Archives for August 2017

Lambeth Country Show Review

 

43rd Lambeth Show Hailed the Best Yet

The ever-popular Lambeth Country Show took place in July and entertained hundreds of thousands in its quirky and unique way. 

A mainstay of the summer festival scene since the days of Flower Power and the Bay City Rollers, the Lambeth Country Show just gets bigger and bigger every year, and its popularity shows no sign in waning.

Established in 1974, this was the 43rd show, and this year hundreds of exhibitors set out to pitch their stall, hire a Templant generator and get ready to welcome around 200,000 visitors to Brockwell Park on 15 and 16 July.

Free for all

The show can be described as a free for all in every sense of the phrase. There is no entry fee, and the festival attracts the weird and the wonderful when it comes to the entertainment on display.

It also attracts a massive turnout. Official figures for 2017 are yet to be released, but bearing in mind that last year it amounted to 170,000, then the magic 200,000 figure is a distinct possibility.

When you consider that around 135,000 visitors attend Glastonbury every year, you start to get a feel for the scale of the event.

Joust for laughs

It is difficult to single out highlights from such an eclectic mix of activities, but some of the events that really stuck out included the chocolate museum, which managed to avoid melting despite the warm summer temperatures, the birds of prey, which were massively popular with adults and kids alike and, of course, the jousting. Who could forget the jousting?

If the enthusiasm at Lambeth is anything to go by, this medieval pastime could soon be making a comeback – expect to see participants on horseback practicing at an athletics track near you soon!

Live music

Of course, many attend for the music, and this year, the quality was as high as ever, courtesy of the Oxjam Music Festival. This is a great organisation that supports grassroots music and at the same time does so much to raise money for those who need it the most.

Brixton Dance School also gave an amazing display that went down extremely well with the enthusiastic crowd.

For those who wanted to get a little more involved, there was even an African drumming workshop, where anyone could have a go. What some lacked in rhythm was more than made up for in enthusiasm!

Call any vegetable

Finally, we can’t mention the Lambeth Show without discussing the vegetables. The traditional vegetable carving competition has been going on for as long as the show itself, and, as usual, produced a remarkable array of artwork and biting satire, all using the humble vegetable as a basis.

Fun, quirky and absolutely unique. If you’ve never been along to the Lambeth Show, put it in the diary for next year. And don’t forget to start practicing your potato carving skills well in advance!

How Does the Real Hampstead Compare to The Movie?

 

Recent Film is Based on Hampstead Man’s Life 

Hampstead has hit the big screen in Diane Keaton’s Latest film. But the resemblance is only a passing one.

When it reviewed Hampstead shortly after release, The Guardian awarded it a solitary one star and described it as a ghastly faux-mance. As far as incisive social commentary goes, it is hard to argue with that, but taken at face value as a showcase for Diane Keaton to go through her usual range of facial expressions, while a touching story that is loosely based on a real life Hampstead resident is told, it is well worth a look.

As for any links to the real Hampstead – well, Hampstead estate agents will be quick to tell you that while there are a variety of attractive properties available to buy and rent in this popular north London oasis, setting up camp on Hampstead Heath is unlikely to result in a happy ending!

Harry the Hermit

Joel Hopkins’ film is inspired by the real life adventures of one Harry Hallowes. An Irishman by birth, he had lived in the north London area since moving there in the 1950s. In the late 1980s, he found himself homeless, and set himself up in a makeshift camp in a quiet corner of Hampstead Heath.

There, he grew vegetables and became largely self-sufficient, supplementing his supplies with money earned by doing odd jobs for some of the local residents, including famous Monty Python illustrator Terry Gilliam.

In the early 2000s, property developers attempted to evict him, but as he had been living on the site for more than 12 years, he was able to claim squatter’s rights. After a lengthy battle, which captured the attention of the local community and the national media, he was awarded a deed on the plot of land, thought to be worth around £2 million.

Harry passed away last year at the age of 88, leaving his unique estate to two charitable organisations.

Hampstead life

The film might seem a little saccharine, but it emphasises one thing – it could only happen in Hampstead. The suburb has always had a leaning towards the unusual, and its old fashioned high street, surrounded by acres of countryside, could not feel less like London.

Over the years, it has gained a reputation for being home to the artistic, musical, literary and – dare we say it – perhaps slightly eccentric set, so of all the places for a Harry the Hermit to appear, Hampstead was the almost inevitable choice.

It is also a place of extreme diversity. Harry arrived without a penny to his name and somehow found success. Just down the road, Hampstead Village is home to more millionaires than any other location in the UK.

As you might expect, it has also attracted its fair share of celebrity residents over the years, including Liam Gallagher, Sting, Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench and Ricky Gervais. You might even bump into Britain’s most famous celebrity couple, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter, taking a Sunday afternoon stroll.

So how does Hampstead really compare to the movie? The reality is far less likely to be believed!