Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Launch of 'Young Hitch in Forbidden Flames' on the anniversary of the Siege of Sidney Street


 On 3 Jan 2017 a motley crew of East London enthusiasts and artists met for the launch of the book-series 'The Adventures of Young Alfred Hitchcock' through a trail of the sites of the siege of Sidney Street. 

The largest gun-battle on domestic streets in Britain, the siege drew in people of East London and beyond to witness the action. The crowd of spectators included the Home Secretary, Winston Churchill, much criticised for his attendance.

We were lucky to have had a much warmer day, much sunnier than the day of the siege on 3 Jan 1911. But through our good moods we used readings and out imagination to identify with the extremity of the Latvian anarchists, holed up in the original tenement building (100 Sidney Street no longer exists), We also remembered  the fire-fighter who also lost his life that day as part of the the team recovering the corpses from the burning house.

You can watch the original Pathe footage here:

We watched it in the White Hart, a pub at the top of Sidney Street, on the Mile End Road. Alfred Hitchcock's sister Nellie and her husband Harry Lee managed this pub for a short time, some years after the siege.

Artists who joined me for the walk and readings making contributions from tracing the locations of the siege to reading anarchist literature were Calum F. Kerr, Matt Armstrong, Sooz Belnavis, Giles Abbott, Dominic Simpson, Debbie Elliot and Doug Haywood.

Channeling Alfred Hitchcock outside number 100 of a  tenement similar to the original house.

Inside 'The White Hart' at the top of Sidney Street.

Sidney Square. It was here that my boyfriend was squatting when I first came to London. He was a 1980s anarchist. We met here for some short readings from the novel and tracts of the time. Calum F. Kerr read an extract from Anselme Bellegarrigue's Anarchist Manifesto (April, 1850). 

Showing fellow artists Doug Haywood, Dominic Simpson and Debbie Elliot the book by Emanuel Litvinoff 'A Death out of Season'  recommended to me by the crime author Jim Kelly. It is the first volume in a trilogy following the character that Litvinoff created for Peter the Painter.

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