40 years ago today – Red Saunders recollects the RAR Victoria Park Carnival:
On Sunday 30 April 1978, 80,0000 people gathered in Trafalgar Square, and danced their way through the East End to Victoria Park in Hackney for the first big Rock Against Racism Carnival Against the Nazis. RAR had emerged in reaction to an alarming rise in racist attacks on the streets, and support for the neo-Nazi National Front at the ballot box. Mainstays of the UK pop scene such as Eric Clapton and David Bowie – white musicians capitalising on black music – made statements that further inflamed racial tension. A letter to the music press, written by Red Saunders and signed by a group of fans, voicing their horror at such hypocrisy, quickly gained widespread support. RAR was part of a broader anti-racism movement in the late 1970s, but it has become a symbol of the role that people-led movements and popular culture can play in shaping and influencing attitudes.
From Pop Art to Community Arts in Hackney and beyond
If you did not have a chance to attend last week screening at the 2018 East End Film Festival, the film is available to watch online.
From memories of meeting Andy Warhol to the visuals of Chats Palace and Lenthall Road Printshops, See Red Women’s Workshop and Rock Against Racism movement, the film explores the influence of screen-printing on the Community Arts Movement in Hackney and beyond.
The end of the era perhaps? A new chapter? Of history. Of my history.
I spent my twenties struggling and fighting to get the European passport. I finally did, just weeks after I turned 30. Inner drive to be at home in Europe was huge – would not have had the energy and the resources now. London happened to become my adopted home. Not just for my love of bricks, but for its extraordinary diversity of people from all possible walks of life, of all ethnicities, beliefs, ways of thinking, seeing, listening, feeling.
Over the years, I have discovered lots of peculiarities about this fascinating island. I loved this particular joke – “Gales in Channel. Continent isolated.” Will we able to keep on joking about being an island and not being part of the EU? Of Europe?
I have recently watched a wonderful film ‘Play me something’ by Timothy Neat and John Berger. Here is what John Berger said in the interview for ‘Scotland on Sunday’ in October 1988:
“I think this film would have been impossible to make in England. People won’t sit and listen to a story because they happen to find themselves together like that.” The Scots, he said, are different in many ways – less complacent, less parochial. “Most importantly maybe for storytelling, the dead are present to them. Not just their personal dead, father or wife. I mean the living experience of the past. In England as in some other consumer-rich societies they have come to believe that although they are part of history they are exempt from it. What connects them to all other people who have lived is lessened”.
I felt the same all these 14 years I lived in the UK. I always wanted to prove myself wrong.
On invitation of Rachel Turner I spent June 25-26 documenting Olympic march at Rushmore primary school and a day trip with Year 4 pupils along the river Lea and Regents canal, to the Fish factory and the Victoria park.