More Is In me

The old George Mitchell School in Farmer Road Leyton London had as its motto “More Is In me” and I would say that not one student attending there in the nineties let alone the staff ever knew there were a motto. Well, this weekend I went from being jaded at workshops where sucking eggs was more illuminating to feeling rejuvenated at a local tile-making workshop this evening.
Phototherapy aka sticking photos in a journal and going through the angst of memories in front of an amateur therapist and her mates did not inspire me. A Black History Month council driven healthy eating jamboree where fifteen folk arrived to partake of smoothies and African hand-me-down recipes altered for an international market delivered by earnest mothers come business women touting for exposure and business left me disappointed. I was angry that for eleven years Up Your Street subscribers have attended healthy eating courses and one-offs and listened to the dangers of not eating from that healthy-eating platter and feigned interest at growing your own to stave off Diabetes Type 11 . Stave off? Starve off? Today a couple of African ingredients and veggies were added to the mix because it’s October. We were still at a networking party to showcase individual wannabees in that great Tory do it for yourself challenge as austerity brings out the self-employed in us. Up Your Street’s The Pamper Shop was well before its time but borne of the join-in spirit of London 2012. Now everyone’s on the same yoga mat.

A good spirit was exhaled by the sole organiser/Mistress of Ceremony who drove energy and order into the marketplace.
The joy was in meeting up with ten others from Up Your Street who never de-robed from their winter coats but managed to carry along with their scarves and shopping bags paper boats full of avocado cake and fried posh bread, doughballs and apple fritters.

I witnessed bad manners. Women grappled with others to get a sweet like Roses were going out of fashion. A councillor was interrupted in her preachy flow by a woman arguing that without a garden, man, you can’t grow veg. True that. The only white woman there actually initiated the dance when the Congolese trio’s drum major invited us to dance and caused a flurry of gasps as years of stereotyping jaw-dropped to the floor and “White Men Can’t Jump” sailed by on the flaps of an Ethiopian flag.
A woman full of herself dressed in her Shalwar Kameez was deemed to be an expert on every Asian infused dish. Good job Uzman wasn’t brought to the stage as she never ever cooks and wouldn’t be able to tell her nan ingredients from her chapatti ones. And no, fish ‘n’ chips isn’t what white English women slave over in their kitchen. Stereotypes are offensive and ignoring men in the kitchen is not going away when only mothers are promoted as lunch-box fillers.
We have not moved on, people. We are still back in the day, back in 2012 when every nation in London’s developing and changing east was recognised and embraced, given platforms to outdo each other and then side-lined to curl back into their private lives for eleven months of the year.
We left all of that and ate sugary biscuits and drank milky coffee,

Back into the real world of penny-pinching and sticking to what we always do, some of us joined others at Canons Farm Kitchen. Now, here’s a story to make your hair curl. Eat your crusts. Canons Farm Kitchen is the recent name for what was Butler’s Bakery in Cann Hall Road Leytonstone. When I first saw it from the bus two years ago, I thought it was an artisan bakers in my head full of gentrification spawning into parts that others beards never reach. I investigated further and found that it was a West Indian baker’s shop with steam spouting from a vent through a huge scummy blue wall. I bought some hard-dough bread and resented paying more than £1.50 for the loaf. Things happened from then on like Ladies Who Jerky spending an evening there and RAGWORKS being invited to hang art-work. Managers and chefs changed hands. I also followed an outfit online whose writers described the blue wall of Canons, also called at one point Chef’s Corner, as an eye-sore and I also knew that the wall was private property. It belonged and belongs to a family business.

Imagine the neighbourhood’s shock to know that the Council is forking out £40000 to make that wall pretty.
Casting aside prejudice and principles, we went to the inaugural tile-making workshop to be part of the movement of commoners, preferably local ones, to make tiles decorated with outlines of types of bread like hard-dough! which will be mounted over the flaking blue distemper in Selby Road to create something for the future, a marker proving ! that the community represents migration and tolerance and all things fair and that the courts are on the level and that the ladder of justice has no top and no bottom.

