Back in the game.

I never sew RAGWORKS unless my world is in order. I never paint a picture unless my area is cleared and I certainly never solve a maths problem until I’ve done the washing up. So it was over these past months that I was house-sitting and cat-minding during others’ vacations. I was in strange surroundings and there was never enough washing up to get done. I was floundering in space. I was unsteady in myself so if someone had said “And how are you in yourself?” I’d have said, “Unsettled”.

Today the labourers are in and in and out with wheelbarrows and dirt and precious earth as I have a rotten fence downed and new fences erected. One part of the boundary was enough for me to fly a red for danger flag. But the cats still walked along the rim and made a small vibration. My solicitor warned me that I’d pay thousands if that wall so much as stroked a human on its way down. My house is in order and the men are controlling the unknown outside so I feel ready to write. The word “controlling” has enough weights dragging along.

Last night in the darkness I was coming home. A man sneezed very loudly. A young woman in the dark turned and gave him a bad look. He was behind her and quickened his pace. “The next one you’ll catch!” he hollered at the poor slip of a thing. I decided to walk on the other side of the road but with a protective eye on someone young enough to be my grandchild. And yes, I would have run my hulk over the road.to protect her from any danger. The man turned his head to me and by his stumbling I knew he was drunk. He disappeared. I realised he was urinating behind a car. She was ahead and safe. I was not frightened but worried about being bothered on my doorstep.
I unlocked and put on my lights, shut the curtain and remembered similar scenes when I had been truly afraid or truly in charge.
This morning the labourers asked me if I knew the guy taking a refuse bin full of earth from the or my skip. It was the stalking drunk. Hell’s Bell’s. I dealt with him by saying how illegal it is to take from skips. I had a vision of a brick through my window but he did go away and said to the wind, “Must do what the old lady says.” His lanyard and label told me he was “out in the community” and quite harmless to boot.

I and other Up Your Street seniors have joined Waltham Forest Women Taking Back The Streets. We are a seniors’ presence. The group meets regularly. We are sick of being uncomfortable on our streets because of men on street corners, drug-dealing, spitting and making suggestions to us. Their language beats crude and we should not have to endure it. We should be able to go anywhere in the area and own the pavement too. We here really refers to young women: Old women are invisible except on pension day.

High Street Seniors is a seniors’ group walking at dusk. We’ve been around since London 2012 and so have our legs so it’s harder to walk. It’s enough for many now to do the tunnel walk at the Museums up Kensington. Our mission is the same as the intentions of the founding young women and men at the Waltham Forest organisation which features at Facebook. Our mission is to reclaim our streets.
But this drug-dealing is at every turn. Every day I see in the gutters drug paraphernalia. I suggest that in the main the men sitting at cafés are backward. The shame is when the men have schooled in the Borough and not internalised anything about sexism and equality. They must have truanted that day. The rest are just backward and have not sussed out that women in the UK in the main have come forward leaps and bounds and no longer are invisible or silent. As long as they are in inclusive sects they will never change either.

Laws and policing have done much to change the way people talk to each other and how they behave. In their own homes of course people are racist and sexist and everything else to make themselves bloated on superiority. Not all learn that there is a boundary between indoors and out.

By women and some men sharing their disgust at what goes on on street kerbs and corners then a wider public can join in and understand why women need to group together to get changes made or enforcement active.

Many seniors do not leave their houses after 7pm. That cannot be right. Many children do not enjoy their journey to and from school. I have seen a grown man leching after a girl of eight. I did not phone the police because I believed they’d do nothing. I was angry with myself. Why was the child alone on the street? Why shouldn’t she be? Erghh at myself.

About forty years ago there was an incident where a bus driver would not take on board a young woman who did not have enough fare money. She was afterwards raped as she took a short cut in a park to get home. I was always in awe of my brother saying “Why shouldn’t she feel okay to walk through a park at night?”
Having heard that, thank goodness today for Oyster cards and credit/debit cards so that the lack of cash is not a prelude to a rape.
Both my grandmothers said the word “bitch” and on Coronation Street, the women use that word thanks to the script-writer. I never use that word and never call anyone “darlin'” or any word that denotes over-familiarity. We all have to watch our p’s and q’s. It’s all about mutual respect.

