- Whether there’s an appetite among a range of local residents for a further and more extensive programme of discussion, historical investigation, and physical exploration of the regenerated area over the next number of months.
- What kinds of events, activities and venues would be most interesting and appealing, that is, most likely to attract people and keep them coming back?”
- I’m in!
Up at Leytonstone Library E11 about twenty-three adults and a couple of kiddies waited patiently for the other seven or more audience members to roll in late so we could enjoy some plays. The MC aka playwright/director Paula David told us the four sketches represented the stories told to her by Caribbean people who were immigrants back in the day i.e 1950s to 1980s.
The venue is cosy, shabby and informal. The set on the stage was similar. There was no colour or brightness as the background to miserable personal real accounts acted out by stationary actors including Trevor David and Anthony Chisholm punctuated by the in and outs of an actress playing the part of a newscaster over the decades. The scripts attempted to heighten our senses of what Caribbean immigrants felt during Windrush times and later . When I say senses I mean the colours, the sounds, the smells. I got grey, bathroom damp, and green army uniforms smelling of the earth.
Story-telling on stage is what I visited today. No magic appeared.
Oh yawn. Haven’t we done all this? In the eighties? In the late seventies? Haven’t we the older generation, 50 plus in years, heard all the stories yet? Lenny Henry’s done his stories of first generation Caribbeans to death and now reclines richly on Premier beds.The local youth may have been expected but were absent today. They may have liked the stories but would have wanted action. “Stories of Migration” will likely go into schools. .
This is theatre rather than research and literature so I expected to be drawn in. I was. I expected to be entertained. I wasn’t. I expected surprises. None. I expected theatre. Nope.
The acting was what it was. The actors were mostly alone on the stage with their monologues. They mulled over scripted accounts which were personal histories and many of the audience members will have heard the same kind of stories from their grans and in a couple of cases experienced being in the fifties and head butting with “the grey Better life”. The best line was from the Grenadian who joined the British police force and recognised when he said, as he slid through a career trailing in the odious remains of a colonial beast staffed by rude irritated white commanders, “Racism became easier ” (to deal with).
What grants can do eh?
In the audience was Baden Prince Junior. Twas a pleasure to meet again the poet and teacher whose phrase “Don’t be clever, Trevor” is the best way to stop his workshop students of any age over-rhyming.
Don’t be clever, Trevor.
The event today was one out of the many thrown into the mix of “Words Over Waltham Forest”.
I did recommend that anyone wanting to participate in Peter Ashan’s forthcoming Heritage Project centred around immigration stories from African-Caribbean and Asian Waltham Forest residents 1940-1990 get along to “Stories of Migration. That forthcoming project will be coming to an Asian centre near you! Funding presumed.
Thank you Waltham Forest Libraries for giving the public the opportunity to see free theatre. I’m certain I’m the only one who tells the libraries in advance if I’m not coming as is requested on the Eventbrite booking form. All the empty seats today eh? Fool me.
Three Mills in Stratford is doing a workshop day in October for £39 instead of £120 all about the creative process in film. Hmm.
And there’s more…On Thursday 10th October 6.30pm at Tower Hamlets Archives, 227 Bancroft Rd E1 (205 bus) almost opposite the estate where Billy Ocean grew up (yeah!) there’s an introduction to “Where I Belong” the local oral history project capturing (!) Asian and Black women’s herstories (!) of residency in Tower Hamlets. Free. Open to all.
Issue 38 Up Your Street
Mon 16th Sep. free 1-3pm Holden Point Waddington Rd E15 . Free taster sessions for people of 50 and better to touch on arts and crafts, Yoga and ICT help. No need to book.
free but book at Eventbrite. 6-8pm Rose Lipman Building at 41 De Beauvoir Rd, Hackney. CREATE event.”Create London Talk Series: Colonised Imagination: Urban constructions within the discourse of Japanese animation“.
£15 for 3 hours. 5-8pm “Quilting, Quakers and the Moselle (River)”. Professional sewing class with Katrina. Fortnightly at Kat’s house in Tottenham N17. Email Katcot52@hotmail.co.uk
Wed 18th Sep free 10-noon Lloyd Park Sharing Heritage project midway in its programme of events. Community Room in Lloyd Park. Free refreshments. Animation techniques.
Thurs until 6th Oct free The Mill, Coppermill Lane E17. Opening times. Not Mondays.
Artist Esther Neslen’s 6 waiting people converge on the Living Room. What are they thinking? Drawings and sculptures by Esther. Words and soundscapes submitted by Walthamstow poets and artists including Roger Huddle’s poetry.
Sat 21st Sep free 11-1pm. Architecture of Walthamstow interest walk . Meet Wood Street Library E17. Book with www.wflibraries.eventbrite.com
Sun 22nd Sep free 2pm “Freedom Walk” with Peter Ashan meeting at The Mill Coppermill Lane E17. Exploring how multi-culturism came about and survived flourishing in the borough.
