#Word Art with Proper Journalist at Millman Street Centre#Creative


Everyone’s a critic: Ivy scrutinizes Chantal’s wordplay…

Today, Millman Street Community Centre members were again inspired to flex their creative muscles by Chantal Da Silva, our friendly, local, proper journalist from The Independent newspaper.  She was assisted by HCA’s Sarah, who once again took some pretty good photos.

In today’s lesson, Chantal introduced a Word Art theme, based on putting together phrases conjured from random words cut out of newspapers and magazines (but not The Independent, which is of course now only available online).

A similar technique was apparently used by David Bowie to write some of his lyrics in his early days.  Which might explain the origins of his song The Laughing Gnome (but not why it was seen fit to release it).

Ahem.  The result looked kind of like a ransom note, albeit “minus the ransom” as Chantal pointed out.  The exercise is, she said, “Good for creativity; memory, exercise and the brain.  And just good fun,” she added.

Time for the slideshow of Sarah’s decent photos:

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Your HCA reporter – cowed, as ever, in the presence of a real journalist like Chantal- was mortified at the prospect of having to be thoughtful, creative and/or intelligent.  And so he fled, leaving Chantal and Sarah to it.  Only to discover that there was another media professional at the Centre: a photographer (working on a separate project) whose work also reminded the horrid hack of his own inadequacies, although this time as a would-be snapper.  But it didn’t stop the fool making his usual blur-fest:

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But it’s our members who matter most.  What did they think  of Chantal’s latest workshop?

“It was all fun,” Helena enthused.  “Very good!  I like word puzzles.  It’s a bit of fun!”

Ivy also enjoyed herself.  “I like to make up words,” she said.  “And different places; things that I’ve done.  It was really good,” she  said of Chantal’s wordplay exercise.


Holborn Community Association would like to thank Chantal for providing our members with today’s workshop.

Her work can be seen in The Independent (online, remember), and she can be contacted via: chantal.dasilva@independent.co.uk

Decent photos by Sarah; blurry ones and rambling report: Notes Smudger


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#Active Minds at Millman Street Community Centre


Ring any bells…?

Last Thursday (28th September), Millman Street Community Centre members were once again seen enjoying an Active Minds workshop.  It was hosted by Alice and Burcu, and they were showing our members a good-for-the-memory word game which revolved around words written on wooden blocks.  These were employed to spark memories, associations and creativity, which our members then talked about.

Some of the words used included ‘Knitting’, Taxidermy’ (surprisingly few reminiscences on that one), ‘Music’, and ‘DIY’.  Active Minds have already manufactured a series of colouring books.  David found it “Good for the old nogging”, and Rose “got a good few”, too.  David shared his love of musicians and bands, such as “Elvis, the Beatles, Johnny Cash, and -” – gulp! – “The Bay City Rollers!  It’s fantastic!” he said.


“…with an R-O, double-L, e-r-s…”

Some of the words Rose picked were ‘Walking’, and ‘Writing’, which she chose as a favourite.  “I can write a story; everything,” she said, adding:  “I can draw!”

Tony picked ‘Cricket’ and ‘Bird Watching’, prefering the latter.  He “doesn’t like football,” he said.


Even by this hack’s standards, a poor photo…

Other members were under Burcu’s supervision, including Sue, Shonni and Gloria.  They thanked Alice for the workshop, and, to celebrate, this reporter took some blurry photos which didn’t do justice to the Active Minds project.


The second word was “off” to this reporter…


For more information on Active Minds please contact Alice: alice@active-minds.org

Frightful photos and rambling report: Notes Smudger

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#Auf Weidersehen, Lukas!#Fond Farewell to HCA’s CEO#Thank You!


A CEO’s duties: Lukas cuts his ties with HCA…

Last Thursday (28th September) was the leaving party for Holborn Community Association’s outgoing CEO, Lukas ( Lucas) Lehmann.  After five years at the helm, he is returning to his native Germany, to work as CEO of Street Paper, a kind of German version of The Big Issue.

The party took place at Bedford House, was organised by Saira, with help from catering staff Hannah and Shamin, who put on a lovely spread.  The highlight, of course, being a marvellous cake.

