Tonight what with the jolly good company, the flow of the wine and the whiff of cinnamon in the bread pudding, the RAGWORKS art exhibition launch at The Centre For Better Health was a blast.

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People came from  Hackney, Haringey, Waltham Forest and Islington to enjoy wall-hangings, embellished bags, poetry readings and story-telling. The time went past quickly in a warm basement gallery out of the fog. People loved the nod to Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn” in the form of “Girl With A Pearl Earring”. Another woman wanted to take “Cinderella” home and a guy gave us all  a West Indian story prompted by “Anansi” who is depicted hanging onto his RAGWORKS rope.

pearl version 2 at Hornbeam 090713

We had poems about a beloved father, pigeons in Lloyd Park Walthamstow, being in a prison cell, ‘duppies’ in the dark and experiences of being homeless. There was much more.

                                                                  Hornbeam bags 2

Someone visited from the art therapy class so we enjoyed more vibrant art and smashing words.

In the Gallery  yellow light,  the RAGWORKS wall-hangings look sparkly with their winking sequins and shiny buckles. “We Three Kings” are imposing in their finery and size. The Leyton Reminiscence Quilt served as an adornment and a practical mat for any visiting toddlers .

Debbie from the poetry-sharing sessions at the Centre For Better Health presented a bouquet of gorgeous carnations to the artist  as a gift from one creative being to another. Much appreciated . She read poems galore then shared some of her very interesting stories about machine sewing back in the day.

Do you know how nice it is to sit amongst the cream of human beings who want to share their craft, their captivating words, and to be under the colours and shapes in the textile wall-hangings? Beautiful.

Twas an organic evening!

Poetry in ‘Ackney

Five years ago I joined a poetry group in Hackney Central Library and felt very uncomfortable. Members either bared their souls or were suspiciously looking around the table. I did go with two nutcases who came along for the ride so in fairness it was difficult for the facilitator to pitch the event correctly. There were many oversized egos present and plenty of earnest poetry reading voices. Stephen Fry knows what I mean.

Anyway the facilitator persevered because he was passionate about his spiritual journey and just wanted to get a creative writing group going without any reference to ‘pop-up’ or any nod to the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012. I could be wrong.

The Wordlovers Society (ugh! How I hate that title) has its celebration of being active in Clapton Library for five years and that takes place freely on 5th December 2013 at the Hackney Museum at 5.30pm. Yay!

So tonight I went to the poetry-share (my word) hosted by Cirillo at the Centre For Better Health in Darnley Road Hackney. I was terribly late having had a nail-biting day. The sessions are every fortnight at 6pm. I arrived there breathless and near to the end but had to get there because of my own passion, my respect for the facilitator and other poets and because its a friendly social meeting.

During the last session we did discuss the use of the word “nutcase” even as we sat in the hall of a building dedicated to people with mental health issues and knowing full well that some of our poets had been “sectioned”. At one point we discussed Baden Prince Junior’s poetry and I’d refused to read one of the poems because it had in it the word “vagina”. Now that word is huglee! Then a member offered “I love the word “c**t and I needed a wire for my dropped jaw. In the same paragraph another guy said “half-caste”. Now I usually correct that racist language, with a big Miss Piggy smile and flick of hair , but I was still reeling from hearing the c-word, enunciated with a licked tongue poking around full lips, and the blatant confession from a woman about loving it.  The statement was made with full-on relish. Note to self, “I really must step up my lesbian detection powers”.

There will be a sharing of poems on 11th December 2013 at The Centre for Better Health Hackney as an added feature in the launch event of RAGWORKS wall-hangings. We shall view, sit around, munch on nibbles, possibly sip some wine and laugh. Everyone is welcome. Five o’clock.

Issue 43. Up Your Street

                                                       Up Your Street
Sat 19th  Oct         £3 11-1pm .Cambodian Cooking workshops going for 6 weeks but you can attend however many you like email   cookingcambodian@yahoo.co.uk. It’s at the Salvation Army shop in Forest Rd opposite Lloyd Park E17
Mon 21st Oct      donations noon-2pm at Lea Bridge Road Library Community Room session for seniors. Bingo and tea.
                                   free 1-2pm  Lunch at 1pm Film at 1.30pm”Memories” projects and showcasing films from carers and people with special needs/dementia. Waltham Forest Assemnly  Hall E17. A WF carers’ event.
Wed 23rd Oct     free 10-noon Lloyd Park Sharing Heritage in Lloyd Park E17. Animation film workshop.
                                   free   6-7.30pm Poetry reading at The Centre for Better Health 1a Darnley Rd Hackney
Sat 26th Oct         free    2-5pm  Rich Mix Arts Centre. Bethnal Green. Drawing workshop “Prejudice Within me ” hosted by Shanghati Literary Society.
Sun 27th Oct        free  2-3.30pm.Meet Vestry House Museum in the Village E17. Peter Ashan’ s  Black Heritage walk as part of Words Over Waltham Forest festival.
Wed 30th Oct     £3.50 Tea dance in Chingford E4 . 1-4pm All seniors welcome
Coming on 16th Nov 2013 free plus lunch at Birkbeck University campus in Stratford E15 with a tour of Timber Lodge, community hub in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. 10-4pm
A day of ideas and discussion led by the Architectural Foundation Inclusion. Book in advance on 020 3073 8391.
“There are people living in the area who have long experience of the waves of regeneration London  experienced over the last 50 years.  How can their own experience and knowledge of local history help them and us to reflect on the transformation of Stratford and the wider area of East London?We are proposing a one-day event in November 2013 to which we aim to recruit local residents of a range of ages and educational backgrounds, alongside a selected group of community organisers and others who work closely with the community.  The aim of the day would be to determine

  1. 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.
  2. 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?”
  3. I’m in!