It was fantastic. It was in a glittery space with 1960s soul playing softly on the radio behind the aspidistra, Sue created a Mauritian bread, Sara moulded a croissant with striking Henry Moore shapes. Two sisters honoured their Scots ma by revering her traditional island bakery produce. Some did chapatti and one a paninni. Blue and white are the colours and pride was our end-product.
Twas good. More is in me.
Some of we seniors continue rolling the clay in November. We are the community.
Spoiler alert, just hope the council finds money for the scaffolding or those fired tiles will be going nowhere.

Never say Never!!!

To: “Gillian at Up Your Street” <>

Yes – I am looking forward to the Anti-University event at Hackney Museum in June – I enjoyed it very much last year.  Floral swim hat! Wow!  Must think about this one.  This lady, in her seventies shivering in her swimsuit, can you imagine?  Perhaps I’ll knit one!  Go to the audience with a tray of tea Julie Walters’ style.  I’ll think of something.  ‘At the Swim’ is my favourite collection (those that I have seen that is).
—— Original Message ——

One step forward, two steps back.

wp-1471727482316.jpegUp Your Street has been active for a mere seven years. There is a withdrawal of interest and motivation going on amongst a chunk of its subscribed seniors and they are the ones who enrolled at its inception. This is because on the whole, in the bigger picture, there is no true engagement by hub staff or lone artists or interns masquerading as interested beings with the client market, the seniors. There are exceptions and Art For All and CreativiTEA are two of the good ones: These are honest joes who really are passionate about what they impart and are genuinely interested in their workshop participants. We seniors know that the vast majority of egoists don’t care if we turn up or not. Recently a group of seniors turned up at a function and know very well that they were there as part of the funders’ tick-sheet header “Engages with local community.”

To combat isolation seniors will know all of that and still go along. There’s always a chance of a free linen tote bag or a hot cup of tea.

We’ve had a year of ageing population and creativity and on and on it goes until those white articulate septuagenarians have all had their say. We’ve done the memory lane and moved into mindfulness to the point where we need to analyse and cuddle introspective thoughts. There is very little development or moving forward and much sucking of eggs so it’s more sensible to stay home out of the freeze and finish off the Christmas Milk Tray.

Up Your Street will have none of that and seeks out activities which could empower seniors from all parts of the six boroughs. Those that did screen=printing for free in 2011 can move faster with the ink and take home more linen bags in 2017. Those who joined in a debate for the first time can flex their tongues and be more confident the second time.

If the one step forward makes us laugh together then we will catch each other in our aged bosoms when we fall two steps backwards.



20170104_114522Great stuff headed by Hassan Vawda at Art keys. An old white woman class in the main assembled around tables in Chingford this morning and spoke of many things; staying with grandchildren, walking The Lakes and the University of The Third Age whilst our host Kikis Leventis (pronounced Chigee or Gigi) introduced us to the joy of charcoal, felt-tips, pencil and biro. We were a crowd. Latecomers without manners arrived and we thirty squashed up more along the joined-up tables in the library itself. Now previously, last year,  we’d spaced out in the art deco Assembly Hall and had hot cups of tea between art tasks. Today Health and Safety said no to a kettle and there was no water anyway and the Assembly Hall has been sold on so that a colossal hour rent would render our free art workshop gone.





We needed hot tea, space and drawing boards. Hassan is the most generous host and teacher. The workshops are always well-prepared and structured. Today every ten minutes so that we could pace ourselves we were reminded of how long we had to create.. Today we learnt to be confident using charcoal or biro and that was a lesson in itself about nothing in art should be prescribed. Bravo.

So we all put in a note to the council to buck up and release for free to artists in the borough the empty Assembly Hall.

The day is cold. I came home, ate new chapattis with old curry and settled down with a cuppa to watch “The Lady In A Van”. That inclination was something to do with having sat with septuagenarians all morning. Ugh, unbearable. The film.


Up Your Street Issue 19

Events in Hackney, Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets, Newham and up to Kensington for a treat.

