Gave notice to my subscribers that Up Your Street is taking a break.
It’s a break, not the final cut and I shall return.
Had a great meal at Butler’s Bakery last night with Ladies Who Jerky. Cheap as chips. Delicious food. But ain’t it just the case? You find somewhere good and then it closes down. We were told last night was the last night.
No point me promoting my art exhibition there as obviously the new tenants will have their own stuff to hang.
Onwards and upwards.
They came from all corners of east London. Jan had her knitting out and her chuckles too and in came Glenys from Ilford. Sylvia sprouted in her glory from Stratford and three friends from different parts of Leyton presented thamselves. Radha flowed in from Leytonstone and we supped tea, munched biscuits and felt good settled in our old age and company ready for “Old Women Talking” at Hackney Museum for Anti-University 2017.
It was an unstructured, unrehearsed event and after a little interview with Emma Winch we got our mouths and fingers busy. We naturally fell into conversation and were a team together sporting crochet brooches and sticking bits of material onto a bigger fabric to make a wall-hanging to leave in our wake just to show we were there and did what we said we’d do and that we were seniors including ourselves in the wave of events weird and wonderful around Hackney this week.
We particularly enjoyed Radha’s puberty stories from Mauritius and her longing for the genteelness of Bath. Paddy Pat entertained us with stories of late night capers but all the merriment was after a great discussion about the way seniors are targeted by scammers and how loneliness affects every generation. Sylvia had attended the Alzheimer’s Show in Olympia yesterday so was freshly pressed as an alert older woman. We were a busy bunch, writing our names, passing around flapjack, peeling satsumas, dipping into the glue, getting to know each other. When we go out to museums and art galleries, work shops and performances. installations and singing, pottery, drama, and all the rest we rarely sit and talk. Our average age was seventy. Yesterday some of us went to a Chinese Restaurant so were sharing reviews and laughing about how we time household chores because someone has to do them.
Why weren’t there any men? Well, we hardly know the men that do join in Up Your Street and also one of the aims of today was to squash any stereotypes about the interests of older women (who sometimes allow guys to dominate conversations). It was hard enough getting a panel as it was. People aren’t that ofay with the principles let alone the history of Anti-Uni. And we needed to trust each other which meant we’d shared spaces together before and managed and tolerated, even enjoyed that.
The high of my day was spoilt when in Roma Traveller Month, a ten year old Roma boy from Roma Corner was ready to punch me after he misunderstood something I said. It was such a playful remark I made, not one bit offensive but he stood in an aggressive stance. My worry was getting across my little something I said in a way he’d understand. In a grasped timely moment, I smiled and turned on my heel. Wouldn’t mind but I’m the only one up this road who even acknowledges the blighter’s parents by saying hello when I pass. Do the travellers and Roma know it’s their month. Does the Pope know it’s Ramadan?
After the day, I’m listening to and watching Chuck Berry and then I hope on some channel somewhere wotsisname is on talking with intelligence not heard in theses parts for a long time; Owen Jones.
Issue 18. Up Your Street.
Shared by Folu
“I just wanted to tell you about Gascoyne 1 Community centre, Gascoyne Road, E9. Activities for people over 50. 50p entrance fee. 3-4 pm exercise, refreshments then bingo follows. Starts at 3-6pm
It is run by Hackney marsh partnership.” Thanks, Folu.
Sun 11th June Barking Folk Festival.
Tues 13th June £1 10-1pm . The Mill E17. Hilary’s Tuesday’s Sociable Sewing. Hilary getting us ready for “Fabrications” fabric exhibition at the Mill in July!
Drop in but here is the message to regular attenders:-
“On 13th June, bring a list of all the projects you would like included, with sizes for the larger pieces.
(If you are not able to come, just email them to me).
A group decision on how many of those pieces we can select from each person.”
All will be fabulously soft.
Wed 14th June £2. 2.30pm Rio Cinema Dalston “Hidden Figures” Thanks to BN for sharing.
