Thursday, 17 March 2016

Acton encounters

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Here comes an update from Joanna in Acton on 2016-03-17!

So you and the rest of the world knew, today I met a photo-journalist, Dario Mitidieri ( )! No we didn’t plan to meet. Otherwise my life would not be whimsical, right? So, how did it happen? Read on and you’ll find out!

Well…  Dario is working on a project of documenting the South Acton Estate which is undergoing a complete transformation. He was taking pictures of the current transition phase. Cycling from a very important meeting with Rachel Pepper in her Acton Community Forum office at the Oak Tree Community Centre, I emerged from the passage-way underneath a tall building.

You may have heard (or not) that the once dull columns supporting the passage were turned into a works of art by Carrie Reinhardt and her mosaic-making team of MAD IN ENGLAND and THE TREATMENT ROOMS! Another artist (who signs himself AMT) made murals of the local birds on some walls of the estate along with a portrait of Nelson Mandela just to the right of the passageway.  This is where I stopped to let  Dario work on the photo shoot of the South African freedom fighter. How could I get in the way of his very professional camera! Then we started talking and I must say, I learnt a lot about the whole South Acton Transition Project.

To my surprise, I heard that the people who live in the old dilapidated blocks of council flats will not be moved somewhere else when the blocks get replaced by modern multi-family houses. They will all be re-housed and only the surplus dwellings will be put on the market. Unfortunately, it is not viable or safe to keep the huge blocks of flats any longer. Looks like The Big Mother, a graffiti by Stik (  will not be spared when it comes to the next demolition phase. Now that I know these people will not meet the fate of those from the London Docklands area before it got a complete revamp, I am less worried. However, it would be great if the Big Mother wall could be saved and made into a climbing wall on the other side of the graffiti… (Of course, I know nothing about the practicality of that, I must admit. It is just an idea.)  

Going back to my encounter, I was nicely surprised to find out that Dario knew nothing of the Acton mosaic maker(s). I wouldn’t be myself if I refrained from telling him about Carrie Reihardt and her ‘craftivism’, her studio, campaigns, black cab and the one of a kind  house! Not only that, but I also mentioned that she was on the way to Kansas as we were speaking!

What else did I have to do there and then? Yes, to walk with Dario to the famous Acton Bench! Apparently, he hadn’t seen it and nor did he know about it! Yeah, he was quite impressed, I tell you.  (Sure, it may well be that he was just pretending that he had so little knowledge of the area he came to work in, you may have sensed by now that I am a rather gullible being!)

Anyway, while taking pictures of the colourful, tile-covered bench, we noticed a man with a large bag ‘hovering’ nearby. It was a father who came to prepare a surprise birthday party for his young son when he came from school. The party venue was to be the famous mosaic bench! I cannot think of a better spot on a sunny day that London enjoyed on St Patrick’s Day, 2016 AD! Mind you, the father joined in our conversation at some point. The father revealed to us that he is a meteorologist and we know how to find him in our global village! Further interrogation resulted in his revealing to us his German, Scottish and Dorset roots! What a mixture! ;-) With Dario of South Italian descent and me – one of widely spread, but not so well blended-in Poles, we made quite an international ensemble!

And here is a surprise for you! I took pictures of the photographer with my humble phone! Come back to my blog later to see them!:-)

After we parted by the bench I had a few more opportunities to take pictures: a St Patrick’s Day shop window in Acton High Street, a Polish-looking shop, an Irish man with his father at an Irish tavern, a few houses north of Churchfield Rd and a few funny shops in this pretty street!  Again, call in later to look!

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