Mon 30th May free 10-5pm Boiler House Brick Lane E1 Gluten Free and   “Free From “Foodie Festival. We early bird Up Your Streeters booked free tickets in September!!!


Tues 31st May  £1 10-1pm.  Tuesday Sociable Sewing with Hilary at The Mill E17

Thurs 2nd June   free two days of events,  “Many Maids Make Much Noise” at Open School East, de Beauvoir, Hackney
Exploration of the Suffragette movement and its Hackney legacy through movement,  texts and heritage walks.

“This is a performance based research session and so the techniques
> that we will use are drawn from the workshop methods that Yael uses in
> her work in the theatre. In a gentle way we will share experiences,
> explore our relation to the historical material and how we use our
> bodies. The text will be shared in advance.” Contact


Fri 3rd June          free. as above


Sun 5th June        free  11-3pm Valentine’s Mansion by Gants Hill Station Ilford. Milliners’ Fair
“: FREE entry to the fair. Private viewing £10 (9am-11am).
: Book your space for the private view at Valentines Box Office
Coming soon, a fabulous milliners fair, displaying some of the Royal Ascot races most extravagant forms of headwear. On top of this, a stunning range of wedding hats will be available. 

An exclusive private viewing will take place from 9am to 11am which will include a glass of bubbly on arrival. This will also give you a chance to chat with the milliners and to preview the limited stock before everyone else, should you wish to make that special purchase. Pre-booking essential for the private view as spaces are limited. 

Free entry to the fair between 11am and 3pm.”


Mon 6th June        Some Up Your Street subscribers observe the start of Ramadan.


Wed 8th June        free. 11-1pm  Botticelli at V&A,  Up Your Street Community Group visit. Fully booked.

                               Free 2-5pm
Waltham Forest Community Radio Group
At The Mill E17

“Mill Radio is a small group that meets at the Mill to make recorded programmes for podcast (distribution on the Internet) and distribution by means of free CDs at the Mill reception desk. Our aim is to explore issues that matter to local people, give a platform to local creative talent and engage in informal chat about all our lives, interests and opinions. Please check out our past programmes at and join us on the second Wednesday of each month between 2.00 and 5.00 pm to make new ones.”

                            free  2-5pm Hackney Mosaic Project ( Thanks to Molly and Stephen for sharing this)

Tessa Hunkin         07530 696 560
Hackney Downs Pavilion   
Local people are welcome to drop in to any of the sessions.   
               every Wednesday 2.00pm – 5pm
               every Thursday 10:30am – 5pm
               every second Saturday 2 – 5pm”

Busy Wednesday
                          Free 11am healthy heritage walk with Eastside Community Heritage but you need to book. It’s around Ilford area. Just Google for Holly’s number to book in.

Thurs 9th June     free Anti university 2016 events and happenings around and outwith East London. 5-7.30pm today only at Hackney Museum
“You Did What Then?”. Fully booked. All about 1968 and anti establishment antics maybe.

                                free. Events at UEL entitled “Voices East”( thanks to Jan of Spitalfields for sharing.) Talks about civic responsibilities, engagement and shows by students and local peoole.  Check at Eventbrite. Location :Water Lane E15. The historic Stratford campus. Beautiful building. 3 Day free festival.

Fri 10th June          free. Anti university events and Voices East continue as above and for tomorrow too.

