ut festival in we endz, or something like that

+ =

‘We go ut fest burgess pk dis Sat. u com?’ texts my friend.

Although she is a well-educated writer, orbiting 40, and plays the harpsichord (no, really), she is a South Londoner born and bred and as such is inclined to indulge in the patois.

‘Txt u wid plan. tink plan is 2 go b4 dem ut get 2 rowdy’

This is how I came to spend this afternoon with a sloe gin hangover battling for my brain’s attention with hi volume rappers, beatboxers and MCs with willfully misspelt monikers like DJ Shyne, StreetBreakerz, Indie Flyboyz, Ruff Diamondz, and other names heavily reliant on high-scoring Scrabble letterz. And all of them talking like my friend texts.

The Mix, supported by young person’s radio station Reprezent (there they go again) 87.7fm is apparently curated by kidz, for kidz, which explains the aural assault, but not some of the other activities laid on which showed a penchant for retro classics that hinted at It’s a Knockout meets Carry on Camping: volleyball, giant inflatable spheres you could roll around inside, comedy sumo suits kids can put on and wrestle each other in,  and popular 70s garden-fun  throwback Swingball. It also explains the correlation as one gets older between the growing appreciation of traditional English fruit-based liqueurs and a tailing off of one’s youthful enthusiasm for loud music.

There was also educational stuff (Shakespeare) and healthy stuff (pedal-powered smoothies – the bike operated the blender). And a whole area offering advice on how to set up your own business and succeed in being self employed, with workshops on chocolate making, screen printing, and how to set up your own juice bar (a factory powered by crazily pedalling primary school children seems the natural starting point). Unfortunately this too was directed at teens – even though if they can curate a successful festival, run their own radio station, and perform to crowds, then ‘dem ut’ clearly don’t need the advice quite so much as their directionless midlife parentz. Innit?


About JCT

JCT was Deputy Editor of weekly London arts/listings magazine Time Out but left to freelance in 2007 – just before the recession. She writes for a number of publications and has edited 'London Calling: high culture and low life in the capital since 1968' (Time Out/Ebury 2008) and 'The World's Greatest Cities' (Time Out/Ebury 2009). She is the co-author of The Midlife Manual (Short Books, 2010).
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