Free courses and workshops, up and down.

All happening!  The last of the cake-decorating classes in Holden Point passed yesterday with a fanfare of photography and certificates for those who were there at the right time.

Singing sessions with Stratford East Singers phased into its new time yesterday : Intense Wednesday from 7-9.30pm. Bit of Africa medley,  a la Lady Smith Black Mambazo*,  going on with some R&B stepped up and in. Nothing to complain about there as we have a teacher who is passionate about his work , is the TRSE Creative Music Director,  and  makes sure we are all engaged and on the note.  Observers came from another big event in its planning stage and clapped for us vigorously. All coincidental isn’t it that projects are busy involving the community ready in time for the Games?  That’s what I like about the Olympics and Paralympics on their way, that there are opportunities galore for seniors and others but I am, through Up Your Street, on the look out for free events and activities for those above 55.

Ballroom dance lessons close for the term soon at Round Chapel, Lower Clapton, Hackney and will go out with a sequinned flurry and a party. The Claremont Project in Islington will teach seniors ballroom dancing for £2 a go. Membership is free, smiles still being priced up.

“Still Alive And Kicking” with Songololo moved back to The Sharp End in Dalston after moving to Manor House and losing participants on the way. Live and learn!

GLL’s seniors’ sessions on Mondays at Kelmscott E17 satisfied the crowd and will get stronger as the weeks go by. 50p and lots to do.

Stratford Picture House continues to draw in seniors. Added to their viewing pleasure is a free archive exhibition all about Murray Melvin, the actor and archivist at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Murray will be in Leytonstone in March with the “News from Nowhere Club”. There’s also a season of London on Film happening at Stratford PH. That’s watching clips, eating popcorn and joining in discussions. The last one when “Bullet Boy” was screened was hot and contentious. Good to talk. I would have liked to see Openstage 2012 volunteers at Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE) go into discussion groups to review the free shows they get to watch. Good to air opinions and be visible contributors.

“A Taste Of Hackney” , a Ridley Road intergenerational project, had teething problems and still needs Bonjela. It is being evaluated continuously but who knows if that is a a police thing where the only people who evaluate the actions of the police are in fact the biased police. Come now! At The Lawns in Daltson there is an Hackney Healthy Eating Project where yam is king.

So so much to dip into, enjoy and learn from. I waited years to join a free and comfortable singing group. Bingo.

*By the way, SkyArts  1 is showing Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Shabalala’s Zulu choir, in their 2011 concert at Hay.  Timely! Ugh, no eye-candy.

Spirits rising

Yesterday I went off to Theatre Royal Stratford east to join in the Stratford East Singers. Jan i/c Theatre and Education at TRSE had arranged it since 8th October and before and there was plenty of interest in free singing in the theatre. Agewell Singers happens every Thursday lunch-time at Stratford Circus but restricts its participants to over those 50 years old or better. Here was a place and a time for those just wanting to open their mouths and sing. Shawab, TRSE assistant director, welcomed us and introduced us to Byron Gold our tutor  and the TRSE creative music director. Well, we had fun and scary bits too when we had to sing solo. Of  course, we weren’t forced to but we like to get in the spirit if it all. GREAT. There was a good mix of ages, ethnicities and boldness. Charlotte i/c Openstage2012 TRSE joined in with volunteers who’d also come via Up Your Street. We were great.

Went over to Downhills Park in Tottenham for half term adults’ brooch-making with buttons and bows, rags and pins, sewing and Nina. Was an eye-opener. What you can do with scrap eh?

Ended the day with a guest pass to Hackney Picturehouse. All the founder members have their names in light and then on the screens in colour and in B&W. Watched Clooney’s “Ides Of March”, a tale of a man’s integrity, falls from grace, values of life bla bla. A brave thing to do another drama about the American presidency campaigns and their shenanigans. Clooney damn handsome as ever.

I love the fact that we can munch and rustle bags like rats in the dark cos it’s the flicks and not the theatre. The founder members look nothing like what I thought Hackney people are i. e. mixed up racially and deliciously diverse. And I saw very few  people look like they aged more than 50 years.

I’m wondering who will come to show songs at TRSE tomorrow Wednesday because it finishes at 9.30pm. I’ll be there for sure. High Street Seniors exists to encourage seniors to be out in their neighbourhoods after dark. We walk on Thursday. See issue 42 of Up your Street.