Mary Katherine presents @EastLondonRadio

Now Mary Katherine has to be applauded for commitment alone; every week without fail she’s off to East London Radio studios to give of herself in her magazine show

“Lifting Yourself Up To Good Living”.

E v e r y  week. She’s full of positivity and uplifting ways. It’s her main business.

She targets seniors likely from 70 years and  upwards judging by the age-related music. eg Bing Crosby, Andrew Sisters, Bob Dylan and Thin Lizzie. It’s all silver sounds and golden oldies except when she slips in a moany Cassidy or worse, Adele. There’s an overload of male artistes anyway but hey that’s the sub conscious push of radio and music in its maleness. MUSEFest is addressing that big time.

Back to admiring a senior in her glorious years. You know on BBC radio 3 you can hear the announcers (never djs) reading their scripts sounding all knowledgeable about Wagner or some obscure Latvian composer (male mais oui). Mary Katherine reads no scripts and holds interviews very well in rushed time and space. She’ll make grand faux-pas but really who cares? It’s community radio and we’re not out for an Oscar ..yet. Her guests are always at ease and need to keep up with Mary Katherine as she bludgeons them for contact details for her listeners all poised with pencil and paper.

The texts that come in fast and furious and the ones she reads are hilarious what with Doreen of Leytonstone asking for Frankie Vaughan and Danny from Hackney Wick never failing every Thursday to ask for any Elvis because he saw him in Vegas you know!

Mary Katherine adds in her researched quotes to match the topic of the session: More often than not some revered old biddie statesman  or a poet we long abandoned at the school gate. There’s always a featured artiste and lo and behold a prayer mat to Joan Armatrading as Mary takes every opportunity to share her love for the old Shetlander. Mary Katherine did a phone interview a couple of years ago with the not-in -love one. What a coup.

Today’s guests were special and needed to be heard. Two Miracle Charity staff were promoting an art exhibition to highlight the way children live in dire straits in Canary Wharf’s shadow. It’s a disgrace that children are hungry in a London borough. Shame on you any government.

Tune in, if that’s how we say it now. Every Thursday at 11 am for ninety minutes.

These Dangerous Women

Clapham Film Unit with Lottery Heritage money is doing a project called “These Dangerous Women”.

Now as Bryn might say on “Gavin and Stacey” “I have got my knickers in a twist”.

I went along with five women from Up Your Street to an excellent training session in researching women who were prominent in 1915 in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Clapham Film Unit was running it in the LSE library, Holborn. There we were a mixed and ethnically diverse group representing Black African women, Black Caribbean ones, Indian, British Celtic, and Indian Oceanic types.

Now, let me introduce you to Dr Joyce Blackwell. She wrote about the ways that Black women aka women of Color were not recorded as being that in the annals of WILPF archives. 2014 here we are.

There was a trip to Tilbury Docks last week and that was the place where in 1915 Peace Suffragettes left Britain to get to The Hague to voice their protest for peace during WW1.

I have learnt loads and watched as a colleague on the workshop, a woman from Up Your Street who says openly that women should cook for their husbands, ordered a book about Isabella Ford from Kensington library and went on to read it on the Piccadilly Line today.

I learnt what WILPF stood for. I learnt that LSE didn’t want me to join their library.

I felt I wasn’t really welcome as a participant at Tilbury and that anyway I would have to get an outfit for the event by the week before the Tilbury film shoot which “would be very physically demanding”.  Costume? Where? Money? What? I learnt after the event that there was a costumier for the Project. Who knew?

The women of colour were not invited.

Today the photos from the event were published online. The photographs by Anna Watson are beautiful. The participants in the shoot are white white women. The project is white white women.

Oh,  missed opportunity!

On the day of the shoot, I busied myself supporting MUSEfest, a women’s festival about women and mothers who make waves in music and who inspire others through music. I had joined up with younger feminists. I was supporting actively a charity which currently promotes an international charter for safe childbirth for every mother globally. The African and Asian women who had two weeks ago dipped into the territory of “these dangerous women” made food for the musicians. They don’t talk about the experience at Clapham Film Unit workshop . They cannot identify with the Tilbury women of 1915 because there is no-one in the manuscripts or in the pictures past and present who look like them.

The Tilbury actors  have not had the opportunity either to engage with and consider the herstories of women with different heritages who, back in the day, flew the orange flag for the same causes; peace and freedom.

If the project were to engage the community then my community has not been engaged.


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!