The Great Panjandrum

Here’s some archive film footage of the testing of the Great Panjandrum which was secretly constructed in Leytonstone towards the end of the Second World War.

Here’s an audio clip from Ventures and Adventures in Topography where Nick Papadimitriou and I discuss with local historian David Boote the possible location of the factory where the Panjandrum was built. We then somehow get onto the subject of Nazi Flying Saucers. I think I may have watched some Youtube videos on the subject the night before.

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Make Your Own Damn Art

My documentary about fellow-Leytonstonian Bob and Roberta Smith nearly comes home today with a screening at Sugarhouse Studios in Stratford.

This will be the third screening of the film after the East End Film Festival and Portobello Film Festival. Doing the two previous introductions to the film and a Q&A has made be remember that the film really began life on this blog.

As I researched the area I came across the Leytonstone Centre for Contemporary Art and Bob’s work and wanted to find out more. If you click on the tags below you’ll be able to follow the evolution of the project.

After Sugarhouse there will be a screening at Curzon Soho on Saturday 22nd September

Details of the screenings of the film can be found on the Makeyourowndamnfilm website

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Leytonstone Community Garden Launch

Sunday, went to the launch of the Leytonstone Community Garden that will arise on a patch of land beside the tube tracks. Encouraging that not every scrap of land is being built on. Let’s hope that something can be created as inspiring as the Abbey Gardens in West Ham.

There was an optimistic and friendly vibe at the launch – the kids were appeased with cake and squash, we were rewarded for filling out questionnaires with strong jute shopping bags (which we then filled up at Tescos – it’s a start anyhow).
 
There’s more information about the Church Lane Community Garden on the Transition Leytonstone site

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Docklands Walk – Island Gardens to East India Dock

Docklands Walk - Canon Powershot SX230 hs video test from fugueur on Vimeo.

It’s taken 23 years but I’ve fallen in love with the DLR. I’ve used it twice in recent months and it has beguiled me with its charms. It makes me feel like like the early train passengers riding an iron horse.

Entrance to Greenwich Foot Tunnel

Yesterday my two urges of getting to water and riding the DLR coincided. The family were inert at home so I headed to Island Gardens. I was tempted straight away to head down into the Greenwich Foot Tunnel but had no interest in what was at the other end. I wanted to skirt the eastern periphery of the Isle of Dogs.

The memorial at Dudgeon’s Wharf is a reminder of life in Docklands before the biggest threat to the area was trouble in the money markets or a rise in the price of Bolly. In July 1965 six people, including five firefighters, were killed in an explosion at a chemical storage facility here.

Dollar Bay

I struggle to find much to say about Docklands, it already feels overly mediated. It is also puzzlingly paradoxical. There are fragments and echoes of its past like sections of wharfs and jetties, decommissioned cranes. But on the other hand it is utterly removed from the rest of the city – a private estate, a samizdat Singapore.

I always feel like an intruder in Docklands, unwelcome and illicit. I’m long-haired, bearded, wearing shorts and sandals topped off with a baseball cap – that probably breaks at least two recently imposed local by-laws.

Lady Daphne and the Greenwich Uplands

It’s the Thames Festival this weekend – maybe that’s where the urge to head for the water originated. I caught a glimpse of the Lady Daphne chugging her way eastwards after a day of ferrying passengers as part of the festivities.

signwriting worthy of Bob and Roberta Smith

The opposite shore in Greenwich still seems to be clinging onto some vestige of its industrial functions. But the glass and steel towers are on their way to keep the Millennium Dome company.

I wound up at East India Dock, unable to finish my walk with the statutory pint. So it was back on the DLR and into the Leyton Technical pop-up pub in old Leyton Town Hall for a fantastic pint of Windsor and Eton Ale – this could well be the best thing to come out of the Olympics.