Friday, 8 July 2011

Shepherd's Bush Festival: we need it!

The Shepherd's Bush Festival returns to W12 this August and will surely be one of the last major events to take place on the Green before that public space is re-shaped permanently. What better way to see the old face of the Bush out, and welcome the new in.

To me the aims of this Festival reflect what I like best about living here - the fact that through music, food and sport workshops people can reach across barriers of language or culture. It's only a one day event but some of the darker things that have cast a shadow over Shepherd's Bush have shown us just how much we need that around here at the moment.

At the festival you'll have the chance to try out many of those things for yourself - drumming workshops, food tasting and even sports.

And sorry to dwell on a negative for a moment but let me explain what I mean. In the weeks that followed the Lakeside Road shooting in which a young man died I wasn't sure what I found most depressing as someone not immediately affected. Either that someone had been killed or the debate that many of the residents of that part of the Bush took part in on this blog about why it was happening - which showed very clearly indeed that there were groups in our community who even live next door to each other who completely fail to understand each other. Part of the answer to that is how we respond to crime, but far more fundamentally it is how we live alongside each other in a very crowded place.

So to return to the positive - we have in one smalll part of London one of the most diverse populations anywhere in the world. In the streets around you there are people from every continent and almost every country speaking hundreds of languages. It's the sort of mix nowhere else can lay claim to and though it throws up problems it is also the reason you can buy what you can buy in the market and the shops around.

But to make the most of it we need to talk to each other. So on one day in August, the 13th between 1pm and 7pm, get yourself down there and enjoy it. Check out what's on offer here. I will leave you with a video of one of last year's acts - well worth checking out.


  1. The plusses of your 'independence' outweigh the sometimes curious contradictions in the tone that appears in your writing.

    You are totally entitled to do that, you have no 'requirement' to maintain a 'stable stance' to the public face - but sometimes its confusing.

    In your first blog about Lakeside, you imply people who are involved as they can be are doing what they can to help - and then say they are part of the marginalisation problem - then you say in your post about SB policing that these orindary people are people doing what they can and people should join them - then you kind of imply that these differences are part of the problem. I think generally your best interests for the community are at heart, and I think that you are right in saying there is misunderstanding - but sometimes its pretty tricky to really 'get' where *you* are coming from :-)

  2. I take it you are the same anonymous person who questioned my stance a couple of days ago. The truth is I dont have a stance, generallly speaking, other than to say we obviously have challenges and I have done what I can in my spare time to try and shine a light on them.

    I am sure if you chose to do the same it would also be very welcome.

  3. Just reading this back. I can confirm that the "Anonymous" who questioned your stance here is a different "Anonymous" who questioned your stance on the teaching post, if that's the "same anonymous" you were referring to Chris.

    The blog has its ups and downs. Thankfully the ups are a ***lot*** bigger and better than the downs, which are only ever a minor annoyance/confusion for readers (or, in the case where you bugger off to the South of France for two weeks, lead to sheer boredom for your readers!). :) We do still all love you really.