Saturday, December 18, 2021

News From Nowhere Club: 2022 Programme

 NEWS FROM NOWHERE CLUB  Patron: Peter Hennessy

Founded in 1996, the club challenges the commercialisation and isolation of modern life and meets monthly on Saturdays. 

‘Fellowship is heaven and the lack of fellowship is hell. Fellowship is life and the lack of fellowship is death’. William Morris

The club is a real beacon of light.’    Peter Cormack, former Keeper, William Morris Gallery


St John’s Church Hall, next to the church opposite Matalan, 

High Road, Leytonstone, London E11 1HH

Free entry. Donations/Raffle/Voluntary Membership £5pa 

7.30pm Buffet (please bring an item if you can: vegetarian or vegan only.) 

No entry before 7.30pm please. 

8.00pm Talk and discussion till about 10pm

Leytonstone tube, exit left, two minute walk / Overground: Leytonstone High Road, turn left, ten minute walk   / Buses 66, 145, 257, W13, W14, W15, W19 / Disabled access / car park in front of church / bikes can be brought in / Quiet children welcome / You can phone to confirm the talk will be as shown / Open to all; no booking, just turn up 

We are on Facebook    Twitter @Nowhere_Club / Enquiries 0208 555 5248 / Email: / Web: / Talks are recorded and put on our website

Saturday 8th January 2022

The labour of Sisyphus: Can the Labour Party ever be a vehicle for socialism?  Speaker: Richard Price

Richard Price has been active in socialist politics since the mid-1970s. He was a trade union activist for thirty years and is an honorary life member of the PCS union. During that period, he has published over five hundred articles. Over the last fifteen years he has mainly written for the Labour Briefing Co-operative, and is currently working on a book covering the social and political history of Leyton from 1851-1951. He is Political Education Officer of Leyton and Wanstead Constituency Labour Party.

Saturday 12th February 2022 

Alfred Hitchcock Presents…Friends of Alfred  Speakers: Friends of Alfred Group 

Three new illustrated talks from Friends of Alfred, a group dedicated to promoting and preserving the legacy of Alfred Hitchcock in his hometown of Leytonstone. The hugely popular television programme Alfred Hitchcock Presents ran from 1955 to 1965 in parallel to the most acclaimed period of Hitchcock’s film-directing career. Filmmaker Dominic Stinton traces the story of the Alfred Hitchcock Presents show and how it influenced Hitchcock’s public persona, his relationship with collaborators such as actress Vera Miles and his filmic output, culminating in his greatest critical and commercial success: Psycho. Throughout his long career, Alfred Hitchcock engaged with Freudian themes in his films, none more so than in his celebrated late trio of psychological thrillers: Psycho, Vertigo and Marnie. In The Convergence of Psycho, Vertigo and Marnie: You Freud, Me Jane?, artist Rebecca Asghar takes a closer look at these three key Hitchcock films, examining Freudian motifs such as The Mother, The Uncanny, The House, The Male Gaze and Voyeurism. Finally, in Psycho at 60, guest speaker local historian Gary Lewis tells the story of Hitchcock's best known film, its conception, casting, influences and aftermath.

Saturday 12th March 2022

Hackney Downs: The School that Dared to Fight and Didn’t Deserve to Die

Speakers: Betty Hales and Jeff Davies, the last Head and Deputy Head of Hackney Downs School

In July 1995, Hackney Downs School won a prolonged battle to stay open, against a corrupt, incompetent Local Education Authority, convincing the full council to vote against the recommendation of its own Chief Education Officer: an amazing victory, yet just ten days later it was taken over by the East London Education Association, a quango set up by the then failing Tory government, desperate to put the blame for all social ills on anyone but itself.  The school was closed with unseemly haste & callous cruelty to pupils, parents & staff. This is a story of loyalty and passion against injustice which set the scene for the negative blame culture of bureaucracy, target setting & over-testing that has plagued education for the past 25 years.  The book by Betty, Jeff, Sally Tomlinson and Maureen O’Connor describes what happened: Hackney Downs: The School that Dared to Fight. 

Saturday April 9th 2022

Muse from Nowhere: The Magic of ELLSO Speaker: Chris Shurety MBE

What would constitute a music-making utopia?  And if such a thing could be described, at least in part, how could it arise? And once established, how would it survive and, indeed, thrive? Chris Shurety, founding member of the East London Late Starters Orchestra, will describe how this ‘open door’ initiative came about and the vision and practice that has maintained its course and served as a beacon for others who have themselves established community-based music-making projects based on similar principles. And he asks, is there anything such organisations can share with those tackling wider cultural, social and political issues? ELLSO has meant an enormous amount to many hundreds of East Enders.  Chris, an East London resident, is now Director of CoMA, Contemporary Music for All.

