A new archive exhibition celebrating the life and work of local photographer, historian and community activist Mike Gray can be seen at Chats bar throughout the Summer 2015. Mike Gray who was instrumental in the campaign to found Chats Palace as an independent social space in the mid 1970’s, documented many of the early festivals, theatre productions and Christmas Shows in good old fashioned grainy monochrome.
Here are the pictures from the opening night of Mike Gray’s photography exhibition at Chats Palace with Alan Rossiter, Diana England, Brian Walker, Esme Vaccianna, Martin Goodrich, Barbara Wheeler-Early, Graham Downes, Gary Horsman, Rebecca Chester, Lesley Allan, Peter Young, Teresa Hare Duke, Laurie Elks, Hazel Goldman, Ken Worpole, Dave Pearson, Rose Parry and others. (photos by Asya Gefter)
Brian Walker: “Tonight saw the opening of an Exhibition of photos taken by the late Mike Gray. Many of Mike’s friends and colleagues met at Chats Palace, Mike would have blushed at the many compliments paid to him, and he would have loved the special Chats Palace atmosphere of old mates meeting up after so long.”
Dave Fox: “My real education began when I stepped through the big double doors at Chats for the first time. The person who opened those doors for me was Mike Gray. I owe Mike a huge debt. He always supported my writing and performing, never once judging or criticising my earliest efforts (as well he might have!) but instead left me to it. At the same time he was always on hand to help out, documenting each show we did with his camera. Mike’s enthusiasm enabled others to realise their dreams, as he had realised his own by helping to create this vibrant community centre that I was now so lucky to be a part of.” Read more
Alan May: “I was a big fan of the London Jazz scene and a saxophonist. There was a vibrant scene and regular gigs run by a funded organisation which may have been Jazz Services – West End gigs at the 100 Club and a number of pubs. Bob Peachey had a connection with this I believe. Mike was a fan and if 2 or more people had an idea which Alan R supported we’d go for it sometimes with a Guarantee-against –loss grant from the then Greater London Arts Assoc (GLAA).” Read more about Jazz by Mike Gray, Brian Walker, Alan Rossiter and Alan May