Dilston Grove

Today was the first 2015 session of Seniors Art School at Dilston Grove, Southwark Park. Well, the daffs are showing off through the railings and, of course, it’s school Easter holidays so all the parents, buggies, scooters, toddlers , babies. kiddies and dogs were out splattering colour across manicured grass bits.

In a posh place by a concrete church was a group of older people all warmed up nicely with a cuppa and raring to revitalise the art in them. It’s free. It’s a workshop.

Two experienced artists in the community led us fourteen students (three from Up Your Street thanks to Bridget Virden) by encouraging us to feel and relate to works of art in the exhibition inspired by Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons”(1914) . This text is free to read online. Just Google her name.

Oh we had lots to say and it was all honest stuff for, let me tell you, we had not read the press release and the artspeke yet.

Time went swiftly but we were managed well. After a picnic lunch in the sunshine it was time to go into linear narratives, charcoal and fixatives, pencils and knee-jerk marks on kitchen paper to thrown-out words so we drew space and heaviness, tenderness and something else. We’d listened to the words of Stein but gathered no clue from them. We knew we were exploring the unexpected. No-one was judging anything.

A few of us thought we were being treated like primary school children but our age group is on the ear for that always and get over it before you can say Jack Kerouac.

One has to book for these workshops and the next session is for two days in May.

I love the journey down on the East London Line to Surrey Quays. Just love passing new Haggerston, new Hoxton and my beloved Wapping with its glinting river and boats. Surrey Quays has nothing except Southwark Park. Am I wrong?

Constable in the leaves.

A whole crowd from Up Your Street was out in scarves and sporting haversacks on a very cold November morning to see “Constable: The Making Of A Master ” at the V&A. It was exactly that. There were many paintings and etchings done by Constable in his studio as he copied masters of the time and emerging others on his own path to fame and recognition. I liked to see the massive sketches of ye olde country scenes next to the finished articles. Constable was a perfectionist. He was meticulous about detail as evidenced in his studies for farm machinery and dock leaves.

That was a major exhibition and we paid not a penny being the Up Your Street community group. I remember five rooms and beautiful deep blue walls what with Dulux getting a credit too. It was all just nice indeed.

In a corner of a restaurant we dined on pasta and sandwiches, cakes and crisps for we are wont to bring our own picnics. No-one bothered us and vice versa. Evidently according to one Up Your Streeter who studied art history recently at Birkbeck this particular V&A eaterie must allow the poor tourist a seat. Suits us.

One window display was a towering stack of the thirty quid reduced to twenty-five pounds Constable book which we’d flicked  through in the gallery rooms. Obviously those copies were tethered to bolts. Great book and price I thought. On SkyArts they had the linked programme about Constable. Now that I recorded twice and switched off twice because it was that boring.

We came out of a packed Leyton station to the smell of local bonfires on a 5th November evening. I caught up with ” Missing” with ole Nesbitt on BBCiplayer. That is one well-crafted drama.

Next V&A is a look about the Nehru Gallery with a senior amongst us with her raised confidence and geared-up passion who will guide us through the dates and the art.Hmm.

And there’s Soapbox at Tate Britain next week ‘all from a man’s perspective’. Actually the topic is not publicized. I just heard something about a man yesterday. The regular Up Your Street attendees are going to be absent as they finish off training in oral history interviews run by Eastside Community Heritage and Rosetta Art Centre way over, far from Pimlico, in old West Ham, east London.

In the blog Canning Town Life Up Your Streeters were described as would-be historians. Ha ha . The majority of the participants at “Ships In The Night” are seniors from Up Your Street. They are experienced in reminiscence projects (before the word “reminiscence” came into community engagement parlance) having been the main characters in “A Taste Of Hackney” ( where they developed an App before Apps were on the market and Apple stores) and Openstage 2012 and many other projects around Hoxton and Newham. We must salute them, one and all. Here I am.

Yesterday’s last achievement was the twisting of Stephen’s arm and he’s on crutches, mind, to take us to Wapping to seek out dockers’ sons to get the low-down on dock-life. Homework done!