Thurs 15th June free 4pm “Heroes art exhibition” launch at Claremont, in the Angel,Islington. Nibbles and chat, art and company. Hibo Wardere is on the wall as ‘heroine’ along with all those mums now aged 90 who scraped pennies and rations to provide for their families. We salute them.
Fri 16th June free 5.30-7pm at the Noted Eel and Pie House 481A Leytonstone High Road. E11
Life of the eel. Part of [dis]tinct events for the community. Free dinner for first 40 attenders.
free to view. 7pm Very informal launch of “Art With Bees” exhibition at Butler’s Bakery Cann Hall Road E11 Whilst there, have some jerk chicken and salad or a rum punch, all reasonably-priced.
Average £6.50. “Ladies Who Jerky”.6pm. A group from Up Your Street dining out and why not?
Sat 17th June free 12-6pm Studio 3 Arts in Boundary Road, Barking. Open art day as a summer festival with fun events.
Exhibition to view too.
Sun 18th June free. Various workshops given by seniors . Venues around Shoreditch area.. Programme at Royal Voluntary Service.
Thurs 8th June free 11.30 Up Your Street Community Group off to the Victoria and Albert Museum for Balenciaga. Fully booked.
Fri 9th June £10. 11-1.30pm.SPECIAL for Up Your Street a tour and two hour ceramics workshop at Turning Earth in Staffa Road area in Argall Industrial Estate. Light Haus café open too. Some availability. Pay on the day. Book by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
1-3pm a nice cafeteria style dinner up at Hoo Hing in Staffa Road. Cheap as chips Chinese fare. Let me know if you want to join other seniors so we know how many tables need to be prepared. Lift access. W19 bus with a walk or any bus down Lea Bridge Road then a walk up Burwell Road.
Sat 10th June free 2-5pm Beautiful Hackney Museum
Come and see some Up Your Street subscribers taking part in a accidental theatre as they sit down and chat without a script or a rehearsal and see what unfolds.
From Bow Arts .free
“The Precinct, Royal Foundation of St Katharine, 2 Butcher Row, London E14 8DS
On Saturday 10th June this year St Katherine’s Artspace Artists will be opening up their studios for you to see! Alongside Open Studios will be Market Stalls for you to take away a piece of affordable art and the Yurt Cafe will be open as usual.
Based next door to Limehouse DLR station, St Katherine’s Precinct is an ‘extraordinary oasis’. ”
Mon 12th June free Claremont members off to the V&A.
Tues 13th June £2. 3-5pm.Claremont in White Lion Street by Angel Station. Become a member for free by going to the office then join in our Hilary’s felt brooch making class.
Thurs 15th June free. 9-7pm.Hackney Central Library to see Gillian Lawrence’s marking of “Later Years” at London’s Festival of Creativity and Wellbeing with an installation representing “Old Women Talking”. Credit to Sue’s plastic crochet bags.
free Some community leaders who subscribe to Up Your Street are off to the British Museum for a guided tour as part of the Festival of Creativity and Wellbeing.
free 11.30. Stratford Circus, E15 Sing along with a seniors’ singing group, the Agewell Singers. Brilliant.
That was the week that was.
Oof, having a sit down after a soaking. Bedraggled I was in the torrents and the bus left me cold, standing but clutching onto my massive canvases for the three-bus journey to their destination.
There’s a fabulous art and science project going on in the Cann Hall district of Leytonstone called [dis]tinct (I’m still working out the title…it’ll come). It’s all to do with migrations of peoples into the area and what they brought in and what they shared. Butler’s Bakery, a long-established community spot makes honey buns using locally sourced honey from honey-bees, of course. My focus is on the pie and mash coming up in the month and tales of the Sargasso Sea, (spelling).
I have in exhibition at Butler’s some paintings, some big paintings to adorn the white blank walls. I am the first exhibiting artist there in a world where every latte-boiling establishment rents out wall space for local artists to get loved and famous. Community art is a great thing especially as it gives opportunities for spectators to see art when they might not be asked to get into the massive impersonal galleries.
