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

Four snails and a chip

July 11, 2009

As I came back from Lewisham People’s Day (I’ll write about the day tomorrow), as I walked to Hither Green Station, I saw four snails eating a chip. Or maybe pushing it home. This was new for me. I’ve never seen this before. It’s possibly the most exciting thing I’ve seen since I saw a wasp battle a spider (the wasp won by eating the spider’s legs).

I stopped and looked on in wonder. There was no one around so I felt pretty cool about taking a snap. And then a woman turned the corner and walked towards me, just as I was in macro mode. I felt an urge to share the moment. She was impressed. She laughed. And as she walked away she turned back and said “Shame. Someone’ll not see them and stand on them.” She was quite likely right. There’s not much you can do in a situation like this to help a snail. You can’t shoo them along, as you would a cat. You can’t prod them, as you would a frog to make it hop out of danger. You can’t even pick them up without risking crunching their home to pieces. And even if you could do any of these things, what of the chip, their greatest and largest meal ever?

I hope they enjoyed their last supper.


Except it’s not. Strictly Come Dancing. But it is in Lewisham. This is Lewisham People’s Day again. I’m supposed to be decorating today but all I’ve done so far is fiddled around on Photoshop for five minutes to see if I could make the following photo more interesting. I like the people, I like the dancing, but it’s not too great a photo. And I have no proper idea of how to use Photoshop. I just fiddle and see what happens. This happened today…

This is how it looked before…

dancing-2 I doubt I’ve improved it and I apologise to the people I cropped off, but I only had five minutes, and since I don’t know how to use Photoshop (properly) I could have taken 24 hours and come up with no better. Anyroad, it’s all cheating.

Right, off to Homebase… is where the sandpaper, sugar shop, paint is.