diamond geezer

 Saturday, August 17, 2013

Not quite so hyperlocal news from E3
(specifically the bit of Bow Road that isn't within three minutes walk of St Mary's Church) (that's sort-of Mile End station to Bow Church DLR) (because nobody else is going to blog about this either)

• The Shuttle Festival at St Clement's is almost over. One week of films down, one weekend to go, at Bow Road's very own Festival-In-A-Former-Mental-Hospital. It's a great idea, to take over a development site before it's turned into community flats, and throw in food, bars, art and film screenings too. Last night's feature was Trainspotting, by Danny Boyle, and he lives over the road so he came along in person. The audience milled around outside drinking wine and Meantime beer, a rather younger audience than I'd been expecting, almost all of whom were probably underage in 1996 when Trainspotting originally came out. We piled into Wentworth Stanley Hall, the asylum's community auditorium, and sat in rows on institutional chairs facing the stage. Danny introduced things, as he has done most evenings the festival's been running, and launched us into an almost-never-seen-before film. Alien Love Triangle was commissioned during Danny's post-Trainspotting afterglow, and was supposed to be one of three short stories combined into a portmanteau sci-fi production. The other two were then extended into full length features, leaving ALT abandoned and unreleased before The Culture Show pulled strings to arrange a world premiere in the smallest cinema in Wales. We got to watch Kenneth Branagh as a scientist married to that woman from Friends, who turned out to be a male alien, and whose green-skinned wife then turned up, hence the title, which is pretty much the plot. Inventive and comic, you'd enjoy it if they ever stuck it on television, which they won't. Last night was only its third screening ever, but magic like this happens in E3 if you hang around long enough. After an interval we then got to watch Trainspotting, which is still a glorious feature given its uncompromising subject material. The sound wasn't perfect (which didn't help with the Scottish accents), and the philistine woman next to me popped out for a beer at an entirely inopportune moment, but it was great to be reminded of Danny's emerging brilliance. He stayed for a Q&A, revealing that a sequel is being planned which will catch up with the main characters 20 years on. And yes, there was that Pulp song on the soundtrack about a flat in Mile End, which is exactly what this pop-up cinema will soon become. But there are still two more days to enjoy at the St Clement's Social Club (general admission free), and hopefully that won't be the last this site sees of curated community culture.

• The bus stop outside St Clement's Hospital has been hijacked. The roundel that should be labelled 'Coborn Road' has disappeared, and instead we've got an interloper in its place that says 'Trubshaw Road'. That's a genuine bus stop in Ealing, from an estate alongside the Grand Union near Southall, served by the E5 bus. Had that been the E3 (which runs from Greenford to Chiswick) I could have believed this is some joker having a laugh, or else some local gang engaged in postcode wars. As it is, the takeover just looks a bit stupid. And it's been like this for well over a week now, but TfL (who "are aware") have yet to do anything about it.

Bow Police Station closed its doors for the last time on 22nd June. That's permanently closed, after 110 years of service, due to cuts, rationalisation, austerity and stuff. I got a leaflet through my door at the time, not to announce the closure outright but to list instead the remaining police stations in Tower Hamlets, its outposts halved overnight. A borough with over a quarter of a million residents now has just one 24-hour police station (in Bethnal Green), one daytime-only police station (at Limehouse) and one afternoons and early evenings only on some days a week police station (in Brick Lane). Meanwhile Bow Fire Station is also scheduled for permanent closure this year, maybe even soon, creating a 999 double-downgrade unparalleled anywhere else in London. Hashtag #BorishatesBow

• Bow Church station is to get more trains. There's been a bottleneck between here and Stratford since the DLR opened, with only a single track available for trains in both directions. Works are starting next Tuesday to introduce double tracking along some of the route, a short distance to the east of Pudding Mill Lane, with the remaining stretches to follow at some unspecified time. We have Crossrail to thank. Its tracks are due to pass through the current site of Pudding Mill Lane station, so this has to be shifted a short distance to the south, and progress on this part of the project is already well underway. The new station substantially exists, with platforms structurally in place and extra-wide stairs up from ground level. Most of the time New PML will echo with emptiness, but the facilities are perfectly future-proofed for major events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. We're promised more trains from next Spring, with the minimum interval between trains dropping from every six minutes to every four. There's no guarantee trains will actually run this frequently, there aren't yet enough carriages available, but it'll be great to ride through from Bow to Stratford a bit more reliably.

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