Unusually, this reporter was allowed out of Millman Street Centre to cover the event.  He was introduced to several people by Mairi, who “currently helps with fundraising” after being on the Board of Trustees for ten years or so.  She introduced him to HCA’s new CEO, Christina Meacham (of whom more later).


You wait ages for a CEO and then two turn up at once…

Other guests included Colleen, the Pottery guru from 1A Arts, John Leavitt, who used to chair 1A, and who now helps out with the annual Queen’s Square Fair.  Crispin – Chair of the Board of Trustees – was also much in evidence.

Two former Millman Street Older People’s Services managers, Sue and Richard, also turned up to see Lukas off, as did Hanif, our Befriending Scheme Project Worker and Kate, our Befriending Scheme Organiser.  HCA’s Head of Operations, Paul Crozier, was among the dignitaries, as was Javid, HCA’s new Finance Officer (who’s only been in the role for around a month), ditto Charles, our chief Administrator, and John, HCA’s Caretaker and all-round indispensable fixer-upper.

A couple of Millman Street Community Centre members also made the journey to Bedford House to ensure that Lukas was given the right sort of send-off.

The speeches began when Crispin took the stage, and, as promised, he kept his mercifully brief.

“It’s a fond farewell to Lukas after five years,” he began, remembering to call him Lukas with a ‘k’.  “He has promised to come back for the opening of the new building,” Crispin continued.  “Millman Street funding is on a much more stable footing; Lukas was pleased to get that resolved before leaving,” he added.

“Thank you to Lukas for all he has done, and for taking this organisation forward,” he concluded.

Then the man himself spoke.  “It’s been quite an interesting five years,” Lukas began.  “There’s always something to look forward to at HCA.  It’s a dynamic place, always looking to do something different.  The biggest highlight,” he said of the staff, “Has been working with all of you.  There have been so many different people; so many different partnerships…long may it continue.  Every day there’s something new,” he resumed.  “I’d like to think I’d mostly handled it well,” he added with characteristic modesty.  “Thank you all.  It’s over to Christina now, who’s bound to succeed.”

Lukas is not moving to Germany to take up his new position immediately, confiding that he would work from home in London via the internet for the time being.

He concluded by saying that he hoped to return to HCA for the ribbon cutting when Bedford House re-opens.  “I doubt I’ll be a stranger.”

Lukas then cut the cake, and Saira helped hand slices to the guests, while caretaker John popped the booze open for those with Bachanalian appetites.  Sounds like a cue for a slideshow:

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 Amid the imbibing, your HCA hack sought the thoughts of HCA staff about our departing CEO:

“Lukas has been very supportive, welcoming, warm, and, all in all, a great guy to work with,” said Charles.

Caretaker John said: “I found hima nice guy, polite.  I got on well with him; he’s got time to listen to you.  He shows you respect,” he added.

“Thank you so much, Lukas,” Saira said, “For all your support for the last five years!”

Paul began to wax lyrical about Lukas but was then called away and never got to finish his quote (this hack realised only when reviewing his notes).  No one likes to have words put in their mouth, but, possibly, Paul was going to say: “I’ve never liked Lukas, and I’m glad he’s going!  Good riddance!”

No doubt Paul will, at a later date, either (a) agree that this is what he intended to say, or (b) demand that this reporter make a full apology for such an outlandish assertion.  Time will tell if Paul either (a) has a great sense of humour about such things, or (b) never forgets a slight against him, real or imagined, and always bears a grudge…

Lukas himself revealed that he “Hasn’t really had time to stop and think,” about his departure.  “Probably when I’m on the plane [it will hit me].  It has been enjoyable,” at Holborn Community Association, he added.

“Lukas took his job very seriously,” Crispin said.  “During his time here, the organisation has advanced significantly.”

Quite so.  It won’t quite be the same around HCA without Lukas.  During his last few weeks as CEO, this reporter discovered a few things about him, though of course stopped short of incurring a super-injunction to prevent over-nosiness.  What did emerge was that Lukas, despite his American-accent, is a native of Kiel, in the Schleswig-Holstein region of Germany.  He is a fan of Holstein Kiel FC, currently second in 2 Bundesliga [equivalent of England’s Championship or Second Division in old money].  He himself used to be a goalkeeper and also played basketball – as a power forward – for ASC Götettingen in the German Third Division.  A wrist injury which required surgery put paid to both of those sports, but he also loves martial arts.

