Andy Porter

West London Media Workshop

Born 1945 in London, where he also lives and works today. Filmmaker and community video activist. Co-founder and director of the London Community Video Archive (LCVA).

00:00 Start. 00:19 I grew up in Bromley. 01:07 My dad was a civil servant and my mother a housewife. 02:30 Leaving the church when Sixteen. 03:35 Joining Youth-CND / Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. 04:25 Just wanting to breath. 06:03 After studying English at Sussex University I moved to Notting Hill in 1968. 08:11 Working with skinheads. 09:22 Community and Youth Work studies at Goldsmiths College, 1972-74 / First encounter with video. 11:46 First community video experiments in Notting Hill – John Hoppy Hopkins / Founding of West London Media Workshop with Ken Lynam and Fonce Santana. 13:38 Video tapes about housing conditions. 16:12 Combining community video with youth work. 18:34 Discovering identity politics / Ken Lynam and the Irish Video Project / The People to People series on Channel 4. 20:46 Making a living / My job as a video operator / Videos for social agencies. 22:37 Back to Channel 4 with community style filmmaking on a fictional base / Cooperation with Jonnie Turpie. 26:49 Back to my region / Video work with young people in the East End of London / Hi8us South and Midlands / UK Sound TV / Grime. 30:03 Brexit and the East End / The Geezers / BOW – Then & Now. 33:37 Credits (German translation: book Rebel Video, p. 105-120)

Powis Square

West London Media Workshop

1975,  ½ inch, black-and-white, 24 mins, 5 mins (excerpts), original in the London Community Video Archive (LCVA).

Celebrates the opening of the adventure playground hut on Powis Square, Notting Hill, London W11. The coverage of the day was intercut with documents of the history of radical action by local people. They forced the local Council to purchase the square for public use.

Interviewer (I) talking to a male pensioner (P) living at Powis Square
I   What do you think about the play huts on the square? What is it going to do for the area?
P   I lived a long time in the area. And in fact I live now on the square. I’ve been watching the gradual growth of the huts. And it has been very good. I like the way the children use the square. But the square got the reputation from the authorities as being a nuisance due to the local protest people. There had been one or two firework nights on November the fifth, which was broken up and unpleasances took place. So in one way the square has a reputation to overcome. Last year’s firework night was very good. There was only one incident when the police had to be called. Some fool was trying to set someone else alight with a torch. So the police were justified to interfere in this case (laughs).
I   What do most people think here about the play huts?
P   There are a lot of old people living in this square, retired people. I think they might be worried if noise was continuing into the night.
I   Couldn’t the huts also be made available for old age pensioners to use in some form?P  I don’t think so unless they used it for meetings or tea parties of some sort, when the children are perhaps in school. But certainly the children and the dogs have decided it’s their square! (laughs)

Murchison Tenants

West London Media Workshop

1976, original video lost, ½ inch, black-and-white, 6 mins (excerpts), can also be viewed online in the London Community Video Archive (LCVA).

Local community activists interview tenants of Murchison Road, London, W10, about the negative impact of local building works on their lives. It was presented to the Local Council.

Voices of female tenants
A You’ve got nothing to identify here, and there was no reason to break up the street plan, not really.
B My complaint is that we seem to be walked over. We were never consulted what we wanted to be built. We were never consulted where we want it built. We were never consulted about anything: by the local authority, or anybody else. They think they know what we should have and what we want. I was told about the flat over on the new estate, which is open now for viewing. They built a flat with a kitchen upstairs and a living room downstairs. And I am told that this is a Swedish plan. I don’t know about you, but I am British, I am not Swedish and I don’t want to live like a Swede.
C Let’s talk about the basement flats here. It’s such an easy access. You can’t leave your door open and you can’t leave the back windows open. You can’t have a bit of air. So they should block every individual flat off and then you also could keep it cleaner. I had to move from the top flat to the basement because the ceiling had fallen down twice, for the rain. They said they have not the money to put a new roof on and they still haven’t done it, and that was ten years ago!

Black homelessness

West London Media Workshop

1978, ½ inch, black-and-white, original lost, 8 mins (excerpts), can also be viewed online in the London Community Video Archive (LCVA).

Interviews with young Black people about the impact of racism on their attempt to find somewhere to live. Made with the UJIMAA Housing Association.

Interview with a young male squatter (S)
S   We are squatting a house in Brixton. And we used to get a lot of trouble from the police.
I   What kind of trouble?
S   In the middle of the night at about 2 o’clock when you are asleep, they burst in and get you out of bed. They hardly give you time to put on your clothes. And they take you straight to the police station.
I   Was this because you were squatters?
S  Yes, because we were squatters. We’ve just left home. And we could get nowhere to stay.
I   Why did you leave home?
S  I left home because I was there too long and I wanted to come out and try things myself. Do you know what I mean? Various other people leave for various reasons.
I   What is the most common reason why people leave home?
S   They can’t get along with their brother or father.
I   And where did you go when you left home?
S   I went to Brixton.
I   You are from Wandsworth. Couldn’t you find a place in Wandsworth?
S   There weren’t much people squatting in the Borough of Wandsworth. But in Lambeth there was a lot of it, you know.