Hackney PictureHouse on a wet sunday.

As Vistaprint says “There’s nothing better than free”.

Came out of the rain and swallowed the last ticket for the members’ freebies screening of “ARGO” at Hackney PictureHouse. Hackney PH does it for me: Clean, luxury seating, attentive polite staff and an ambient hum about the place. The lift was down today. Mechanicals, eh! I knew the pre-booked event would not be a full house because it was bucketing down as Hurricane Sandra’s offspring tried to match her maliciousness. It was wet, wet, wet soaking the headscarves of the trouping African church-going mothers and bringing out the designer wellies on laptop hipsters.

Earlier I’d gone up to Rich Mix, not my favourite place, to join in the East End Routes day headed by Patrick Vernon OBE. Two rooms on different floors were set up with displays and a fully-equipped play area for the kiddies. A nice vibe. I’ve always rated Vernon’s talks and projects. I supported him today.

RAGWORKS wanted to join in the Routes day but Rich Mix is strict about what pins are used to brighten their walls. Another time.

Red Riding Hood is in another kinda rich mix venue: The Hornbeam Café in Bakers Arms with other world-wide folk-lore characters. I passed the Hornbeam Café on the bus and the lounge lights in there threw a spot on the evil, white-furred  Snow Queen. She’ll be praying for snow.

“Argo” is great. Went back in time to 1979 (Thatcher rising) and Iran. The film is gripping with one damn handsome actor hardly moving a muscle doin’ his thing and in the tense nail-biting story there were dry, dry jokes leaving us chuckling over our pop-corn and wetness. The acting is brilliant and the events are based on the true story of the rescuing of six Canadians from revolutionary Iran in those days.

At my Hackney bus stop I turned to see a mate. Sad looking and thinner than in the summer, he told me he was off to the soup kitchen in Lower Clapton. Whatever next?

Now there’s free and there’s free.

I’m blogging for “A Season Of Bangla Drama”. That’s more free stuff too.  www.dramabangla.wordpress.com  All to the good and yes Vistaprint is quite right.

Exhibition on in the foyer of Hackney PictureHouse:-

Issue 10 part 2. Up Your Street

Sat Sept 22nd £2.50  2-3.30pm HedgeHerbs workshop beginning a course of 5 sessions at the Mill E17.  £2.50 negotiated price for we seniors.

                              £1.50  11-4.30pm Vintage Fair at Bruce Castle, Tottenham.”Step Inside Love”

Sun Sept 23rd free but book on Eventbrite  “Imago Dei “. At the Queen Of Hoxton , Curtain Rd Shoreditch. Food and craft fair .

Tues Sept 25th £3.50 3.30pm  Pictures at Rich Mix  “To Rome With Love”.

                             £2.50   noon Hackney PictureHouse “Anna Karenina” and Vertigo” and more films with refreshments too. (Thursday too)

Thurs Sept 27 th free 7-8.30pm Saying goodbye with a fling to an excellent photography project for seniors called ” Glimpses” at  Oxford House Bethnal Green before Black History Month events move into the house. Be buzzed!

£1.50 2-5pm Knitting group  at Hornbeam Café, Bakers Arms E17

free 9pm “Loopers” at Hackney Picture House for members. Tickets in advance.

Fri Sept 28th free  2pm.  The People’s Museum in Stratford E15 (opp Gala Bingo almost) Thames Paddle Steamers” talk by Robert Rogers.

 free last day to get in poetry for free comp at United Press. Go to their website for rules.

 free (donations always accepted!) 10-noon. Knitting for beginners and experts at The Mill E17

£1  11.30-12. 30    Exercise, expression and dance at St Johns in Narrow Way, Mare St, Hackney with Catherine Bell.  55+ and Up Your Street recommends it.

Oct 1st start of Black History Month. Many free events. Check the Tower Hamlets  Black History Month 2012 brochure. Excellent stuff.

Mon Oct 1st free but book on Eventbrite UK events in London. 7pm . New  reading group Byte The Book at Clapton Hart. Chatting about ” Pnin” by Nabakov.

free 4pm. Geoff Bell talk at The People’s Museum, Stratford E15 “The Coloured Men’s Institute”.


Coming soon….

Tues Oct 2nd free 2-4pm walk about Colworth Road with  architectural historian Neil Houghton. Meet at St Andrews Church, Colworth Rd Leytonstone. E11. (Highly recommended by Up Your Street).

Oct 4th  free  7pm.John Arthur (The Walthamstow Bard) sings and plays accoustic guitar at Camden Head, 100 High St , Camden.

free Formans Gallery exhibition preview by invitation. Ask William at the Smokehouse Gallery, Hackney Wick.

free 6-8pm.The Nunnery at Bowarts by Bow Church .  Dennis McNulty talks about his work “Precast.” There’s a great café  too, The Carmelite Café with not expensive wine and cream cakes plus a great person behind the counter.

