Children's Scrap Percussion

Talk Action, Turnpike Lane 13th June. An out-of-the-blue invitation to partake in this very busy event. I gauged the request from Steve Barbe of providing financial support to my developing eco-career would reciprocally benefit his own children's work in musical workshops. Unfortunately, he caught me at a time when I was running the organisation down and have not returned that compliment. I know Steve as a local established stalwart of the movement. It is a pity we have not been able to continue our work together since.

The day went very well, but rather than being relegated just to bashing out loads of scrap percussion to the obvious fun of every child in the neighbourhood, I attempted to construct them with various degrees of inventiveness. The closest I came was something looking remotely like a xylephone, but made of metal scrap. The day ended with a parade of samba musicians leading the way with a giant-sized dragon. With busy main roads either side of the small green, the festival was a real transformation of the landscape. There were obvious issues here with road safety but it is obvious that the kids were used to all the traffic and to wrap them up in cotton wool lifestyles only maximises their dependency on adults and takes away their natural awareness of danger. As I say, fear is induced by culture and paranoia as to how safety is maintained in society. A child is more likely to be safety consciouss if he or she can access wilderness at a young age and suffer a few bruises on the way. Smashing things like musical instruments is a cultural enactment of how society evolves from a tribal level into a national and then later, global consciousness. If a child is not introduced to these enactments then one will find that within that child is a lack of integration at an older stage. I have occasionally allowed children to 'beat me up' so that we can all laugh at the end of it. But the most interesting event occured after this. On the way home, pulling my bike trailer which had been laden all the way to the top, I was reminded of the damage that parent's inadvertently cause their children. I was attacked outside the Lyceum whilst observing the times for the showing of the Lion King. These women blame me for the damage done to their daughter because of her feelings towards me which segregated out her step-father. My passive approach was to withdraw, so to speak, into the lion's den, whilst her daughter looked on in anguish. The week before her step-father had attacked me whilst watching a gig at the Brockley Max festival. In both cases I tried to show these people that children at 14 look for heroes and quite often they have undeveloped beliefs that require nurturing. So I let them have their way. If I had called the police I would have exacerbated the damage done to the now young lady who was very much still dependent upon her mother. In the history of this encounter I don't think these people ever considered what damaged may have been done to myself, which would later reflect in the deterioration of my environmental and community work as a whole.