Sometime back before the sun was baking hot and when indigo-dyeing replaced jam-making in the community and art world, I attended an indigo-dyeing workshop not knowing I’d be amongst textile students and young women coveting great-granny’s vintage cardis. I went because I do love dyeing clothes and doing wax batik (the only time I ever use an iron) and because the workshop was at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, a place I’ve dipped into since its opening by the mural, opposite the station where I’d get the train down to lovely Wapping where outsiders ain’t that welcome.

The workshop was free and we were small in number. It was just another artist doin’ her thing, preparing an exhibition outwith London. Of course there was the obligatory nod to enterprises world-wide and how Britain invented nothing after all as we stirred the sludge and politely pushed each other out of the way to dip our bits and pieces.  I remember now the wood fire was on in the lean-to studio so it was in Spring.

Today our dyed articles were returned to us and such care had been taken by the artist. There was even a magazine enclosed in the package explaining the deep of the project.

Moving on now. Plaster moulding may be today’s thing. Such a 1950 hobby. My dad taught us girls everything; plaster moulding, basketry, ragging, fret-working while mum cooked the dinner and knitted matinee coats in her sit-down time to get some pin money. He never taught us how to change a plug though, or use a drill, saw tree trunks for firewood or light a Senior Service fag.

I am just about enjoying the merry go round as C21st artists introduce their own peers to skills of yesteryear. Up Your Street finds those workshops. Women and men of my age and older whose youth was spent polishing wooden floors in islands, or sibling-sitting while their parents ran businesses in cyclone zones, or learning cow-milking on farms as evacuees now get the chance to find out what was going on in some homes in Imperial Britain in the fifties. It’s not all bad.

Issue 44 of Up Your Street

Sat 26th Oct     £3 2.00 pm at Rio Cinema Dalston. BLACK HISTORY MONTH MATINEE
STONE STREET (PG) Introductory speaker. (UK/Trinidad and Tobago 2012) dir. Elspeth Kydd 72m. Digital.
free 1-5pm Pumpkin Carving at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. ( Opp. Dalston Station at the Junction), Repeats Sunday 27th Oct.

Sun 27th Oct free1-4pm Rokeby Centre E15 Big International Lunch, Bring food to share! 

Mon 28th Oct.  free. 12-4pm African Market, drumming and performance at Timber Lodge The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Sat 2nd Nov free 2pm The Mill Coppermill Lane E17

“Launch of ‘joined up writing’ * an anthology of poems by local children and adults-  with readings – till 3.30 /4pm. Come and listen to the poets and collect your FREE copy between 2pm and 6pm. Thereafter  – to buy at £5 each –  so don’t miss your chance !
(* made possible by the generous sponsorship of Apex Arts)”.


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 39 Up Your Street (updated Oct 5th)

Mon Oct 3rd  free  11am
Day of African- Caribbean elders celebration at Peppie Close
N16. by Bouverie Rd

                    free    “Tradewinds”  exhibition at Hackney Central Library. For all

Tues Oct 4th
8pm  ITV “Missing Millions”
Betty Drake’s story. Wood St E17

Wed Oct 5th
Wed –Sun  1-5pm Bruce Castle Museum , Lordship Lane N17
Exhibition about Broadwater Farm 1967-2010.

                       free  6.15-7.45pm Hackney Central Library “African Cultural Memory in the Caribbean”  Adults only.

talk exploring language and oral literature.

Thurs Oct 6th
1-2pm Cello and piano recital
St John’s Church E11

10-3pm Meet Downhills Park café N17  to  help
create favourable conditions
for wildlife. Bring your packed lunch!

                        free 6-9pm Installation about colonialism
and war. WW Gallery 30 Queensdown Rd E5


Fri Oct 7th
“Alive And Kicking” project members  off to crafts at Alexandra Palace N22.

Sat Oct 8th       free   10-4pm
Tour of Ilford Hospice Chapel.

