! That’s a.m. cos Mary targets seniors not late night lovelies .
Well I know what flat50arts does for me…..puts my art out there such that a stuttering young man with limited verbal expression came up to me and told me how my art makes him feel. That is a task enough for the most Ph.D amongst us.
Today I went to two art exhibitions then went to Save Our Souls at Stratford Picture House East London and swapped one of my paintings with another of mine then sold another. Busy.
Signed up for a dance treat at Sadlers via Claremont Project and there the management has a great mission statement about what oldies should have in terms of well living. Until the statements are made concrete in non- patronising tones I aint buyin ‘ it.