Saturday 14th May 2022

J B Priestley: A Good Companion?  Speaker: Kevin Davey 

Priestley, distinguished novelist, playwright (some fascinating ‘time’ plays), screenwriter, essayist, influential broadcaster in 1940 and founding member of CND, deserves huge celebration. ‘He flipped and flopped over the question of European unity in a way very familiar to us all today. He was also a libertarian socialist, with little time for top down state intervention, and a populist who would recoil from those claiming that title in our time.’ Kevin is the author of Radio Joan (2020), an encounter with an elderly former Blackshirt and lover of William Joyce; and Playing Possum (2017) in which T S Eliot is tracked through Kent in the 1920s and today. He was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize in 2017. Tonight includes a reading from They Came to a City, a utopian play by Priestley, by members of the Leytonstone Library Playreading Group.

Saturday 11th June 2022 

Terraformed Speaker: Joy White 

‘Forty years of neoliberalism on either side of the Atlantic have embedded nihilistic, consumerist values as though that’s the only way for society to move forward. In this landscape, Black lives have been rendered as troublesome, perceived as having little value. Young people’s lives are increasingly informed by what it means to be poor in an affluent world, of feeling trapped and stuck in a system that appears to offer few routes out, on, or up. Terraformed is my attempt to connect the dots, locate the struggles, the wins and the losses of young Black lives within a structural, institutional and historical context.  In the UK, simmering below the surface of luxury new builds and technological advance, the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, haves and have nots, is revealed via the sonic landscape, rising levels of violence and increasingly punitive measures to contain it.  I will discuss the process of writing Terraformed; a ‘messy ethnography’ that uses a framework of hyper-local demarcation to analyse the impact of austerity, neoliberalism and racism in a specific neighbourhood [part of Forest Gate.]  While there’s little doubt that young Black lives are lived with and through levels of disadvantage, we can’t underestimate the hope that comes from creativity in all its forms. I therefore consider how hope for the future & a better world isn’t just desirable: it is essential to our survival.’ Joy’s book will be on sale tonight.

Saturday 9th July 2022  *** Vi Gostling Memorial Lecture ***

The Overlooked Palestinians  Speaker: Andy Simons 

Although the exiled Palestinian diaspora is worldwide, most of the refugees are in a dozen camps throughout Lebanon, a failing state like no other.  This talk situates these Palestinians caught in this dysfunctional country. Andy, retired British Library curator, is the DJ of Palestinian history. While not a historian, he helps researchers get the materials they seek.   He has worked in African-American archives and presented jazz on FM radio in Chicago and New Orleans. 

Saturday 13th August 2022

Quirky Songs with Humour and Mischief / Punchy Poetry: Life in Anglo-Saxon England 

Speakers/Performers: Kath Tait and Andrew Rea  

Tonight features two very talented, original performers. Kath, a singer songwriter from New Zealand, lives in London and writes about her life as a carer, hippy, itinerant bard and wholefood freak. Described as  ‘wonky and eccentric’, she’s an empathetic, intelligent lyricist who has performed at folk music and poetry venues from Dunedin to Edinburgh with her outrageous fib-telling, wacky introductions and songs combining charm and insight with melodic guitar/vocals.  Andrew, retired architect and pagan poet, is well known for impassioned performances. He investigates the lives and beliefs of the common people in Anglo-Saxon England and will reveal what we know of elves in those times and how they changed in later Saxon times, with reference to towns named after them, spells and charms referenced to them, as well as words and names based on them. His talk will be enlivened with his delightful poems. 

Saturday 10thh September 2022

Food is … More Than What You Eat!  Speaker: Leslie Barson

Most of us don’t know where our food comes from. This well suits 'Big Food', the corporate industrial producers and retailers.  We need to reclaim our food systems by taking back control in our own communities: eating seasonally, collecting seed, producing more locally, building fair economic relationships with farmers and food producers locally and abroad. It requires us to embrace agroecology and rethink our relationship with food whilst challenging land use and corporate power. We have to change what we eat, where, how and who we get it from, and organise ourselves to create new food systems. 

Saturday 8th October 2022  

‘We Live and Breathe Film’:  SANDS Films Studio  Speaker:  Olivier Stockman

SANDS Films Studio must be unique in the world. Within its c18th listed building in Rotherhithe, it has, since 1975, housed an international period costume workshop, a weekly film club (free, donations invited), film-making studio for hire, music performances, book launches, political debates, theatre productions, such as the anti-war The Good Soldier Schwejk, and made its own films featuring top actors. The Rotherhithe Picture Research Library (non-digital) is, as an educational trust, open to all at no cost. Every inch of the substantial interior is full of colour and interest. SANDS is committed to the non-commercial provision of the best in film and performance. Olivier, one of its directors, who has worked there since 1980, will tell us what it’s like to be closely involved, and show excerpts of some of their productions and events.

