Persepolis – Leytonstone Library 1st October

The first Wednesday of the month will hopefully become firmly enshrined in the collective psyche of Leytonstone as Film Night. Tomorrow is Leytonstone Film Club’s second proper screening since launching in the festival.
I’ve got to try and think of a few words to say before the film about why we chose ‘Persepolis’.

Truth is a dear friend who happens to work in the film industry – so is rarely impressed – said to me “you must see this film – you must”. So that’s the real reason although I’d better come up with something better. Maybe something about the rarity of an intelligent, entertaining film aimed at an adult audience that is animated and dealing with the not altogether comedy-laden subject of the Iranian revolution. Reckon that’ll do.

I’ve posted up a clip here from the screening of The Lodger that we did for the Leytonstone Festival with the brilliant improvised rescoring by Fabricio Brachetta.

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Return to Wycombe – No escape from Eden

Returning to Newlands was a peculiar experience. I always thought it would be – maybe that’s why I delayed it so long. I attempted to adopt an air of professional detachment which was only partially successful as the remapping high wycombe project was always a personal journey – as Cathy had printed on the large scale Significant Sites map ‘This is no project – this is my life’.

Eden they have somehow branded this red brick consumerist behemoth, a moloch that will devour our children. A retail concentration camp, shoppers with bar codes burnt into their retinas, the whole scene directed by George A. Romero or John Carpenter – the no-comedy, spoof-free remake.

The development process that we documented in our project was one of ultra-artful deception from start to finish – a slick PR-savvy campaign by arch corporate colonists, like the alien invaders in the 80’s sci-fi earth invasion ‘V’ who adopt the guise of friendly attractive humans in order to seduce the human race and offer us amazing visions of the future they will bring us – then once we have given ourselves over to them, lowered our defences they remove their masks revealing their reptilian form and their true intention to farm us for food to feed their insatiable appetite. David Icke would probably close the circle and claim that the head honchos at Multiplex and the quisling Council Leaders who sold out the town are in fact lizard-like shape-shifters, a genetic throwback to a master race who aim to enslave us poor innocent homo-sapiens.

(a recreation of the orbital tour of the site that I did with Cathy in 2004)

I don’t agree with Icke about the lizard thing for the record. I met many of the people responsible for the ‘Horror of Newlands’ and they just looked like perfectly pleasant corporate suits, in much the same way that British colonial viceroys were often urbane, cultured souls. This didn’t prevent the brutality of imperialism – merely meant that it was administered by men who could relate it to the relevant precedent in the classical world. The mark of the colonist was to change the names of local landmarks, towns and villages. And so the Octagon has gone, that dark noxious place full of wonder – a piss-reeking reminder that shopping malls are places to be avoided at all costs. There was no deception with the old Octagon – it spelt it out for you ‘Shopping is Shit’. Where the Octagon still stands now the name reads ‘House of Fraser Eden’. The Octagon is erased from the collective memory – now there is only Eden. Shopping as Soma.

And so the Eden Shopping Centre was rationalised in terms of jobs and economic benefits. The havoc it would wreck on the psyche of the town, the scar it would gouge into its flesh was a concept they were unable to engage with. I presented this idea to both the architect of the scheme and the fella at Mulitplex – they simply didn’t have a vocabulary for the experiential qualities of space and place. That a building, especially a large lump of buildings could effect the way you feel, could influence your psychology. They had sophisticated models showing how to drive footfall through the mall, of how to enhance the shopping experience to maximise the consumer spend. But when confronted with the idea that a person might have an emotional response to such a place they were at a loss.

The evidence is there now – the gormless zombies listlessly perambulating from one chain-store to the next. The minimum wage jobs barely paying enough to cover the price of a double-caramel frappucino at BigBucks. The traffic on traction gliding from home to parking-space located conveniently close to the anchor store. The bus delivering you to your retail heaven. This other Eden that looks a lot like Hell to me.

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Hackney Gentrification Tour

Received this by email on the Games Monitor list:

Jules Pipe (Mayor of Hackney) said that if you opposed developments like the Dalston Square then you were part of a ‘keep hackney crap mentality’. But Hackney isn’t crap. Not even close. It doesn’t need property speculators
to ‘make it a nice place’. Don’t take our word for it – come and see for yourself.

On Sunday 28 September we will host a walking tour of Gentrification in Dalston and Hackney Central, culminating in a picnic in London Fields.

While Hackney Council celebrate the Olympics with the ‘Carnival for the Cultural Olympiad’ we will have a look at the gentrification of Hackney that the Olympics will cause. From Dalston Lane to Broadway market we will
take people on a guided tour of dispossession and hear from shopkeepers, residents and the homeless who are fighting to keep their area a place they can live and work in and struggling to survive in this Olympic borough.

On Sunday the 28th of September meet at 1pm at the Dalston Peace Mural on Dalston Lane, (just after corner with Kingsland rd, near Dalston Kingsland Station)

We are looking for volunteers to help organize the event: both before and during the 28th! We need people to suggest tour stops, write pieces for the booklet that accompanies the tour, speak on the day about campaigns, developments, injustices and change, put up posters, tell your friends and help make refreshments!

If you would like to get involved, or know more please contact – londoncoaltionagainstpoverty@gmail.com or
Call 07932 241737

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Leytonstone Film Club

Spent the morning at Leytonstone Library setting up the new kit for the first night of Leytonstone Film Club‘s first season. Exciting stuff. The launch event in the Leytonstone Festival went so well that we are possibly feeling overly optimistic. All were impressed with the quality of the projection despite having to run it through a single video cable. Although with all this hi-tech latest release digital wizardry the event of the morning was when Kevin went and dug out the dusty old projection table that dates from the opening of the library in 1934.

So all looks good for Wednesday’s screening of The Counterfeiters and the subsequent events on the first Wednesday of the month. Although we’ve got a good list of films that we’d like to screen in the rest of the season we’d also love to hear what you’d like us to show. Cinema is coming back to Leytonstone – maybe Hitchcock can finally rest in peace.

The Counterfeiters, Wednesday 10th September 2008, Leytonstone Library, Church Lane, E11

Squatting guides

With the Credit Crunch and rising repossessions maybe Squatting will return as a viable housing alternative. I lived in a squat in Hackney during the last big housing slump – moving in shortly after leaving the employ of a large mortgage company where I compiled a ‘bad debt report’ which was like a Kafkaesque ledger of woe.
The law may have changed but squatting is still legal – have a look at these articles
Squatting guide | libcom.org

Shelter England – Squatting

Advisory Service for Squatters – Home

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