Up the Line - Remembrance

We first heard about Up the Line a couple of months ago, when John McKiernan emailed us with his outline proposal - asking what we thought of it. It sounded amazing, but an almost ridiculously ambitious project to try and pull together with virtually no money. And that was before we realised he was planning to do it this year - rather than next - giving himself only weeks to pull it off.

What followed was a flurry of activity that demonstrates John's energy and tenacity and the talent that can be found locally. The event that finally took place was far more wonderful than we'd been able to imagine it.

For those unable to attend, here are some pictures from Up the Line:

All pictures taken by Kirsty Leah Cole Copyright 2009.

Here's a message from John himself:

It was a proud night for Brockley and Ladywell with hundreds braving the rain to walk through the cemeteries. The children's lanterns were beautiful and everyone appeared to have had a wonderful and memorable experience.

Hairy at the beginning as the rain all afternoon caused a lot of problems and an amusing phone call to B and Q in Greenwich asking after 4 gazebos in November? The lady at the store thought it was a crank call.

Over 60 people worked hard for free over the day to get the event up and running. There was a 10 minute delay at the start but we got the hitches sorted out and then event went smoothly. The local safer neighbourhood Police team looked fantastic in their full uniforms and the Lewisham cemetery team worked very hard all day, evening and after to ensure the site was safe and clean. Colin Burgess in charge of the cemetery team was instrumental throughout insuring the event could be held.

The Rivoli was it's normal wonderful self and a chance for many people to actually see it for the first time.

Thanks very much to all involved - there is already talk of a bigger event next year. If there is to be one it will need to be funded first.


Anonymous said...

I wonder If anybody took film,which could be posted on Youtube ?

Tamsin said...

Don't necessarily need to go bigger, surely. More people attending would change its nature. I would urge keeping things at the current level, just learning from this year to avoid the panics.

Unknown said...

Well done to John and everyone involved. It was a great to have the opportunity to remember in such poignant and beautiful surrounds....

Anonymous said...

I agree Tamsin,making It bigger would take away what It actually represents,Dont want It turned Into an all singing all dancing Circus.

Anonymous said...

Yeah lets keep remembrance to a privileged few. Much more important that the we can read some poetry in comfort than the wider community participate in showing respect to and learning about the sacrifices made...

Chris said...

Congratulations to everyone involved - the evening was a real testament to Brockley's own brand of community spirit. I was enthusiastically relaying the evening to my grandfather (WWII vet) - but try explaining the relevance of contemporary dance to remembrance day celebrations to an 85-year-old!

Tressilliana said...

Given it was free, and open to anyone who saw the posters on the railing, how can you describe the people who attended as a privileged few?

Pity to have sniping on this thread. I wasn't there but it sounded like a great event. Well done, John.

Anonymous said...

Anon 15.22

Would you rather they sold t-shirts and pop corn,There's no reason other boroughs cant do the same thing.

PS Well done John.

Tamsin said...

Keep it as it is for those who like it as it is. As Tressiliana points out, a free event publicised by posters is something that anyone can take or leave - privilege does not come into it.
On the matter of the pop-corn comment, I would personally suggest not bothering with refreshments at all next time. People should be able to last a couple of hours without consuming - or if they can't bring a flask. I passed by quite rapidly but found the offers being made and the orders being placed a distraction from the violin in the chapel.
One memorably good factor about the Artichoke production of the little girl and the elephant in Central London a couple of years ago was the entire absence of street trading anf food / drink stalls,

Anonymous said...

"Anon 15.22

Would you rather they sold t-shirts and pop corn,There's no reason other boroughs cant do the same thing."

No, I loved the event. I just dont know why anyone would want others excluded from experiencing it and to negate plans for its expansion.

Tamsin said...

Next time the delay and bottleneck at the beginning can be smoothed out and - if you are not trying to do any catering - there is capacity for four times (I would think) as many people to be moving through, without affecting the atmosphere and ambiance which is what it is all about. And it will probably grow in that way naturally - word of mouth from those who went this year. Just don't make what is being presented any bigger, brighter, louder or the nature of the event changes.

