You Can Now Get Rainbows At Christmas

I think so many people have started getting ready for Christmas early this year. I certainly have. My tree has already been up almost two weeks because I just needed something to lift my mood and spirits. I absolutely LOVE the run up to Christmas; it’s my favourite time of year. Unfortunately, so much of what I love isn’t happening this year due to the dreaded C-19. I usually take myself on a bus ride from Tower Hill right through the City – Monument, Cannon Street, St Paul’s, Fleet Street, Aldwych, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street and Oxford Street looking in … Read the rest »

So, Where is Cromwell Close?

Last week I took a little trip back to Stansgate Road and made a little vid. You can see it by clicking the link at the end of this post. As readers of The Banjo Book One and Book Two will probably already know I set the fictitious pedestrianised cul-de-sac (as the rest of the world would call it) on a large plot of land know as The Green opposite Stansgate Road. It housed the substation that provided the hot water for the central heating in the homes on the Heath Park Estate and a path that led through some … Read the rest »

Dagenham, London or Dagenham, Essex?

Well, as you’ll have already guessed if you read the interviews with prominent Dagenham People that I posted in the run up to the publication of The Banjo Book Two it was the question that divided people. So much so, that even the Mayor of the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham considers Dagenham to be in Essex! So I ran a little poll here on the webpage and on Twitter asking the question “Is Dagenham in London or Essex?” Adding the two results together gave us this:

Dagenham London, 43.5% Dagenham Essex, 56.5%.

My own view is that it’s … Read the rest »

Making the Local Press

A big THANK YOU to Jonathan King at Archant Ltd for this interview about The Banjo Book Two in this week’s Barking and Dagenham Post.

Remember – A Banjo is a Dagenham thing!

You can read the online version here: https://www.barkinganddagenhampost.co.uk/news/the-banjo-book-two-elaine-spires-interview-1-6807601

Read the rest »

Jon Cruddas MP

To celebrate the publication of The Banjo Book Two I have had the pleasure of interviewing some prominent Dagenham people to ask them their views on a place that’s dear to the hearts of so many of us.

I am delighted to announce that bringing the series to an end is the Member of Parliament for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas. Jon and I have exchanged many fast and furious emails, especially over the Brexit votes in Parliament.

MP Jon Cruddas out and about in Dagenham.

ES:  Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule, Jon.… Read the rest »

Councillor Saima Ashraf

Today the Deputy Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, Councillor Saima Ashraf shares her thoughts about Dagenham.  Her pride in the Borough is evident throughout.

Councillor Saima Ashraf – Deputy Council Leader

“I love the history and community of Dagenham – and the great potential we 

have that is being realised for the benefit of all of us. There’s a real buzz with 

the University of Coventry Campus at the Civic Centre.  The very first time I 

entered the Civic Centre is one of my best memories of Dagenham; it is such 

a beautiful building and I am really pleased … Read the rest »

Lisa Roullier

Joining us for today’s interview about Dagenham is Lisa Roullier, Delivery Officer for the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Libraries.  Lisa and her department do an amazing job especially with Pen to Print which encourages new writers, provides mentors and leads to many of them publishing their first novels. She is wonderfully supportive, endlessly enthusiastic and I wish I’d known her when I was starting out as a writer.

Lisa Roullier

ES: Apart from working for LBBD, what is your connection to Dagenham?

LR: I moved to Dagenham when I was just 4 years old. My parents

considered it … Read the rest »

Paul Embery

Today’s The Banjo Book Two Guest Interview is with a man who has Dagenham written right the way through him.  Firefighter, trade unionist, @Unherd columnist and newspaper reviewer for Sky News – Paul Embery.  I have been one of Paul’s fifty-three thousand plus Twitter followers for a considerable time and I always look forward to reading his thought-provoking, sometimes provocative views so I am delighted he’s taken the time to talk to me – to us – today.

ES: Paul, your Twitter header says you’re “Made in Dagenham”. Please can you explain your connection to the place?

PE: I was … Read the rest »

The Mayor of Barking and Dagenham – Councillor Peter Chand

I am delighted that the Mayor of Barking and Dagenham, The Worshipful Councillor Peter Chand is my guest today.

ES: Mr Mayor, I am most grateful that you have taken the time from your busy schedule to talk to us.  Apart from being the Mayor, what is your connection to Dagenham?

PC: My parents immigrated to the UK from India in 1954 and moved to a

house in Ballards Road, Dagenham. I was born in 1966 and still live in that

same very road! I went to local schools and the Adult College where I

studied Health & Social care, … Read the rest »

Sharon Borthwick

Today’s interview is with the dynamic Sharon Borthwick of Borthwick Performing Arts and Borthwick Casting.  Sharon spoke to me from her smart studios at the Business and Technical Park in Rainham Road South.  For those of you who are old enough to remember that’s the old Rhone-Poulenc site – or if you’re even older like me May and Baker’s!  Borthwick Casting is a talent agency for children and supporting artists and Borthwick Performing Arts trains young people in all the theatre disciplines.  The studios are smart and airy and Sharon’s office is beautifully decorated with the headshots of all the … Read the rest »