Made In Easterhouse: A round up of the week

It's been a fully immersive 10 days in Easterhouse.  Me and Deirdre have mapped walks, made food, met groups and individuals, done field recordings, taken photographs and recorded new songs. Below is a little glimpse into the day-to-day runnings of what we did and a round up of the "party piece" event.  

Tuesday 11th

We met people from the Connect Trust Allotment group.  The allotments are overseen by Mij who took us around and showed us what different groups, families and individuals have been growing. There where a wide range of fruit and vegetables including pumpkins, onions, several varieties of potatoes, beetroot, leeks, apples, cherries and tomatoes.  Mij also showed us around the greenhouse where people are growing red chilli, green chilli, sweet capsicum, tomatoes and Scotch Bonnet chillies. He said "any male visitor that comes to the allotments has to eat a raw chilli", so me having being raised on hot Indian food thought “yeah, no problem”.  I was wrong.  My mouth was well and truly on fire. 

Some of the allotment owners also had yellow canaries in cages in their sheds which where donated to the allotment after their previous owner had passed away. I’ve never been a fan of caged or tanked animals and there was apart of me that wanted to set the little yellow chirpers free. What was interesting though was that when the birds had arrived at the allotment, they where in real bad shape, but were then nursed back to health and are now being taken care of by Mij, Terry and other volunteers.  

Whilst I was recording various bits around the allotment, I was handed a wedge of homemade chocolate cake.  Stacey had made it the night before and gave both Deirdre and I a slice each.  It reminded me of the chocolate cake I used to get at primary school with pink custard.  Proper delicious old-skool recipe! 

Just before we left, Mij gave us a bag of onions and potatoes and we promised that we would return their generosity by making something from the produce and bring back to the allotments.  I spoke to my mum back in Manchester and she gave me her secret recipe for Aloo Pakoreh which consists of thin slices of potatoes, onions and spices bound together with water and Gram flour and then fried.  

Wednesday 12th

Margaret McCormick (Visual Arts Programmer/Engagement officer at Platform) asked us to meet with sound engineer Carolann McMillian and a group of young people at the Glasgow Kelvin College, the building attached to Platform.  It was such a brilliant meeting!  The facilities at the college are amazing and there where several practice rooms with young musicians playing electric and acoustic guitar, singer-songwriters and music producers.  We asked several young people if they would be interested in performing at an informal "party piece" sharing that we where putting together the following week.  One young person, Jack Bestow, was really keen and we spent most of the evening chatting and listening to his music and hearing stories of his life experience. it was truly wonderful to hear a young person speak so honestly, confidently and openly. We arranged to meet the following week to record three of his songs. 

Thursday 13th

In early Spring I had come up to Easterhouse to do some field recordings and take some macro images from around Easterhouse.  I came away from the trip with lots of images, field recordings of the dawn chorus and also hydrophone recordings of unidentifiable electrical hums, pops and clicks in Auchinlea Pond, near Proven Hall.  Since making those recordings, I was excited about getting back to Easterhouse and going to the lochs and ponds to capture more sounds.  What I hadn't taken into consideration was that we are now in Autumn.  Back in Spring it felt like animals and insects where out and about and very audible whereas now it feels more like animals and insects are retreating or flying off for the winter. It was really frustrating because I went on a two hour walk around Bishop Loch and didn't capture what I hoped I would.  This was also the same case at Auchinlea Pond.  It bought home a few things in my mind about my lack of knowledge of wildlife, the environment and seasonal changes.  It is certainly a steep learning curve with the huge feeling that there is always so much to learn.

Friday 14th

Me and Deirdre went to a cake sale at the Wellhouse Housing Association.  Deidre donated a sponge cake she had made using golden raspberries from the allotment.  As well as Deirdre’s cake there where also fairy cakes, coconut cake, carrot cake, shortbread biscuits, cupcakes, scones and a Malteser cake which was raffled and won by a small child! All in all, they raised over £100 in less than an hour! Well done everyone! 

Sunday 16th

Epic walk day! Deirdre and I walked from the East End of Glasgow to Easterhouse. In the 1960’s a lot of people had moved from Denistoun to Easterhouse for reasons that included better housing and living conditions. We wanted to experience the topography of Glasgow and so we mapped the walk using a Garmin Forerunner 920 XT GPS watch.  The watch gave us data including a map of the distance we had travelled and information in graphical form such as cadence and elevation. We wanted to combine micro observations along with the data to create to create a kind of visual diary of the walk.  In total we walked about 15 miles.

Monday 17th

Recorded Jack Bestow at Platform.  Jack wrote three tunes and he very clearly directed and produced the session.  

Tuesday 18th

Deirdre and I made Aloo Pakoreh and took them to the Wellhouse Housing Association.  Deirdre also made spicy tomato and apple chutney.  She used apples, onions and tomatoes from the allotment and had eight people joining in with the preparations.  The atmosphere in the cafe was really lively, I was gutted that I didn't get to stay for the eating session, as I had to finish off the recordings, but I heard later that everyone enjoyed the Pakoreh and chutneys! A truly "Made in Easterhouse" experience. 

Wednesday 19th

Every group we had worked with over the 10 days, was asked if they would come and share something of their work and/experience of the Made In Easterhouse project.  It was an informal night and anyone could get up and do a part piece “turn”.  It was brilliant! Deirdre introduced the evening and told everyone about her wider Made In Easterhouse work.  I shared the micro images and field recordings and Jack did three songs, which blew everyone away! Jim from the Writer's Group did three poems and Joey gave an amazing talk about the history of Easterhouse and local legend Freddy Anderson.  Performers on the night also included young people from Glasgow Kelvin College; Mollie and Eliie, Toni, Louis and Cooper .  There was also photography by Colin Tennant and poetry by Susan Milligan.   

It was great to have different generations all performing and sharing side-by-side with a genuine appreciation of each others craft and life experience. There is a lot of brilliant work being made in Easterhouse.  In this short time I have spent here, I have witnessed a strong energy amongst the people who live in Easterhouse and the organisations and businesses that surround it.  It’s been wonderful listening to the conversations of people who left Easterhouse and came back and feel that it is a transformed place with great potential for the next generation. I have heard the most wonderful dawn chorus and walked through beautiful woods and seen a whole manner of wildlife.  It’s been brilliant collaborating with Deirdre and exploring craft, sound, music photography and of course, food!