Saving Integrity.

Was slightly peeved when some media types set homework  for me to find vouchers on t’internet for me to use  to take out older people to dinner . Mother hen there. That is so NOT

Up Your Street.

Haven’t even started on that Wowcher etc stuff as it is actually holiday time with reference to resurrections (although I did hear that telly advert production never stops), Benedict Cumberbatch is on repeats  in all those delicious episodes of Sherlock: For fear of missing a grimace or of the codes appearing on the screen I cannot multi-task. Then, importantly, I have listings to get out to seniors highlighting the myriad of events such as festivals and workshops for wiser older people who don’t want to spend £15 on a discounted dinner of leaves arranged on a plate.

Seniors are targeted everywhere now especially since they were outed as isolated and lonely. I find events and activities for seniors which are free or as cheap as chips around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Last week I grabbed the last free places on a clay sculpting course in West Ham. No vouchers required just a peek into tweets and emailed newsletters. After that and after a fabulous choral evening I gathered places on a choir workshop for seniors to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon. Who knows to where that may lead? A coming highlight,  a little out of our manors but related to Hackney, is a great afternoon out at Keats House in posh Hampstead when Michael Rosen gigs and seniors picnic on the lawns…on benches of course.

Seniors can find their own vouchers for discounted wares and food on the internet. The ones I know have collected vouchers and money-off coupons all their lives. If I do my homework I will need to find mega bargain deals in my target area.

On it ….after my hols.

Oh and they weren’t media types. They were media themselves.

Floating Cinema

Boiling I was to be sitting on a moving boat in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the curtains drawn and the expectation of seeing art installations dashed. I was on a boat with a speaker promoting his supervision of art projects mainly oop North and no knowledge of the River Lea. Imagine! What rhymes with slap?

And then came Jo Bell’s poetry. She is the watery Canal Laureate.* What? Her poem, what we heard of it because moving boats like barges make scraping rumbling noises as they sludge along and obliterate sound tracks on Powerpoint, was Plathy but I will visit it on Google somewhere so as to raise my positives.

Stuck in a boat and nowhere to run. Stuck on a boat in a  too-small life-jacket wondering how really communities along waterways are engaged through art when 33% of water-users when asked will have no truck with such Hirsts and the nod to diversity is shown through some rehearsed South Asian dancing next to a lock. One -offs and we ain’t fooled for one minute.

Time up and the rain was pelting down outside in the desert of yellow tarmac that is the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

floater 1

Back into the Floating Cinema after five minutes for mulled wine and old films and new about rivers. Now all was relevant for when you talk ‘rivers’  you talk  ‘Thames’ and then along come the inevitable rosily filmed chummy films about the London Docks back in the day. But that today was good for Up Your Street subscribers are on the Eastside Community Heritage course about shipbuilding herstories. As far as I’m concerned after seeing brilliant films from 1917 up to 2011 we’ve covered the life of a docker,  the magnificence of  big ships, exports and imports, wool and tobacco, tea and sugar and the life of men. Job done. Ah, this part of the Floating Cinema day out was just great what with friendly Simon and the Park volunteer who spoilt us with warm wine and blankets. It was very cold but hey it’s winter. We were on a boat in a treeless place with wind and rain all about us. We sandwiched and crunched nuts. Two others rustled their choccie papers oblivious of the silence of a silent film. It was like a proper pictures.

We were so happy we went despite some people getting muddled up on their ticket times, others losing their way and never getting on board and one of us had a returned phobia of all things wet and watery so she scarpered….into Westfield, where else?

I gave my friend my copy of Len Taphouse’s “Spirit of the Iroquois” all about ships and knots. I’d introduced a young couple to the Floating Cinema and the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as well as senior members from the area around the Park.  I’d been on board The Floating Cinema before the Olympic and Paralympics 2012 and thoroughly enjoyed my tour of the waterways in the making besides being in the company of Mr Michael Smith. He never knew he was in my company. His films were shown today “Drift Street” (2011) and “Mystery River”(2013). Fantastic. (Goof: watch the milk flagon in “Drift”). And I loved the music by Tim and  Matthew Olden  on the film “Barging Through London” (2011).


