My friends I have glimpsed the future – it’s in Brixton.
Since moving to London, the thing I have most missed has been sheepdog trials. Back in Hampshire you couldn’t move for sheepdog trials; sports day? Village fete? Wedding? Let’s have a sheep dog trial! If you could spot canine talent it was possible to choose a promising puppy and follow them all the way from local village champion to Grand Master Dog of Hampshire, crowned in the sheep-chasing coliseum, The Butser Country Fair. At the fair you could also watch people shoot shotguns, ride on a tractor, learn rustic crafts and buy locally made sausages. Were it not for the countryside’s terminal lack of opportunity, culture, nightlife and excitement, I don’t think I’d have ever left.
So Imagine my joy last weekend when I discovered the Lambeth Country Fair. All the fun of a regular country fair; tug of war, barn owl displays, and cart horses, but slap in the middle of Brixton and with a massive great sound system playing ear splitting Ragga beats. My eyes have been opened, the country and the city can live side by side! I’ve been so impressed that I suggest all my readers meet me there next year, we can watch sheep chasing and drink red stripe until we pass out!
If tweedely inbred country curios and marijuana flavoured urban carnivals can be successfully mixed, there is no reason why we can’t start blending other traditional British summer events. I’ve recently visited both Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows, and although they serve a valuable purpose in the gardening calendar, I think there is space for a flower show with a bit more zing. I have also recently been to a couple of free parties/raves, and although they’re great fun, no one who goes to them wants to talk about flowering shrubs. The answer is obviously to combine the two, and create the RHS, the Rave Horticultural Society.
We’ll only put on one show a summer, at a secret location somewhere just outside London. Garden designers, exhibitors, construction firms, DJs, and visitors will all load up their vans and start cruising round the M25. I will then text them the location, the trick is to get as many people there and the show underway before the police arrive. Designers will have to work with whatever site they can find, but because the punters are part of the show they can enlist wandering garden fans to help with the building. A barter system for plants and materials will in place, a massage is worth a Hearts Tongue Fern, an Allium is worth a beer . Generators will power a huge sound system playing breakbeat and techno, but each garden is encouraged to put on the speakers in their vans and play clashing music as loud as they can. Free whistles and glow sticks will be distributed.
The gardens will be judged at dawn, by an expert panel of loved-up horticulturalists. The winners will be awarded a medal and have their names carved in a trophy. Once its calmed down a bit we’ll start the sheep dog trials.
Anyone who’s up for it send me your mobile number and wait for my text.