- POSK temporarily closed
Review by Richard Williams
London Jazz News preview
"strongly performed Polish opera"
as part of the Insiders /Outsiders festival
Opera Now magazine, May issue
Review in Opera Now magazine
Proposed new constitution for POSK
Dominic Williams for London Jazz News
In the last few months there has been an increase in activity on the part of various groups associated with key events in the main Polish institutions in London. Usually these are Annual General Meetings (AGMs), pickets during which false information is spread. In whose interest is this?
The result of the game of “the-know-alls” can be seen with the example of Ognisko Polskie (the Polish Hearth). After activity of the type where it was claimed that “ours are being beaten” and various other slogans, to keep Ognisko going, a subsequent AGM dismissed the committee and elected a new chairman... an Englishman.
Of course we live in a democratic country and nationality should not influence our decisions, however some of those voting to remove the old committee can feel rather cheated. We remind you that Mrs Kaczmarowska- Hamilton told our newspaper before the vote for the new restaurant management "Ognisko should remain Polish". It’s a shame that this was quickly forgotten and it’s no surprise that the election of the new chairman can be called a "shot in the foot".
Another matter of concern is that the Ognisko is now without a restaurant. The new restaurateur - Mr Woroniecki- plans to open the restaurant next autumn. Until that time there will be a snack bar in operation for which the above mentioned does not have to pay. It’s not surprising that part of the dismissed committee has written an open letter, in which it clearly writes that Ognisko will face a further loan, even though until the "takeover" by the new committee the financing was quite effective.
Another of the public misrepresentation is the matter of the renewal of the façade of the Ognisko building. Apparently one Polish organisation has received the use of the hall for 15 years in return for the work. The inaccuracy is all the more obvious and you need bad will not to notice it. The cost of the renovation is several thousand pounds and the organisation “received” a small room upstairs for... one hour... once a month.. which actually turned into 15 years. Even this is not exactly what “others” would like.
Ognisko is finished, Fawley Court is finished, now attention has turned to POSK, and again some more bad will and inaccuracy has surfaced.
For example, public accusations have been made that the POSK management wish to convert the 4th floor into apartments to let. This is total nonsense for anyone who has ever been in POSK. Actually, some developments are being planned, but in a part of the building that the public do not even identify with POSK as they are a separated.
People lamented over the loss of the area in which the souvenirs of Joseph Conrad are housed and in which members of the Society meet. The room has been simply been moved to a newer part of POSK, as has also the Pilsudski Institute, which currently occupies two dark rooms on the ground floor of the old building.
I do not even want to write about the “investment area” or the old building at number nine. This is a totally independent building in which there is only the entrance to the underground car park under POSK. The management hope to rent out rooms in this building following renovation, which will be a source of income for POSK.
The “investment area” is a “gap” between POSK and its neighbouring buildings. The space waited for better times since the POSK building was created in phase,s including buying neighbouring buildings. Some were never incorporated into the main building mainly because it was not possible to buy all the properties required.
At last this “gap” maybe utilised. But this proposal as yet does not have any timeline, at the moment it's “one day, in the future”. Will POSK lose out on this plan? Only those who use the area for smoking.
One can wonder about the role of POSK today. One can discuss its future. One can disagree about how well it is managed. One can demand financial reports. But how do you call those who are blatantly interested in repeating untruths?
Piotr Dobroniak, Cooltura
Translated by Janek Kaczmarek