Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Ian Cook

Meeting Ian Cook
Tuesday 20th January 2009

This evening I went dancing in Wimbledon/Putney where I train, my mum came along to watch us tonight. As we left the building a man in his late 30s approached us, and said “My car has broke down, any chance you have a pound?”

Straight away my mum said no as I reached for my purse, he said ok and walked off. The area we dance in, is a rough estate which attracts a lot of youth and alcoholics and drugs. Which I think is shame because he could have been genuine but the area has such a name for its self, that it is hard not to think otherwise. My mum and my dance partner said he was just after money for drink. As we drove off I could not stop thinking about him, I thought even if it was for drink, he must be very desperate to ask for a pound. I could not just drive away so I begged Lee and my mum to turn around and look for him. My mum and lee no me better then anyone and no what I am like. So we drove around for about 5 mins, then I spotted him asking someone else. I said excuse me and he looked really puzzled. I said I feel really bad that we said no, and I want you to take this money, all I had was £3.oo on me, and he looked at me and said “No one has ever done that for me?” And he asked my name and kissed my hand. He told me something I thought was really sad, he said he asked two people and they looked at him like dirt, and one man laughed at him. I thought how rude and horrible that is to treat him like that, ok, he most probably does want it for drink but he was desperate and I think that a little bit of help from a genuine person goes a long way. That £3.00 was just in bottom of my purse,. He told us how he had broke down, which to be honest I do not believe but I felt better in myself for going back and looking for him. I was really taken back to his reaction, he seemed really surprised and touched. He kept saying how no one has ever done that before, which actually made me feel sad for him. He said he was 43 years old, called Ian Cook, a painter a decorator, he was brought up on Wimbledon Common with his father, worked all his life. He asked our manes, kissed me and mum on the hand and said that he would never forget what I done. I was really touched and even my mum and lee said they were pleased we went back.

Community Work

Extra Ideas for Community Based Work

Around my area there is not much available for both the youth and older people to do. From doing a few dance demonstration for different events it has made me realise how my community lacks in social and community based things to do. I would like to be able to provide something for my community, such as afternoons with the elderly or workshops with the youth. I danced for a group of elderly people at my Nan’s church and they really enjoyed it and said that it was nice to know that people of my age are doing something for the older generatation Originally I wanted to go into a school and run a workshop, however I am now thinking of maybe putting on small dance performance for different venues in my area, particularly schools and old peoples homes.

DANCING for others

Dance Demonstration

For those of you who don’t know I am a Latin American dancer. I compete as Pre-champion/amateur dancer at a nation level. Last year I came second in the country at Blackpool. I have been competing for a couple of years and go to a private coach twice a week. I have been asked to do a demonstration for a community event in December 2008. My dancer partner, lee and myself are very keen on doing events like this. We are currently attending community halls, old peoples homes, churches and venues and performing in the spaces. We are doing it a both a experiences and the enjoyment of helping and providing the community with something, of which we do not ask for money or funds. So far we have done four demonstrations, I have noticed that the elderly are particularly grateful as around my area there is alot of homes, which sadly does not cater for entertainment for the elderly.

Fiona and Mary

The best lesson with Mary and Fiona

Mary is 74 years old and was born in 1934, Fiona was 59 years old and born in 1949. Both Mary and Fiona had really interesting lives and told there stories which so much passion. I think they thought that they was boring us but I think I speak for the whole class when I say they engaged and captured the whole class with their stories and memories.
We went around in a circle and introduced ourselves, I noticed that when I said “hello my name is Flick” they asked “What does that stand for? Felicity?” which I find every elderly person does, they are not familiar with nicknames or arbitrations.

The group asked some question to encourage them to talk. Such as “What was you doing around our age of 20/21?”

Mary worked for Scottish Widow which she stated is now a coffee bar, she recalled that the city at that time was a very interesting place to be, (1952)men wore suits and hats and walked with umbrellas. Mary talked about the old King dieing and there being no TV, so the family gathered around the radio to hear the news about the king. Mary also talked about the Royal exchange, watching the test match, she recall it was like a big cricket switch board which people all gathered around. Her mother had died in west ;London and she lived with her father in Fulham.

Fiona also lived in Fulham, she said had a very boring job and wanted to get away so she went to America (Washington State) with a friend. She said that the American people had never heard English people as they never went there. Fiona said that the Americans never went outside where they lived, they never used public transport such as the bus. Fiona talked about post Vietnam war and northern Ireland, at the end she said it was a holiday of a life time.

We then started to look at the props and costumes that Tina had brought in. Mary picked up the 1950’s dress and talked about petit -coats and how light and pretty they were. Recalling fond me memories of making the dresses, and passing them down to her daughter in her teens. Mary talked about visiting the costume museum and seeing one of her dresses in display cabinet and made her feel old. Mary then talked about how the dresses where free and made her feel like a woman, she lastly said that this memory made her feel very youthful again and brought fond memories back.

