Protests and Neon

It feels like the eyes of the world, or at least the cameras of the U.K. have been looking at Walthamstow this week. All of the attention directed towards us was sparked by that vote, a vote for yes or a vote for no. Two simple three letter words that stirred up incredibly strong feelings here at home, and will no doubt be life changing for those that the vote really impacts. Walthamstow as ever, showed that sitting down and staying quiet isn’t really the way things work here. A peaceful march and candlelit vigil was held to ask one simple question of our political leaders, please say no. The wretched media took this simple community action and turned it in to something else, an aggressive mob. If the media was to believed you could be forgiven for thinking that the village was descended upon by angry pitch fork wielding locals, brandishing flaming torches at the castle door like something out of a Frankenstein film.


With all of the nonsense on the news and the shattering realisation that the U.K. will be dropping bombs on Syria, I decided I wouldn’t write anything this week. It didn’t seem appropriate to plough on with my relentless positivity about Walthamstow when I was feeling anything but positive. My mind was changed on Friday, I went up to the Walthamstow Village Window Gallery which occupies the windows of the old ironmongers shop on Orford Road. The curator of the gallery, Danny, has been working with Gods Own Junkyard to have the windows filled with neon for the Christmas period, Friday was the the big switch on and a big crowd turned out to watch.

Clutching cups of mulled wine my friend and I stood and listened as Linda Bracey spoke about her husbands life as a child in Walthamstow. She spoke about how much he loved looking in the windows of Frank Isons shop, the same windows that now displayed his work. She also talked about the support she and her family had received since her husband Chris, the creator of the junkyard died last year. Following her speech the switch was thrown and the neon sprung to life, if your lights flickered about 7:30 on Friday evening I expect this is why. The new display must have sucked a fair amount of juice up the hill to the village to get all the neon lights lit. The windows looked spectacular, colour and light blazing out in to the darkness. Red and blue reflecting on the faces of excited children (and those of even more excited adults).

So there I was like a kid in a sweet shop looking in at the neon, mesmerised by it like I always am when I visit the Junkyard. I wandered around to the other side of the shop and spotted one of the pieces that reads Bottoms Up. I looked at that one for a while, I knew it read bottoms up, but in my head all I could think was up your bum. Up your bum media idiots and anyone else that had been suggesting that Walthamstow was anything but a decent peace loving community. Up your bum twitter trolls and random facebook users who know nothing about us but feel free to pass judgement. This is our Walthamstow and up your bum to anyone that doesn’t like it.

This has been one week that has seen two separate crowds gather in the Village, one to ask for peace and another to celebrate the work of a local lad. Both remind me why I love living here, I love it because people care. People care enough to get together and try and influence our leaders, and people care enough to get together and create things like the Window Gallery to make life here more interesting. Basically put, people in Walthamstow will get up of their bums and do stuff, support stuff and change stuff, and I think that makes living here pretty special.


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