Walking along Norlington Road I catch a snippet of conversation from the two boys walking in front. They’re aged about 12-14 years old, and the vibe I get is that one of the boys is new to the area, the other has an authoritative tone like he really knows what he’s talking about.
“If you go Hackney don’t tell them where you’re from. If they ask where you’re from say E5 or something.”
The one wearing glasses doesn’t seem to take this in, so the other one has to spell it out for him.
“If you go Hackney right, and they ask you ‘what end you from?’, and you say Leyton, they’ll stab you.”
He delivered this chilling bit of local info as casually as telling him which bus to take to get to Mare Street.
It might be that he was putting the wind up a newly arrived country bumpkin in the way that Aussies used to scare me with tales of Brown snakes in the lavvie when I lived in Sydney. But then one day I did come across a Brown snake outside my front door.
It’s difficult to comprehend how merely giving the wrong postcode could get you killed and how it is an accepted part of the world that kids inhabit.

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sunset walk

Set off with no aim other than to head in the general direction of Baker’s Arms – by the most indirect route practical.
Avebury Road always has a certain appeal, the romance of it and only this evening did I spot the compatibility of its conjunction with Southwest Road.
Further up off Bulwer I again clock Hawbridge Road and I play amateur etymology conjoining the prefix ‘Haw’ = the fruit of the sacred Hawthorne with ‘Bridge’ to suppose that this was a bridge over the Fillebrooke (PhillyBrook/ Phepes Broke). A rummage in W.H. Weston’s History of Leyton and Leytonstone shows a hand-drawn C18th map with the stream running southwest (road?) from Whipps Cross to Ruckholt – a course that would cut through Bulwer. This could have been the Haw Bridge. Another piece of pagan symmetry arising from the Fillebrook is where it once ran through or beside Coronation Gardens in Leyton is today a maze – a pagan symbol of springs and places of worship.

View Larger Map
google map showing the possible course of the Phillybrook – a windmill was recorded as sitting on the banks of the stream where the corner of Francis and Newport Roads is today

I pick up a track off Bulwer Road that runs between backs of houses. There are lock up garages for rent and fly-tipping so elaborate that it borders on installation art – Jeremy Deller recreating a liminal space as a site-specific piece.
The sunset breaks orange over the Lea. A large crow squawks. There’s a tyre in a shopping trolley waiting patiently outside a phonebox in front of an electricity substation.

Around the corner in Forest Road there is an absolutely majestic example of the architecture of the electricity substation. These things are like temples to the industrial age. Somebody please do a photographic project on them.

slideshow of photos from the walk

In West End Avenue (where the Fillybrooke was last seen above ground) you can see the back of a large abandoned wing of Whipps Cross Hospital with a noughts and crosses pattern of smashed windows.
It is bitingly cold and I’m a bit peckish but I push on over Lea Bridge Road and along the beguiling Shernhall Road with its amazing views across the Roding Valley and the Lord Raglan pub that encouragingly allows no caps nor hoods. I turn back at the end and head down Addison Road which delivers me to the warmth of The Village pub in time to catch the football results come rolling in.

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Pictorial Year – well half of it anyway

Some images grabbed on my phone in the last 6 months of the year – from a pilgrimage to the Chilterns, a walk in an autumnal Epping Forest, a Camden Cafe that I pass sometimes, the car-free day in Leytonstone when it’s never been so difficult to walk in the street, the last tower blocks in E11 that continue to fascinate and repel, the first test projection by the Leytonstone Film Club, and the postie’s trolley parked up for Crimbo in my street (not necessarily in that order)



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Walk to the West End – redux

Sat in The Heathcote last night reading David Boote’s excellent series of leaflets on the Leyton Loop made me think about the walk that I did through Leyton to the West End via Kings Cross in June 2007. I posted a blog about it at the time.
Enthused, I came home from the pub, dug out the miniDV tape and quickly edited together this vid. It’s always difficult to capture the experience of walking in any form – literature seems to have managed it best. Here I tried to film as instinctively as possible as if scribbling in a notebook.
The Heathcote btw was shut tonight due to a gas leak – was it something I did? Not quite sure what I’ll do if it stays shut for a while. Maybe get round to writing up some notes I’ve got on walking that I’d like to share.

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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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

Leytonstone Film Club Launch

Leytonstone Film Club present the first classic film by local boy made great Alfred Hitchcock’s silent film ‘The Lodger’ accompanied by musical improvisation from composer Fabricio Brachetta.
Tuesday 8th July Leytonstone Library 20.00

This screening, which is part of the Leytonstone Festival, marks the launch of the Leytonstone Film Club which will hold monthly screenings at Leytonstone Library from September.

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