Friday, 12 August 2011

Hackney Riots Monday 9th August 2011

 Above JD Sports

A night to remember. Hackney has more recently been blessed with a reputation for art, culture, diversity .. old factories converted into trendy apartments, ever expanding fair-trade markets, music venues opening in shop basements.. not forgetting the 2012 olympics being built. I was sitting outside my local boozer The Tiger having an ice cold GnT in the cool breeze of the sweltering heat and five police riot vans sped past, towards Homerton High Street which leads to Mare Street via Morning Lane. Then came the helicopters. The news of Riots taking place on Mare Street appeared on the TV in the pub and one by one people started leaving to get home before the riots spread. One by one small businesses, be it shops, pubs, restaurants.. closed up. Those that wanted to remain open for business turned off their lights to attract attention. I went for a short walk which felt like a scene from 28 Days Later had I have turned a corner onto Mare Street it would be just like the live footage from Sky News, BBC and ITV News seen all over the country.

Above Pembury Estate, the meeting point for the rioters.

Above The local community with their brooms clearing up the debris the following morning.

There were a few priests wandering round talking to the local community including youths in hoods that were still present the following morning.

Three banks down the Narrow Way had been vandalized in an attempt to steal cash. This was not one of them, but it still failed to open the following day.

I spoke to a local resident outside the bank queueing up for the cash point who didn't want to be photographed but had bought four brooms, dust pans and brushes, encouraging the community to help clear the mess. Angered by what had happened, especially in the Clapham riots - where a building was set on fire - she cleared out the two spare rooms in her house incase the rioters returned and did something similar and residents needed refuge. She was so sure that the rioters were coming back she whispered to me "I'm gonna withdraw all the money in my account because after they've come back there'll be nothing left".

 Above Santander

 Above Member of the church being interviewed

 Above Nationwide

Above O2

Above Primark

Above Marks and Spencers

Above JD Sports

Above JD Sports

Friday, 15 July 2011

Are mini cheddars biscuits or crisps? An interview with Alex Ingram





Following  Glasgow School Of Art then Central St Martins, Alex has performed and exhibited at numerous arts spaces, galleries and arts festivals around Europe including Whitechapel Gallery, St Petersburg Performance Festival,  and EXPO

Alex Ingram is a matter artist - a poet, photographer, performance artist and sculptor - currently residing in East London. His publications include poetry White Works, I've done nothing wrong today, The Spaceman Cometh and Lull.

Influenced heavily by his surroundings he also enjoys space and sculpture, and admires  Gabriel Orzco namely Orzco's poetic works. He is wary of sounding melancholic and is currently being inspired by Andrew Pidoux's poetry Year of the Lion, though talking to Alex I get a strong sense that his biggest inspiration is his nan Daisy who is present in some of him short films and stills, with references made to her in his poetry. She herself used to write poetry . She seems to light him up with her deep set values, after all, are mini cheddars biscuits or crisps? Alex has just been to visit Daisy in hospital where she is much better but has another burning issue.. the milk, and for that reason the family smuggles in her evaporated milk or My milk. He has a sense of warmth about him as he talks of her "She's been my rock, she's seen it all, she's always been there for me" He is talking about his own stays in hospital as a result of his mental health. Although Alex does not believe his  work to be creative consequences of his mental health, he does believe that his art and his well being could be linked subconsciously.. "I have no idea which came first, art or mental health,how early can the signs of mental illness be seen and how do you separate it from your character?"



Alex's passion for art started as a result of mid eighties sexist school tuition. "In a drawing class the boys were told to draw a car and the girls were told to draw a dress. I finished the car before the rest of the class so I decided to draw the dress as well" and developed a love of fashion design and, as an avid X-Men comic collector, cartoon stenciling . Before this he wanted to be a lawyer.

In his adult art life, Alex is allured to the absence of a finished product - or nothingness -  and the journey getting there - "Nothingness prompts and says get ready for something" inviting the blank canvas to be much as part the piece as is the finished product. This visual expedition is evident in his performance art and short films where we watch him complete a sequence from beginning to end,  the beginning being the ingredient. This format is evident in the title of his blog The man Without A Reference.

