John Grieve: Alternative Newham conclusion    
 Alternative Newham conclusion2 comments
21 Aug 2013 @ 13:04, by John Grieve


Brenda and I went to live in Thamesmead in South East London in March 1982 and our involvement in the alternative world began to decline.I also had a demanding job which took up a lot of my time.

The alternative movement about the same time passed its peak. Margaret Thatcher was in power and one of the destructive things she did was to abolish the GLC (Greater London Council) which lead to alternative organisations like The Whole Thing losing funding. It closed in 1986. Newham Community Housing was also in decline although it survived until 2000.

Incidents from The Whole Thing
1)A community newspaper was produced at The Whole Thing in its Hey Day called the "Gnat".Learning the necessary skills was both exciting and challenging.
2)One day I was in the cafe and saw a woman there called Caroline who I knew from my student days. I hadn't seen her for seven years since we graduated and she was now working for the Social Services Dept of Newham Council.I learnt that she was married to a prominent Trades Unionist. I ran into her from time to time over the next few years.
3)I was reading the Guardian newspaper in the cafe one day and came across an advert for the first micro-computer priced less than a hundred pounds, produced by Sinclair. My brother and I got one and soon developed a great interest in technology and programming.
4) Andrew Martin, the International Chess Master, worked at the same firm in Stratford as me, and he gave a simultaneous display in the Whole Thing which was very popular and got a mention and photo in the Newham Recorder.
5)Entertainment evenings took place at The Whole Thing and it was there that I first saw Benjamin Zephaniah, the Rap Poet,perform. He was in Derek Smith's writing group and went on to become known nationally. Others who also appeared there were John Hegley and Patrik Fitzgerald, the Punk musician,both of whom had worked in Soapbox Theatre.


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