UDAC

UDAC Uniform distribution and accreditation centre for GamesMakers for the Paralympics is set up in what may have been a factory:-

Purpose of Report / Proposal

Demolition of all existing buildings and the erection of four buildings subdivided into

twelve units totalling 10,621sqm for B1c (Business – Light Industry), B2 (General

Industry) and B8 (Storage and Distribution) employment uses with ancillary yards and

parking

next to dire Star Lane area in dire Stephenson Street in dire Canning Town adjacent to  the fresh and newish Star Lane DLR station. I travelled to aforesaid dire area on a 276 bus and lo and behold the bus was on a London 2012 diversion so I was totally lost, in strange deserted land. The driver was kind and dropped me off at dog- turd alley so I could walk the 10 minutes to the station. I was never tempted to turn back because part of my job to collect my GamesMaker uiform was to covet my pair of Adidas trainers. I had been successful last year in being given the chance to be a GamesMaker at the Paralympics but was in two minds wheher to take  up the post for many reasons, eg security, travel to and fro.  A pair of trainers clinched the deal really.

Got across from Star Lane into Stephenson Street via the station footbridge. I was carrying an old pre -Olympic Park map page of the address from the  “Master Atlas of Greater London NHS Trust London Ambulance Service”  which was of little help as it was from way back when at a time when Carpenters Road was busy and dirty full of second hand car workshops called garages and at a time when no-one cared about Canning Town. Oh!  They still don’t.

I saw the flags and a litter of GamesMakers in front of the UDAC building. I showed my passport and stated my business.I entered the massive busy place.Got mi trainers…..

Then it was try on for comfort the uniform. No mirrors. Can’t fault Adidas quality of course but I hate Adidas trousers. They are never quite the generous size around female bum and thighs. So I made do because the next size up looked like Ronald McDonald’s painting overalls. The polo top and jacket are as comfortable as silk. Already others’ stuff’s up on Ebay.

Went along to the collection point. Oh My goodness. So well done, so organised, so army. I was given a bag, an Adidas bag, and  my peers put in clothes after clothes, then the trainers then other whatnots. Never knew until I emptied the bag indoors what goodies I had as well as an Oyster card. There were 2 polo tops, 2 pairs of yuk trousers, 2 pairs of Adidas socks, my trainers, jacket, unbrella just in case, my cap, Coco Cola drink bottle, Swatch Watch, notebook and epaulettes or something I’ve not opened yet. Amazing! Awesome. I am grateful. My only hardship really is getting to my job for 0615h ! Aren’t I a lucky one? I did get the job via interview I said to myself as another GamesMaker spoke to me and I wondered what form of English I’d just heard.

Think of that Shreddies advert and the Wonga one then know that in real life all those grannies are out there GamesMaking in on trend Adidas trainers.  Good on their spirit. Shame on Shreddies for not smashing the stereotype. The only knitters I know now live on a remote Scottish island or are tote maze in Dalston.

I run Up Your Street and it was originally formed to engage seniors with the coming of the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. I believe becoming a Gamesmaker,  sold out to Adidas or McDonalds or Coca Cola, (I had to research Atos), is the culmination of the work of Up Your Street. What makes me glum is that seniors I know still have not been into the Stadium. They never saw the adverts for cheap tickets or what? £5 tickets for seniors to get into the Paralympics? Opportunities to become Gamesmakers? You have to grab!

Now let’s see how I get on! You have to be in the mood for all that American style gushing. Don’t get me wrong. I can do that! I cannot do the Stadium stairs. They are steep , high and many. Even the youth say that. Not as bad as the gods in O2 mind.

I live on the back of The Stadium. I was naive such that when I applied for Gamesmaker I imagined myself ambling through Orient Way or catching the W19 as a case was made for it to reach from E17 to E20. Never happened. The roads were all closed off. I became an outsider in my own habitat. I was stoooopid and naive and gave in to some officiating Olympic body my enthusiastic plan for High Street Seniors to walk on the perimeter of the Park at dusk throughout the Olympics. We weren’t wanted there mucking up their security. I was a flea in the big plan eh?

When I texted my sister that I was now a uniformed GamesMaker she replied, “What’s a GamesMaker?” Cheers!

PS  The (UDAC) site is located along Stephenson Street in Canning Town near the Cody

Road industrial estate and is located within a predominately industrial area.

The site is rectilinear in shape and roughly level and comprises a range of

existing commercial warehouse buildings and hardstandings. At the front of

the site, adjacent to the main vehicular access, is a locally listed two (plus

attic) storey building. The building was the former offices of the Canning Town

Glass Works, built around 1925.

Three hour walk around the Olympic and Paralympic Games site

                            Three hours in the humid heat joining in Mapping Your Manor with the Newham Striders and picking up others on the way. What a lovely bunch of people to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon with. Lucy greeted us well as did John and Chris and Ross was recording sounds while Jane was our camera one.

Well, let’s face it!  The backstreets and the high roads of Leyton and Stratford aint all that and the trek on the tow path down to Bow is not scenic. The Greenway is nothing but a white concrete path although homage today to the many colours of wild weeds showing off amongst the litter. Fish Island is a waste of space. There are no buses down that Dickensian way and the newest cafe is £2 a cuppa. Not up any of our streets. We did inspect the temporary Folly for a Flyover. Whoever knew that was just there on the side of the River Lea under a bridge?

I dunno, she sighed deeply. But I say it like it is.

We fulfilled the point of Mapping Your Manor with travellers reading excerpts, sharing memories and poets doin’ their thing. Here’s my poem I was proud to read on a project which gives voice to ordinary folk.

                               The Coming.

Age old white clouds, surveyors of all beneath them

slid behind the unnatural and perfect

concrete wedges of new- built Olympian blocks

high as skies                 

and yawned.

Down on puddled  paths I was open-mouthed and amazed.

Only the unsettled wind and my camera shuttering

made noises

as I counted without counting

the storeys.

On the roads outside the Park

in earshot  of the  booming  Gala bingo- caller’s voice

under  perfect  Edwardian arches and invisible gargoyles

now womanly in their aspects, feared by no man

boys on bikes

together in a crowd

rode furiously

chasing the wind and their tails

indifferent to  rising shapes and Olympian realities.

Their street was  a century away

wrapped in guarded  terraces,  clung onto tested ways

yellow-bricked, Primark- clothed , home and known.

The Olympic Games site was their parents’  neighbour

not quite settled in,  watched through Bid Up TV curtains

and  rising steam from Basmati rice in curried kitchens.    

By 8pm the stadium was drenched in a slow drowning

in glorious sun down.

The youth shielded their caps and eyes from the sting

looked up to see who  shone the torch

realised the invader and planned a way to jump its wired fence.

Someone’s screech  of “house”  escaped and cadged a ride on the DLR.

Stratford Cars’ minicab- master emerged from the darkness of his firm

looked up the road towards Bow and lit a cigarette.

The smoke trailed upwards from his mouth blurring the sunset.

In  a second, his wife’s voice came crashing  from the sky:

“Where’s E20? Hamid! Where is it? Can’t see it.

He fingered the beads in his pocket.

“Tell them it’s not ready. It’s coming”.

                                    Excellent turn -out of seniors experienced in walking regularly.

                                   Carpenters Road has been transformed from the murky oily dirtsville it once was about 6 years ago, and no amount of romanticising can convince me of a different history.

                              Where’s the Radox?