Sun Oct 9th       £8 bargain  3-5pm Quartet plays Haydn, Bartok and Smetana
Sutton House in Homerton, Hackney.
Tour included.

                          free 1-6pm Dalston Eastern Curve Garden’s  Harvest Festival and much more.

free  3pm with Whitechapel Gallery.  Tour  and celebration of The Cable Street Mural, Shadwell. 75th Anniversary  of The Battle of Cable Street. Book with gallery.

Mon Oct 10th
12.30-2.30pm Seniors only  Ballroom lessons at
The Round Chapel, Lower Clapton .Hackney

Tues Oct 11th
6.15pm High Street Seniors meet at The Lamb’s Café E10 to walk to

Orford Social Club E17 for a book launch
(£1.50 entry) and a nice time. Licensed bar.

Wed Oct 12     free
for 60+people and carers Film “The First Grader”at 2pm Rio, Dalston. Tale of veteran Mau Mau guy who wants primary education.( Rio’s nod to Black History Month)   Tea and cake given with love.

7-9pm Hornsey Library. Black History Month art

Thurs Oct 13th
7.45pm. Jane Grell tells stories to adults at St John’s Church E11

Up Your Street issue 37


Thurs Sept 15th  free     10-noon The Mill, Coppermill Lane.

Patchwork jeans workshop .(bring cuppa cash!)

                            free    1-2pm St John’s Church E11. flute and cello concert.

(by LeytonstoneStation)

                          free  11-noon  Book Brunchers  at Sutton House, Homerton High St

discussing Calvino’s “Invisible Cities” .

free   6.15-7.45pm Stamford Hill Library N16.

Author Marilyn Mendoza talks about her book

“Agrophobia To Zen”                                                                                                                                                          

Fri Sept     16th free. 2-4pm Woodford Green Library.Ilford. Reminiscence session.

(see Sept 21st)
                            free 10am Hermitage Community Moorings, 16 Wapping High Street.             Mudlarking on the Thames foreshore. Bring your wellies.
free 7pm Hermitage Community Moorings. Evening of music and fun. Bring your

whistle, fiddle, voice! No need to book.

Sat Sept    17th free (18th too) Celebrate the finale of the oral history project

“A Sense Of    Place” at The Hermitage Community Moorings in Wapping with 2 days of films, photographs, recordings and
a very pleasant venue! Just turn up.
free 1-4pm Abbey Gardens Harvest Festival. Bakers Rd E15

Sat  Sept 17th  free noon,2pm, 4pm. Just turn up to Dalston Eastern Curve (people’s) Garden and hear all about the transition from scrub to beauty. (opp Dalston Junction station)

Sun Sept    18th  free   1-7pm Leytonstone Car Free Day. Church Lane
E11 . Geno Washington on stage . Watch out for  beauty treatments marquee and crochet crafts.
(Thanks to Lynne for info). Plenty of good food and cheeses too!

Tues Sept  20th  free 1.30pm The Mill, Coppermill Lane.E17

“Recycled Teenagers“(seniors meet-up)

  Sept 21st               First day of Autumn

 Wed 21st Sept      free  1.10-1.40pm St John’s Church E15 Stratford
“The Barbican Trio” play.
free 10-noon Wanstead Library. Reminiscence Session under “ East London People’s Archive”.
free 6.30-7.30pm. Hackney Central Library reading group discussing
“On Chesil Beach” by Ian McEwan

Thurs 22nd Sept free until 28/9 10-6pm @1a Darnley Rd .Hackney (opp Hackney Town Hall) Paintings by Nina carter and Rebecca Hunter.


Sun 25th Sept   free noon  “UpRise Festival” against racism.