Saturday 12th November 2022 

Brightening from the East  Speaker: Ken Worpole

In March 1943 a group of radical Christian pacifists took possession of a vacant farm in Frating, a hamlet on the Essex Tendring Peninsula. There they established a working community, inspired by their association with The Adelphi journal, where D H Lawrence, John Middleton Murry, Vera Brittain, Iris Murdoch, George Orwell and others shared ideas for the future with European radical intellectuals and philosophers such as Nikolai Berdyaev, Martin Buber and Simone Weil. In his talk, Brightening from the East, based on his new book, No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen, writer and social historian Ken Worpole reconstructs a ‘lost’ history of Frating: a kaleidoscopic history of a farm during its eleven year occupation, and an enquiry into the passionate religious and political ideals of the back-to-the-land movement in wartime and post-war rural Essex, a county with a long tradition of alternative settlements. Ken is the author of books on architecture, landscape and social history from a radical perspective. The Independent described him as ‘One of the shrewdest and sharpest observers of the English social landscape,’ and the New Statesman wrote of his new book, ‘Worpole is a literary original, a social and architectural historian whose books combine the Orwellian ideal of common decency with understated erudition.’ 

Saturday 10th December 2022 

Losing control of the school system in England in 2022  Speaker: Carl Parsons 

How to Dismantle the English State Education System in 10 Easy Steps (Edwards & Parsons, 2020), a satirical account of the commercialising of English schools, argues that there are strategies for passing responsibility from LEAs to independent Multi Academy Trusts which will have and are having negative effects. The ten steps: 1 Embrace the 3rd Way. 2 Rubbish LAs. 3 Cut LA budgets and broadcast that 4 Schools were/are failing. 5 Standards are what count (whatever they are). 6 Screw the vocational curriculum. 7 Pay top executives highly (as in private sector). 8 Outsource contracts for support services to friends/relatives. 9 Minimal national oversight by government agencies. 10 Forget utterly democracy and local responsibility for schools. This is edubusiness pressing forward, ever expanding as neoliberal modernity requires. Ways to resist have to be seen in the wider context of what services and agencies we think it proper for the state to control: health, transport, prisons, social care. We seek the key to revealing all the ills of privatisation across the education sector in England (not Scotland/Wales/NI) and the benefits of a national, democratically controlled service, locally managed, inclusive and responsive.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Dinah Murray, North London activist, campaigner around autism: May 1946 - July 2021

Guardian obituary by Penny Warren:    

Dinah's own website:

In it she describes herself as 'a human rights campaigner in the realm of learning disabilities as well as autism. Implications extend well beyond autism to an egalitarian understanding of humans of every sort.'

~Janine Booth  

A poem by Dinah, some advice to the young:

Prefer the grimmest truth to glittering fake
Forget it! No-one else thinks so.
Exclusively what pleases you.
Unless it's turned to deeds by effort spent.
If something's to be done, then do it now
Why not go off and have a little treat?

Dinah was keen to leave a better world for future generations. She presented, with Janine Booth, on Marxism and Autism, followed all the news about Universal Basic Income, and participated in climate actions. Dinah was a fervent proponent of technology, working on proposals to develop software to have on tablets that could be distributed to Autists in care so that they can communicate outside and raise any issue affecting their care. Dinah often wrote letters to compliment or complain so that organizations could improve. Of course, Dinah was also very supportive of Autistic artists and Autistic Pride events; she regularly attended the Hyde Park Autistic Pride picnics and proudly sported a homemade "weird pride" badge as well as her "productive irritant" one.

Since realising I was part of the autism world some fifteen years ago, I have met many inspiring, clever, and kind autistic people – but none quite as inspiring, clever, and kind as Dinah Murray. A warm and cultured friend, Dinah would insist on serious, political conversations taking place over a delicious lunch or a pleasant walk. We presented alongside each other on several occasions, on capitalism, socialism, Marxism, autism, and neurodiversity. The general pattern was that I would give a flashy slideshow, then Dinah would follow up with some softly-spoken, brilliant insights. She knew very well that academic efforts alone would not liberate autistic people, so was active in campaigns and political initiatives to fight injustice and improve autistic lives, including attending the launch of Neurodivergent Labour in 2019 and support its work since then. Dinah was thoroughly non-judgemental and always encouraging. When the history of how we won autistic liberation is written, Dr. Dinah Murray's name will feature prominently.