We have a long way to go.
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MUSEfest

Tonight is MUSEfest in Hackney London. Not the old Hackney but the noo schmoo, the one of Hackney Picture House and bicycle stands, and beards and low-slung brown skinny trousers and a Premier Inn at Dalston Junction, land of lattes and wraps, closing down pancake shops, and toilets transformed into pop-in pop-ups.

Zeb Achonu has a Facebook page all about mothers making music. She as a musician and a young mother puts it out there that motherhood cannot squash your music creativity and it’s great for like minded music makers to join together and keep music and spirits alive.  It need energy just to get that off the ground between the carting to and from nursery, teaching language skills to own toddler, buying Tampax and Pampers, and getting to work on time.

Whilst in Paris she plunged into balconies and music by producing with Léopold Naessens “Balcony TV”. Hannah Judson was also on that same balcony. Since June, Zeb and Hannah have Skyped together and  set up gloriously MUSEfest , an evening showcasing women who make moves in music and who inspire others to create notes. The line-up is impressive, Mr Geldorf, and the tickets are as cheap as chips at £7.

It’s evenings of damp and mulled wine lit up by shop displays of Christmas glitter. It’s Hackney with its Empire, Town Hall, Tesco and sparse free parking. It’s The Attic on top of the rather stunning Hackney Picture House next to queues of buses on main street Mare Street.

From Up Your Street and HIGH STREET SENIORS who,  as well as The Bhaji in Docklands,  are feeding the musicians come best wishes for our daughters and granddaughters, for success for those women relentlessly producing music which deserves a place in the very man-dominated sphere of composing, conducting and techno-creating.

If it takes a charity event to get earnest and creative women recognised as musicians who have more to offer than music-videos selling mush hyped up with bouncing bottoms and air-brushed lips, then so be it.   Zeb and Hannah have that energy as work-loaded mothers to bring about a change in the music industry.

Light up tomorrow with today!

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.

Olympic fan

Since Day 1 I have been a fan of The Olympics and Paralympics Games coming to east London, Stratford. I took tours around brown sites and watched waterways being dredged and cleaned. I have butted negative comments all along the way, have done my utmost to engage Seniors (OAPs) with something growing on their doorstep which sprouted Arts Council, Heritage Lottery etc etc funded free activities and events  by running Up Your Street with its High Street Seniors and The Pamper Shop under its parasol.

I have seen the dejection felt by locals as no free tickets fell into their laps, have battled with my principles about taking up the Gamesmaker post and kinda working freely for Cadbury, Coco Cola and Maccas, and been insulted and ignored tons of times. (“Don’t let the bastards grind you down”).

I was worried about transport to and from the Games and recently, security.

Hey the journey to here was long and packed. I am dying to blog about yesterday’s rehearsal and my personal experience of it  but respect the #keepthesurprise.

Welcome World to my doorstep!

Event June 16th and hours of fun

June 16th is Bloomsday, an annual global celebration of James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. Never told you that at school, did they?

Lucy Harrison, artist i/c Mapping Your Manor is about to start more walkabouts. David Boote of Walthamstow Walks is out and about regularly too. High Street Seniors don’t want any more drenchings for a while. They’re the seniors sporting yellow and red Clancy Docwra hi-viz vests.

Gonna take the W12 to The MillE17 today to submit “SOFT” works for a major exhibition. That’s after Somerfield in Narrow Way E5 to spend my Co-op coupons. Every little helps.

New song for interactive grans and families:-

Where is Mummy?

Mummy’s gone to Iceland

Papa’s gone to Tesco

Baby’s gone to  Sainsbury’s

Where are you? (points to family member).

***

Grandma’s gone to Poundshop

Mummy’s gone to Budgen

Baby’s gone to Waitrose

Where are you?

***

Papa’s gone to the Co-op

Grandma’s gone to Koza

Baby’s gone to Primark

Where are you?

**************************

Hours of fun