Process plays a major part in Alex's work, as does his own presence, be he physically there or not.. "My work is the interaction between myself and my immediate surroundings". It's is the making of his work that becomes the subject matter, thus giving a sense of performing even when working alone.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm not in my own body, that I'm watching things as if in a dream. Art for me is a point of contact from this perspective which quite literally means I move things around. The idea of each work comes second to this act of contact with its meaning realised rather than implemented."

Alex would like to hope his poetry is being read by the individual, rather that listened to,he is interested in the physicality of thought as" poetry can be a sculpture read in ones mind."

To read more about Alex Ingram and see some of his work to date visit 

Friday, 8 July 2011

My Big Fat Imaginary Wedding


I've think I've hit the nail on the head!

1 - Yes I'd like to feel pretty normal

2 - No I don't like financial stress

So I'm going to plan my own wedding because

1 - Normal people tend to get married

I'm going to do everything up until the bit where you pay for it because

2 - Thats where the fun turns into stress.

Small print.. I am NOT, I repeat NOT putting any hints down, this is purely self management experimentation. 

Friday, 24 June 2011

Who's who in therapy?


In textiles group today we got talking about psychotherapy and previous therapists we'd had. I shouldn't laugh but some of the things they did in session..

1 - Fall asleep. Hmm.. We all thought our issues were quite complex so maybe that was a good sign??

2 - Yawning. Kind of makes you think you should go and get into a bit more trouble thus make it a bit more exciting for them. Hang on.. who's paying who?

3 - Preaching the good lord. I have absolutely no problem with belief, but repeatedly being told  "God loves you and he will save you" was not what I signed up for, I was expecting a bit of time management.

4 - Role reversal. When they end up telling you THEIR problems instead. I once had one who said she was convinced her husband was seeing someone else. Looking back I should have said "God loves you and he will save you"

5 - Text therapy. One therapist actually suggested this as a substitute for face to face therapy.

Feel free to "comment" adding any experiences to the list. 

Friday, 10 June 2011

Foods for Mental Health

I came across this on the Mental Healthy website - please click, print, and stick on your fridge.

Depression

Vitamin C

  • Strawberries, oranges, kiwi, pineapple, cranberries, satsumas, grapefruit, cherries, blackberries, mango.
  • Broccoli, celery, red cabbage, red peppers, watercress, tomato, pumpkin, artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, cucumber, leeks, potatoes, radishes, spinach, courgettes.

Vitamin B3/B6

  • Brown rice, oats, barley.
  • Beef liver and kidneys, chicken, turkey, pork loin.
  • Tuna, salmon, trout.
  • Chick peas, sunflower seeds.
  • Watercress, cabbage, peppers, potatoes, squash, courgettes, mushrooms, broccoli.
  • Bananas (low quantities of B6)

Magnesium

  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley, wheat bran.
  • Walnuts, pistachios, peanuts, almonds.
  • Sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  • Strawberries, blackberries, orange, raisins, bananas.
  • Broccoli, sprouts, peppers, watercress, spinach.

Tryptophan (essential amino acid)

  • Almonds, pecans, peanuts, hazelnuts.
  • Milk, cheddar, Swiss cheese.
  • Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds.
  • Turkey, chicken.
  • Soya beans, kidney beans.
  • Bananas, figs, dates.

Zinc

  • Mozzarella, cheddar.
  • Kidney beans, chick peas, lentils.
  • Chicken legs and thighs, turkey, lamb, pork, minced beef.
  • Spinach, broccoli, asparagus.
  • Kiwi, blackberries.
  • Walnuts, almonds, cashews.

Omega 3

  • Walnuts.
  • Salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, trout, shrimps.

Selenium

  • Calves liver, turkey.
  • Shrimps, cod, halibut, salmon, tuna.
  • Mozzarella.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Spinach, mushrooms, garlic.

Folic acid

  • Calves liver, turkey.
  • Lentils, chick peas, kidney beans.
  • Spinach, lettuce, asparagus, sprouts, parsley, broccoli, green beans.
  • Walnuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts.
  • Tuna, salmon, cod.