Main venue Gillett Square, Dalston  N 16. Junction, ‘Ackney. Caribbean Elders

Went for a sniff-around and was greeted warmly even though the shop/cafe/cinema didn’t open until 11 am. A magical humid place indeed in a gorgeous olde worlde house just next to tatty CLR James Library. All modernised and ready for cafe customers where the tea is a £1 so that gives a marker to the cost of the nutritious food and lattes. Not dear. Well, it is Dalston. There’s a Vegan cafe on the next turning and that needs some investigation and sampling too. What’s doubly nice is that the is opposite the wonderful Dalston Eastern Curve Garden at Dalston Junction.

The place was shown in a blink of an eye on Andrew Marr’s “Megacities” programme. (Catch up on BBC iPlayer). The front is a tanked area for friendly edible fish and the propogation of seedlings. Out back is the tadpole tank and the flower-pots full o’ stuff and the polytunnel that houses the growing nasturtiums (yummy flowers and leaves, forget blooming  decoration) aka ‘Tom Thumb’ , and then the cinema. Yes! A projector  and camera space ; a film was shown last night.

The place isn’t up itself but a worthy adventure. Volunteers can pledge their services on Mondays at 7pm. Full marks to another up and coming business in Dalston.

See The Hackney Archives building on the next block is smart but un-stocked as yet. That’ll be a grand opening.

Songololo-Feet was my next port of call. Wasn’t so crowded today at The Sharp End in Richmond Road, Dalston again! Today our tutor advised us of next week’s half-day project , making a creative banner with all passionate words and symbols from the women of Hackney, the BME groups in Hackney, the 50+ groups in Hackney. Up Your street5 participants at the textiles and re-cycling workshop (and we make up 66%) are proud to originate from other London 2012 boroughs and ethnic groups. I spied a man at the workshop too!

There’s a huge intergenerational project coming up with its venue in Hackney………

A Comic Relief funded inter-generational video/film project involving 12

Caribbean elders and 12 young black men who have been involved in gang crime.

The focus is on the Caribbean war-time community as a way of telling their

stories from the 2nd world war to the present day from a Hackney perspective.

The project would involve older people being paired with young people in order

to support them to plan, design and produce the film/video. Working in

partnership with Hackney Caribbean elders. Young people and elders will be

taught video and film skills by a local Hackney production company to produce a

series of short films/video which capture the voices of the elders through young

people. The project will also work in partnership with the Youth Offending Team.

The project would span 12 months – produce the scripts, film including edit.

This will be presented at film/video screenings at local lunch clubs, elders day

centres with a grand screening night open to all elders at the Hackney Empire.

The aims are to teach film based skills, inter personal skills, team working and

intergenerational skills for both young people and elders. Once completed a

resource pack will be created and sent out to all Hackney schools.

All sessions will be held in Hackney and we will arrange travel if necessary.

Anyone interested should contact Dave on 020 8525 0600, or email , before mid-July.


Got drenched after I shopped at Koza Supermarket for my fresh veg. out-of-date bargains and tripe. Yep! Tripe. Gonna have it with hot pepper and egushi (crushed melon seeds). 

The first day of Summer is good.

Gargoyles in Dalston and Mario Lanza

I was enrolled on the gargoyle-making workshop with The Kindest Group and went along for the day workshop in the drizzle and cold that is June 2011. I looked at my working gloves and stupidly left them at home but packed in my floral pinny; (the one I wear to Songololo but not to ceramics class)!

Thomas welcomed all of us to the workshop and to the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden then introduced Bobbie Fennick, our stone-carving teacher. I had taken along drawings I’d sketched from the 1996 signed book I have from Australia of Gambin’s “Surrealistic Voices On Paper”. Bobbie gave us a rudimentary guide to a couple of chisels and the effects they have and can make on a building breeze-block. In the spirit of the day we were to allow our passion and energy to flow through our tools onto the brick baby. Brian supplied the tea. A couple of mothers had brought along their babies slung on their backs, a la Afrique or Welsh Valleys and now specifically Hackneyed. Take note, yummy mummies in Walthamstow Village.

