Friday 24 September 2010

Dalston's £63million bus stop sold for £7.50 at public auction.

An auction of Dalston's £63million bus stop, which has been built on The Slab over Dalston Junction station, took place at an OPEN public event on 16.9.10. The event was packed with Dalston residents for an evening which included literature, poetry, music, local news and satire. The politico-cultural soiree was delivered, almost without exception, by performers from our local creative community who live within walking distance of the venue.

If you missed the OPEN event at St Barnabas Church then here is your chance to listen to podcasts of what took place ( go to the OPEN podcast site here).

David Garrard of English Heritage told us how the Grade II* listed St Barnabas church ("the building I should like to be remembered by") was designed by the architect, Charles Herbert Reilly. And how the pre-modernist 1911 brick and concrete Byzantine basilica had been softened by a core of vivid colour and decoration, much of it provided by the Liverpool sculptor Tyson Smith.

St Barnabas Church, Shacklewell Row. Photo courtesy of English Heritage

On the night of the event the church had been lit to stunning effect using Arcola's carbon free hydrogen lighting, which created an atmosphere of intimacy and enchantment.

Event lighting and photos courtesy of Arcola's David Salter.

Also from Arcola Theatre its producer and playwright Leyla Nazli, and Arcola Energy's Dr Ben Todd, told us of the 10 year history of building Arcola's national reputation in Dalston and its public appeal for £150K to help their current move to the Colourworks in Ashwin Street, Dalston.

A recent street party in Ashwin Street in front of the Reeves Printhouse and Colourworks

Antony Gormley, who has donated an artwork for auction, and designer Katharine Hamnett have joined forces with the Arcola Theatre to support its ambitious fund-raising efforts

Also at the event was writer, poet and filmaker Iain Sinclair who read from, and talked about, his latest work - and touched on the world of virtual money, anomally cancellation, the disappearance of £millions from the 2010 Olympic site in clouds of radioactive dust and the make do and mend austerity Olympics of 1948 ( hear him on the OPEN podcast here). The Worship of Mammon by Evelyn de Morgan, 1909. From super-hero to sub-zero, 2009

During the evening we had two sets of music from local musicians The Dulce Tones. They were also joined by the next generation, two local youngsters, for a rendition of The Pink Panther.

Then there was the presentation of the Ceausescue Golden Spoon Award to Mayors Jules Pipe and Boris Johnson (regretably in their absence) by Steve Butters of Capacities Ltd. Winning the most public votes for the least popular development, the Golden Spoon award recognises the overbearing presence of the authorities' bulldozed scheme, Dalston Square. Lord Low of Dalston, OPEN's Patron and local resident, also spoke briefly on behalf of OPEN Dalston members who were presented with a certificate in tribute to their inspirational campaign and vigorous opposition to historic Dalston's obliteration and aspects of its redevelopment (hear their speeches on the OPEN podcast here).

Another highlight of the event was Michael Rosen, broadcaster, poet and former national Children's Laureate, who performed "Regeneration Blues" accompanied by improvised music from The Dulce Tones. You can hear the performance on the OPEN podcast here. It will be broadcast by the BBC later this month. Look out for more poetry and jazz events in Dalston in the future.And finally, to round off the evening, the only bus stop which will be used on The Slab at New Dalston's £63million Transport Interchange, was sold by public auction. Local people heard how the cost of The Slab, to build The Bus Stop on, had risen from £26million to £39 million and is now estimated to cost £63million.

But there was little enthusiasm for the project amongst the auction bidders. The bus-stop was snapped up, for just £7.50, by a Clapton resident who happened to be walking home past the auction venue in Dalston. He heard the auctioneer, Michael Rosen, describe how the 488 route is to be extended from Clapton to Dalston Junction. The 488 is the only bus which will use the new £63million Transport Interchange which has been built on The Slab above the station.
"It'll be really handy for getting the train to Croydon" said the purchaser from Clapton, who preferred to remain anonymous, "but I do agree that a £63million Transport Interchange seems a lot for the public to pay just for my convenience".
(£7.50. It' s a start! Only another £62,999,992.50 to go to pay for The Slab. Ed)

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