diamond geezer

 Sunday, July 17, 2011

Over the years I've deduced that the posts you react to the least are those where I tell you what I did at the weekend. Not weekends when I visit a place, one that you could visit in the future. But weekends when I visit an event, a one-off, something that you missed and can no longer attend. I rabbit on about what it was like, and you sit there thinking "this means nothing to me, I wasn't there, why would I care?" Sorry, I'm going to do that again today. Admittedly the two events I plan to discuss are also taking place today, so you could still go if you wanted. But that won't help much, so I'm going to intermingle my report with a few other titbits from DG's Saturday. Try to stay awake now.

» I had a nice long sleep after getting in late from seeing Harry Potter 72 at the cinema on Friday. Yeah, it's a good film, all the better for having had Part 1 chopped off the front. It fair rips along, with the 3D effects never overly intrusive, until either Good or Evil wins (I can't tell you which because that would be a spoiler).

» I went and had my eyes tested. They still work much the same as last year, which is nice. None of those awkward mid-forties print-reading problems yet. Yet.

» Lambeth Country Fair: Ah, Brockwell Park's glorious annual celebration of all things rural, despite the nearest bit of countryside being many miles away. It's a always a glorious sunny day, with the population of Lambeth coming together to enjoy stalls, spectacle, live music, sizzling food and a fairground. Same as usual this year, apart from the sunshine. Ye gods it was wet, the rain beating down onto not-yet sodden grass, with only the braver souls venturing out and about to explore. Those organisations who'd set up their stall inside a marquee smiled, as their outdoor counterparts battled with waterproof plastic covers and incoming damp. But as the ground within each tent inexorably squidged, it surely wouldn't be long before the tread of fairgoers feet turned every interior into an extended mudbath. "Welcome to the Cultivate Stage!" cried the MC to an tiny audience hidden beneath brollies and rainwear. The main arena lay empty after noon, none of the scheduled performing horses, and no audience to watch had they tried. Likewise the various catering options, from jerk chicken via noodle trays to rustic burgers, sizzled away unsold and uneaten. Not every event was thwarted. Judging in the Flower Show tent continued unchecked, even if we mere mortals weren't allowed inside to judge for ourselves until the barriers were drawn back. Ditto the competitive classes in the agricultural marquee, where a motley collection of occasionally-local sheep vied for top rosettes. It felt like homo sapiens had been crammed in almost as tightly as the livestock, but that wouldn't have been a problem had the weather been finer. It'll surely be finer today, have faith, and take wellies.

» I spotted a poster at Herne Hill station warning passengers that a special (reduced) Olympic timetable will be running between 27 July and 12 August 2012. It did seem ridiculously advanced notice, but apparently those planning to buy an annual season ticket later this month need to be aware.

» Shoreditch Festival: Normally I love the Shoreditch Festival. It celebrates East London with a knowing smirk, bringing together the community with a friendly mix of live music, mini-events and camaraderie. Not this year. This year the organisers decided to relocate from Shoreditch Park to the banks of the Regent's Canal and something misfired. It could have been the rain, keeping punters away, but I'm not convinced the event would have been a success even in blazing sunshine. The floating stage was cut off by a length of barriered towpath, sorry you can't come down here, building work, you'll have to go the long way round. The band playing beneath the Overground bridge had attracted a small audience of trendy Shoreditch stereotypes (flat cap ✔, 1950s hairstyle ✔, three-quarter length trousers ✔) but not enough to keep the bar solvent. The food stalls numbered about three, or they did while I was passing, so I went hungry through lack of choice. The craft stalls were hives of non-activity, with artisans waiting patiently in their canvas booths for pedestrian footfall that never materialised. And several local organisations had simply failed to turn up, their names taped forlornly to a series of empty table sprinkled with raindrops. I walked the entire length, and there was far more life in Broadway Market at the far end than there was to be seen anywhere along the Festival towpath. So should have worked, so didn't. Better luck next year, please.

» I sighed at the identikit apartment blocks being erected on the site of the old Lesney Matchbox factory in Hackney Wick. Some philistine has even called the development Matchmakers Wharf, presumably because one should never ever brand flats as Matchboxes. I'm with Iain Sinclair on this one - the relentless replacement of "outdated" with "updated" is sucking the character out of the perimeter of the Olympic Park.

» Later on I watched the rain through my windows with a cup of tea, listening to the heavy bass thump of the Lovebox Festival erupting in Victoria Park. And that's from a mile away - Snoop Dogg and Groove Armada must be far more intrusive if you live any closer.

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