I’m Off to WOMAD to Forget About Boris; Why Not Watch Tidemill on the BBC While I’m Gone?

24.7.19

A photo from WOMAD 2018 (Photo: Andy Worthington).

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My friends, I’m off to Wiltshire for six days, for the annual WOMAD world music festival in the grounds of Charlton Park in Wiltshire. My wife runs children’s workshops at this very family-friendly festival, and this will be our 18th year of entertaining children with craft activities, soaking up some of the best music from around the world, and hanging out with friends and family backstage and in crew camping.

It will be a relief to get away from London as the fallout from Boris Johnson’s election as Prime Minister by just 92,153 members of the Tory Party continues, to the dismay of everyone vaguely sentient, and if you’re stuck for something to do until I’m back, why not check out ‘ How the Middle Class Ruined Britain’, a BBC2 documentary featuring working class Tory stand-up comedian Geoff Norcott exploring Britain’s class struggle, which was broadcast last night, but is available on iPlayer for the next eleven months.

I worked closely with the producer and director, and spent an interesting day with Geoff focusing on the Save Reginald Save Tidemill campaign in Deptford, particularly focusing on the proposals, by Lewisham Council and Peabody, to demolish Reginald House, a structurally sound block of council flats, as part of their planned redevelopment of the old Tidemill primary school and its former wildlife garden, which myself and others occupied for two months last year until we were violently evicted in October.

Geoff met Diann, one of the residents of Reginald House, and was sympathetic to her concerns, remembering his mum and his upbringing on a council estate in Merton, and the great irony of the programme was that Lewisham Council, alarmed at our involvement, demanded a right to reply, with Cllr. Joe Dromey stepping up to make the case for the demolition, but absolutely failing to win Geoff over — or, I suspect, most of the viewers too. 

Dromey claimed that residents had received written assurances that their rents and conditions won’t change when they’re moved into new properties owned and run by Peabody, but was caught out when Geoff pointed out that these alleged promises weren’t actually legally binding, and that therefore Dromey was actually promising nothing.  

Anyway, do check it out if you can, and please also feel free to catch up on my photo-journalism project ‘The State of London’, in which I post a photo a day — with detailed accompanying text — from the photographic journeys by bike that I’ve been making throughout London’s 120 postcode over the last seven years. 

I’ll see you next week!

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from seven years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, and the trees were cut down on February 27, 2019, the resistance continues.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    My friends, I’m off to WOMAD world music festival until next Monday, to do the children’s workshops we’ve been doing every year since 2002. While I’m gone, why not check out ‘How the Middle Class Ruined Britain’, a really rather good BBC documentary presented by working class Tory stand-up comedian Geoff Norcott, featuring myself and the Save Reginald Save Tidemill campaign.

  2. Tom says...

    Don’t blame you. From what I see, Johnson is a copy of Trump. When many Tories are asked why they support him, they say he’s like that pain-in-the-ass uncle who shows up but people tolerate because, well you know how HE is.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Tom. Yes, there are horrible similarities – largely, it seems to me, involving their dangerous narcissism.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer (The State of London).
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