Friday, 31 December 2010


this story is taking longer than I first anticipated,never the less I can console myself with the realisation that any worthwhile journey is extraordinary difficult. The history starts in the days of 60s England,not the England of fashion,style,music,protest and all the other associated "image references"which dominate the fantasy of the of the past.
This will be a walk through the history of anarchic play and the rise of youth clubs who became politically and culturally committed to resistance and education. A little known revolution was taking place in the cities of England and in the bombed out landscapes of the "inner city" Bomb spaces still existed and still manged to inflame the imaginations of young people. Street games where common ,the street wasn't a place of danger,it was a place of adventure,fun,and experimentation.It was a place where adults where,not excluded, but, rather not welcomed. Although there where occasions when adults could join in the fun these comings together where the exception rather than the norm. Communities still held a sense of identify even though those community identity's where increasingly under attack,from the encroaching modernisation of the city scape. The car was still in its infancy and travel abroad was unheard of. Modern high rise living was believed to hold the keys to a dynamic future. T,he cities where being reshaped, likewise attitudes where changing, moving away from the old certainties of street,place, and certainty's, families where leaving there old "places" communities wanted to become mobile and modern.Social mobility changed the old street loyalties.
A great amount of academic analyses observed how communities reacted to the changing dynamics of these new social upheaval's. But some other dynamic was underway ,a social anarchic movement called adventure playgrounds was taking place on the bombed sites of the inner cities.
The Child in the City a splendid book by the late Colin Ward details the importance of this history and the of play in the world of the child...Ward was an anarchist thinker, a humanist, and a wonderful teacher. The New York Review of Books wrote on reissues of the text"the authors perceptive eye for the physical environment picks up all the details that are usually missed by even the most practiced observer,but which are central to the child's world"
Colin Ward is one of those radical English radicals whose voice is quietly displaced in the post modern structures of "radical thought" I would say Ward was way ahead of his time and hie influence on the way we perceive the world is due for a reappraisal.
He was a thinker who spoke the language of people who's engagement with the world was real and embedded in a realty of struggle and resistance to the ruling elite, he did not bother with the academic posturings Coin Ward was an engaged fighter for social change and non violent struggle.His work greatly influenced the creative ideas which began to flow out of Oval House.
Play was an integral aspect behind the creative challenge offered up by Oval House.
Oval House was first and foremost a "Youth Club".It operated under the rules of Youth Clubs of the time .It had an age limit! 15 years to 24 years. You had to be a member to join. And the early days there was a form of sexual segregation. Oval House was a sports club.
The early history of Oval House is linked in with the ideology of the old English Class system(but this is another history). Oval House evolved during the 60s 70s 80s.It was never a theatre although theatre played a hugh role in its history, it became a site for play and improvisation and challenge.It also played a role in the development of community theatre and education,but it always retained its "anarchic values" .Oval House was a playground for experimentation and play.

Monday, 27 December 2010

goodby to the season of greed

its coming to a close,the season of greed is at last entering its final days,and,at last it would appear that the public are becoming awear of the utter awfulness of this Coalition experiment.
I'm still amazed how this chaos is being played out in the media.Most commentators speak about the public wanting a coalition.I don't think so,I don't know of anyone who went into the pooling booth and voted for a coalition..its a stupid assumption but there again we have stupid media.
BUT on a pleasant note,today I wandered over to buy a book in my favorite second hand bookshop,just off Russell Sq. The name of the bookshop is SKOOB. What I was seeking out is a book telling the story of the Highland Clearances,one of those books I buy then lose.
Igot talking to the guy who owns this wonderful shop.We spoke about the Highland,the West Coast and various other magical places off the beaten track.
It transpired He used to stay in the same tiny cottage I used to stay in,a marvelous little place that sat on the edge of the viaduct spanning the glen across Glanfinian.A dream wonderful to find the person who runs one of the best book shops in London also enjoyed the magic of that little bothy.

