weirdwalthamstow

Archive for the ‘history’ Category

A World to Win. Posters of Protest and Revolution

In history on January 1, 2017 at 1:19 am

So just before Xmas I had a chance to go see this exhibition at the William Morris museum. And unusually I puposefully did not take any pictures. I was so moved by this beautifully curated (by the V&A) collection of protest posters with the stories behind each one from all around the world over the last centuary. I don’t want to spoil for you the intersection of activism, design and art that is collated here.

The pictures are grouped by themes and allow you to see different angles on similar causes from different cultures and times. There is a jukebox in the middle of the room that is full of protest songs from the likes of NOFX, John Cooper Clarke and Deacon Blue! It souldtracks the exhibit wonderfully and I could have spent hours working through its catalogue.

The exhibition is free (although I ask that you drop some change in the WM Museum collection box on the way out). The show is yet another win for the reinvigorated building; it’s funny to think the council wanted to slash its opening hours to a tiny amount. If they try that again I think some posters will be arranged…

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Punk Waltham Forest Music History walk

In history, music on September 17, 2016 at 8:34 pm

As part of the Punk Waltham Forest there was a walk given by local music historian Mark Hart. As fans of modern music history (god, I get so excited by those BBC4 specials) my partner and I decided to go along. Apparently there were 50 free tickets but we forgot to book some, so in true punk fashion we crashed the gig anyway.

Early on in the walk Mark made the point that music needs infrastructure to flourish; publishers, recording studios, live venues, agencies.

Our guide, Mark Hart.

Our guide, Mark Hart.

I think this was what I learned most from the walk, that a community like Walthamstow needs to provide resources to have a vibrant artistic community.

And what resources. Starting from the Small Wonder exhibition (which I wrote about last week) we went on to the EMD/Granada (I’m not using it’s silly new name) to learn how it replaced it’s failing film takings with income from live music. Buddy Holly, John Coltrane, James Brown and Gene Vincent and most famously the Beatles all played there. Mark told us a number of stories of it’s music hall days.

As we traversed Hoe Street Mark told us about local recording studios, mastering studios, Small Wonder itself (now the Arbat Eastern European Store) and many others. Of band members who grew up locally and long gone clubs. Of Ian Dury famously at Walthamstow college and how 21 of the 30 students in his class went to the Royal College of the Arts. We ended at the Assembly Hall, well across the park from it as a rather spendid wedding was happening with drum music! We learned of the famous Sex Pistols gig but also of the inspiration that ripped out of that night as it did many of their concerts. But also how it hosted Placido Domingo, Joy Division and The Fall.

The splendid wedding party

I made copious notes during the walk but frankly instead of dumping what I learned here I’d rather just give a sense of the talk and encourage people to go on the walk when Mark next runs it (he has before). It really is very beautiful and not just historical; Mark spoke movingly of the ‘stow’s cultural melting pot and how the modern Grime scene has grown and is growing out of here. About how some young kid might be hearing some national music in a cafe or corner and taking that into their own music to make the next big thing. Making some more history to feel proud of.