Soundscapes, activists and seniors

Today was learning time; learning how to make a transmitter, soldering irons and all, learning about the categories that make up Radio Art, trying to fathom out who are the strangers in the room for seven of us know each other from Up Your Street, and keeping tolerant and cool when needy individuals find their place on earth at the expense of others’ time in the Tate recording suite. See you never know who’ll turn up on a course.

Reclaim The Waves is a Radio Art recording workshop based course exploring seniors’ interactions with the ever-changing built environment (What again?). It’s free at Tate Britain.

The first part of the first day’s morning was an introduction to a whole new language and behaviour all to do with radio as a communication channel using sound: the deliberate corruption and distortion of sound and speech, sound as commands, neglected noises, the global recognition and sharing of bodily noises and more. The group today will do homework recording noises and people-speech which will be edited. Afterwards the collected montage of sound will be the medium to express dissatisfaction or otherwise with the erosion of river paths and the constant changing London horizon. The public will be able to access the group’s creative work through the home- made radio transmitters and fm channelled radios. Some suggested a title as “Permanency and Transience”. We’ll see.

There are at least two events coming up in London all to do with the ageing population and how the ever-changing landscape around them can be the environment for arts, the place to interact with art and blah blah. Oh did I say that? By the first tea break today I had expressed how Radio Art would mean zilch to anyone I know. You need an arts scene first. Of course Brighton the place to be would be open to experiments with participants from a young white community. Broadstairs the same and then there was Grimsby.

The vivid experience I have about sound is from the work done by singer P.J. Harvey, and of course Bjork.


Crisps, controlled demolitions, and Snoddy.

You wanna be community engaged? Go to an evening with “East End In Flux”. Tonight’s session was in University Square Stratford at the Birkbeck University. We watched archive films about the 1941 planning of London’s rebuild, saw Snoddy moving out of his dying house into a new flat, gasped at the controlled demolition of a London tower block in an effort to revive a teetering community, and recognized the impending doom related to the coming of the DLR and the Olympics to the east end of London around 2007. It was excellent. We nattered and chatted in groups and Jan of Spitalfields gave us real- life from the horse’s mouth experiences of living in notorious “Heseltine Hutches”. Supermarkets were described as hubs rather than the poo- hoo-ed evil High Street bashers as for instance Morrisons in Stratford gives out more than bread. There’s parking, a café, a library next door with its new community hub and what’s that we chorused? Why something to put in place of the missing books.

Refreshments were laid on and all was good. The films with youth working with Fundamental Architecture Inclusion were thought-provoking and musically sound. Loved them.

At 10pm I booked to go and see June Whitfield in Dalston with Age UK then online booked in a group of Up Your Street participants to enjoy “show and tell” at Tate Britain on August 1st. All jolly.

By 11pm someone had posted on my Facebook a secret video of a barbaric brute of a ‘teacher’ beating toddlers in a Palestinian school with the caption that this is an everyday occurrence. Backward. Let me repeat…………….Backward.

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.




Up Your Street. Issue 20

Thinking ahead….

Wed 11 th June free 11-1pm “Soapbox” at Tate Britain for 60 years young and better. Phone Tate to book.

Thurs 12 th June £3 1pm. Hackney Picturehouse screening ” The Servant” (1963). Reminiscence Screenings.

Fri 13th June free 6-9pm 260 Globe Road E2 .Anthony Stevens private viewing of “Making Soup”. Punky creative collages.(Thanks to Jan of Spitalfields for sharing this).