Another cold church hall.

A Taste Of Hackney resumed today with 50% of the participants coming through promotion by Up Your Street. The term is scheduled with activities towards making an app all about memories and experiences of Ridley Road Market, Dalston Hackney.

We moved out of Colvestone School after being introduced at last to the head teacher and into St Mark’s Church, St Mark’s Rise. The church is magnificent from the outside. Inside it was freezing and being painted.. Brr! Lots of wooden floors.

The project introduces how to construct a web-site i.e. using WordPress blog sites.

There is a free day of learning about WordPress at The Mill E17. See issue 3 of Up Your Street.

At A Taste Of Hackney,  it was raised by a couple of volunteers that the emphasis is always on the experiences of the West Indian and Jewish immigrants with a deliberate dismissal of  the experiences of the indigenous  white English population. The response was that that needed to change. And we were all reminded that the West Indian population is and was from different islands with different cooking ways and cultures. That is, it’s not all rice ‘n’ peas. To be fair, the project was advertised as one for ethnic minorities and that ‘s all to do with funding, don’t we know. To be brutal, the community (Hackney residents) hardly responded to the call to get involved. The sessions are held from 0915h  on cold frosty mornings and we don’t all live next door to the market.

Looking forward to sessions at the new Dalston Archives and to hearing the former Children’s Poet Laureate, Michael Rosen.

Went over to Tesco, Hackney after the cold church hall to buy my Ghanaian Palm Oil. £2.99 a litre with points.

Issue 3 Up Your Street

Up Your Street  issue 3

Sunday January 15th free  0830h  Friends of Tottenham Marshes

Meet at the Waterside Centre, Stonebridge Lock at 8.30am –

All those interested in the birdlife of the Marshes are welcome.

Tues Jan 17th free 0930h to noon at Colvestone School, Hackney.

“A Taste Of Hackney”

resumes and welcomes new members .Phone Sam on 07432736116

to reserve a place for this intergenerational community

project based in Ridley Road and for a chance to learn

digital skills.

£1 donation 7pm The Mill E17 reading club “Hard Times” Dickens

Wed   Jan 18th free 5pm Newham General Hosp.

Talk about diabetes management. All Invited. No need to book.

Sat  Jan  21st free         The Mill E17 Coppermill Lane E17 by St James Station.

1-4pm recycling swap shop


Tues  Jan 24th  free  11 am  Meet Walthamstow Underground sta.

Selborne Rd side. David Boote’s history walk. ”Pig Alley” E17.

No booking required.

10-1pm  – Tues Mar 20th. Low cost Ceramics course, ideal for anyone with some experience of ceramics who wants to take their idea and skills to the next level. Every Tuesday. . The Centre for Better Health, 1a Darnley Road, London, E9 6QH. Disabled access: no. Contact: Cirillo. Email: cirillo@centreforbetterhealth.org

Wed Jan  25th free  5.30-7.30pm’ Finding Spaces’ reunion

at St Joseph’s Hospice, Mare St, Hackney.

Phone Rachael on 02-085253140 for a ticket.

Thurs Jan 26th free 2pm BFI South Bank. A talk about Pal and Kapoor’s

film-making for seniors. Phone for a ticket on 02079283232

Tues Jan 31st  £2.50  2.30-4.30. Leyton tea dance @ Plumtree Centre

by Blockbusters  E10

Sat Feb 4th Ramblers to Mile End and West India Docks

Call  Paula Peaty @ L B Newham

Sun  Feb 5th £3 admission to Sutton House, Homerton High Rd,

Hackney with a free tour of the house.

(The café sells hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.

There are second hand books for sale, loads of them!)

Mon Feb 6th  free  2pm classic matinee film for over 60s at BFI,

Southbank. Book on 02079283232.



Tues  Feb 7th  free 11 am David Boote’s history walk “The Way To

Wanstead House” .   Meet Tesco E11 facing Leytonstone

High Rd side . No booking required

Wed 8 Feb  free 3-5pm Common Room, Education Centre,

Newham General Hospital

Proud to be Diverse: Celebration of Diversity – open to all

Sat 11th Feb   free 11.30am-3.30pm learn to create a blog- site

using WordPress. To reserve a place please email

info@themill-coppermill.org, or just pop in and sign up.