Lack of concentration

Vitamin B1

  • Fresh pasta, brown rice, oats, barley.
  • Hazelnuts, pine nuts, pecan nuts, brazils.
  • Asparagus, aubergines, spinach, watercress, mushrooms, broccoli, peppers.
  • Mussels, tuna, salmon.
  • Pork loin.

Lack of memory

Vitamin B5

  • Wholemeal bread, granary bread, brown rice, oatmeal.
  • Raspberries, strawberries, lemons, watermelon.
  • Broccoli, carrots, peas, sweet potato, celery, cauliflower.
  • Broad beans, chick peas.

Vitamin B6

  • Barley, oats, brown rice.
  • Trout, salmon, tuna.
  • Pork loin, turkey, chicken.
  • Chick peas.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Cabbage, peppers, asparagus, potatoes, watercress.

Omega 3

  • Walnuts.
  • Salmon, mackerel, fresh tuna, trout, shrimps.

Vitamin B12

  • Chicken, turkey, calves liver, lamb.
  • Clams, trout, salmon, oysters, crabs, sea bass.
  • Milk, boiled eggs.

Lack of appetite

Zinc

  • Mozzarella, Swiss cheese, cheddar.
  • Spinach, asparagus, broccoli, squash.
  • Kiwi fruit, blackberries.
  • Almonds, cashew nuts, walnuts.
  • Shrimps, mussels, oysters.
  • Chicken legs, turkey legs, pork loin, lamb.

Lack of focus and motivation

Tyrosine (Non-essential amino acid)

  • Stilton, cheddar, Swiss cheese, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, sour cream.
  • Spinach, avocadoes.
  • Bananas, plums, raisins, prunes.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Soy sauce.
  • Marmite (yeast extract).

Zinc

  • Mozzarella, cheddar.
  • Kidney beans, chick peas, lentils.
  • Chicken legs and thighs, turkey, lamb, pork, minced beef.
  • Spinach, broccoli, asparagus.
  • Kiwi, blackberries.
  • Walnuts, almonds, cashews.

Insomnia

Magnesium

  • Strawberries, blackberries, oranges, raisins, kiwi fruit, bananas.
  • Pistachios, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias.
  • Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress.
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley.

Stress

Vitamin B3/B6

  • Brown rice, oats, barley.
  • Beef liver and kidneys, chicken, turkey, pork loin.
  • Tuna, salmon, trout.
  • Chick peas, sunflower seeds.
  • Watercress, cabbage, peppers, potatoes, squash, courgettes, mushrooms, broccoli.
  • Bananas (low quantities of B6)

Magnesium

  • Strawberries, blackberries, oranges, raisins, kiwi fruit, bananas.
  • Pistachios, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias.
  • Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress.
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley.

Anger and irritability

Vitamin B6

  • Barley, oats, brown rice.
  • Trout, salmon, tuna.
  • Pork loin, turkey, chicken.
  • Chick peas.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Cabbage, peppers, asparagus, potatoes, watercress.

Magnesium

  • Strawberries, blackberries, oranges, raisins, kiwi fruit, bananas.
  • Pistachios, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias.
  • Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress.
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley.

Selenium

  • Calves liver, turkey.
  • Shrimps, cod, halibut, salmon, tuna.
  • Mozzarella.
  • Sunflower seeds.
  • Spinach, mushrooms, garlic.

Anxiety

Magnesium

  • Strawberries, blackberries, oranges, raisins, kiwi fruit, bananas.
  • Pistachios, cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias.
  • Peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach, watercress.
  • Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds.
  • Oatmeal, long grain rice, barley.

Folic acid

  • Calves liver, turkey.
  • Lentils, chick peas, kidney beans.
  • Spinach, lettuce, asparagus, sprouts, parsley, broccoli, green beans.
  • Walnuts, cashews, peanuts, hazelnuts.
  • Tuna, salmon, cod.
This information is intended as a guide only. If you are experiencing any mental health problem you should seek expert medical advice immediately. Please be also aware that some foods might cause allergic reactions.