Lukas lived in Australia briefly as a nipper, studied for his Masters Degree in Washington, had a spell in the German army, and prior to working at HCA, he was CEO of a Community Trust in the Isle of Gigha in the Scottish Hebrides, and for a Family Support charity in Edinburgh.

“He loves a meeting,” was all that Steve could think of saying when quizzed about Lukas.  Paul was a little more forthcoming, revealing that Lukas is “Deaf in one ear, due to a hiking accident”, in which he fell on a branch sticking out of the ground, which went straight in his ear.  Ouch!

Also according to Paul, Lukas “loves comic books,” and “Led the Bedford House redevelopment project” which has so far raised two thirds of the requisite funding.  [Anyone willing to stump up another £1,000,000 or so to help us out should contact this reporter, c/o his Swiss Bank Account].

Carmen, Millman Street’s Activities Coordinator, was unable to attend Lukas’ leaving do, but later confided: “He’s a big bear!”

If not for Lukas’ departure, there would not have been a cake, and without a cake, this hack would never have realised that his name was Lukas with a ‘k’, rather than Lucas with a ‘c’…


You can’t argue with a cake…


As for the future, HCA’s new CEO Christina’s plans are of course in the early stages.  She intends to get around to all three sites this week to see what’s what.


Christina: HCA’s new CEO…

Christina has been in the CEO game for around twenty years, having ran various branches of MIND, the mental health charity, in Barnet, Hammersmith & Fulham and Tower Hamlets.  She also previously ran Different Strokes, a charity for young people, and also Blackfriars Advice Centre for a year.

Also new to HCA is Chloe, who is the new Media Arts Coordinator at 1A Arts, now that Leslie has returned to Australia.  Chloe has already been to Millman Street Centre, today (4th October) filming and interviewing some of our members for a new project.  We hope to see more of her, and learn more of her project, in the coming weeks.

But for now, another slideshow:

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Holborn Community Association would like to thank Lukas for all of his hard work, leadership, friendliness and patience over the last half-decade.  Naturally, we wish him all the best in his new career, and hope to see him pop into HCA now and again.

Out of reverence to Lukas’ service to HCA, this reporter restrained his tendency toward cliché, and spared you the planned music-themed nonsense featuring Kraftwerk, Die Toten Hosen, Nena (of 99 luftballons fame), Einstürzende Neubauten and other German bands which Lukas never showed any interest in.  There can be few better marks of respect than that.  Instead, here’s a brief pictorial of Lukas’ time at HCA:

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Frightful photos and rotten reporting: Notes Smudger


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#Wallace Collection Visits Millman Street Centre


Frances shows artworks to Ivy

Today, Anita and Frances from the Wallace Collection once again brought copies of some of the artworks for the perusal of Millman Street Community Centre members.  Of course, the snaps of the copies of said artworks taken by HCA’s cack-handed hack don’t really do justice to the magnificent objets d’art, but there you are…

The helmet (below) which the ladies brought along dates from the Tudor period (around 1500AD), and was made for a footsoldier, as opposed to the shining armour of knights.  Soldiers hand-painted such helmets to “make them look fierce”, said Frances.  “It’s very, very rare,” she added.  “This was just for the man in the street; it still has paint on it.”


Footsoldier’s helmet, circa 1500…

Venice: the Piazza San Marco by Richard Parkes Bonnington (1802-28) was also brought along.  Frances explained that, sadly, Bonnington died before he could complete it:


Venice and thumb…

Anita had images of a Mughal Indian dagger, dating from the early 17th Century.  Featuring exquisite workmanship, the dagger was, she said, “Made for a prince”.


Exquisite craftsmanship…


Looking (at) daggers…

Anita was also on hand to explain Napoleon’s Tomb, an 1821 painting by Horace Vernet (1789-1863).  Set on the island of St Helena, where Bony had been exiled, the painting features his familiar hat, placed on the grave.


