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Stranger in a Strange Land

Two workchums have created a 10 minute film on the subject of knife crime. It's up for meeeja attention and had its first screening last night in a cosy venue called The Flea Pit somewhere near, but not near enough, to Old Street Tube. The little place was packed out and the film itself was perfect for the award they seek. Their chances must be high, and that is all I'll say for now. This is not a review.

The room was buzzing with enthusiasm and talent. The film-makers had worked with kids from south east London, some of whom stood up and gave speeches about gangs and knife crime and change. I was impressed by them all, from the arty gent in the big specs and Andre 3000 beret who revealed he had come out of prison, to the leading lady who could make a kagool look haute couture. 'These kids on the streets,' spoke a teeny guy in a cap, 'They need parenting. Young or old, we are all capable of being their parents.' One strong and sad older man who gave me the sense of having lost someone to a blade, spoke of everyone in the room being ready to commit to a sense of community.

At that point I felt uneasy, fraudulent almost. I don't like communities or parents, I never have. It felt so strange that anyone should come to me and say, 'You can be a parent to this person or this.'I have little in common with these children on the streets, and I am no-one's mother, I don't cuddle or feed or wuv or nurture. It's not my need, it's not my way. Even language would betray us; the patois spoken through much of the film puzzled my helplessly EngLit trainedbrained ears. What could I offer anyone? Winnie the Pooh says Don't Do Drugs? Study hard it worked for Obama? Tips on how to understand Conrad's feminine stereotypes in Heart of Darkness?

Speaking of which, I came away from the film early, because the Flea Pit is itself in the Heart of Darkness, aka Hackney. Somehow, I got completely lost, eventually getting on a train from Cambridge Heath into Liverpool Street. It was at that point I wanted to get out and rush over to Spitalfields, to Jack the Ripper territory just across the road. The East End has improved a lot, though it's still too interesting in some places; but the difference between a London streetyoof of a hundred years ago and a modern one is that I could effortlessly understand the former.

This realisation has freaked me out all day.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 12th, 2009 09:33 am (UTC)
A heartening and beautiful idea, I thank you for it - yes, it would be nice to be able to do that, though I wonder if wordworlds will ever hold them the way film does.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )



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