Camp (on the Estate)

I was born on a council estate up the road from the council estate I currently live on. Estate life is pretty much all I know. When I was a kid we would play out till 10 every night, the other boys in my block were my brothers and everyone knew everyone’s business…not much has changed.

The cockney bloke on 3rd floor moans about the lifts, the young Mum on the 4th floor
sometimes makes me sit between her twins on the bus to calm them down, the lady on 5th floor recently lost her son, the man with a dog on the 7th has an alcohol problem but always says hello, the Muslim boys next door often sign for my Evans deliveries and across the way is my mate Candice, a transgendered model turns the heads of teenage boys across the estate.

People get on with getting along on estates, when you live on top of each other there is no other option. Contrary to popular belief social housing isn’t the breeding ground of domestic violence, petty crime and illegal immigrants Channel 4 and Daily Mail make it out to be. They are spaces where community still exists in London – people hold the door, talk in the lift and even invite you in to their home.

I’ve always wanted to celebrate council estates somehow and never knew how to do it justice until late August when Camden council posted a pamphlet through my door. The fold out explained what would happen to the estate when the inevitable High Speed 2 (HS2) bulldozers were given permission to commence work. It explained that around 200 social homes will be destroyed, 3 open spaces built upon, the closure of the local police station and the demolition of the Dick Collins Hall.

Sine the late 60’s the Dick Collins Hall has been the site of christenings, receptions and wakes (and no doubt the odd cross word). Each week it hosts Ladies Night, The Over 60’s Club and Sunday Social Club which are open to any one who lives on the estate. To rehouse those displaced by HS2, Camden feel they need to demolish it and move it to the basement of a near by block of flats.

As one member of the association pointed out this plan isn’t really going to work as ‘you can’t have a social club beneath people’s houses’ and no official agreement has been made about when the replacement club will be built or how long residents will go without a space.

With 4 months before work was set to begin I knew if I was going to do something it would have to be now! Camp (on the Estate) is a the last hurrah in my local social club - a knees up that gets you walking through the estate, a chance to see the estate before the influx of Pret’s, Eats and itsu’s swallow it up, a show you can bring your Mum to (not to mention the free matinee you can bring your Nan to), an audio project that will take residence in the laundrette collecting the thoughts of locals towards HS2, a video project that will ask older people what they think of politicians, a variety show that camps up the Estate, a turn that celebrates a local resident, a night out that brings some shit hot performance with a line up I’d have at my funeral to my local boozer, a chance for you to meet my neighbours and an excuse to have a bevvy with friends.

You might think Camp (on the Estate) is nimbyistic – and yes it is! Without nimbyism we eradicate the word local and replace it Sainsbury’s Local. Whatever happens next on the estate is out of our hands and in those of homosexual role models David and George but before they can get their railway to get them to Birmingham 15mins quicker we’re gonna have a knee’s up.

Camp (on the Estate) goes on sale tomorrow – follow me on Twitter, Facebook or YouTube to be in the know and get your hands on one of 400 tickets (don’t come if you like playing God in Waitrose with little green tokens).

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