Alternative Village Fete


Written by Sonita Dowd
16 Wednesday 16th July 2008

This small patch of green astro turf space was tuned into something spectacular for everyone. Home Art Live put together an eclectic mix of things to have a look at and get involved with.

The show opened with music from the Bollywood Brass Band playing classic Bollywood movie anthems with a twist. Over at Bloomin’ Barby’s stall was a huge array of cartoon-like characters, mini people, houses and other strange creations all sculpted out of fruit and veg. This stall was run by the Bengali Women’s Group of Southwark who have had and an allotment based at the Vauxhall city farm for the last five years.

Just across the way was a long table of people very engrossed in their masterpieces. I went over to ask what was happening at this stall and why there were so many concentrated faces. Both kids and adults were all involved in creating mini-masterpiece tiles from coloured cake icing and cake decorating magic. Each piece was then put up onto a large panel to create a patch-work style art instillation. There were also a few people dressed up with elaborate champagne glasses balanced on top of there heads adorned with multi coloured icing twirls.

Bob and Roberta Smith’s stall was standing strong, encouraging each and every person to take a few minutes to sit down and put their views and possible solutions on climate control down on paper. The letters, phrases, short novels and pictures were then sent off to local MPs. Another alternative feature was the ethical bear baiting.

There was some mild hysteria surrounding The Vauxhall City Farm. They had brought down a mini petting area of chickens, ferrets, ducks and rabbits. The obligatory tombola stand was of course full of old junk no one needed, but everyone felt they must grab a ticket – even if the prize was a VHS you can no longer watch at home or a puzzle missing three pieces.

Nestled comfortably next to the stage was I Knit London, an ‘urban knitting circle’, where you could take the weight off your feet and knit a small square from their choice of over 30 different wools from British sheep. The small patch panels were then attached to a larger-than-life sheep to create a piece of art to be displayed at Camp Bestival (18-20 July) and at I Knit Day 2008 (6 September). For more details see the website.

A crowd started to form around a small stall called Stare at Margaret - Competitive Stare Out with Margaret from the WI. It seemed nobody felt comfortable to engage in a stare-out. Ha! I sat down cocksure I could out-stare this old woman no probs. The crowed hushed; it all became very tense. The veil was lifted and I stared into her eyes. She had pure black contacts in, which threw me. I had a go for a while but sadly lost. She was running a tight game and I had no chance against a pro. However, I did talk to somebody else running the stall and was told she was beaten once by the national staring championship holder in Birmingham.

There were plenty of party foods to choose from - homemade apple juice and candy floss. But one stall stood out, with beautiful bright colours, pastel pinks and purples. Selling teeny tiny cup cakes, with adorned with hearts, fish, stars, silver balls, liquorice and a rainbow of sprinkles. These cakes looked too good to eat. Crumbs and Doilies have a stall on the Kings Road and in the past have catered for Jimmy Choo and the Sex in The City party in London.

Check out the huge array of events run at Watch This Space until 28 September.

Photography by Brenda Goodchild

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