Wed 25th Sept £3 1-4pm Tea Dance in Chingford Assembly Hall E4
free 6-7.30pm Poetry reading (your own and classics ) at Centre for Better Health 1a Darnley Rd Hackney
- Sat 28th Sep £5 11-3pm Flower Arrangement Workshop at St Edmund’s Church. Larkswood Road, South Chingford, London E4 9DS (just south of Chingford Mount crossroads).
- Contact and booking in advance
- Lesley Goldsmith firstname.lastname@example.org
This evening was a lecture from Tom Doig about “Birth and Baptism in the 1800s”. I expected that a certain audience would come, Christian indigenous white Brits at that who would be ofey with things like “Churching” and “aglab” for agricultural labourers. I was correct. The event was excellent. Tom had great slides and great humour.
The library staff at Hale End Library in Hale End Highams Park (W16 bus) are the most welcoming people I’ve met for ages. Mind you, the library is small enough to think you’re going into their house. It is dead quiet around the place and outside they have customer parking set in an old neglected garden left over from a previous big house.
‘Red Hot Pokers’ are just at the end of their glory.
Waltham Forest Libraries have many free events now and coming up in July. Bravo.
David Boote of Waltham Forest Walks came along to Lea Bridge Seniors and put it out that it is time to get the history of Leyton from the experience of Black and Asian residents past and present. Wouldn’t you just know it? Peter Ashan is on the case waiting for Lottery money in order to go ahead with a project following the history of Black and Asian Waltham Forest people from 1940-1990. I’m in, are you? Details to follow.
What a lovely Sunday morning: Into the Mill in Coppermill Lane for 11 am, hung around for the Eventbrite bookers, watched a black cat cross our path then set off with Peter and John leading us into an empty Walthamstow Market.
We checked out the Warner mansion and the symbols above dirty pre-loved architecture then listened to the second poem read by a Coppermill poet.
Upwards and onwards to Walthamstow historical landmarks which had seen a better glory.
Outside the Chequers pub Maureen of The Mill read her poem about the watercress seller. Walthamstow Marshes were fertile grounds for the growing of watercress for the London markets. Who was eating the stuff? Waitrose has re-fashioned it since last week. Theirs is from Hampshire so as we urbanites feel impressed.
Further up the market I felt I were in a foreign place as aluminium chairs and tables spilled onto the pavement from Sunday morning hipster coffee shops. The crowds looked tourists but hey, this is Walthamstow and we are a changing multi-ethnic population. We have been since the 1970s (and before on a smaller scale) such that now ‘ethnic minority’ could refer to indigenous white British residents. I digress. Isn’t the spelling of “licence” as in “Off-Licence” wrong on the Chequers pub?
Some of the poems from John were about his kith and kin as known down the Market of yore and others about visitors to the Market. Some were about street markets internationally. One poem was about Churchill’s unwanted motorised visit to the High Street in 1926. It was at the time of the General Strike.
Back to today, there was the usual slagging off about supermarkets taking over and dwellings replacing picture-houses.
At the end of the well-paced walk in the sun it was refreshing to stand under the slim green- leafed trees in the Market Square and hear Peter tell us about the old public baths provided by municipalities for the great unwashed, and Passmore’s generosity in providing books for the masses.
John read a finale poem in the vernacular of the working street traders who are no more.
The Walthamstow Central Library was behind us and that’s from where the refreshments beckoned us.
Fantastic combination of local history with a touch of the history of people from the Caribbean too and the market-inspired poetry from a local poetry lovers’ group: Fact and fiction.
Sun 18th Nov free 2.30pm Walking around Leyton High Road discovering about its creation, with Waltham Forest Walks. Meet at junction of Church Rd and Leyton High Rd opposite where once was the pub The Lion and the Key. Walk ends at Leyton Station around 4.15pm.
£5 6.45pm Brady Arts Centre, Whitechapel E1. Comedies by Tagore in “A Season of Bangla Drama”.
Tues 22nd Nov free 3.30-6pm “The Big Stick Up” craft afternoon making cards at The Garden Cafe Cundy street E16 3DJ. All welcome and refreshments too!
Sat 24th Nov £3 7-9.30pm Hornbeam Café E17 Film: “A Farm for the future.”No fossil fuels
In the same building, “RAGWORKS” textiles on display.
Sun 25th Nov ( Bring a contribution). 11.30-1pm The Mill E17 Sharing a community breakfast.
free 2-3.30pm pm Peter Ashan’s walk discovering Black Britons in Walthamstow. Meet at The Mill E17
Thurs 29th Nov free 5-7.30 pm. Hackney Museum . Poetry workshop for adults with Walthamstow wordsmith Adisa the Verbaliser. On the theme of independence explore your own prose potential. The first of 2 events.