The day was cold and grey even under the roofed patio. People could come in off the street because it’s a public garden so they did: One woman stayed looking at us all day and ended up in the workshop video. She was planning how to take the giant carved brick home to her garden…not the deal.

We chiselled and wivelled with the background noises of next door building works, the usual  screams of police sirens along Dalston Lane, and the clang-clanging of a wind chime as enormous as any church bell.

Throughout, Bobbie, Thomas and Brian treated us like guests and we responded by using every technique taught to us to bring forth monsters of stone or softer breeze-block.

The day was time-tabled as long but it flew by. By the end I’d had a work- out indeed. We were warned we’d cook up a sweat. I was glad I wore substantial shoes because it was a stand- alone job. The carving is totally absorbing or you are “in the zone” as Thomas puts it.

I’d had to leave off my session at the web-site construction with MyHeartLog at The Lawns, Mattias Road in Dalston. Still a couple of emails and my suggestions were logged.

Next workshop for Gargoyles is on Sunday 24th July.

In the respected garden there is much more happening besides Bobby’s Gargoyle Workshop.

Swept up my mess, changed my clothes and swung around to The Hackney Empire for BBC Radio 2’s live performance of “Friday Night Is Music Night” nodding  to Mario Lanza.It was superb. And the ice-cream is only £2. Ah, Hackney Empire, be proud, quietened oasis of all cultures in the East End!

Up Your Street5 issue 21

  Up Your Street5  issue 21

Sun 5th June        free      (£3 suggested donation) 1-6pm African Tango session.The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden.
                                     (opp. Dalston Junction Station).Family fun.
Wed    June 8th    £2.20    Silver Screen matinee “Pirates of the Caribbean” Stratford Picture House E15
                                                                                              free tea and biscuits for over 60s.
Thurs  June 9th   free      6pm  Turks Head, Wapping. Training as a walking guide with Ray Newton of Wapping History
 Fri    June 10th    free      9pm Open The Gate at 33 Stoke Newington Rd N16. One year anniverary celebrations.
Sun   June 12th    free  educational  workshops.. £5 entry  2-6pm  Stratford Circus  “Windrush Festival 2011”
                                      free           noon-4pm   Bishops Square, Spitalfields, Market Spits 1970 s music and djs
“Last Chance to See…” at Stratford Picture House  E15  selected films Mondays to Thursdays are £2
Abney Park Cemetery N16   free open to 7pm  Great walkabouts in the shade of ancient trees. Robins greet you!

Tango and fun, free

The Dalston Eastern Curve Garden will be the venue for  freeTango dance tasters and fun for all. Register at  , an outfit which puts on great stuff in the Dalston Garden. They are Sunday afternoon Tango sessions starting 5th June. See the ‘Peace Mural’ opposite new Dalston Junction Station? Well, under there is a door into the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden. What an haven!

Easy peasy from Wapping…… straight to Dalston Junction ; 15 mins max.

A day of highlights in good ole Hackney

                      Over to The Lawns in Dalston to be welcomed as ever by Rick Crust. Together we joined other participants to design or rather, re-develop the MyHeartLog web-site. Always worth attending to give our views as after all it will be of interest to online neighbours in Hackney with concerns about their hearts and those of their loved ones.

Dashed from there onto the 236 bus. What a bus eh? Always jam-packed but full of politeness, standing crowds, buggies and  Ridley Rd Market trolleys laden with fresh fish, yams and wotnot.

Slid through the gate to the Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, saw Thomas’ leaflet about stone carving, turned around and moved towards the pesto- tasting stall. Mmm. Yum. Smelt the pizzas and felt the Hackney head wraps.

This was the finale of the Hackney Adult Learners’ Week. I picked up my ‘certificate of achievement’ , ate a delicious pizza baked in the clay oven by Ben of E5 Bakery in London Fields (Wow! Ben and pizza) and then, folks, won the raffle. Yep!

A day of highlights in good ole Hackney!