On The Street Where You Live
It's amazing you live in a street for 14 years and you know nothing. Go to the pub and in no time you are transported to a land of promise and achievement. That's our street, Milton Road, in Walthamstow, on the edge of Epping Forest and London. I mean it is so full of amazingly creative people.
Last Thursday it was the Milton Road Resident's Association (MRRA) meet, held at the local pub "Ye Olde Rose and Crown." A lovely pub, great beer and more or less the centre of creative and artistic life in the area. What with a Comedy Club, Jazz, Folk and Theatre Club, it provides all the culture any educated pleb would need.
Unusually the MRRA had an agenda: what to do in 2011!
We hope the first event will be a tree planting. We've given our local council £150 to buy us a tree which we can call our own and love and care for. So far we've bought 4 trees each of which is under planted with seasonal plants. Once the Council tells us when the tree's to arrive we'll organise a tree planting party to help it get a firm grip in Milton Road soil.
We'll be having a Street Spring Clean; hoping to repeat last year's successful event, along with a Plant Sale which last year was surprising lucrative. New this year will be a Garden Party where people in the street will be encouraged to cook ( or buy) one dish to bring to the Party. And later in the year, as the nights draw in, a mega "Cake Off". I am favourite but I must not be complacent. Finally, as 2012 is Olympic year and we're an Olympic borough we've setting up a "committee" to organise a "Milton Road" Street party. How organised is that!
No, I've been distracted away from the main theme of this post. The amazing inhabitants of our road. To be honest, knowing what I now know I feel sorry for every other road in the country. No other road has such a cluster of artistic gems.
Baker Street may have its Sherlock Holmes; Wimbledon Common its Wombles, Paddington Station its bear and Poo Corner its Winnie, but we have an actor living in our street. That's right, an ac..tooor. Not only is he an actor, he's also a playwright; your actual Harold Pinter, Alan Bennett type.
You haven't heard of him? Where have you been? You know Colin Firth, "The King's Speech", Darcy and "Bridget Jones" - he was the one with the reindeer jumper, well it's not quite him. Nor is he one of those other quintessentially English actor that Hollywood roll out any time they want to populate a film set in the Old Country. And he most certainly is not Ricky Gervais; and even if he was we wouldn't admit to it after his disgraceful performance at this year's Golden Globes. Mind you some of his quips were extremely funny - if in pretty bad taste.
No, our actor/playwright is our little secret, possums. We're keeping him under wraps 'til the day he will explode onto the World's stage. Just a little clue - he's written four short plays which the Beeb will be broadcasting later in the new year. So keep an ear cocked.
That fact alone would be enough to divert the hoards away from the zebra crossing in Abbey Road to pound Walthamstow's equivalent of Hollywood Boulevard: we've already got a star - from on top of the municipal Christmas tree. They won't miss it.
But it doesn't end there. We have professional photographers in our street and we did have an artist, until he moved (or did he die?). We have lawyers and TV executives and loads of entrepreneurs.
Our end of the street is known as Happy Valley since it has the highest density of retired people in Walthamstow. But we remain active and healthy - we have to - the doctor's surgery's a mile away up a steep hill.
So there you have it. If you're visiting these shores, do make your way to Milton Road, Walthamstow's answer to Silicon Valley, Tin Pan Alley and Harvard Yard all rolled into one.