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The Games that Time Forgot

July 31, 2010

Ok, so I haven’t blogged in a really long time, and it’s been even longer since my last meaty entry. Ok ok you’ve forgotten to even read me. Fine, I should thank you for returning to read this blog with great pomp and circumstance. But I really have to tell you this now! It can’t wait. I’m sorry.

You have to make an hour of time to watch this on iplayer: The Games that Time Forgot. You only have until this Monday! Go now!

In this one-off documentary, comedian Alex Horne strives to reinstate forgotten sports such as the quintain (jousting, but without a horse); desperately attempts to re-enact the late XIX century oddity of a cricket game on horseback; and explores the womanly (and Sussexian) roots of cricket and baseball. Full of quirky snippets of knowledge about unheard-of games, of course, but more importantly hilarious and light-hearted throughout, with the occasional delirious, swede-biting* moment.

I loved it so much that I even forgive its deceiving substitution of the word “sports” with “games” in the title – making me think it was all going to be about wooden toys and ancient board games. On the other hand, Horne does visit the Sports Council at some point in the documentary to win sports status for some of the activities he has rediscovered…

It’s been a good week with the BBC iplayer for me. I watched a special Storyville called “Sink or Swim” on a Swedish male team of synchronised swimmers – almost tempted to say cute. I watched “Alice and her Six Dads” which, soppy title aside, was incredibly heart-warming. I watched another Storyville documentary on education in primary school in China: without the narrator, every scene on camera seemed more more poignant and more bittersweet. I watched a documentary about the selection of a special scholarship to Harrow School, a sort of high-culture version of Junior Apprentice I guess.

Plus Sherlock, obviously, but there was a kind of documentary theme evolving here.

After some rather disappointing election coverage and a couple other disappointments from British media, I’m back to believing they have the best TV over here. Mind you, my only other experiences are Spanish and Italian, but still.

*00:46′:00 and onward


Cally Road sound map

April 27, 2010

Yesterday I discovered this beautiful sound map of Caledonian Road narrated by Alan Dein.

As a Cally dweller I’m happy to see all those characteristics that make me love the area so well portrayed. Caledonian Road’s aliveness and its variety. Its divides and its contradictions and the love for it shared by all those living on it. The feeling that I get when I walk along it that I’m not in London at all but in some other place, some other time. Perhaps in a Mediterranean market town, all wide streets and square houses and protruding shop fronts.

But this sound map was a special treat because I discovered so many other things I didn’t know about the Cally Road. That where Cally Pool is there used to be a beautiful building with public baths, active during the war as well, when the hot water was rationed. That when the Channel Tunnel was being built there was an initial intention to dig up the road for an extended period of time but that the campaigning efforts of the Cally Rail Group eventually succeeded in avoiding that, much to the relief of local businesses.

When you have some time, do listen to this sound map, all or in snippets. It will make you understand why I and my friends who live on it love the Cally Road so wholeheartedly, despite having moved here a relatively short while ago – long enough, though, to be here when Cally Nails was not yet “ALLY AI”!

Twenty for Harper Road on Time Out!

April 11, 2010

Photos of Twenty for Harper Road events pending, today I discovered through the power of Google that we made it in the Time Out listings! Not bad at all. Here we are.

In the meantime, today’s event is FoodFace Travel Solution. The old travel agency is resurrected for a day through many imaginative artist-led walks around Southwark. Historical walk, Chaplin’s walk, blind walk, moon walk, you name it you walk it. You can find a full programme on this entry of the FoodFace Travel Solutions blog.

Boarded Up! TODAY at Twenty for Harper Road

April 2, 2010

Twenty for Harper Road is opening TONIGHT at 6pm with Boarded Up!

24 Harper Road, Southwark, London, SE1 6AD.

Boarded Up! is on its way

March 31, 2010

Only two days to Boarded Up!, the opening night for the Twenty for Harper Road project. How exciting! Click here for the Facebook event page to let us know that you are coming.

In the meantime, I am busy making sure that everything is prepared for the evening! Here’s a quick overview of what I’ve been doing.