Mention Up Your Street please.

Asda doing tins of Heinz beans and all sorts for 50p this week. Stock up!

Let’s talk about sex, baby!

Ok!  Let’s talk about “A Taste Of Hackney” the intergenerational oral history project not about Hackney but about Ridley Road Market which is as iconic as Petticoat Lane by now and a generation’s fondly cherished paradise like Anjuna Market, Goa. It’s a market. Ridley road is just a market. Discuss. Not on,  as every project to do with Hackney now, in the lead up to The Games when all perimeter communities must be encouraged to engage, includes a vigorous funded nod and a half to Ridley Road, THE multi-cultural market with a history of waves of immigration reflected in the stall-holders and the produce. 

Hey! Borough Market, move over. Your time will come.

Exciting time -out  happened twice on the project yesterday. As one group of school children climbed the lighthouse steps to the social kitchen they all remarked on the wood smoking smell. In the kitchen one boy asked Mr Patel, “When do you add the milk to the halwa?”

No time to answer; the fire bell screamed. A mass of green jumpers descended the stairs, the electricity was switched off to save Mr Patel’s sticky sweet creation and everyone lined up smartly in the playground and waited and waited and waited for the fire crew.

Back indoors,  after the all-clear and luckily with an adult hugging the boxed halwa, the school children went into interview mode all as bright as buttons (buttons are 35p each dahn the market by the way! Let your grandma suck that in).

The take up in the community for participation in “A Taste Of Hackney” is poor and low. It’s a committment each Tuesday on  mainly miserable November early mornings and, as per, the thrust of vision comes from non-market users. An idea was for the project workers to go out to Jewish lunch clubs and U3A etc. Well hell no! The adverts never brought in the punters and it was to appeal to 50 years plus. Get up you seniors and go and participate pro-actively. Go and learn to make an App for a mobile phone. Project leaders, stop dropping stuff into seniors’ laps like they’re helpless and I for one do not want to see a project once again become a haven for drop-ins.

Whilst the fire alarm sounded, all the senior participants standing cold in the playground during the fourth week of A Taste Of Hackney, saw each other each other for the first time and caught a glimpse of the headteacher.  Coincidentally, A Different Drum Productions had scheduled lunch so that the seniors could meet each other at last.  Two had joined the project, run by A Different Drum Productions,  through Up Your Street, the other 5  came via The Lawns (Age  UK)  in Hackney. Big fat project eh? Quality not quantity.

What a treat was dinner at Evin Restaurant Bar, an excellent Turkish restaurant well at home along Kingsland High Street with the statuatory two women sat down, open -legged, rolling out bread and griddling it in the window. Hmm. (Exclamations of “How wonderful!” “Did you see that?” “Oh!”)

We are grateful for our meal, truly a taste of Hackney.

Monotonous bread rolling is hard work. It is very physical  like stone-carving at The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. The Kindest Group planted our gargoyles around the free garden on Sunday last and they look terrific. Go and see. Opposite Dalston Junction, 11-5pm

issue 31 of Up Your Street

                                                 Up Your Street  issue 31

Tues   9th Aug  ( thru to 13th Aug.) £4  7-9.30pm Performance by public participants at

                                          The Yard Theatre, White Post Lane right next to Hackney Wick Station.

                                          All about freedom of speech via social networking.

                      free 6.30 pm Bryant Community Centre just behind Old Town Hall Stratford. Planning meeting with Action Community Team re The Stratford Festival on Aug 20th.

                       free 2pm Hackney Black and Caribbean Service trip around the Olympic

                                                                               and Paralympic Games site (full)

                       free 3pm   A Different Drum Productions present a free and  huge filming

                                and research project, “A Taste Of Hackney” at The Lawns, Matthias Rd (236 bus)

                     £2  2.30pm Yoga at The Centre For Better Health 1a Darnley Rd Hackney

                                                                                 (opp Hackney Town Hall)

Thurs 11th Aug  £6  Book for Museum of London 02070019844 for “Fabulous Fifties”

                              evening of learning the jive, looking at fashion, memory lane etc.