It was a totally brilliant conceit, carried through brilliantly despite, I gather, the inevitable regulation and red tape. And deserves to become an annual event. Not my ward but I would have thought the necessary funding for publicity, insurance, St. John's Ambulance attendance and equipment hire could be sourced from the Ward Localities Fund. Keep it that the performers give their talent for free.

Anonymous said...

A huge thank you to John and Moira for all their hard work once again for the community.
Tamsin - I think you'll find that the many of the points you nit pick about were changes made as a result of the rain. I think the phrase being dammed by faint praise comes to mind!

Tamsin said...

Sorry - I didn't think I was nit-picking. My comments were intended as no more than a personal take on how it went put forward with constructive intent to be factored in (or not) when planning next year. And I don't think I was damming with faint praise - "brilliant", "brilliantly", "truly moving", etc.

Isabel said...

OK guys, moving switftly on! We all agree it was a great event, whatever next year may or may not look like. I noticed lots of people with cameras taking pictures. We already have some excellent images from Kirsty, but we could always do with more, so if you have some tasty images please forward them to John - it will help us to get it right for next year, whatever we end up doing!

John Moonbow said...

Hello everyone,

If we want to get funding for any future Brockley events, incl Brockley Max, we need feedback, comments, etc on the Remembrance event. Negative or positive feel free to say what you like, but it is important that Lewisham knows that the community are interested in local events.


John Up the Line

Photos and film to follow v.soon

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

OK feedback you shall have.

Generally enjoyed the evening drizzle notwith standing but here's a couple of suggestions for the future.

I got caught in the entrance bottlenck. I suggest that any future choreography be located in the centre, near the chapel as a climax for people entering from either end.

I bypassed this as I wanted to contemlate on my own rather than in a big throng.

As a result when I cane upon the readers I was met either by silence or "I am just wating for enough people to arrive before I start." Only one reader - a Canadian Lady seemed prepared to read just for me.

I would prefer the readers to simply read continuously as I found hearing part threads of verse often more poiniant than the whole poem.

Good luck for future events.

Unknown said...

As an Aussie living in Brockley, I was very surprised to find Australian WW1 soldiers buried in the cemetery. I was even more surprised and to find an Australian poet giving a beautiful reading beside their graves.

This made the night more moving for me than I could have expected. Thanks!

John Up The Line said...

Thnaks for these - please keep them coming as it is all positive.

Unknown said...

Hi everyone, we are local press who covered the event here:


Thought it was a wonderful tribute. Thanks and well done John.

John Moonbow said...

Photos can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=16430577@N02&q=remembrance+2009&m=text

Tamsin said...

A different war and the home front, but on Wednesday 25th November (65 years to the day) there is a plaque being unveiled in comemmoration of the V2 incident in Woolworths (now Iceland) on the New Cross Road.

Not being widely advertised (busy road - limited pavement space).

John Moonbow Jakes said...

Wonderful news and about time!
This was the site of the first Moonbow Jakes (opened 1998). My place was the old haberdashers, which was next door to Woolworths (Iceland and the Library). A delivery of saucepans arrived that fateful morning making it a particularly busy day with ‘an air of excitement’ was how an elderly New Cross resident described it to me. There was a queue around the block. Saucepans had become a luxury. The carnage was unbelievable with a passing bus having the paint stripped clean off by the force of the explosion. The roll call of the dead is still very upsetting now. This was the most indiscriminate of acts and I have always believed everyone should know what happened on that day of terrorism. It is an awful example of what man will do when on the retreat.

What time is the unveiling Tamsin?

Tamsin said...

Sorry - didn't say. 2.30. There is, though, already a commemorative plaque on the site, so I am not sure why they want a second one (unless it is just a little ceremony re-unveiling the existing one). We will see.

Tamsin said...

Just heard that there is going to be a Service of Rememberance beforehand in St. James, Hatcham.

Church opens at 12.15. Commemmoration of the bomb falling at 12.33. Service begins at 12.45.

Survivors and children from St. James school will be present.

The poster says the plaque unveiling is at 2 (not 2.30 as I had previously said).

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