#SourcePark Hastings

A week staying in a tiny cottage in Hastings Old Town took on a new significance for my scooter-obsessed son when we discovered, on our second day here, that a 20 minute walk along the promenade would take us to The Source Park – the world’s largest underground skatepark.

The Source building was originally the White Rock swimming baths, including a Turkish bath and individual baths back in Victorian times. Its popularity waxed and waned, and over the years the building was modified and became an ice rink and a cinema. Eventually it closed and was derelict for several years.

The skatepark opened in 2016, after gaining funding in 2014, and the White Rock baths underwent a massive overhaul in being fitted out as a skatepark. But what is fascinating about the building now, apart from it being a great place for all ages of scooter / BMX / skateboarder to go and ride, is that in transforming it, many of the original features of the pool have been kept, and are wonderful to see.

This would seem a fitting tribute not only to the original architects and designers of the White Rock pool, but also to the original development of skateboarding, and its anarchic roots in the riding of backyard swimming pools back in the 1970s, as shown in the seminal documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, about the pioneering Zephyr team, whose skateboarding started as an extension of surfing.

As the mum of an enthusiastic 10 year old boy scooterer (is that a word?), I am pleased to have somewhere cool to take him, which is also a pleasure for me to spend time in, has a great cafe, and as a writer about place, is not too smoothed over. It feels honest. The music is great too!

 

 

 

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Viva Seething

seethingography

Seethingography was originally a way for me to come down to Seething and start a writing group, and to engage Seething Villagers in thinking about what made the place that they live in special to them. I ran workshops, meet ups and an event for National Poetry Day, plus we went on a drift through Seething to explore its many quirks and secrets.

The blog has seen lots of writing and images exploring this theme, and led to the publishing of two anthologies of writing in The Seethingographer, the first from Seething Writers and the second from writers all over the world (as Seething has no boundaries!) writing on the theme of ‘Going Home’.

The Seethingographer #2

Anyone who is familiar with my own writing, and practice as a walking artist, may know that much of my work is concerned with place- how we are affected by it and…

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The Seethingographer #2 Summer 2017: Going Home

The latest Seethingography chapbook launches today… thanks to everyone who contributed and was involved.

seethingography

The Seethingographer #2

We are delighted to launch the second issue of The Seethingographer today!

This is a collection of writing and images on the theme of ‘Going Home’. Submissions were opened up worldwide, and we had an amazing international response!

A word from our guest editor Sinead Keegan…..
Reading through the submissions for this issue of The Seethingographer was a peek behind the curtains and around the corners of the spaces people call home. These pages are filled with the nuances of what it means to go home, from Alan Boyce’s gritty reality of homelessness to the hearth fairy of Julia Rose Lewis. Sometimes we find ourselves on the threshold, neither home nor away from home, as in Roger Leege’s ‘Fast Food’ which showed me a moment from my own childhood, and Maite Lisa Jordao’s permanent liminal emigrant existence ‘Coming Home’. Whether you know the places described, or…

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Mapping Memories, Over the Fields, on the Isle of Wight

Over the Fields poetry map

I am currently preparing for a talk I will be giving this Thursday, 22nd June at Quay Arts, the Isle of Wight’s leading art gallery and venue for live events.  I was thrilled to be invited to speak about my poetry map, Over the Fields, as part of the events and activities taking place around Richard Long’s show, The Isle of Wight as Six Walks, 8th April – 1st July.

Photograph by Bill Mudge

I will be talking about how and why I came to make the map. Regular readers of my (somewhat irregular) blog will know that this was a process of going for walks with my Dad and my son, over 18 months, beginning in January 2014, and ending in August 2015. The map was self-published after being beautifully designed by my best mate, and printed and folded into a pocket-sized A6 fold out full colour working map, with poems on one side and photos and map on the other.

Since then the map and I have been on quite a journey, and I have been able to achieve some of the aims I had for it, and other things have happened which were unexpected but equally wonderful.

Running Through Six Acre Meadow

I will talk about this tiny piece of greenbelt, and the impact it continues to have on my family. I hope you can join me for a walk through the poems and a chance to think about memory, family and place. And walking itself, and why it continues to inspire creativity.

Information and booking here.

Facebook event here.

Thursday 22nd June, 7.30pm – 9.00pm £7

Quay Arts, 15 Sea Street, Newport Harbour, Isle of Wight PO30 5BD

 

 

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#Grenfell survivor ‘only passed 8 people on stairs all the way from upper floor’

#Grenfell survivor ‘only passed 8 people on stairs all the way from upper floor’

I am re-blogging this because people need to be heard. The situation is untenable and people are being treated appallingly by the council and the state This HAS TO CHANGE. My heart goes out to everyone affected. The truth must be told.

The SKWAWKBOX

The SKWAWKBOX had a long and traumatic conversation this evening with a businesswoman based near Grenfell Tower who has friends and employees affected by the terrible fire and has been working to provide support and shelter to them and others.

The woman, who wanted her information to be told but asked not to be identified, told this blog about families who survived and those that didn’t, about the contribution of police and council staff or the lack of it – and about fears that the real death toll could be even higher than the 150-200 that music stars Lily Allen and Saskilla told reporters about.

Her own words, unadorned apart from the removal of names and floor numbers, follow:

There are two children that we know really well who were in the block. One family got out, the father was able to shield their little girl and thank God…

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Austerity by Lucy Furlong

On this day when apparently ‘Austerity’ is over, it seems a good time to revisit this poem, published this time last year.
Now hope is round the corner… for the many.

I am not a silent poet

in each escape from the latest cut
there is no trusty hat pulled out
from a closing tomb or laser
forcefield , avalanche, landslide

each escape is a letting go
of a dream, a job, a holiday, a meal,
a home, an ambition, an expectation,
a future, security, equality, a chance

is being homeless-at-home in middle age
a single parent with the rug pulled out
in debt, ignored, lonely, anxious, desperate
the sheets hanging out of the window

unknotted and falling, no one to catch us
when we

fall

no
safety
net
left

a harder nudge each few months
while I Brace! Brace! for both of us

hope against hope the push from
behind is pushed out of office and

wall
a
against
^ up ^

before there is nothing left to cut

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this foot learned

this moment is a foot fall of bruises

twisted ambition faltering goodwill

disappointed     pain missed       steps

this moment      is resting              resting

recovering returning walking      turned

degrees-different path // this foot  learned

this moment is still the journey