My displayed paintings are from my series “Headscarves 1950s” from my research project of the same name. There is much colour and rhythmic patterns because I reference the 1950 scarf designs. It was important that I link into the
experience and so I took time to cover my pink “Nude in a Headscarf” by dressing her in an opaque light shift full of bees. It works. Vera Lawrence (no relation) of Clapton also got a makeover and I took great pleasure in patterning the heads around her. The other picture is “Fish and Headscarves” , a painting honouring post WW2 rationed housewives and the once common fishmonger. Lots of fishy shapes but no bees.
After months of not knowing and politely awaiting a decision, finally the deputy manager of a library housing a community art display area allowed me to go ahead and exhibit. I’d asked for June 1st- June 15th so imagine my open jaw when on June 3rd I was told at the same time I was given the opportunity to have the un-cleaned display cabinets that I was late in coming to the library and setting up.
I remained diplomatic to the last. My exhibition at the library complements an happening I’m managing at Anti University 2017 at Hackney Museum entitled “Old Women Talking”. That event is a voyeur’s delight. Visitors can pass through a room where nine senior women are sitting chatting. There’s no script, no rehearsal, just a visible presence of older people in a festival which appears to target a younger cohort of Londoners who can relate to and mimic the radical Anti University of 1968 by creating weird and wonderful happenings.
My exhibition is an installation of Barbie Doll heads morphed into older women by the use of acrylic paint and re-styled hair remembering that the stereotyped media image of the older generation as white flight representatives is not a mirror of the seniors joining in Up Your Street activities. It would have been an effective installation behind polished glass with spotlights but hey I had an hour to set up and even then had left stuff indoors. It is all about making the older generation visible. There’s a large canvas of words which would have been used by UK born octogenarians such as “corsets” and “chimney-fires”. There’s a fringed wall-hanging celebrating International Women’s Day. There are symbols of Anti Nuclear activity from the sixties and a nod to Punks in the seventies. Added in are Sue’s clever plastic bags fashioned and crocheted from supermarket bags. There’s a pristine linen bag advertising High Street Seniors, a walking group of those with walking sticks, arthritis and a willingness to be an increased presence at dusk on London’s high streets.
A marvellous statement is actually being made by an installation which is really a rough diamond in terms of presentation: Older people are not invisible and will not be so. They have opinions and words that matter. They can be seen and heard. They can demonstrate that themselves through their own art and creativity. They are not a stereotype. They are not a mass of sameness. They have herstories, histories and futures.
The Barbie heads were bought after bidding wars at Ebay. By destroying the blue-eyed blond plastic representations of modern women typically called “girls” I was happy constructing a reality. It was a pleasure to observe women in real life and take elements of them into my art. At one point I had wanted to make a paper collage of older women talking but the low number of magazines celebrating our older generation show in the main middle-class self-satisfied smiling white women.
I examined the words used to describe women talking and those words include, “chin-wagging”, “jawing” and “nattering”.
I joined in the London Festival of Creativity and Well-being by acknowledging the Festival’s “Later Years” day on June 15th by making sure that my exhibition stays up for that day. It is by persistence and luck that I secured the Library exhibition space which is meant to be for community artists like myself. There are three cabinets: I was allowed two because the local museum needs a display cabinet, never mind they have a shed-load of walls, cabinets, empty rooms and enough space. I shared my astonishment at that incredible unbelievable situation bearing in mind that I was speaking up for all those community artists I support.
Invisible. Every time I went to the library, I was shelved, ignored, side-stepped and every email was unanswered. It took over two months for the managers to respond. I managed to get a verbal yes for my forthcoming exhibition in November 2017 and the promise of an immediate email confirming that. Hmm.
Another requested booking was denied me because the library needs the cabinets for their own display. The public needs to know that there’s a possible policy change in that community artists are not prioritised when it comes to ownership of community display areas at that particular library.
This was an old woman talking.