chronicle: September 2008

If it’s Croydon, it must be Freedom Of Expression at The Green Dragon: a few songs, a few pints, a few chips. Stuart O’Connor sang; Laveer thrummed; trombone poetry read the odd foundling.

Long ago in a Southwark backstreet, a monthly event called Civilization took place in a ramshackle joint called the Café Club, if memory serves. That place has vanished, but the event has been reactivated: The Return Of Civilization happened at The Hope and Anchor in Acre Lane, presented by this trombonist, and featured those skillful songsters, Pale Marble Movie and the illustrious Emile Sercombe, folding his invisible bicycle with his one-man whatnot. The Clare Hirst Band was in residence. Trombone poetry had to perform from the bar, for no other reason than the dim lighting onstage.

A sunny Saturday afternoon in Tanner Street Park was the setting for the Bermondsey Festival, which boasted a fashion show and various performers. The main attraction, while trombone poetry took to the stage, was the competition for the dog with the waggiest tail.

Later on that day, and further south in Southwark, trombone poetry resounded in the hanger-like arena of Area 10 in Peckham for the Collision Festival, amongst video projections, installations, Balkan music and who knows what. Go and see the place before money ruins it.

Another South London space well worth a visit is the Herb Garden in Deptford, where trombone poetry was invited to play at very short notice, along with Jose from Grupo Lokito, who brought a keyboard accompanist to a venue with no electricity. A guitar was dug up. Payment was in beans.

A New Variety Show was staged in cobble-stoned Iliffe Yard as part of Elefest, the annual free festival organized by NEON at the Elephant & Castle. Milli MoonStone shone, particularly by starting her set on the sarangi. Host Tony England sang and dazzled in bright green top hat and tails. There was honey and hay bales and sunshine. Where were you?

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