Camden News
Publications by New Journal Enterprises
  Home Archive Competition Jobs Tickets Accommodation Dating Contact us
Camden New Journal - One Week with JOHN GULLIVER
Published: 11 September 2008

Ellen Luby
Town Hall’s buffoonery even manages to choke a tribute with ‘red tape’

THOUGHTLESS officials couldn’t have been meaner than when they barred the 84-year-old campaigner Ellen Luby – the bête noire of the Town Hall – on Monday evening from entering the council chamber.

All she wanted was to sit in the public gallery and listen to tributes paid by a deputation in memory of a close friend of hers – Barry Sullivan, who died recently.
But Mrs Luby hadn’t reckoned on the strong arm of security guards acting under orders to keep her out.
In an outburst she shouted “Gestapo!” at them – and who can blame her?
Few would deny Mrs Luby has been a heckler extraordinaire at council meetings and has once or twice been forcibly ejected. Since she was badly hurt in a fracas two years ago she has had to receive regular hospital treatment.
More thoughtless red tape applied by officialdom and a huddle of councillors wouldn’t allow the tribute to be heard at the start of the council meeting. Why? Because Barry Sullivan wasn’t a councillor and, apparently, didn’t merit such an honour.
Instead, Councillor Roger Robinson, a close friend of Barry’s, had to pay his tribute at the end of the meeting – three hours after it began!
Cllr Robinson, who said he had known Barry since he was a youngster, told how he held his hand at the Marie Curie hospice in Belsize Park and saw his life ebb away.
He said: “Barry started the Camden Town Neighbourhood Advice Centre and did more work than many of the councillors I have come across. He worked with the elderly and disabled, giving advice on housing and social service issues.
“He died in agony with pancreatic cancer. He was 60. But he gave so much service – right up until he died he was taking phone calls on housing and had recently been to tribunals.
“Rest in peace Barry – I’m sure he’s advising people up there...”
A celebratory funeral service for Barry will be held at Golders Green crematorium on September 30 at 3pm. A procession and street band are planned to leave his home in Greenland Road, Camden Town and slow march along Camden High Street to the Lock.

More articles on Barry Sullivan:

John Gulliver 4 September


Who will speak for the British rednecks?

SOONER or later, I suppose, a commentator had to come along who would tell it as it is – someone to turn a light on the 150 million poor rednecks in the US who bewilder the liberal, media and university class by keeping on voting Republican.

The man is bulky Joe Bageant, with a stretchy waistline, who speaks with a southern drawl and tells the story of the workers of Virginia – the undereducated, the overweight and the dirt poor.
He started out as a poorly-paid factory worker himself, became a writer, and then, at 60 settled in Belize – because, as he told me on Tuesday at the South Bank Centre – the people there remind him of Virginia.
At the back of his mind, there was always a ‘tape’ that drew him back to his hometown a few years ago, where he wrote his latest book, Deer Hunting with Jesus (Portobello Books, £8.99).
He described the religious fundamentalist ‘warrior’ culture of his home town as arising out of Scots-Irish values.
After his talk I wondered when a commentator would emerge here and give the same analysis of the “white working class” in Britain.
You cannot compare them to US rednecks, but there are parallels between our societies.
You have a similar political class arising out of universities, think tanks, Westminster research units, all speaking a similar language, all divorced from those at the bottom.
And then you have a similar working class, disaffected, disillusioned – sensing they will always be betrayed by politicians.
In the US, according to Joe Bageant, there is only one party – the business party – and one side is Republican, the other Democrat.
Here, they are swinging away from their home territory of Labour and… going where? Here, where politics is part of the entertainment culture, not a few are in a vacuum.
And vacuums in history have always proved dangerous.

Dirty Don’s day in The Sun!

TO paraphrase The Sun’s famous claim: “It was The Sun wot done it”.

The new Royal Opera season opened at Covent Garden on Monday with a large red Sun newspaper “battlebus”, replete with red balloons, parked outside the venerable institution.
It was there to advertise an inspired collaboration between the Newspaper and the Helen Hamlyn Trust to create a night at the opera just for Sun
readers, with all the tickets costing no more than £10.
Inside the foyer ‘Page 3 babes’ were stationed to welcome the punters and “help the new season at the Royal Opera House get underway on a high note”.
The paper’s “easy-to-understand guide to dirty Don” – or Don Giovanni, the protagonist in Mozart’s opera – includes such gems as “sex pest strikes in sunny Spain”; “Donna’s pop cops it by the Costa”, and “bad boy don in bid to bonk the bride” – Don’tcha love it!
The paper has had a sudden conversion to opera: “Here’s why we love opera – SEX, death booze... Who said opera is boring?” 
Well previously The Sun, actually. But never mind. All power to their newly found zeal!

The Rock hits a hard place on stage at the Apollo

CHRIS Rock’s performance was just as I had imagined it would be. The way he bounced onto the stage at the Apollo Theatre in Hammersmith, his frenetic but beautifully paced jokes, just about everything about his performance on Saturday evening was memorable.

The joke that sticks in my mind was about the sense of power black wives exercise over their husbands. A black president? Yes. But a Black First Lady who will play second fiddle to her husband – you must be joking!
But what I remember most about the show wasn’t the performance so much as the way it ended.
After 90 minutes there had been a bit of plateau of humour so Chris Rock pulled out one last joke to stir up the audience and then, at that point, he virtually threw the mike down, as if in disgust.
That, of course, was pretty predictable because that has been his trademark at other shows. But after the mike hit the floor he walked to the other end of the stage near to where I was sitting when I noticed his face.
It looked haggard, drained of all energy, as if he was confused as to where he was and what he had just done.
It was then I realised the enormous amount of mental and spiritual energy a stand up comic of his quality puts into a performance. So high for 90 minutes, then plunged into the depths of normalcy!
Along with the audience I clapped vigorously, but I couldn’t forget his face – and I felt pity for the man.

Comment on this article.
(You must supply your full name and email address for your comment to be published)






Theatre Music
Arts & Events Attractions