@ 2013-03-12 – 00:13:57
@ 2013-03-10 – 12:32:37
I was struck, looking at the photos by David Bailey which are currently on show in the William Morris galley, that the picture of the Kray brothers is in reverse: they have the lapels and buttonholes on their jackets to the left, whereas in every other picture I have ever seen of this fashion conscious duo, these details are, as was correct at the time and is normally still so, on the right of their suitings as you look at them. I don't know if that is deliberate, but the print of the photo on display has been reversed. There are also two snakes in the picture, though the caption is in the singular.
My other impressions from the photos, which mainly depict the East End in the 1960s, are that this is a world which is a million miles away from welcoming Walthamstow. Still, one can't be closed minded and it is interesting to see how the other half lived elsewhere. If the iconicist David Bailey can amuse himself with a bit of slummy art, who am I to disagree? Warpdog takes photos of mattresses.
The subjects are of overwhealmingly lonely, usually isolated figures, not at all the 'community' which the arts bureaucrat quoted in the introduction of the exhibition lazily claims for them. (This is Alexander Robert "Sandy" Nairne CBE FSA, who, as a member of a dynasty of arts bureaucrats, is the current director of the National Portrait Gallery).
Abandonned Jewish businesses and frustrated dreams form the background to most of the photographs. Of the humans depicted, most of the women are wearing scarves, the rest are mainly bouffed up and peroxided blondes. Jean Shrimpton, Bailey's girlfriend, also makes an appearance in the hallway of Bailey's house. There is a lot of unconvivial drinking, often with money in shot. The men, if not exuding alcohol-fueled menace mainly seem either suspicious or defeated. The smiles are broadest on the faces of the Krays and the enterprising boy carrying a crate of empties on his shoulder, no doubt anticipating all the deposits he will collect on them.
The exhibition is not large but it is intelligently displayed, with the picture of the sinister Krays cleverly facing the cadavorous toast from a drinker whose eyes are shrouded as if he's the ghost of the blind beggar himself.
@ 2013-03-09 – 19:56:14
People who like the hitherto annual E17 Art Trail and all its doings will be sad to learn that it will not take place this year. I have no idea what has got into the minds of the organisers, but they believe it will do no harm to delay it until the spring of 2014. Anyone who thinks they are mad has been proclaimed a 'moaner'.
@ 2013-03-09 – 18:16:54
The blossoms are starting to come out in Stoneydown Park, which might not be such a good thing, if, like last year, we have another cold snap which kills them off prematurely.
People interested in seeing if they survive might be interested in an event the Friends of Stoneydown Park will be having next Saturday, 16th March 2013 at 2pm. People interested in helping them in spring cleaning and 'dog awareness' are invited at that time to go along to the hut, where there will also be poster drawing. There is no news as to when the expensive 'Speakers Corner' will next be used.
@ 2013-03-09 – 17:42:27
A considerable number of the shops in the High Street are advertising sales in their windows, particularly the clothing businesses. How many of these are sincere sales with genuine reductions and how many are bogus come-ons, I will leave to others to make their minds up about.
I do note that clothing shops advertising sales include Lui Menswear, which says it is 'closing down', Style Overdose, Claire's, Bad Warehouse (which has a permanent 'Sale' sign painted on the window facing Willow Walk), Femme, Minx, G-Look, Stylish, Opal, Fashion Fair and Bronx.
@ 2013-03-09 – 17:21:12
Anyone wondering what the sign in Chinese in the front window of the Peking Chef restaurant at 178 Hoe Street is all about, it is an advert for a waiter or waitress, who must have legal residence permission.
It is very kind of the Peking Chef to seek to abide by the UK's immigration laws. I do wonder, though, in what way the management of this generally well-thought of restaurant consider advertising only to people who can read Chinese demonstrates a commitment to abiding by equal opportunities and anti-discrimination laws. Most of the customers any newly recruited staff will be serving do not speak Chinese and the menus are in English.
@ 2013-03-08 – 21:36:26
The Chequers has been re-openned. People expecting the refurbishment to be complete, however, will be disappointed, as the place is still a building site, with plywood very much in evidence towards the back near the toilets and large piles of builders' rubbish still stacked on the yard. The kitchen is not yet ready. Several interior walls do not yet appear complete, though if the distressed look which was once a popular feature of make-over programmes is deliberate, we can chalk the effect up to intentional faux quirkiness rather than an undercapitalised business venture.
Does this matter? It does if you find that the smell of wet paint and industrial glue interferes with your finely honed beer-quaffing palate. If not, think of it as a bonus. That thick head in the morning might not be because the pumps were dirty or that you drank too much.
For those who are interested in trying out the second hand formica tables and chairs (or the small stools, some of which are soiled already), the exterior of the pub is the same as ever. The green tiling is in various states of delapidation and the familiar pub sign with a knight in the armour of the medieval period, claims it is owned by Taylor Walker, but with the name of the pub having been blacked out by spray paint. Inside they have a collection of telephones on the far rear left hand wall. I have no idea why.
The initial openning hours are: