Anti university “You Did What Then?

At last Anti university Now came around and I was at Hackney Museum with invited seniors. Some were to come through Eventbrite but I saw neither hair nor hide of them and two women turned up out of the blue. I still had enough biscuits and cherry tomatoes and the Museum Educational Room is packed with paper, felt tips and glue but no wi-fi.
I had been very nervous about storing knowledge about international and national 1968 counter culture events because the Eventbrite lot may well have been political boffins and may well have attended Anti uni in Old Street in the summer of love, the year of student unrest. I had not.  I was in London but had never known or was never taught about the anti establishment ways. I knew about French youth, the Sorbonne and London students, those mighty clever ones sitting in at the London School of Economics.

It turned out that one American born participant had been in London in 1968 and had gone to lectures at the Anti university. Her memories were scant. It turned out that 50% of the seniors present had not been rebellious in any which way, were foreign born and had not a clue about the nature of my workshop.  My work was cut out.

I wanted to discover through chat inspired by the vocabulary of our youth during those hippy days whether our actions demonstrating people power in 1968 were influenced by world-wide events as portrayed in the press or through adolescent hormones kicking against parental authority. Cue Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-changin’ “.

We selected words which evoked memories. We did wordsearches finding words relating to Anti university.  Two women had never done a wordsearch before. Our words and anecdotes, quotes, and memoes we stuck into three scrapbooks.
We moved from introspection to a group rallying session where we scribbled down words to which readers of archives and searchers at Wikipedia could relate to by reference. We pinned those words onto a 36″square of material to make a montage of knowledge in scarf art style.



I thank my participants.  Barbara was a hoot. She came prepared and modelled her hippy uniform although what should have been bath-shrunk Levis were comfy elastane almost jeggings. She was swearing like a trooper, fired up by her stories and memories which she generously shared in a trusted setting. Eric fell asleep in his chair. Hey! It’s Anti university. Do as you please.
We were there to learn and interact as is the nature of any university.
There was much more to report but the session is done. The scrapbooks and the scarf art represent a significant revisited road for most of the people who found me. The others were bystanders on that sunny June evening in a beautiful busy venue.

Issue 20. Up Your Street

Sat 11th June free 2-3pm Dalston Square Family show. Acrobats and performers.(Thanks to Lucy at Hackney Circle for the share)

Sun 12th June free Noon-4pm all around the ‘ouses.
E17 Village Jumble Trail.

Mon13th June free Thanks to Carrie for sharing.”The exhibition is called “Call me by my name: stories from Calais and beyond”.

It’s at 28 Redchurch St, E2 7DP.  The nearest station is Shoreditch High St (2 min walk), or Liverpool St Station is a 10 min walk.

It’s free and runs from 2 – 22 June, 12-8pm daily with early closing on 14 and 21 June for events.”

Tues 14th June free The Mill E17. 10-1pm Hilary’s Sociable Sewing.

Fri 17th June free 1pm Geffrye Museum, Hoxton (67 bus) .Guided curator’s tour about servants.

free 8.30-9.30pm. Live orchestral music in Dalston Square.

Sat 18th June free 11-2pm CreativiTEA at Hale End Library, E4. Book via Eventbrite.

A packed day.

Up Your Street Community Group went along to the Botticelli Reimagined exhibition at The V&A today and what a treat that was.
The staff know by now we seniors at Up Your Street and welcome us always with cheery smiles.
The exhibition is in three parts, The first nods to the way Botticelli influences many artists and designers such that Ursula Andress emerging out of the warm sea immediately references Botticelli’s Venus in a shell. The second part is how Botticelli is rediscovered and the third , the real McCoy. Being neighbours of The William Morris Gallery we gasped and almost doffed our caps in the presence of rich tapestries and floaty fully chinned sewn on women designed by himself.
Colour and form to die for.
But I am still hung over and dogged by the involvement in the sham that is the pretend consultation by the Waltham Forest Borough Council with its residents about the proposals to build high rise flats in Lea Bridge Road next to Burwell Road. It’s a sham because the tenants of the retail outlet currently on site and to whom I spoke today after I’d done the Stratford to Lea Bridge uneventful uninspiring new track ride told me they received notice to quit four months ago. The site was deemed as for residential use in 201l. Disappointed in Leyton.
Other things happened today such that to regain my zest for living I told myself to straighten up and march on.

Met some wonderful seniors today so can’t complain.

Living with the blues

Bit sad today despite I gained materially. I was walking very slowly with a push chair down  to Pictorem Gallery at Bakers Arms. Where?


