Now I gotta tell you, there is a multitude of reasons I love the Albany in Deptford. I’d go there just for the food. But what I love about the place is that as a community venue, I feel it is used BY THE COMMUNITY!
There’s theatre, live (really live) music, performance poetry, evening courses, childrens ballet, an OAP choirs, Heads for Business advice service if your just starting out as a new business, a special needs disco… I mean I could go on.
Young, old, disabled, every culture and creed that I believe makes up the area of Deptford, thus representing the city of London, uses this space. It feels like a family home with the same tensions and bubble Love you get in any family home. It’s real. No pretences or pretensions. I put that down to the staff and the programming of events that go on there. I find that too many venues lose their way in how they provide art for their local community because of funding. It’s all about ticket sales – “bums on seats.”
It’s a kind of tyranny when a venue is at the mercy of fulfilling the criteria set by funding bodies. But I get it. I’m not mad at anyone. The Olympics are coming to town and everyone is feeling the pinch as cuts are made to budgets of community venues, charities and arts project a like. I myself know a couple of people personally who have seriously felt the slash of the blade and their organisations are “not waving but drowning” or have well and truly sunk. It ain’t fair.
But what amazes me – and it really is a testament to the spirit of creativity – there are artists who just keep on keeping on. Broke as broke can get; they’ll build a bridge when there’s a ravine, they’ll build a raft if there’s rushing water, they’ll spit on a fire if they thought it would hold back the flames from consumming an arts project, a gig, event , screening or exhibition. They find a way out of “know” way. Aside from this being very Hip Hop, it is also a testament to those who believe in filling that gap in the spirit of society where the heart of survival exists. Make art. Everybody make art. And The Albany is a place where they hail this motto.