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The Mayor's Office will be announcing the winners of the 'London Borough of Culture' pot next week. Haringey put in a bid - but I can't remember if I ever saw it, or whether it was published at all.

So, does anyone have a copy, or know a man who does?

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Just announced - Waltham Forest and Brent won (with shovel loads of the usual tripe about celebrating young people and diversity, rather than culture's true purpose of celebrating the elite and its received opinion).

That hotbed of culture, Haringey, will have to wait.

Haringey has a rich cultural heritage which permeates throughout the borough. No need for prizes, perhaps.

From the cultural blog we note :

A disused public toilet is being converted into a public house on the Tottenham High Road. Apparently the new owners think they will "turn this site into something completely different from what it was before"!

Chris Arnold (an expert on media and comms and advertising) spotted the opportunity way back but managed to present it badly

And the prize was only £1m , well beneath Haringey's dignity.

Yup, a piddling amount, and this load of cobblers has indeed been well trailed - but the original question remains: has anyone seen Haringey's bid?

Otherwise known as, would anyone like to buy a used culture strategy, guv? Only one previous owner... not a scratch on it...... good little runner... barely bin aht of the garage....

An exhibition, which features images and content from the bidding boroughs, is now open to the public at City Hall. 

This free exhibition will reveal a snapshot of local culture from the 22 bids we received from Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Brent, Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Enfield, Greenwich, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Havering, Hounslow, Islington, Kingston, Lambeth, Lewisham, Merton, Newham, Redbridge, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Please do come and see it and bring your friends! It will be on display until 13 March from 8.30am until 5.30pm, Monday to Friday.

I think there is an element of complacency in this offering, and perhaps a misunderstanding of the point about elitism and culture. After all, Ray Davies and the Crouch End Festival Chorus are among the elite in their fields. And based not-in-Tottenham. Claire may have been rooting, but not actually doing anything constructive. Mind you, nor did I.

Leader's ColumnOctober- November 2017
The Mayor of London is searching for the capital’s first ever
Borough of Culture as he bids to celebrate the creativity and
character that make this one of the world’s great cities.
When the Mayor announced his competition, my first thought was
“call off the search”. Surely nowhere else in London can hold a
torch to the rich variety of culture we enjoy here in Haringey?
The borough that is home to Alexandra Palace, Jacksons Lane Arts
Centre, Hornsey Town Hall, Bernie Grant Arts Centre, the
Chocolate Factory, and no fewer than three arthouse cinemas must
surely be a front runner for the accolade.
And the great venues we enjoy here in Haringey are just the tip of
the iceberg. Events such as Wood Green Open Studios, Crouch End Open Studios and
the Crouch End Festival – the largest grass-roots community festival in the country –
bring thousands of visitors to the borough each year.
We’re home to amateur dramatic organisations such as the Crouch End Players and
community choirs including the Tottenham Community Choir, the New Tottenham
Singers and the world-famous Crouch End Festival Chorus – which has performed
alongside stars including Ray Davies and Noel Gallagher.
In music, we count stars including Adele and Skepta amongst our alumni, whilst our
young musicians recently performed at the Royal Albert Hall. And in Spurs we have a
Premiere League club that epitomises the role of sport in popular culture.
We can be proud to count award-wining young cartoonist Zoom Rockman – whose work
regularly features in the Beano – and arts collective Studio 306 – whose creativity also
supports those with mental health difficulties – amongst our artists, and we have a
growing reputation for creative industries, such as the Fashion Technology Academy and
Tottenham’s Mill Co. Project. Our young people, too, continue to amaze with their talents
and creativity.
And there are many more examples throughout Haringey. I’m proud of the wealth of
creativity and culture in our borough, and of how that strong spirit of culture runs through
our diverse communities. We are a borough where more than 100 different languages are
spoken and where diverse communities celebrate their cultures together – from Jewish
New Year to Eid, and Christmas to Diwali.
All of this is why I’m rooting for Haringey to be London’s first Borough of Culture. I hope
that you will too.

Sometimes I think I'm the only uncultured, entirely non-creative resident of Haringey.

So quite rightly. nobody has offered me a large grant or free/subsidised premises for my "Meanwhile" projects.My performance is guaranteed non-art and my poems have been known to clear a room of Vogons.

What I do have though is the phone number of the great Bagsy's team of interns, spin doctors; interim brand strategists; and miscellaneous hangers-on. They consider it a travesty that Bagsy was not even mentioned in Claire Kober's list.

At 94 years old, Bagsy directs a vast team of voluntary self-unemployed consultants who place his free sculptures across the borough. Only yesterday local photographer and culture adventurer Martin Ball captured an image of this lovingly hand crafted assemblage of Objets Trouvés, ringed in the traditional and time honoured way.

Waltham Forest? "Fiddle-Di-Dee!".
Forster Road N17 on 27th February 2018

Right. Jokes aside, has anyone actually got hold of the Haringey Bid?

I looked on both Haringey's Propaganda site and the GLA website but couldn't see it there.  I noticed too that there were actually "eight winning boroughs". So the process was on the way towards the Dodo Bird Verdict that "all must have prizes". But sadly Koberville wasn't even in the runners-up to the runners-up.

Was Kober's bid as useless as her Leader's Column drivel? Or Wuz We Robbed?

Though to be fair, let's please remember that sitting in the Departure Lounge may not be the most stimulating place. And not somewhere to come up with, or reliably assess inspiring fresh ideas. Especially when you've never done this before and haven't a clue where to start.

But let's swipe (left or right according to taste) and consider some more interesting questions. Like whether the idea of each London borough having some distinctive "culture" has any basis - either in reality or just as a means to generate creative local collaboration. 

Plainly leading politicians are not the best people to lead such a process. They may be among the least attractive culture vultures. At least if you take that term for its most obvious meaning: creatures who want to feast on the flesh of other's skills, practice & achievements.


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