Last night, after another eleven-hour* day in the Fun Palaces office, I came home and did this. Set up my own Fun Palace page.
Ever since we realised that all 11 of the Lambeth Libraries really were going to make Fun Palaces – and as I’m both a Lambeth resident and a writer in this borough – it made sense for me to do something with the fact that I live here. To do something with the fact that I love libraries, that Woolwich Library and Tokoroa Library are where I (a kid from a house of readers who couldn’t afford many books) found comfort and adventure. To do something with my belief that libraries, like gyms, pools, theatres, galleries, arts centres, opera halls, parks, town halls, universities and schools (and any other institution you care to name) could all be Fun Palaces – free, local, innovative, transformative, engaging. Joan Littlewood was born in Lambeth too, so it also makes sense to go via her birthplace (the place, rather than the house, as I’m not sure it’s still there.) It makes sense to put my belief, my certainty, in the value of making locally, in and with community, to the test. To put my feet where my mouth and my heart are.
So – do you want to come with me? My guess is we start at Streatham (or Waterloo) and end at Waterloo (or Streatham). I haven’t worked out the route yet, I’m a slow walker, arthritis in one knee and hip a bit dodgy since chemo years ago, but I’m also hugely excited about this. About a walk that is a sharing. A walk that is a talk that is a gathering. Because I am, at base, in my core, a writer, it also makes sense to make a story as we go.
I have no idea how we’ll do this – bring paper? notebooks? Whatever we do, I want to try to record it, so we can put it online – perhaps on this page – asap after the walk.
If I’m walking alone, that’s fine. If I’m walking with one other person, that’s fine. If I’m walking with two dozen, that’s fine – though we might need to be in little groups so we’re not too greedy with the pavement!
Come with me if you have a Lambeth story to share. Come with me if you have a library story to share. Come for a hop between the Minet and the Carnegie, or come for the lot. Come with me via social media if you’re nowhere near. Come with me from other Fun Palaces by getting in touch during the day, adding your own walk, telling us what you’re doing as we walk our community.
I’ve never done anything like this before. You’re welcome to make it up with me.
*last year we were 9 part-time, this year we are 4, still part-time, and just as much work to do! lucky we get on really well and trust and value each others’ contribution to the whole.