Lewisham Policemen’s Day

July 12, 2009

Actually, Lewisham People’s Day, but you wouldn’t have thought it. And yes, I know, I should have put Lewisham Police Officer’s Day, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it, and so I didn’t.

This year it was Lewisham People’s Day’s 25th Anniversary. Hurray! It takes place at Mountsfield Park, just across the road from me (when I’m not housesitting in Finchley, as I am as I type) and I love it. So do the police apparently. Every year more and more of them come. And it can get a little confusing as every year more and more sellers turn up selling plastic novelty police helmets. And then there’s the private security firm hired to frisk us all as we go in. And they frisk everyone. The police liaised with the “young people of Lewisham” to see what could be done to make the day more harmonious. The kids understandably said “don’t just pick on us”. So, we all get picked on- sorry, searched, frisked. I briefly panicked as, just like at the airports, my asthma inhalers come under perplexed scrutiny. Lad-di-da. Today, Mountsfield Park has to be the safest place on Earth.

Queue Gardens

Queue Gardens

Here we all are, queueing to get in. My bag was searched, I was frisked. A security guard explained to a young mum ahead of me, “It’s to stop the gangs.” When I was young my second-ever 7″ single was I’m the Leader of the Gang (I am) by Gary Glitter. To this day I’m not sure how I feel about my lack of any kind of gang membership. Maybe a Lewisham posse’ll sign me up.

once inside we all had a fine old time. Including the police. Look! Here they are enjoying MC Grippah and Bizzman down at the Dance for Life stage.


Ok, so why so many police? Well, it seems most years the Day ends with a good old runaround. The kids runaround, the police chase them. Everyone just likes running around. It can be scary if you’re not part of the chasing game, but I don’t think it’s quite as bad as the Lewisham portrayed in my latest read, In the Dark by Mark Billingham. It’s a great and thrilling read, and I recommend it, though I’m not so sure he’s describing the Lewisham I live in; “The place felt like somewhere people would visit only if they had to; only if the life they endured behind their own four walls was close to intolerable”. Then again Mark, spot on!

But it’s not all frisking and pretend plastic police helmets. There’s real ale tents, food from all over the world, theatre, jazz, world music, performance, dancing, stalls… great stalls, like Lewisham Youth Theatre’s, which this year was excitingly placed opposite the Ageing Well Funclub.

And then there’s Sucker! Featuring my comedy partner, Trev Neal. They’ve played every Lewisham People’s Day since it all started 25 years ago. Maybe. Trev, Josh, David and Gianfranco played there unique South London punk underneath the Mountsfield Park bandstand. You’ll never have heard anything like Sucker. Imagine a band made up of Paul Weller, Joe Strummer, David Bowie and Silvio Berlusconi (how about that for a bit of casual racism… though Trev’s the Berlusconi one- oops, that was meant as a joke, though he is off to Sardinia for his hols).

Here they are in action. Not bad for a bunch of oldies.

Trev, Josh, Gianfranco and David aka Sucker

Trev, Josh, Gianfranco and David aka Sucker

4 Responses to “Lewisham Policemen’s Day”

  1. Sally said

    Well hello Simon. I saw Trev and Sucker playing and was much impressed! In fact I was googling the band when I found your blog. Had no idea you were local and will now look out for you as I tramp around Catford (I live opposite the cemetary on Verdant Lane). I grew up with you and Trevor on Saturday mornings and am quite chuffed you’re now local! SWING YOUR PANTS!

  2. Sally said

    By the way – do sucker have a website?

  3. We can’t believe Trevor of Trevor and Simon played at People’s Day and the Simon of Trevor and Simon wrote about People’s Day – We are soooooo excited in teh office and telling stories about when and where we all saw Trevor and Simon perform…back in the day!

  4. Simon Hickson said

    Hi Kellie. I’ve written about Lewisham People’s Day before. If you’re interested look here…
    and here…

    Sally, I’m in Hither Green, though housesitting in Finchley for the next two months! And no, Sucker don’t have a website, though they should! I’ll tell Trev.

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