Up Your Street. Issue 2

Up Your Street.   Issue 2

Sun 10th Jan   free   Did you forget to book with me for the Miro reconstructed studio exhibition by Green Park on 11th Feb?
Mon 11th Jan    £2.50 *10-12 noon Centre for Better Health 1a Darnley Road, Hackney.
                         10 weeks of Beginner Ceramics. Brilliant. You need to book and *pay £25 in advance.
Wed 13th Jan    £4  12-3pm POSH Club at St Paul’s Hackney West. Stoke Newington. Cabaret and  tea well worth more than less than a fiver.
Thurs 14th Jan  free 10.30-12.30pm. Mary Katherine online at East London Radio. All about lifting yourself up to good living.
                         free 3.30-5pm Dance with Posh Club crew. Join in some free dance movements to keep agile fit and hot. No need to book. I presume there are refreshments. Take your water anyway.
Ongoing      free Hackney Museum. African threads exhibition. Superb and packed.
                    free for a month. Hackney Central Library. Seaside paintings. Loads of canvases packed into three display cabinets showcasing work from a Hoxton enterprise.
                   free V&A Museum of Childhood. Child Migrants exhibition until June I believe.  Powerful and painful.   Children emigrating form UK to Canada 1890-1970      Afterwards pop into The Gallery (Vegan) Café at St Margaret’s in Old Ford Road. Hot chocolate £2.60. Treat yourself. It gets busy from 12.30pm. Wi-Fi accessible for you and your tablet.
********************************************************************************all for now.
I am reading Harper Lee’s second novel for coffee and cake club with Lydia next week at Hackney Central Library. Come and help me eat the croissants and chat about Lee. Copy free via library after a wait and an order….. or £2.59 to your tablet or other device from Kindle. Tempting

Issue 41. Up Your Street

                                                                 Issue 41  Up Your Street
Wed Nov 25th      free  10-5pm at Vestry House Museum E17.  Sba Shaikh’s commissioned exhibition for 50 years of Waltham Forest.
                            free  noon. Up Your Street Community Group off to V&A for Bejewelled
                            £7   6.45pm Panto with Hackney Circle at Hackney Empire behind you. (Up Your Street subscribers were kindly invited. Oh yes they were).
Thurs Nov 26th free   10.10am for an hour  Coffee and cake reading group with Lydia at Hackney Central Library. Come and see.
                                    Email me if you want to know the book
                                    plus there’s a month long exhibition by Caribbean Elders: crafts, crochet and paintings. Super.
Fri Nov 27th        free      2-4pm Hassan hosts for Rosetta Art Centre a tour and workshop of Fabric of India at V&A.
                                 Phone /email RAC. Up Your Street subscribers were kindly invited.
                            free     2-4pm British Museum and a Tea ceremony exposé for seniors only.
                            free     2-5pm         Making talismans at Kentish Town. Check Eventbrite for tickets
                          £16.50 7pm  LCV and Mahogany at St John At Hackney, by  Narrow Way, Lower Clapton, Hackney.     
                                  A performance by a 100 strong choir including local singer/songwriter Neech . 
Tues Dec 1st      free 1-5pm drop in.UCL University College London Museum free drawing workshop (Goodge Street)
Wed Dec 2nd    £4 noon-3pm The Posh Club St Paul’s Church Stoke Newington. Tea food entertainment  phone H on 07938985644
                             for a place. No point going early as you wait in the cold.
Fri Dec 4th        free  5pm. Swapping begins at 6 ish. Art Swap Rosetta Art Centre. Hamilton Road  West Ham. Fun, art, tales.
                             Take along a piece of your talent and swap it.

It’s all about The MillE17

Up Your Street  Issue 35

Wed 14th Oct free  noon Up Your Street Community Group off to Fabric of India at V&A
uys v&A.jpg
Thurs 15th Oct free  noon onwards.Curator’s Tour at the Mill E17 (Just saw it on Twitter) That’s with Nat.
Fri  16th Oct free 11-1pm Camden Art Centre  workshop for seniors. Book at the venue beforehand.
                      free 2-4pm Rosetta Art Centre Up Your Street students off to Whitechapel Art Gallery
                      free  2-5pm Mental Spaghetti plaster sculpture workshop in Kentish Town . Book at Eventbrite
                      free  3.30-5pm Claremont Up Your Street members afternoon with The Craft Council
                                                 at Claremont in White Lion Street, Angel.
Sat 17th Oct free 3-5pm The Mill E17  Raffle
                         .   7pm. Our Jan of Spitalfields treads the boards with Theatre Royal Stratford east 
Mon 19th Oct free Hussain’s dance rehearsals begin for A Season Of Bangla Drama in November.
Thurs 22nd Oct free 6-8.30pm , Come one and all. Meet The Artists.Launch of “Transform” exhibition at The Mill E17
                         (Exhibition runs until Dec). Always a great evening with Mo hosting and feeding us.
The Mallinson Restaurant at Waltham Forest Collage Is offering a Caribbean menu to acknowledge and celebrate Black History Month. It’s all prepared and served by students.
Fabulous venue.