Friday, 24 December 2010


Its that time of year ans soon it will be over!!!then I can focus on what I want to focus on.
I really do dislike this period of the year.Its that same old gripe about what the hell is going on in our heads and why do Keep hearing the same chat that I heard last year,and why are we all like lemmings jumping over the cliff in order to escape the nightmare of our the oncoming nightmare...looks like Iv answered my own question.
Was Christmas ever any different? Maybe.
But the amount of neurotic rubbish being poured out of the TV as never been worse.We certainly know how to enjoy ourselves at Christmas.Somehow the news on TV,represents one large shopping update,which informs me that people are shopping in Birmingham but not in Preston.Somehow I entered a strange world of shopping malls where men in long overcoats and red scarves speak about the volume of shoppers shopping at the last moment.Its still snowing way up in Scotland. and don't go out unless you have to.
The Kingdom is going pear shaped and the thieving scum who have turned us all into depressed loons are having a moan about having to tell us,the people who saved their skin,how much money they are making at our expanse.Whilst our gutless Government tells us to grin and bear it.I'm under the bed cloths for the day!!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

xmas and touched by fire

Sorry to keep everyone waiting re Oval house but I got a bit diverted on other matters even so "these other matters" are related to the project in hand.The politics in the Kingdom of greed will over the coming years become bitter and divisive.The country is heading into a unknown destination without a plan.Our strange league of men are on a path with only one objective self seeking glorification driven by a warped agenda made up by bankers and even more warped out of touch Etonians and their Elite.
We are confronting a group of men who don't have a clue where we are going. BUT as long as they sense they are at the forefront of history,as long as they fulfill their weak idealisation of the self the whole Kingdom will suffer.
The experiment we are being subjected to will not go any where.
But its time the cultural class started to join the movements which will and are slowly starting to wake up to the awful onslaught which is all part of the war being waged on people.As iv said this is not a planned attack this is simply being carried out by weak cowards.
The Arts world is silent 'more concerned with its own persona.its own new found celebrity.
It is wake up time for the Arts in the Kingdom of Scum and Greed. The box ticking days and comfort parties are past.

Monday, 13 December 2010

touched by fire...IAN HINCHCLIFF

Today Judy Knight "ARTS ADMIN " informed me of the death of the unique Hinchcliff.He appears to have drowned whilst fishing in America.Hinch..was truly brilliant,wild,dangerous,unpredictable,annoying,self disruptive,completely nasty,loving and a true friend. He is a legend and a myth.A great artist who was punk before punk,in fact the Sex Pistols ,so it is rumored were afraid to appear with him on stage,this is one of the many "stories" surrounding the wonderful Hinch.
He was completely and utterly individualist, completely anti authority.
He was a good musician and a great story teller,unfortunately Hinch was a one off he left behind only the memory of his wild imagination.
He will be appearing more on this blog.His performances created havoc, joy, fun , and a splendid sense of having been in the presence of some screaming with emotional pain.
He cut himself on stage before cutting oneself became a performance of necessity. See yer my long lost Friend