Mary then picked up a string vest and talked about how unseen it was that her father used to take his shirt off and reveal his string vest. Then the mood changed and she talked about cancer, talking about how in them days people were unaware of cancer and used to get sun burnt through the tops and skin cancer was evident, people got skin cancer but there was no advice or information about it then. In them days people were unaware that smoking was harmful as well, everyone smoked.

Memorable Events

Fiona at the age of 17 went to a Beetles concert, she paid for it from her first job wages. They played at Hammersmith Odeon which is now Hammersmith Apollo. She recall the traffic was so bad as everyone was going to the concert Fiona told us how she remembers standing on the seat and screaming non-stop throughout the concert that she actually could not even hear them. She made a point that they stood on the seats, which in 1967 was unheard off but everyone did. Fiona talked about her passion for music stating “Music was my thing“. Fiona said that Pink Floyd actually played at St. Mary’s University and she came along to watch them.
Mary then followed on and talked about Glastonbury, and about her daughter coming back home with loads of friends, referring to them as the League of Nations as they were all of difference in ethics. She talked fondly about her toilet, that they thought it was like a place compared to wheat they had been using.

Mary talked about Waterloo Station with such love and passion, for her 70th birthday her son meet her under the clock. The reason she has close memories was due to the time she spent at the station during the war, travelling back and fourth. She said “I could write my life around Waterloo Station.”
Memories of FIRST love

Mary told us that her first love was when she was 14 years old, she used to go and play tennis and there was some boys there who used to joke around with her and her friend, The boy used to carry her racket home for her. They developed a close friendship but he had to go away or the Nation Service, she recalls being heat broken. However in 1957 they married and lived together for a year and decided the could not stand each other and in 1964 divorced. The story was told in a very funny manner and the class found her delivery very funny.

Fiona told us about meeting a man in Piccadilly circus, she danced with a man, he feel over and she helped him up. Her friends up and left her and she recall them saying “he looks trust worthy” and they left. She told us a very funny story about his watch, that he had a really big and new watch that she assumed was for a 18th birthday, as in them days a watch was a traditional 18th birthday present, Fiona was 21 and in those days you went out with people of the same age. Anyway he was 22 years old, at the end of the night he said he would talk her home by car, Fiona recalls walking down Regent Street looking for his car as he forgot where it was parked. They dated for 3 years and married. Fiona celebrated her 33 year anniversary in 2008. Which I thought was a really lovely story.

RE-CREATING Fiona’s Story

We got into group and began to devise, the aim was to re-tell either Mary’s or Fiona’s stories. We decided to re-tell Fiona’s story about meeting her first love. I played Fiona, during the lesson I noticed she kept looking at a black and white dress, so I wore the 1960’s dress. We re-crated the club scene and her friends leaving her and looking for the car. We stuck as closely to the story as we could, even adding dancing around the handbags and false eye lashers. We downloaded the beetles and played it whilst performing.

Fiona a and Mary came back and where seated ready to watch the performances. After all the performances they talked about them. They both said they really enjoyed watching what we got from there stories and that they brought back fond and vivid me memories of the past. Fiona said that she was surprised how much we managed to pick up about her and the memory from just by what she aid.
I really enjoyed this lesson and it has made me re-think my placement, originally I wanted to work with teenagers in a school but this had really made me consider working with the older generation for a community based project.

Reminiscence Theatre lesson - Preparation Lesson

We begin preparation for the arrival of our two guests, who are coming to talk and re-call past memories. Tina is going to bring a variety of props and costumes in to the lesson, therefore to encourage the guest to remember and talk about icon moments to them. The costumes will also aid as a mental stimulus which will help our guests to recall past memories. Once they have talked about the past and we have asked questions Mark, Molly and Tina will then take them off somewhere for a drink or tour of the university, and we will have half an hour to try and re-create and perform their past memories and perform them to them. I am really looking forward to doing this exercise, however I am slightly nervous about taking there stories and re-creating them. The most daunting part is that we will be performing them back to them. However I am looking forward to see what they think and feel towards our interpretation of the stories.

Questions to ask our Visiters


Two visiters are coming into our lesson, Mark suggested to prepare some questions to ask them and to research a little bit about past eras, so that we each have something to talk about. I begain writting basic questions down, such as When was you born? or Where was you born? I then started to narrow the questions down, such as What is your earlist memory? or what was the most memorible time in your life si far? First boyfreinds? and the questions seemed to flow more naturally.

I am looking forward to the lesson, I think this will most probally be my favourie lesson. I love listening to peoples ways of life and listening to the differences thay have experienced, compared to myself.