Napoleon’s Tomb and thumb…

Holborn Community Association would like to thank Anita and Frances from the Wallace Collection for bringing both the images and their knowledge of the artworks for the edification and entertainment of our members.

Badly-taken photos and rotten report: Notes Smudger

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#British Museum Visits Millman Street Centre


Carmen, Fred and a hula skirt: what could go wrong…?

In a surprising turnaround, Last Monday (25th September), Millman Street Community Centre was visited by three ladies from the British Museum, instead of the time-honoured tradition of our members visiting the British Museum.

The ladies – Regan and two assistants – brought with them a treasure trove of artefacts from around the world, including the first chocolate whisk ever invented, shells used in African ceremonies, a wooden slipper, an ancient comb, a hula skirt, an African tribal necklace, a Chinese hat and a Mexican ‘Day of the Dead’ mask.

Our members enjoyed handling the cultural treasures, and there was a fair bit of good-natured larking about, judging by Sarah’s photos.

Ahem.  So what did our members think of the artefacts they were shown on Monday?

“It was interesting,” Ivy said.  Fred agreed.  “It was quite interesting,” he said.  “They have a big collection in the basement,” he added.  “All stuff from years ago.”

Naturally, this reporter is keen that Regan and co return, perhaps bringing some different exhibits.  Maybe from, ooh let’s say, the British Museum’s Beyond Eldorado exhibition of Colombian gold they held back in 2013-14.  Just a thought…

And now? Why, it’s obligatory slideshow time of course:

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Holborn Community Association would like to thank Regan, her assistants and of course the British Museum for bringing some of its artefacts to Millman Street Centre to show our members.

Contact: http://www.britishmuseum.org/about_us/contact.aspx


Your HCA hack’s selfie…

Photos by our treasured Sarah; report by the ancient (but worthless) Notes Smudger


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#Photography Workshops at Millman Street Community Centre


Mulegetta pictured laughing…!

There is a new workshop at Millman Street Community Centre.  It is a Photography Workshop.  It is to be held each Thursday afternoon.  It is run by people from the Mary Ward Centre.  The first workshop was last Thursday (14th September).  Cameras and iPads were used by our members.  Sarah took some photos.  The next Photography Workshop is tomorrow, 21st September.  That is all.  Of the information.  That this reporter.  Was given.


It has been discovered that the lady who runs the Photography Workshop is called Erica.

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Photography has come a long way in its (almost) 200 year history.  The oldest surviving camera photo was created by Nicéphore Niépce (in 1826 or 1827) at Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, France.  It shows parts of the buildings and surrounding countryside of his estate, Le Gras, as seen from a high window:


The first known photo

Photos by Sarah (and, erm, Nicéphore Niépce ; report by the non-photogenic Notes Smudger

Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, Holborn, New Workshop, photography, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

#Bollywood Dancing at Millman Street Community Centre#Fly Me To the Moon


Moving pictures: a blur of dancing…

Today, Millman Street Community Centre saw the latest Bollywood Dancing workshop, courtesy of our friends from Akademi.  Anushka oversaw today’s class.  Margaret, Shonnie, David and several others joined in, dressed up, and enjoyed themselves.  The usual soundtrack of Bollywood classics was presaged by  Fly Me To The Moon by Frank Sinatra.  This reporter has no idea why, but presumes it is a mysterious Bollywood tradition that an ignoramus such as he cannot be expected to comprehend…

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Akademi’s project is part of Camden Council’s Kala and Camden Intergenerational Festival, which runs from 16th to 21st October.

There will be a performance at the Bloomsbury Festival, held between 18th and 22nd October.

The Akademi crew will be conducting workshops each Wednesday between 11am and 12 noon, until 4th October.

Akademi’s Bollywood Dancing workshops are funded by Camden Council and The Young Camden Foundation.
If you are interested in attending further workshops at the Centre, please book on:

020 74052493 (option 2), or Contact Claire at Akademi: claire@akademi.co.uk

Photos and Report by Notes Smudger


Posted in Activities, arts, Atmospheric, Bollywood Dancing, community, Free of Charge, Holborn, Music, Spiritual, Uncategorized, Well-being | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment