20170104_114522Great stuff headed by Hassan Vawda at Art keys. An old white woman class in the main assembled around tables in Chingford this morning and spoke of many things; staying with grandchildren, walking The Lakes and the University of The Third Age whilst our host Kikis Leventis (pronounced Chigee or Gigi) introduced us to the joy of charcoal, felt-tips, pencil and biro. We were a crowd. Latecomers without manners arrived and we thirty squashed up more along the joined-up tables in the library itself. Now previously, last year,  we’d spaced out in the art deco Assembly Hall and had hot cups of tea between art tasks. Today Health and Safety said no to a kettle and there was no water anyway and the Assembly Hall has been sold on so that a colossal hour rent would render our free art workshop gone.





We needed hot tea, space and drawing boards. Hassan is the most generous host and teacher. The workshops are always well-prepared and structured. Today every ten minutes so that we could pace ourselves we were reminded of how long we had to create.. Today we learnt to be confident using charcoal or biro and that was a lesson in itself about nothing in art should be prescribed. Bravo.

So we all put in a note to the council to buck up and release for free to artists in the borough the empty Assembly Hall.

The day is cold. I came home, ate new chapattis with old curry and settled down with a cuppa to watch “The Lady In A Van”. That inclination was something to do with having sat with septuagenarians all morning. Ugh, unbearable. The film.


about FGM

Last year they made such a fuss on telly news about female genital mutilation. I knew not one person who had heard that Feb 6th was International Zero Tolerance to FGM Day and I know no-one to whom I can even mention FGM. There’s a a whole smelly knicker graphic ness about FGM and a new and strange vocabulary to know about.

I hear lesbians chat about clits but never cis women. I certainly never hear my generation use words like labia, clitoris and genital. Never. Still most people I know have not understood International Women’s Day or heard of it.

In the seventies my mate married an African and they went out to the continent to live. She’s died within the year from malaria on her brain. Her husband like many people had no idea what a clitoris was but was in the bent of his mother who was pressing for her “white” grandchild to be baptised and then circumcised. My friend was on cut watch all the time because, don’t forget, despite being highly educated, she was still just a woman with no say.

At the death of her mother the child with Downs Syndrome was sent to her  grandparents. in the UK. Phew!

The fight against ending crap FGM is an old old fight and not helped by the “Gender Minister”(sic) in Sierra Leone giving the go-ahead for rusty old hags to use rusty old razor blades to cut flesh from girl children because it’s culture. Culture, my arse.2016-01-03-12.43.05-1-1.jpg.jpeg