Bakers Arms which is not E10 mind you. It was shuttered and shut like The Mill, and Hackney Museum. Note The Mill times are a-changin’.
So I walked much faster retracing my steps to be first to covet three thrown away garden chairs and a framed mirror. Call me fregan. I call myself canny. Worry about Pictorem tomorrow.
What I am worried about is the consideration to be given by Waltham Forest Council about new build flats corner of Burwell Road and Lea Bridge Road. Remember this council botched up our roads. The arts awards group of  aforesaid council seems to have assumed the destruction of abandoned industrial outlets to make way for the private high rise because a local artist has completed a project about the Lea Bridge Station and the transforming area with a nod to the new.

Burwell Residential Estate forty years ago was a quiet turning with an Asquatum factory on its edge which folded up, scarpered and left a space for Harkwell which made cartons for M& S before it fell into disrepute allegedly leaving workers grappling for their pension rights. After the industrial estate became derelict the one way system vanished,  houses became flats, old Jewish owners left for Gants Hill as Idi Amin’s Indian victims moved in with cash and B&Q arrived nearby responding to builders and plumbers whose business was to extend the 1930s bay-windowed terraced houses outwards and upwards into skylit roofs. The houses held their prices and people were loath to leave mattresses in their front gardens.

If we can have gentrification then so too can we have slummification. From the noughties, the estate was no longer a Union Jack flag flying tribute to every English Man’s castle. No longer did Hindu wives clean their fronts. People aged and got poorer so that Bank Holidays never brought the promise of white-washed front walls, creosoted fences and washed-down plastic double glazing window frames. Single men multi-occupied three bedroomed houses and where once stood many windowed factories up sprung new one storey maisonettes wherein lived more strangers.  The old Burwell Estate community was no longer. House prices still held.
Last Spring as houses fetched half a million in poor parts of the Borough, in the socially and educationally deprived Burwell and Clementina Road end of Lea Bridge Road prices soared to half a million too and property developers were out like ravenous hounds.

In 2015, an aggressive proposal was made by a property developer to bash down the corner of Burwell Road next to where Roma people built up their own tarmac roofed concrete holes and build a cuboid representing new Londoners and their ways. Slumsville created by governments unwilling to house their people and not even called an estate now will worsen in the shadow of optimistically predicted bicycle-flourishing newcomers who will need more than sixty car-parking spaces and delivery slots for the security gates they’ll install to keep out the people behind them who’ll be shopping in Aldi since B&Q gave up on the area.

Any argument now is a waste of time because LBWF is not a people developer.  But neither are we Trappist monks. Leyton becomes more divided as a coming together of people as more and more flats grow. Why here? People from green Haringey are astounded when they bus up Lea Bridge Road, smell the spaces and marvel at the trees.

So how is Lea Bridge Station doing?

Turtles, trills and talents.

Watched “Slowhand at 70”. Ole Clapton doin’ his magic at The Royal Albert Hall. Drunk in denim blues. Genius. Taken to church. Sheriff shot. Always wonder what twenty somethings hear and see when Clapton,  Procul Harem and others come on telly. For me, there is no eye-candy but a love of performance, photography, editing, sound and music all joined together by memories of The Flamingo Club and school friends, holidays and finding my place on earth. Of course all that is big business now: Ward off dementia and engage with the elderly using music and art, music and memories, music and writing explosions.

My beautiful niece has given up modelling before she began. She is sick of people gasping at her height and the length of her legs and rather than being spotlit she opted to retake her Psycholgy A Level to upgrade from a B to an A grade. She’s stuffing her job at Superdrug, where her contract changes daily and apparently legally, and moving on and up.

I too am changing course. Yesterday I gave away my box of easel, acrylics,  oils and water-colours to Sense. Stopping this art malarkey. Going to auction off my canvases and wipe my slate clean. I have my reasons.

Joining in the memory game though, I just deconstructed a quilt creation of mine to revamp it for a summer exhibition. It’s part of my RAGWORKS collection and all about Leyton going from 1969 up to 2014 or whenever they moved the three concrete columns and sphere from Bakers Arms and replaced the elephant with benches. So my work includes embroidered depictions of  the slipper baths at old Leyton Baths, the paraffin kiosk on Cathall Road E11 when it had houses, the pawnbroker balls, the old pub pineapple decorations and the Freemason bank ( allegedly) at Bakers Arms.


It’s rather like those Victorian and Edwardian samplers done by young girls where they sewed the alphabet, sewed Christian messages and block-stitched pictures of peacocks,  church spires, crescent moons etcetera.
My work about Walthamstow below nods to those nimble thimble Essex girls.



Entering that time of year when pots rattle at 4 am and mothers over-produce in kitchens. Curry smells entice us at the end of the fasting day at 9pm. Today Tesco was packed with bulk-buyers. Tesco responds to all its communities and today there were beautiful notices about helping us to spend during Ramadan. I found my bargain of  three jars of well- in-date mincemeat at 10 p each. And not Tesco own brand either.

So the weekend was one of sewing, shopping, Eric Clapton, storing memories, and changing direction.