Ask 'Is that so?' of every claim you make

If you imagine you're the centre of the show,

Control the urge to say and see and do

Don't laud the beauty of a good intent,

Don't say, Oh Yes it must be done, and mop your brow.

And now you've made these sentiments so neat,


Dinah was active in the High Holloway Against the Poll Tax group in the early 1990s, making their banner and attending demonstrations. In the mid-1990s she became a great supporter of the McLibel Support Campaign, and often looked after my young son so that I could focus on my work as a defendant during the long trial.

- Dave Morris

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

New Spycops podcast

 A previous post on this blog profiled several radical history podcasts which may be of interest. 

To these we can now add the excellent #SpyCopsPod, with weekly instalments that have mainly focussed on the proceedings of the Undercover Policing Inquiry. All the episodes I have listened to (there are seven so far) have been excellent "on the ground" summaries of what is happening at the inquiry - as well as fascinating insights into UK radical movements of the 1960s onwards and police surveillance of them.

Contributors to the podcast include non-state core participants in the inquiry (i.e. activists who were spied on) alongside members of Campaign Opposing Police Surveillance and the Undercover Research Group.

You can find the podcast free on all the usual platforms - and there are links and more information here:

Exhibition: War Inna Babylon - The Community's Struggle for Truths and Rights


Institute of Contemporary Arts: 6 July – 26 September 2021


Photograph: Robert Croma


While War Inna Babylon was originally scheduled to open in May 2020 – the delay due to Covid-19 – has inadvertently made this the most timely exhibition it could possibly be.


In light of events over the past year, that have shown how little value is placed on Black lives – the Covid-19 Public Health England Review, BLM demonstrations, the Sewell washout, the increased use of police violence, and stop and search procedures against members of the Black community – we view this as the perfect time to focus on grassroots activism in Black frontline communities across the UK; which have been at the forefront of resisting state oppression and creating unfounded change for racial justice since the 1970s.

– Stafford Scott, co-Founder of Tottenham Rights


The Institute of Contemporary Arts reopens on July 6th with War Inna Babylon: The Community’s Struggle for Truths and Rights, an exhibition curated by London-based racial advocacy and community organisation, Tottenham Rights, Kamara Scott and Rianna Jade Parker.


Ten years on from the UK-wide riots sparked by the police killing of Mark Duggan, this exhibition shines a light on the vast range of collective actions, resistance and grassroots activism undertaken by Black communities across the U.K in response to over seven decades of societal and institutional racism. 


Using the ‘symbolic location’ of Tottenham, a neighbourhood that has received much attention in recent years due to its history of racial conflicts and heavy-handed policing; this exhibition combines archival material, documentary photography, film and state-of-the art 3D technology to ‘act as a window to the past and as a mirror for our present-day social climate’.  


War Inna Babylon will chronicle the impact of various forms of state violence and institutional racism targeted at Britain’s Black communities since the mass arrival-upon-invitation of West Indian migrants in the late 1940s. 


The exhibition will include original tributes from victims’ families, case studies of the controversial 'sus’ (suspected person) laws and the Gangs’ Matrix and highlights legal developments that have resulted from Black justice campaigns.  


War Inna Babylon will also present a new investigation into the killing of Mark Duggan by Forensic Architecture


The exhibition, the first of its kind to accurately assess the conditions of Black lives across Britain, will be accompanied by an extensive public programme presented both in Tottenham and at the ICA that will include film screenings, community educational groups, talks, cultural events, performances, and a digital presentation focusing on the interrelation between artificial intelligence (AI) and racism. 

Tickets will be available later in June.


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Tuesday 11th May, 7.30pm: Celebration of 30 years of radical ideas and campaigning in Haringey and beyond


Haringey Solidarity Group 

Tuesday May 11th, 7.30-9.30pm - online
A review and celebration of 30 years of radical ideas and campaigning in Haringey and beyond

Introduction/review:  Presentation looking at of some of the activities and struggles the group has been involved in over the 3 decades since the foundation of HSG on May 11th 1991.

Memories/inspiration: Those attending are invited to contribute their memories and reflections, and what lessons and inspiration we have taken from the past

Discussion: Ideas for the future

All former and current HSG supporters are invited to attend and celebrate 30 years of local radical protests, campaigns and movements for a better society that we have been part of or actively supported.  What happened, what was inspiring, what more could have been done, and what needs to be done now and in the future?

Please register: (its free - the zoom link will be sent nearer the date) - 

Please pass this on! 

Note:  We are also planning a face-to-face celebration event in the Hub in Lordship Rec, N17, on Sunday afternoon 27th June - with films, food, stalls and an exhibition. Details to be firmed up.