Random acts of foolishness – Daquiris in the toilet?

Personally I find it safer to squat when using public toilets. Photo: Clapton Improvement Society

Worlds apart from my new “street friends” are another bunch of yahoo’s…these ones however are a little further up the road in Clapton.

A couple of weeks ago a newly formed group called the Clapton Improvement Society (CIS) announced they would be holding a pop-up liquor bar in the public toilets on Brooksby’s Walk in Clapton. They say ” improving the environment, well-being and education of Clapton and the surrounding area” is their main mission.  Education? How so?

Just to be clear, the lavatory has been closed for two decades – since the demise of the old Chatsworth Market on Chatsworth Road, but if these lot have their way they’d like to turn it into some type of hipster “trendy” hang-out. Hackney Council has other plans – they want to turn it shops and badly designed cubicles flats.  CIS’s  answer was to take it over and clean up.  These are some before photo’s.

They say their aim was to hold pop up events such as drinks, art shows, music even spoken word events from a cubicle. They had plans for a “roof terrace” to hold events on and making the ladies a unisex toilet area, while leaving the gents open for pop-up events.

"Imagine a local wordsmith, sitting here doing a poetry reading" asks the Clapton Improvement Society....and they were serious too. Photo: Clapton Improvement Society.

They cite the new fortnightly market as a reason why Hackney Council should re-open the public toilets….fair play.  They also claim people are urinating and defecting outside units on Chatsworth Road. I say, the type of person who would do that, would wee and poo on the streets regardless.

It appears I’m not the only one who thinks they have more of a self-serving agenda rather than one that benefits the whole community, regardless of their social status, as this comment and others on their website displays

jay thomas says:
May 20, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Why would you want to sit in public toilets and drink?These toilets were built so people dont have to use the streets as urinals.The market needs public toilets,But it seems like there is skullduggery going on,and chatsworth market will never develope for the real locals,who still have to leave the area for their needs.seems all the new locals want is a replica of brdway.sit outside overpriced food and so called eating places staring at the the real locals,and blocking the pavements with buggies/and themselves.A lot of the shops never clean their fronts.shops replicate each others stock,IT’S A SHAMBLE. ……read more comments here

CIS is just one of the many groups popping up in the Clapton  area, all eager to make the most of the new Localism Bill currently making it’s way through Parliament. Somehow they all seem to cross pollinate and in doing so, further individual agendas, especially those pesky white middle class NIMBY’s and neighbourhood warriors, who make it their life’s mission to oppose every council development.

The group is founded by the two who are also known as Hackney Home Made. They rent out stall spaces to its own market in the courtyard of the Book Box on Chatsworth Road on a Sunday and soon to be Saturday market in the grounds of St Johns Church.  Recently they have organized the first Clapton Festival, due to be held next month and I hear there is more to come from them, like an arts trust and a boutique B&B.

It was comforting however to read on Hackney Home Made,  “The profits raised by renting out stalls will be split between the Clapton Festival, the Chatsworth Road Traders’ and Residents’ Association, and the Clapton Improvement Society.” That’s fine, just don’t wax lyric about being in it for the good of everyone.

The toilets? Hackney council wasn’t having any of it. They sent their gulag’s who secured the building with steel shutters.

Read Hackney Hive’s little piece on Clapton’s gentrification.

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