Producing this essay has been a very long learning process. I am grateful for their wisdom, suggestions and encouragement from a number of people who have helped me acquire some useful groundings.
Together with my co-researchers in the Games Monitor group; Julian Cheyne, Paul Charman, Steve Dowding, Carolyn Smith, and Mike Wells we have, over eight years since 2006, produced an exceptional body of critical reporting about our local Olympics which continues to be added to our website. Without belonging to such a committed and diverse group of researchers my photo essay project would have been much diminished. We were lucky that Caterina Carola volunteered to design us such a good website and continued to render active oversight and redesign services without charge.
Without the conversations and walks along the River Lee with Dave Rackstraw, where he showed me the Common Bream spawning grounds around Friends (Red) Bridge, to the North of Hackney Marsh, I would have remained oblivious to this wonder. He is the only person to whom I have spoken in my neighbourhood who has witnessed, in many years before I came to live here, the amazing sight, during the climactic spawning frenzy, of the male bream ejaculating quantities of their milt (sperm) such as to turn hundreds of metres of the flowing river, white.
Nick Atkins has watched, over many years, the threats to the health of the Rivers Wandle and Thames occasioned by environmentally careless/abusive developments and administrative neglects/derelictions of care. For the last six years or so I have benefited from his keeping me informed by his same concerns for the basically healthy fish and other aquatic life of the Lower River Lee.
I found reading learned texts about the processes of urban transformation difficult to comprehend on my own. I am grateful to Michael Edwards from the Bartlett School of Planning at University College London for inviting me to join the ‘Limits to Capital’ reading group there in 2010. Thus demonstrating that meaning emerges from focused discussion better than word images that fade in the mind. Thanks also to Louis Moreno for keeping that discussion going when it would have been easy to stop.
Paul Watt of Birkbeck set up the ‘Olympic City Critiques’ reading group in 2011. He has been a helpful commentator and lightning conductor about various issues to do with the impacts of neoliberal urbanisation in the East End.
Simon Jolly, a particle physicist and someone considerably more computer literate than me, performed the heroic feat of restoring about a year’s worth of my image files from a crashed Apple Mac. Had they remained irretrievable this essay would have been missing some crucial images.
I am also grateful to all those people who tolerated my intrusion with a camera into their lives, often at stressful moments, in pursuit of pictures they have lost hope of ever seeing.
Above all this work is dedicated to those who continue actively in our liberations …..
“People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints – such people have a corpse in their mouth.”
Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution of Everyday Life, Chapter 1, The Insignificant Signified, translated, Donald Nicholson-Smith, Rebel Press, (1994), ISBN 0 946061 01 7 (UK), 1st ed. Gallimard, (1967)