International Women’s Day 2018

Well, March will soon arrive as already January is under way and February flits by and then I am ready crowding seniors at Up Your Street into events marking International Women’s Day which some borough council women have changed into Women’s Month and Women’s History Month. There’s always something in the news to make us keep the tradition of celebrating a women’s day. This year, it’s the everyday sexism resulting in rape which means we have to keep on keeping on and globally too. Many senior women have diarised March 8th for decades; amongst my peers I know not one . I know old hippies, old headscarf-wearers, old beatniks but I know not one woman of my age personally who knows about International Women’s Day enough to explain it to another man or woman, transgender or adamant. Keep on as long as sexism is rife and FGM is killing spirits.

RAGWORKS depictions of notable local women is set and ready to display in a primary school hall. In my bid to mix up seniors in the community and school age toddlers then March 8th has been allowed as a time for Up Your Street seniors to view for one hour my work. Schools have to be strict and secure. The toddlers will do work as they do annually around women of note such as (roll out)  The Suffragettes. RAGWORKS IWD 2018 features local champions such as Hibo Wardere and Claire Weiss, Neech and Hyacinth Myers. Alongside those stars will be nursery rhyme women characters as Jemima Puddleduck and Old Mother Hubbard for it is a primary school. Each wall-hanging will be labelled but I’m avoiding words like mutilation and aggressive, self-esteem and manufactured by men for we are before the watermark. (WHAT is the word I’m looking for?) When the seniors come to view I’ll let loose my tongue and put clearly what Neech and Hibo deal with.

On March 22nd, the day after the Equinox and Claire Weiss’ talk about a woman born in Leyton and then  owning silk worms,  High Street Seniors start a local walkabout from Vera Lynn Close in Forest Gate. It’s a chance to see the old Edwardian part of London which is now des res all by Wanstead Flats, recently cleaned up of old sofas and trollies.

On March 24th in my own gaff, artists amongst Up Your Street subscribers will sample vegan lunch as we all share what our art and poetry is all about.

All events are at Eventbrite and restricted to age and subscription to Up Your Street , and on the events pages at AlternativeArts where maybe alternative means women.

Oh! The power of words.2018-01-04 11.07.1220171220_103207uys-iwd


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!


MUSE Fest is an international showcase of women in and around music, who have contributed dynamically, changed the dialogue, set the tone, and inspired others.

Zeb on the tiles Friday2nd Nov.2012(photo: credit Kate Jennings. London)

The first edition of MUSEfest is going to be held on November 29, 2014 in London! Mark your calendars now! Music, video, art, food + drink and more. See you there.
Hackney Attic
270 Mare St, London
United Kingdom

The Day I Learned Nothing

9th July 2014. Soapbox at Tate Britain had its full 25 participants today, an audience of all those blessed with 60 years and thereabouts, “the New Generation” (as described by one active but absent agitator).


The posh biscuits and posher tea were wolfed down, the introductions given, and the agenda set for Stephen to perform,  as art appreciator,  giving it large at the  Capital Age Festival themed “Older Men and Expression” his take on the topic about older men and their ways with the expressive arts.

Mr  Drever


Apart from Matisse and other dead poets the theme perplexed me as I struggled to find in my own experience older men who express themselves in art and performance. On flickering screens Rolf Harris expressive entertainer  and portrait painter to HM goes down to paedophilia pit and Bee Gees Barry cries about his strained relationship with his dead brothers. There’s Lowry up and down on my wall as conflicting reports come in about his love of kiddies, and old actors stand up in court, silver foxes with dirty habits. I attend a drawing class and research Cézanne: another man in art who is nuts and then there’s Van Gogh. I try to uphold William Morris in my desperation as that elusive older man being artist but I am so tired of his leaves and socialism in big houses. Another Stephen wants to rant at Soapbox like a grumpy old man missing the positive point.


Back in the room, the soapers explored their idea of the word ‘hero’. Forget ‘heroine’ and ‘sheroes’, ladies in the majority here,  as it’s  C.A.F  and older men time. Stephen took the line about heroes and the received cultural knowledge about the nature of the hero and heroic acts or otherwise. He referred to a 1915 sculpture. Dr Max stood up to say nothing was debated about or referred to older men and expression and he was sorely disappointed. Twas right true too.


Unless I look at older men doing expressive dance I’ll never know what it was all about.wpid-img_95315535709391.jpeg

They say Chaplin’s “Monsieur Verdaux” is somehow relevant so I’ll look at that on Tuesday because it’s free.


Soapbox is free. To be in the Tate is marvellous. To debate and listen to others’ views is nice. For Stephen to research and then share his findings is first-class. To be brave enough to say you’ve never been inside an art gallery is jaw-dropping. To stand up and ask that we be counted is dangerous.


Neech sings a song, a melancholy one, entitled “All In My Stride”. Love it. She crescendos “If there’s a party, I wanna be there!”

                                                                       auntie Joan


All in my stride, all in my stride.




St John At Hackney

Seriously that church needs to sort out its heating and I don’t mean a few blessed candles. The One Taste Choir was doin’ a gig there tonight and they were very good. The place was packed as the altar turned into the stage and heavy duty lights and cameras were in place, or rather roving and that not to mention the security guys protecting it all and the stash of cash as people arrived and paid on the door, they having to end up in the gallery opposite the VIPs as we were full to overflowing in the improvised stalls.. Still the combined body heat did nothing to make us remove our scarves and gloves. Disgraceful that a place for a public performance is so cold. What of the performers, shivering there all day long for rehearsals, make-up and photo-shoots? Have  a heart. I know it’s Lent and Jesus is away in the wilderness but someone else on high needed to tropicalise an old stained building. I have no intention of visiting that place again for a sit-down thing.I spy NeechAt rehearsals.

014Gravestones in the churchyard.

There was some remarkable warbling and a surprise appearance from Willy Mason who Dylanesque in sound provided the professional if not horizontal laid-backness.

zeb at wah wahNeech (on the extreme right) singing at Wah-Wah (One Taste Choir at Lovebox)

All this in aid of a growing charity called Child Hope so we had an expose of what and where is another children’s charity. The money after paying out for  camera crews goes towards helping destitute and abandoned children overseas.

The members of the One Taste Choir deserved flowers like Stac their choir  ma’am received,  for every week they had voluntarily and with passion practised and learnt the harmonies to back other singers, including Eska and Hejira. Dutifully they sat in their winter coats on the side pews between being on the side-stage to do joined-up singing. Uniformly they became one unit in black outfits and scraped back hair; matronly and puritan.IMAG000147

Only the freezing church spoilt a good Hackney evening.

Jus’ reading about The Black Irish whilst catching up on Bob Dylan The 1966 World Tour Home Movie on SkyArts. “Unseen footage” cos it wasn’t  worth watchin’  before either mate! (Spot Bob). We live in hope…hour to go.

Went to the Beeb recording of Songs Of Praise last night. Very very good night out. However I am in shock;  never knew Dame Beverley Knight had gone all Pentecostal. Was so disappointed. The funny thing was that a day before I had attempted to play her Jools 2004 gig and couldn’t because it was worn out, by me, back in the day, and I wondered “Where is she now?” Doin’ interviews with Aled, that’s where. I just know that she wrote excellent lyrics and didn’t need to re-hash Christmas carols on a Sunday show and call  it giving back something to the human race. Whatever pays the rent, baby.

Just know that she worked hard to get where she at. I totally get that bit. Totally. Check out Neech’s music and all the singer-songwriters on