Look what I found for FREE. Nov 29th 3.30-5pm Book at Eventbrite. Wrap up WARMly

To mark the final weekend of Newton’s Cottage we will be celebrating with a series of performances and a toast to the project. Please join us for dance, poetry, warm drinks and more.

Performances begin at 3.30pm and include:

Poetry by Jo Bell
The Canal Poet Laureate, Jo Bell will perform her specially commissioned response to Newton’s Cottage along side reciting a series of her work that relate to the waterways.

Dance by Jorge Crecis
Working with East London Dance, this piece of dance will respond to the unique environment of Newton’s Cottage and will bring the structure to life with a contemporary choreographed piece.

Presentation of Newton’s Cottage by Ruud Reutelingsperger
Hear more about the aspirations and inspirations for Newton’s Cottage along with learning about how this artwork was built and where it is going to go next.


* this my clause has been used by The Guardian before me.

Up Your Street. Issue 12

Very happy to say that Up Your Street is managing two Tesco notice-boards. They called us.

                                               up_your_street_2[1] (2)

Thurs 3rd April free evening launch of local artists’ exhibition “Face Value” at The Mill E17

Fri 4th April free Save Our Marshes photographic exhibition at The Waterworks Centre E10

Sat  5th April free QEOP opens to the public. Events until 5pm.

Sun 6th April free walk in Haggerston arranged by the Geffrye Museum

Mon 7th April Booking begins for free tea dance 23rd April at Brady Arts Centre. Details to follow.

Yeah, but I was there.

I went to a  weekly crafting workshop; I was the only participant. So not the first time I’ve been alone, trapped by good manners such that I’d stay until the session end.  In the local paper write-up, you’d think I’d been joined by hundreds.

I went to a poetry workshop and waited for more participants. I read aloud to myself.

I’ve been along to projects, taken along Up Your Street subscribers and then read on websites  how Age UK instead of Up Your Street was credited with rallying the troops. Age UK kept stumm.

Yesterday I went to a Capital Age Festival 2013  free art event and four others came. Six had signed up. Six from a whole Capital’s population, mind you. But I was there. Along came a passing woman with foul breath and matted wig an hour late, took up her scissors and glue and asked what we were doing here. I had asked myself the same but reeled off the usual reminiscence, oral history and coming together in the community mantras.

In the late afternoon I debated with an intelligent octogenarian friend, who’s seen it all,  the quality and definition of the Big Society and saw her disappointment at the fact,  known universally,  that the University of Third Age (U3A) has been taken over by the middle class. Those people who just wanted to stretch their brain without waving an ancient degree certificate are out of the margin of the margin.

Meanwhile in comes the glory of Birkbeck’s pre-degree course in art appreciation specifically targeting people without formal education. To boot, it takes place in Stratford east’s fair city next to The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in a new Birkbeck campus. Imagine. The University faces an annual  recruitment challenge. No Big Society outfit wants to use precious advertising resources promoting another outfit’s enterprises so unless Birkbeck goes overboard into the community no-one will know what’s on offer. That is of course where Up Your Street comes in generously. Last year Up Your Street co-erced  seniors to enrol and pick up bursaries to learn to learn all about art. They make up 50% of the intake.

Get the picture?

issue 1 Up Your Street

Up Your Street is an information-sharing service for seniors on the perimeter of The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (E20)

Fri July 27th free 6.30pm St Mary’s Centre, Upper Street, Islington, with The Stuart Low Trust. Alan Levy and music. (Find him on you tube as Dream Eagle Man)

Mon July 30th  free for a week 5pm tour of Arcola Theatre, Ashwin St. E8 before it gets a rebuild. No disabled access. Book

Thurs Aug 2nd free 6.30-8pm Oxford House Bethnal Green. Launch of photographic exhibition “Glimpses”. Photos by beginner photographers and Up Your Street subscribers.

Fri Aug 3rd free  10-noon Mobile Repair Team explaining to seniors about practical help in the home.  Stamford Hill Library, Hackney. Refreshments.

Mon Aug 6th free 7pm  film “The Riots” West Green Learning Centre Haringey. Meet the writer Gillian Slovo afterwards.