So not feeling it.

                            Capital Age Festival I mean. The topic for 2013 is Women’s Creativity. (Next year “Men’s Creativity. Why the segregation, I don’t know!). So today was a man poet up in time-warp Chingford. Creative it wasn’t. Womanly neither.The Crofter Wife 250613

Now I can listen to a poet anytime.  Neal Zetter, Chingford Man, must have ambled along the lane to reach his local library to be the comic performer that he is. Actually the billing hardly said much about poetry. I thought it was going to be an action-packed anecdotal show from Neal to show adult story-telling skills. Mind you, who knew the event was even on? Let’s remember that library staff are not community hub volunteers. They don’t need to exude enthusiasm for library extra mural activities as long as that workers’ clock keeps ticking away the hours.

The welcome cup of tea was almost the best part of the event.  The poems began with an ode to Tea.

It transpired that the audience was not made up of poetry lovers. A library assistant interrupted Neal as he was in flow to deliver the photo-copied evaluation sheets half way through the session. The dial-a-ride driver  came early to collect fifty per cent of the participants,  ignoring the fact that 3.30pm was session-end

Now there’s a surprise, dial-a-ride. There’s a useless organisation. Dial-A-Ride.

Quote from the day “Because it can be a bit dodgy in Hackney”. (Say that to the London Fields hipsters!)

On the bus  to Chingford (never usually an adventure) was a nutter with his tame rabbit. He put the rabbit on the luggage rack. I expected the driver to tell nutty to get off and take his rabbit with him. No. The driver said, “Oy mate! Take your rabbit off there in case he falls off”! The man,  with very rabbit eyes, told rabbit to sit quietly on the seat. Rabbit did!

Nearly saw an elephant fly then.

Yeah, but I was there.

I went to a  weekly crafting workshop; I was the only participant. So not the first time I’ve been alone, trapped by good manners such that I’d stay until the session end.  In the local paper write-up, you’d think I’d been joined by hundreds.

I went to a poetry workshop and waited for more participants. I read aloud to myself.

I’ve been along to projects, taken along Up Your Street subscribers and then read on websites  how Age UK instead of Up Your Street was credited with rallying the troops. Age UK kept stumm.

Yesterday I went to a Capital Age Festival 2013  free art event and four others came. Six had signed up. Six from a whole Capital’s population, mind you. But I was there. Along came a passing woman with foul breath and matted wig an hour late, took up her scissors and glue and asked what we were doing here. I had asked myself the same but reeled off the usual reminiscence, oral history and coming together in the community mantras.

In the late afternoon I debated with an intelligent octogenarian friend, who’s seen it all,  the quality and definition of the Big Society and saw her disappointment at the fact,  known universally,  that the University of Third Age (U3A) has been taken over by the middle class. Those people who just wanted to stretch their brain without waving an ancient degree certificate are out of the margin of the margin.

Meanwhile in comes the glory of Birkbeck’s pre-degree course in art appreciation specifically targeting people without formal education. To boot, it takes place in Stratford east’s fair city next to The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in a new Birkbeck campus. Imagine. The University faces an annual  recruitment challenge. No Big Society outfit wants to use precious advertising resources promoting another outfit’s enterprises so unless Birkbeck goes overboard into the community no-one will know what’s on offer. That is of course where Up Your Street comes in generously. Last year Up Your Street co-erced  seniors to enrol and pick up bursaries to learn to learn all about art. They make up 50% of the intake.

Get the picture?

Up Your Street. Issue 27 “It’s all about the Art”.

Puff the Dragon

Up your Street. Issue 27

Thurs 4th July free 6-9pm. Launch of “Soft” at the Mill E17.

See RAGWORKS’ “Girl With A Pearl Earring”

and “Puff”

Runs ’til 11th Aug

Sat 6th July free thanks to KPMG via Rosetta Arts in West Ham. Brighton day out in the art galleries and museums. Not open to everyone but worth noting. Four subscribers to Up Your Street are going!

stone space 2“Hackney Marsh ” by James Self. Oil on canvas.

Mon 8th July free   noon -2pm Learn to draw  for seniors only with Danny at Lea Bridge Library Community Room. E10. No need to book.lili5

Wed 10th July  free  11-1pm Walthamstow Library e17. “Play Like We used to-Art For Adults”. Book with Eventbrite or phone library. Part of Capital Age Festival 2013. Collage-making.

Fri 12th July free  3-5pm. Hale End Library E4 Film screening “Quartet”. Check availability for tickets at Eventbrite or phone library.

Sat 13th July  free. noon. film screening at the Tate Modern “Art Is…”. Book your place at Tokarska Gallery in Forest Road E17.

                                                                                                                          Digital StillCamera

free 7.30pm News from Nowhere featuring  Jatinder Verma  from Tara Arts Community theatre. At the Epicentre, West Road  E11. Bring a dish to share or some goodies.

Wed 17th July free  Cubitt art exhibition showing works by seniors from The Claremont Project in White Lion Street, N1  and from other individual submissions. Until 20th July 2013.

Claremont project film screening

In windy Angel it was all going on at the Claremont: Ballroom dancing, keep-fit and a film screening in a true pop-up cinema.


Some of Claremont Project’s dancing class women will be on the John Lewis floor in Westfield E20 on Monday to dance for our pleasure as part of Capital Age Festival 2013. This is a bookable treat through Capital Age Festival’s website.

Yes! Capital Age Festival 2013 has arrived with all sorts of entertainment and showing-off.

The Crofter Wife 250613