Friday 29 September 2017

#266 A mental health charity in south london

Yesterday I caught the overground... that's right, the overground. That's what Londoners call trains. In fact, only specific trains. Certain services that run over the area of the tube map. It's so as not to confuse the routes with the underground. Even though a fair amount of the underground is also above ground. Even though the underground is simply signposted as "trains" in places because that's the word tourists look for. The first time I told a Londoner I was getting a train and he replied "What, the overground?" I looked at him like he was barmy.

Anyway, so I caught the overground, down to Elephant and Castle to meet the press manager of a local mental health charity specialising in creative projects. I'd been looking for a way to feel useful and the opportunity to get feedback on my writing had sealed the deal. I knew nothing about art but as far as I was concerned, that was a minor detail.

CoolTan Arts got its name from the disused sun cream factory in which its founders had squatted until they'd acquired a legitimate residence in Brixton and later on Walworth Road. I got to knew the road intimately as there was nothing to do for the three hours between the interview and the start of my session, so I hiked the length of it down into Camberwell for some lunch and then back up again afterwards.

The crew at CoolTan were friendly and busy. They'd recently moved office from one site on Walworth Road to another and I spent most of my time compiling a list of sites that listed the organisation to notify of the address change. I found out they would have a stall at Walworth festival that coming weekend though, so I offered to head along and cover it with an article.

Walworth festival... So Walworth must be a place as well as a road. Or just a really significant road. A festival celebrating Walworth's culture and history. A road with its own culture? It must be a place. I Googled the festival. "The fourth Walworth summer festival of 2017". Why did this place need four summer festivals? Apparently it would be great if I could make the article search-optimised. I was definitely going to need to do some reading.

1 comment

Running on empty said...

I think it's commendable that you want to help them.