Sunday, 12 December 2010


The students haven't done with the demo resistance yet,they are teaching us a lesson in how to mobilise and keep the authorities unnerved.The media have completely missed the point on this one.It seems to me they are more concerned with highlighting the importance of the coalition rather than highlighting the damaging consequences of lying to young voters.This is one of the many issues which go right to the heart of this terrible Con Coalition.They lied and that's it.
But there is another factor which needs to be of concern,its a question which must be brought to light,but the media comes from the same brood as the Elite who now are hell bent on dismantling all that is of value in this country ,and the media wont want to go where I'm suggesting they should go.
Why is it whenever we have a Conservative Government does the country sink into disobedience and civil unrest.The last time this happen was during the rampant years of Thatcher.Remember the Brixton riots?Remember the "inner cities"exploding before our eyes?
Let alone the strikes.the Industrial destruction,the awful mayhem meated out on the coal mining communities.The Conservatives are wreckers not builders They have non understanding of society or community values.
It was under these circumstances that Oval House set about the creation of its Carnival programme.This development was an extension of its highly regarded Community Arts Policy.
Carnival came about,at the Oval ,because we recognised the importance of artistic engagement with those organisations who where on the "front line"Carnival was/is a means of reclaiming the streets.The community arts policy at that time was about resistance/imagination/creativity/engagement. A melting pot of competing values and ambitions it soaked up the notion of artistic individuality and demanded a sense of community togetherness and support.A challenge was laid down where by the arts world had to embrace the values of a "collective concept which operated within the confines of a "republic"responsibility.
Creativity is messy and confusing,to the controlled mind it does appear frightening and untamed.Never the less it was these attributes which drove the ideas of community arts foreword.It placed demands on groups and individuals by allowing those elements to take on the roles of leadership and facilitators.WE took our skills and knowledge to the streets and the esates whilst at the same relearning and reshaping our own values and skills.
All around the Conservative momentum was apparently unstoppable,values where simply being trodden over without care or reason,history was being rewritten and community arts was at the forefront in keeping that spark of hope alive.

Friday, 10 December 2010

just a thought on resistance

Why is it when ever we have Con Government civil disobedience erupts on the streets.The scale of unrest so far is containable,but the police are already talking about the use of water cannons.But the question must be,why is it always the Cons who over see such uprisings on their watch? The conservative media wont bother answering this question,in fact it wont even make any attempt to look into the dysfunctional attitudes which seem to encompass Con thinking concerning social cohesion.
This robotic mimicking talking up "progressive policy's"is becoming offensive .But the coalition is offensive any way.So we cant expect much progressive thinking on the part of this outdated bunch of hypocritical moronic liers.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

students setting the pace

Keep being waylaid by the resistance of the young and the students.And i keep wanting to start writing about creativity,but politics and creativity should sing from the same song sheet. What is happening on the streets of London and other English cities proves the richness of direct action.Earlier in the day I ask a 30 something young man who teaches theatre at the Arts Centre I will be talking about if he would be supporting the student Demo,this simple question open up a gulf between my generation,the new generation and his generation.What I received was an excuse about why demonstrations don't work.And they only function on a platform of middle class angst.He cited what he believed to be "failed" demonstrations.Missing out on the obvious realities of what most demonstrations achieve in the long haul of street struggle.
This,present,activity among students and school children is proving extremely successful. One the one hand they are high lighting the retaliatory methods of an over zealous police force who fell it right to kettle children for hours in the freezing cold whilst claiming they are protecting human rights.Well they are nit protecting human rights they are protecting property.
But the important point of this resistance is the ability of the students to articulate the lies told to them by members of the Conservative Coalition The Lib Dems signed a pledge to abolish student fees.This is the argument.A political party lied through its teeth in order to gain a stronger foot hold in the political establishment.Once they achieved the objective all considerations and obligations and promises where scatted to the winds.
The media allowed his to happen,under the banner of a new politics the media simply informed the public that this coalition was the only way forward for the country and "hard"decisions had to be taken in order to achieve the necessary objectives which the coalition laid out in its plans.
Well lying to the voters may be a good way to govern the country foe a tired elite but for a large group of people who voted on the belief that a signed pledge was binding this out dated arrogance simply is not good enough.
These Demos have servely damaged the party who made the promises,they haven't a clue what to do except accuse anybody who doesn't agree with them that "they don't under stand"that's the problem the students do understand so much so that they now have this Coalition on the ropes.
Also,the students are using very creative tactics to out maneuver a police force which looks confused about what it should be doing.This police force is very good at kettling young people but it doesn't appear to be able to achieve much else.
The day was freezing cold,with snow and ice cold winds adding to a picture of chaos and confusion.Some times the combination of ice cold wind and blistering snow made it difficult to observe just what was going on.But I'm glad to have been there for a while.