John Grieve: Alternative Newham cont.    
 Alternative Newham cont.4 comments
21 Aug 2013 @ 12:36, by John Grieve

In the Autumn of 1979 Derek Smith and Gill Hay opened a vegetarian cafe and bookshop at 54 West Ham Lane called the Whole Thing. It soon became the focus and hub of the alternative movement. Derek Smith was a writer and had done plays for Soapbox. Gill had been on the staff of East. I remember her asking me to give her a lesson in double-entry book-keeping which was a subject I had been studying for my job.

On my way to one of Matt and Jenny's parties on New Year's Eve 1978 I slipped and broke my leg on the ice. I was out of action for a long while and spent my time studying philosophy. When I recovered I started going to to the newly-opened Whole Thing and started a Philosophy Discussion Group, held there on a Friday evening. One of the people who joined the group was Brenda, from Essex, and she and I soon got together and were to be a couple for the next 5 years.
The discussion group was led by me a bit dogmatically from a Marxist perspective, but we were all learning together and there were other strands and voices. Before becoming The Whole Thing the shop had been run by a Sufi organisation and some of their people joined the group and influenced our debates.
About this time I became the treasurer of a housing Co-op, Autonomous, and moved in to a short life house. Brenda and I lived there for a while and took part in the communal life of the co-op.
By now I had a job selling motor-cycle insurance in Stratford which I eventually left in order to write a book called Civilization and Alienation which I published at the beginning of 1981.

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4 Mar 2016 @ 00:45 by linying @ : Ete  

6 Jul 2016 @ 03:23 by king king @ : king  

21 Sep 2016 @ 17:05 by Mike Dixon @ : As top previous e-mail

We have a lot in common, I knew quite a few of the Soapbox crowd, Derek came later after I left London, but I met him a couple of times, but I kept in touch with Matt and Jenny, stayed with them on return journeys to London over the years, then got some strange letters off Jenny and flet I was n't welcome to see them for osme years, I heard hteir daughter Natalie had had a basd time with health and and partner issues.

Mike dixon  

26 Sep 2016 @ 18:31 by johnjoseph : soapbox
thanks for your comments. They were good times. I really believe that someone should write a memoir of Matt Matthews and the part Soapbox and East played in Newham at that time. I've done my bit. I look forward to hearing your views in greater detail. John  

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