Heart of Hackney Top Tip no2



Stylus broken? Blow the cobwebs of your nanna's sewing machine and slam your foot down on the pedal. WARNING.. Please take care to vacate the premises BEFORE him indoors gets in if using his records.

The Science of Paracetamol and Pound Shops



I recently got an email from a friend I haven't seen since sixth form, he's been following my other blog (seesaw-seatingplan.co.uk)and took a particular interest in 'Side-Effects of Effectiveness'. He keeps pretty up to date with new science stuff and explained to me that pain-killers have been proved to help with intrusive/ compulsive negative thinking (the stuff that bugs me the most). The upshot of the research is that compulsive thinking actually creates emotional stress/pain in the same part of the brain that tells our bodies that they are experiencing physical pain. Early tests seem to show that paracetamol is the most effective drug in inhibiting receptors in that part of the brain. Thus - paracetamol (or similar drugs) are likely to be part of the formulation of future anti-depressant and anti-anxiety drugs.
Could this explain why some of us are addicted to painkillers? I myself have been through phases of popping codeine pills at every opportunity, convincing myself I had a cronic stomach ache when I was just hungry, walking into A&E with self diagnosed meningitis when it was just an ignored sell by date, and don't even get me started with my strokes and hangovers. 




So next time I see Mr Upstairs I think I'll hide a camcorder in my handbag to catch his face as I ask him to ditch the lithium and prescribe me paracetamol for bipolar disorder. The Pound shop stuff will do. I will feed back (from the ward no doubt!)



Heart of Hackney's Top Tip

Seesaw seating plan tip of the month


Run out of brown wool on your knitting machine? Why not use your boyfriend's sentimental childhood cassettes. Then run!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

All Day Burger Blues @ The Victoria Mile End


This place is worth a mention, it's the Victoria pub Mile End (Just outside Hackney, I've cheated a bit) known for it's live music, poetry, art and events. It's also a family run pub with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. 

Sunday just gone they have their monthly All Day Burger Blues with cinema screening of The Man With No Face, World Of Curiosity jumble and burgers on tap.

Amongst the stalls were my traditional toilet roll dolls, vintage bunting, sausage dogs and home made jam. 















For more on The Victoria.. http://www.myspace.com/thevictoriae3
For my home-made tat.. http://nanscabinet.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Uncovered Magazine Blog Review

Well my seesaw-seatingplan blog has been given a rave review! It's in the current issue of "Uncovered" magazine - a glossy best selling mental health mag sold in the UK, USA and Australia. The mag itself is a really good read - it's a feel good and also an eye-opener - and it's had some decent press itself. I'm trying to get into journalism (I did a stint at Bizarre magazine - a very controversial magazine, more eye stapler than eye opener) and so I sent an email to the editor, Charlotte Fanelli, who stumbled across the blog (I didn't think people actually clicked on signature links, they just look pretty).

Here's some of the things they printed..

"Within minutes of clicking I was hooked! This witty charming and bluntly honest description of a persons struggle with bipolar disorder is a breath of fresh air. If the book is as good as the blog we are sure it will be very well received."

It's in issue four, page 105, and still on the shelves. 

The mag - http://www.uncoveredmagazine.co.uk/
The blog - http://seesaw-seatingplan.co.uk/

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Syd Barrett | Art and Letters


Growing up in Cambridge, Pink Floyd were no strangers to the generation before me. His mum lived two streets away and my dad used to lug their gear around. Syd, in his post Floyd later days returned from North London to Cambridge and put his energy into his art. During this time I often saw him around town, in his big headphones and long trench-coat (even in the sweltering heat) in a world of his own.

I highly recommend getting yourself to his exhibition in Shoreditch.



These (above) are just a few of the many letters Syd wrote to hi sweetheart Libby.







Exhibition Dates:  18th March –10th April  2011
Idea Generation Gallery, Redchurch Street,  London, E2 7JB

What does someone with mental health look like?


Many people still have the old fashioned images of people with mental health - rocking backwards and forwards, shouting at no one in particular in the street etc - but since the eigteen hundreds where the public display of people with mental health in circus’s and torture of patients in mental hospitals were finally abolished and we intergrated into “normal” society, we can be much less easy to point out. 
Putting a hundred people in a room and guessing which ones are affected my mental health is like a lifesize game of Guess Who without questions. It’s a difficult game, especially considering that statistically a whopping twenty five of those will have been or will be affected by mental health at some point in there life. One of those people will have a severe mental health condition.
I think that just as people are singled out because they come across as having a mental health problem, it is also hard having a mental health without coming across as having a mental health problem. People can expect too much of you thinking “Well s/he doesn’t look unwell.. /s/he looks as though she’s coping ok” With mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder we have periods of wellness, during this time we may well function and take on tasks and responsibilities as though unafected. However, we are likely to be taking mood stabilisers or other drugs to help us sustain these periods, and episodes can be triggered by stress, lack of sleep and other external factors. Also, when we are towards the high end of the scale we can take on everything, leading people to think we are more than compotent and expect that of us all the time.  When I worked in nursing many years ago I was the first to be asked to do a double shift if someone called in sick, even if this mean’t doing a day shift followed by a night shift. And of course after a while I’d burn out, hit rock bottom and be off for weeks, even months.
Another reason it is hard is - believe it or not - the stigma that comes not coming accross with having a mental health problem. As an example I have been in various places as a result of my mental health where other service users have said things such as “You look to well to do to be here.. you don’t look like you fit in here etc..” and if these were by way of some kind of compliments they did not work.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Forget Who You Are


 Exhibition at Core Arts 17th March 2011.

Core members and special guests come together for a multi-media event portraying memories and experiences of childhood through scale, imagery and anthropomorphism.

Pieces from the exhibition will go into the V&A's Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green London.

Above is Alex Ingram; contemporary artist, poet and bloody nice bloke. Check him out on.. http://themanwithoutareference.blogspot.com

Below is Gary Molloy; fine artist and poet who I have already featured in this blog. If you missed it you can check him out on..
http://garymolloy.blogspot.com


A special guest contributer created this very beautiful, very life-like child/bunny creature as part of a multi-media piece..


And I took us back to that nostalgic time where taping the top forty mattered..



When the exhibition comes down I'm going to turn this into a shower curtain! Incase you're interested my own blog is..
http://seesaw-seatingplan.blogspot.com

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pretty lights and shouty poets


Last time I saw this fella was backstage in a dingy basement in a club in Edinburgh scrawling bullet points on his hands. It was the Edinburgh Festival and we were on the same bill at a stand up show. Four years later I bump into him at the Kats n Dogs night at the Victoria Dalston Cross. He is "Captain Rant" and things must be looking up for him because look at those nice clean hands.




Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Art V Anti-depressants


Personally I believe all psychiatric drugs should be prescribed by a psychiatrist rather than a GP because a good shrink is more likely to know more about your personal (or personnel) needs - motivational, practical - rather than just whether you have high blood pressure or webbed feet.

Many depression sufferers are artistic. It's a chicken or egg situation - as artists we tend to be perfectionists and prone to feelings of failure which can stimulate depression... when depressed we are more open minded, however negative, and tend to be at our most artistic. There are novelists, musicians and painters dating back to (ahem, I wish I paid more attention at school) a long time ago who back up this theory.

But are anti-depressants a solution for artists?

I met with a musician yesterday. A talented man with proven success and all the frills of fame and fortune. Although he cannot see it. He suffers from acute depression and is currently on a high dose of anti-depressants. He was first put on these after a suicide attempt, however, as his dose has increased over the last two years he has made three more attempts which have landed him in intensive care. He told me that the tablets' side effects mute his love of music, music is his life and he simply cannot face life without music. 

So, we are faced with a choice, mend ourselves with anti-depressants which curb  depression but can numb our artistic passion which in turn can make us depressed again, or mend ourselves with that very artistic passion but continue to be depressed.

Hmm.. as both artist(ic) and a manic depressive I can see both sides of this argument I seem to have created. My choice, and this is not the answer, was to meet in the middle. I reduced my dose to a safe point where I don't hit rock bottom and can create art sometimes. 
Best of luck if you're ever faced with this decision.