Most people don’t seem to agree on most things, but surely no one can deny that 2016 has been a funny old year: Brexit, and the subsequent changing of the guard at 10 Downing Street, the rise of Donald Trump in the USA, ongoing conflicts dotted around the globe, England’s performance at Euro 2016, and a slew of celebrity deaths have pockmarked the last twelve months. It is to be hoped that 2017 will have a much fairer complexion.
There was much less fuss and drama at Millman Street Community Centre, although a couple of departures did raise emotions. But overall our members have enjoyed a fair few laughs and a great deal of entertainment. A trawl through the blog reveals a few of the highlights, and is in no way a rehashing of previous reports by a hack too bone idle to pen a proper, detailed summary of the year.
Before the year sorted itself out, January saw Gudrun’s Comedy Improvisation classes gather pace, Getting Fit For The New Year classes at the Centre and news of the Memory Cafe workshop, which has, apparently, now run its course.
February saw the return of The Dixie Ticklers to Millman Street Centre, a trip to the Royal Opera House, the start of Silent Cinema workshops with Isa, poetry readings hosted by Marivi and volunteers from Kings College, and a trip to the Warner Brothers cinema for fishy flick In The Heart Of The Sea as part of the Tea & Talkies series. Pancake Day was on 9th February, but no one seems to celebrate poor old St Pancake nowadays. Alas.
In March, Isa’s Silent Cinema continued with Love Anxiety, there was a trip to New Diorama Theatre near Regents Park to see The Garden, performed by Spare Tyre, a leading participatory arts charity in the UK, and directed by Arti Prasher. And Mrs H and the Singalong Band made another appearance at the Centre.
April saw a performance by Severed Limb, Ukelele and Coffee Mornings with Heather (of the Sugar Sisters, more of whom later), and local kids raised £50 for HCA at St George the Martyr’s Church in Queen Square, attended by several of our members. At the end of the month, Millman Street Community Centre said the fondest of farewells to our manager Sue, after 35 years sterling service at Holborn Community Association.
May saw the All Together Opera singing workshops with the Royal Opera House’s Rebecca, ably accompanied by Ashley on the much-maligned Millman Street piano. They were joined for the final workshop by Charlotte, ahead of her appearance at Glyndebourne. Our members also attended a concert at the Mary Ward Centre. Polly from that same Centre also began a series of workshops tied in with the Sunken Treasures exhibition at the British Museum.
Flaming June saw the beginning of the Euro 2016 Championships. Meanwhile, The Arkansas Drifters entertained our members, who were also invited to a Tea Party at St George the Martyr’s Church, and torrential rain put the mockers on a proposed trip to the Calthorpe Project Gardens. Before the month’s end, England had been beaten by Iceland at Euro 2016. Six months on, Steve is just about getting over it.
To break up the flow of the 2016 Review, the following Slideshow showcases some of the bands who have entertained our members this year:
In July, members and staff attended the annual Queen Square Fair, and once more attended Tea & Talkies at the Warner Brothers cinema, where they saw Brooklyn. The Sunken Treasures exhibition at the British Museum was also attended by some of our members.
August, and our friend Mrs H had raised the moolah required to launch her book and audiobook, See My Friends, voiced by top thesp Toby Jones. Our members enjoyed a blustery day trip to Southend during the month, and, closer to home, another excursion to Eltham Palace in South London. There was also an afternoon out in Lincoln’s Inn Fields.
In September, the Tea & Talkies movie was Florence Foster Jenkins. There was a trip to Regent’s Park in sweltering summer heat (yes, during a British summer). A couple of performances at the Centre by the Connaught Opera Singers provided a sort of soundtrack to the repainting of parts of the Millman Street garden, courtesy of volunteers from the Commissions and Marketing Authority (no, we’d never heard of it, either).
October: There was further repainting by another set of volunteers, this time from Lloyds Bank. Victoria continued her Drama & Movement workshops of a Friday morning. HCA’s Artistic Coordinator, Carmen, began a series of her Crafternoon workshops. Holborn Community Association’s Befriending Scheme Organiser, Kate, ran a stall at University College London’s [UCL] Volunteers’ Fair. There was a Stories & Music workshop, hosted by Emily and Calina. There was also the return of Mrs H and the Singalong Band, in a series of gigs that lasted until Christmas. HCA caretaker Martin’s leaving do is reported to have been anarchic, and there were a few moist eyeballs as we also lost another Older People’s Manager when Richard left after almost seven years at HCA.
In November‘s Tea & Talkies, our members saw Eddie The Eagle at the Warner Brothers cinema. The Mary Ward Centre Players paid a worthy tribute to their late colleague Marlene Cartwright, in a show attended by some of our members. There was a Carol Service at St George The Martyr’s Church at the end of the month, to set the tone for the festive period. Lily and Ken honoured Remembrance Day via a visit to Westminster Abbey.
December saw a cornucopia of Christmas parties, dinners and performances at Millman Street Centre. Mrs H and the Singalong Band, The Daisy Bowlers and The Sugar Sisters all entertained our members in the run-up to the festivities. This month’s Tea & Talkies presentation was Sully. At the time of writing, the year hasn’t ended, so there’s not much in the way of reporting on New Yeat’s Eve. Possibly, someone, somewhere, will celebrate the end of one year and the start of the next. If news of any such activity reaches HCA, rest assured it may be reported in these pages. Hopefully before the end of February.
This reporter has just seen three magpies having a barney in the sky above the Millman Street Centre garden. An omen of things to come, perhaps? Those who believe in such things may read something into it, and if this sort of befeathered bellicosity heralds the start of a Planet Of The Magpies-type subjugation of humanity, then let this reporter be the first sycophant to sell out mankind and attempt to shmooze into the good books of our new avian overlords.
Holborn Community Association would like to thank all of the musicians, singer, artists and other entertainers who have come to Millman Street Centre to delight our members throughout 2016. HCA also thanks its staff and volunteers for their efforts, and of course our members themselves, who often provide heartwarming and informative input into the ativities at the Centre, and on days out.
We look forward to our new manager joining us in January, and wish all the best for 2017 to everyone involved with Millman Street Community Centre. Happy New Year!
For those with the stamina, all the guff about the aforementioned activities can be read about in greater depth by clicking on the appropriate month.
Photos by various staff and volunteers; reports by Notes Smudger