                        free  Leyton Community Action  coach trip to Eastbourne.Booked and full.

Fri 12th Aug   £4 4pm    Boleyn Cinema East Ham “Aarakshan” set around 1948

                                                                                                               the  partition of India and Pakistan.

                      free   6.30 pm Julie Rayne entertains at St Mary’s Community Centre, Upper Street N1

                                               arranged by The Stuart Low Trust. Refreshments too.

Sat  13th Aug        free 7.30pm for buffet then at 8pm a talk on knife crime locally at

                                                              The Epicentre E11 with the News From Nowhere group.

                         free  turn up.  11-12.30pm Hornsey Library, Crouch End. “Nitter natter”

                                                                                                  vintage knitting and 1950 memories.

                         free  to enter the big day  10-4pm “ Help for Heroes”. A pamper day at

                        North Romford Community Centre, Collier Row, Romford. Phone 01708769044

                        for details and to book a massage etc. Prices from £5 for 15 minutes.

                                                                                          Loads of other stuff too which is free.

Sun 14th Aug free 10-12noon. Guided walk “Epping Forest and Wintry Wood”

                                                                                                                             Meet Epping Tube Station.

                          free 8am meet Waterside centre Stonebridge Lock, Tottenham. Friends

                                                                         Of The Marshes “Surveying Life of the Marshes”.

                           £5  1-6pm African Tango at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, Dalston Junction

Thurs  18th Aug free 12-4pm in Argall Estate via Argall Bid. Conference re eco-industries.

                                                                                                            All welcome.

                          free with The Stuart Low Trust 02077139304 10am meet at The

                                                                           Angel but book for a trip to Kew Gardens

Wed    24th Aug free with The Stuart Low Trust. Trip to The Houses of Parliament with tour guide.

Fri     26th   Aug  free   11-5pm Goan Community Association. “Festival For Over 50s”.

                                 massage, displays, stalls. Keston Rd just up by Phillip Lane gate to Downhills Park,

                                                                                                         Tottenham.(230 bus route)

The Stuart Low Trust does narrow boat holidays.

Under The Cranes

   Joined Hackney Society this evening to watch the film by Emma-Louise Williams, Hackney woman, all about Hackney as it is now and how it lives through its history and vice versa. Wonderful filming, clear and mesmerising at times. Michael Rosen came in to answer questions too. He reads and shares his poetry throughout the film so we have a film-poem. Loads of archive film, and stills from Getty. Beautiful music.

The event was at Hackney Museum and a warm welcome we had. Hackney is outrageously multi cultural yet our gathering never reflected that at all.

 These past 2 years, I’ve seen many films and photographic displays about Hackney and especially Ridley Road market, and been on many oral history workshops and ‘let’s film Hackney’ courses.. “Under The Cranes  is 56 minutes long and I felt I’d been in the locations too many times. Hackney is overdone at present but more is to come as the thirty-somethings bring out their projects to coincide with the plonking of the Olympic and Paralympic Games site. Have you noticed all the stuff exposing and celebrating Hackney? “Folly for a Flyover”, walks galore , secret cinemas, roof-top cinemas, photographic competitions, and on and on. Love it but saturation point a-coming and the risk of being at someone else’s party.

Course coming up…

A Taste of Hackney is an innovative intergenerational project that charts the
different contributions made by ethnic minorities to the culinary landscape of
Participants will be trained in oral history, research skills, photography,
web-design, blogging and app design and filmmaking to provide material to create
the website, smartphone app (iPhone and Android), and exhibition.
The project will explore the Ridley Road market’s history from its humble
origins in the mid 19th Century to its evolution as a hub of migration
throughout the 20th Century.
(“ethnic minorities”?  In ‘Ackney? Can’t get my head around that and the fact that funders still want that kind of category in 2011.)

Now to catch up on the Hacking Scandal.