                         free 7pm     Hornsey Library  Crouch End N8 screening of  Shabazz’s film “The Story Of Lovers’ Rock”.

Nag’s Head in Walthamstow Village

Well, I jus’ don’t know! How do people put up with non-welcoming staff?  I said to myself, “Let me find this pub that everyone ..IN THE VILLAGE raves about”. I’d taken the W16 from Leyton up to Shernhall Street and remembered that there was that hail and ride (if you’re lucky) W12 bus that sweeps through the backyard of the Village.

The driver dropped me off just next to the afore-mentioned glorified pub. The back garden was packed. (“Nobody works then? “as Jezza would say.) The staff never even acknowledged me, a stranger to their bar. It wasn’t as if they were busy; people were hogging one glass for an hour. Maybe the sour faces from the bartenders meant they just didn’t want to be there. But I just don’t get it. A local gets bumped up. Everyone wants a piece of the action and then nothing. It happens again and again. A venue is revved up and then the front of house staff just make you wonder why you made the effort. Exceptions are notably Stratford Picture House E15 , the Hackney Empire and BSix male reception staff. Good examples of front of house disdain are Rich Mix, (no smiles there and chewing gobs), my doctor’s surgery, Sassoon in Brooke Street up West, Age UK office in Dalston Junction, Hackney Museum, Lea Bridge Library, Hackney Post Office in Narrow Way e5, ward staff in any NHS hospital..any!..aah and so many more.  Civil servants are reknowned for their lack of expression, disdain or not. Still adopted the CSA name though so who trained yer, baby?

You know, front of house employees are often labelled as CSA Customer Service Assistant. They could well be unpaid interns who long lost their passion to be part of The Big Society and/or are those who stay on in the job until something better comes along and you’d think that would be in a couple of years. So the long-termers are still there AND as miserable. It could well be that as a senior I am invisible and so they are just rude or nasty by habit  as they keep their faces to their screens, hearing my polite voice coming from the backside of their computer . But people half my age get the same treatment. Don’t worry. I haven’t started on the attitude of bus drivers up and down Lea Bridge Road.

I am used to the alarmingly frank ignorance from CSAs but cannot understand why we put up with it.  I did ask for an audience with the owner of the Hackney Post Office shop knowing I was wasting my breath. I had six months earlier complained to the Post Office big guns and they said they would look into everything from the attitude of staff to the mess on the floor. Looking and doing eh?  So the owner of the shop told me that the staff have so much abuse from the public. So what? Most folk are just wanting a little bit of human service and why should they suffer because of some other customers’ frustrations , madness or anger? William Hill Management trained me well enough to deal with rude and spitting men old enough to be my dad and at the same time I could make sure that the normal well-behaved person gave over their money  knowing that I was giving the best of my service. Never was I trained to look at anyone as less than human altho I had my diddly doubts.

I’ve seen medical reception staff talk so rudely to non-English speakers in particular. Not every immigrant lives in a caravan.Everyone needs to be on a GP list so the vulnerable and the polite know not to answer back as that will be construed as violence towards the employed hallowed ones. No witnesses will bother to come forward as the receptionist has her moment of triumph, throws beige records on the floor and stamps her stiletto-ed foot.

The Hackney shop owner didn’t impress me at all. Ebay should set up its own Post Office then many of us wouldn’t need the Post Office at all. Passports you say. How come we are European in UK but still have to carry an UK passport to travel to Tenerifé and beyond? Why is the sky blue? So many Apps and I’ll have my answers.

I know a lady who had her baby by Apps. Her waters broke so she Googled for extra information, checked the Apps from Mothercare and downloaded the breastfeeding Apps too. No need for wise old sages like me anymore.

Nuff said about Nag’s Head.

at The Pictures

Went to a preview last night at Rich Mix. Ugh what a film! It was predictable, tedious, Twas full of cliches and stereotypes. Ugh ugh ugh . Reminded me of “Bless This House”.. What was it called? And what was good? Ah yes shots from above, a soundtrack full o’ Asian fusion and Bangra and European classcial stuff. I never laughed cos all the jokes were tired. Even the three witches were repeats of East End characters, i.e. Dev’s aunts, and copies of jokes on “The Real Mcoy” back in the day when they were funny and multi-culturalism was ‘avin’ a laugh back at itself.. Remember the aubergines?

 Oh, oh, oh.

Came out into a lovely evening by Shoreditch Station.

 Did you see “East is East” ? What a great film! Was the film I saw supposed to give us all an insight into another way of life? How many more times? We get it. Generations battling against generations. I guess I thought the from above camera shots represented a higher being looking down on the human race and all its foibles. Nah.


0/10 Disappointed.