I’ve been…

… creating a calendar of Twenty for Harper Road that would work as a board game. Can you believe it has taken me longer to patch together the design than to actually create the board game? People who come to Boarded Up! and to subsequent nights will bring home this special (limited edition!) board game as a reminder of the events to come in the future. By the way I should point out that the four-page black-and-white skeleton pictured is veeery early stages, it looks much better now!

I’ve been…

… taking pictures of the Rockingham Estate to transform into a draughts board. I wonder how this is going to look like! It’s almost done, but I still have to add three rows in there as a chess board is 8×8 squares and the Rockingham Estate only has five floors! This estate sits right at the back of Harper Road and when I walked past it on my way to meetings in our space the regularity of its windows really struck me. On the other side of this road there is a court with a nice garden full of daffodils, and there are more buildings with rows of windows. They probably would have made a neater picture but there were trees in the way.

I’ve been…

… buying and testing board games! I really love scouting charity shops in search of second-hand games. This hunting trip in the charity shop down the road was incredibly fruitful! Charades and Trivial Pursuit are based on cards containing questions or clues: even the previous owners lost a couple of those, it makes no difference to the overall mechanisms of the game. Hue Knew? was… new! Still in its packaging so of course no worry there: all pieces are present.  In total they came to a whopping £5, what a find! Hue Knew? was immediately put to the test amidst great laughter – it’s a lot more fun than you’d expect it to be.

I’ve been…

… hosting a Murder Mystery night! Nothing better to put you in the mood for board games for good. I love how this Murder Mystery package came with its own recipes, so it combined sharing food with playing a game. Boarded Up! was born out of my interest in the way that performance artists and performative curators have looked at conviviality, and the Murder Mystery night was a good reminder of that. Except the murder was by poison… not sure what that says about conviviality.

I’ve been…

graduating! No wait, I didn’t do that in preparation of Boarded Up!, admittedly, but it’s something that happened recently too!

So as you can see I have been very excited about Boarded Up! and working hard for Twenty for Harper Road in general – I hope you’ll be able to come and judge whether my efforts were worth it!


Boarded Up! will take place on Friday April 2nd from 6pm onwards at 24 Harper Road, London, SE1 6AD. Boarded Up! is the opening night of the Twenty for Harper Road project.

Twenty For Harper Road on Art Licks

March 30, 2010

Twenty For Harper Road has been featured on Art Licks! Holly Willats explores what the project means for Raw Canvas and for Tate Modern. Although, a necessary correction: Twenty For Harper Road actually kicks off with Boarded Up! on Friday April 2nd, while the flag-making workshop Signs, Symbols and Sewing will follow on Saturday 3rd.

You can find Twenty For Harper Road on the Art Licks homepage, or to go directly to the article click here.

Twenty For Harper Road

March 28, 2010

I told you to watch this space, now the biggest Raw Canvas project of the year has arrived!

We are taking over a disused travel-agents in Harper Road, Southwark, for a month starting next week. It will be a space for creativity to thrive, with a busy calendar of events running from Wednesdays to Sundays for five weeks.

The shop front

There’s plenty to choose from for all tastes: making events, drawing events, talking events, playing events, listening events, smelling events, eating events, sewing events, painting events. Having such an open canvas to work on has been great because it granted everyone to put their heart and minds in an event they really cared for, and the passion of the people involved (who are not Raw Canvassers only, but also many other young creatives who answered our call for submissions) really shows in the breadth and intensity of the programme.

It is also great for Tate Modern to experiment with having an off-site space, a shop front that people may casually peep and walk into rather than an iconic and perhaps threatening building that towers over the South Bank. Katie Schwab and Roger White, who have been working very hard at the organisational part of the project, have been redecorating the space to make it bright and lively. Look at photos of the renovation works!

The first event that I will be putting together for Twenty For Harper Road is called Boarded Up!, and it’s actually the opening evening of the project! Number 24 at Harper Road won’t in fact be boarded up anymore when we open its doors to board games fans and all guests for a relaxed and friendly evening of playing new twists on old favourites… Southwark Monopoly anyone?

Click on the Twenty For Harper Road blog to see the Boarded Up! flyer.