My part of south London is mid-way through a Summer programme of events, mostly happening on and around the Common. This includes paid for concerts and activities. These can be fun, but unfortunately, often require part of the Common to be fenced off, thus excluding local people who use it regularly. I won’t be paying for ‘SW4’ or ‘House of Common’ with headliners Madness, (though I will, perforce, hear them). But at least this is just a weekend event, not one which lasts for weeks.
It goes with the territory, I guess, of living near to a big open space in the centre of a bustling metropolis and who would want to stop people enjoying themselves? The Clapham Common Management Advisory Committee oversees much of this activity, but, ultimately Lambeth LA has responsibility. It’s sometimes hard to find a compromise between using the open space and preserving it, and access to it.
When the common isn’t being used for paid concerts there are lots of other activities. Aside from the regular sports there’s a full programme of music on the Bandstand, every weekend throughout August and some in September too – everything from Swing ( complete with professional dance instructors ), to traditional brass band, steel band and dixie. (See Common People 17) There are also spoken word events and, given the success of Storytelling at the CPOF earlier this year, there may be storytelling too. I’ve been speaking with the organiser, Simon, about this might translate to Clapham.
The next large event is what is becoming Clapham’s annual Summer Fete in the Old Town ( see Clapham Village Fete ) this year entitled the Clapham Common Old Town Fair. Like last year Clapham Writers will have a stall, promoting the Book Festival, speaking with Fete goers and, let’s hope, selling some books.
At least this year we will have promotional material, like our banner and T-shirts, so folk can see who are we are. We’ll be collecting e-mail addresses for our mailing list for next year’s Fest ( maybe offering a prize of books or those willing to sign up ). I’ll be there, with David Armstrong and various other Clapham Writers popping by to hold the fort. Studio Voltaire will also be there.
Planning for next year’s Fest is getting underway already, organising the date(s), speaking with our partners and thinking about the Programme. Panel discussions proved popular this year, so we might use a similar format next, but that depends who we can entice, persuade, cajole to appear. We’re already in touch with one or two publishers and local authors are looking forward to appearing (we have a small list of possibles).
Some ideas so far include items entitled Why are we obsessed with the novels of an impoverished spinster? and Edgelands and the abandoned. They may or may not make it to the final programme. Watch this space.
If you enjoyed reading this article you might enjoy other articles about Clapham, such as A Walk on the Wild Side or Amazing Grace or about the Clapham Book Festival, like Clapham Book Festival Begins….. or Resurrection and how to do it