The Pamper Shop at Up Your Street

excel 2015

  1. Thurs 1st Oct £25 for some weeks. 2.30-4pm

1a Darnley Road  Hackney. Learning how to apply Indian Head Massage . Centre for Better Health. Hackney.cbh

2) Venus hair and nails. Walthamstow Village gets coffee shops and boutiques. Lea Bridge Road, Leyton E10 gets all the Arctics and JCBs,  unsmiling nail shops and badly promoted hair shops. Meanwhile for £6 a  lady can get a haircut at the newly opened, garish shop next to the closed down pound shop , view art at the same time and be mesmerised by the owner’s wig or weave.

3) Roses chocolates at Tesco for £2 instead of £4. Okay what they say is the healthy option (Whatever makes you feel good0)…..Bananas at Iceland for 68p a bunch.

Entries in Up Your Street’s diary

Sat 8th Aug free 12-7pm Rathbone Market Festival 

                        free      2-4pm weekly Drama workshops all about changing east London Whitechapel ideas Store E1. Turn up

Sun 9th Aug free 12-5pm Rathbone Market Festival


Tues 11th Aug free 1-2.30pm The Wind Blows East. Meet Bromley-By-Bow Station. Eventbrite for places.

Wed 12th Aug free 2-4pm London’s Larder Meet Star Lane DLR. Tickets at Eventbrite

                              free 2-5pm The Mill e17 Radio making for seniors

Thurs 13th Aug free 10am Link4Coffee at Oneda’s St James end of E17 Market. Eventbrite

Fri  14th Aug free entry 730pm Bingo at Crownfield Rd e11 with Disability Waltham Forest

Sat 15th Aug and 16th Aug free Canary Wharf. Granary Place. Clay and ceramics festival.

Wed 19th Aug free Drawing your story. Bethnal Green E1 . Book at Eventbrite

Fri  21st Aug free 7.30pm film show at Three Mills, Bow with Floating Cinema. Eventbrite

Sat 22nd Aug free 11-12.30pm Building Ships. Meet East India Dock DLR . Eventbrite

Sun 23rd 3pm Ripping Yarns on SS Robin Meet Millenium Mills Royal Victoria Docks

Fri 28th Aug free 1-5pm Pop Up UCL art of Germany and Austria 19th Century  at Gower Street . Book at Eventbrite.

Sun 30th  Banner Parade in Green Street  off Romford Road. Celebrating the east end.

Mon 31st Aug (Bank Holiday) was free at Early Bird price  now £3.50 +50p booking fee. 10.30 Gluten- Free Festival Old Truman Brewery E1

Sat 12th Sept free  #MAFF “Why the Caged Bird…” Tottenham . Last tickets flying at Eventbrite

Sat 19th Sept free #MAFF “Delta” film, in Tottenham.Book at Eventbrite

24th Sept  free   11 am Etsy promotion at Truman Building e1 Part of TENT design festival, Eventbrite for tickets.

25th Sept free 10 am Courtauld art open day Eventbrite for tickets. at Somerset House.

26th Sept free 3pm or 5pm  #MAFF “Jump At The Sun” screening in Tottenham  Eventbrite for tickets.

 4th Oct  hopefully free Unveiling of Joan Littlewood’s statue at Theatre Royal Stratford East e15 (info not public yet).

14th Oct free V&A visit at noon

24th Oct  £7.50 at Eventbrite “London Turning?” day out at Stratford Campus E15.

25th Nov free  V&A visit at noon

15th Dec free “A Keatsian Christmas  “at Hampstead’s Keats House. Eventbrite of course for places.


keep checking.