Even without the gravelly tones of Ian Dury, the legendary Blockheads still pack a punch with their tongue-in-cheek songs and drew a large crowd of mainly 40 to 50 somethingâ€™s at the second annual Village Green event on September 26.Â
Their vibrant â€˜rock meets country, jives with 50â€™s style,â€™ provided a great mid-afternoon interlude as people tucked into hearty and healthy fare from the mobile stands of Squeeze and My Kitchen.Â
Billy Bragg and Phil Jupitus amply filled Ianâ€™s shoes, slowly building to the climax of the bands two signature songs. Billyâ€™s rendition of â€˜Go Motoringâ€™ a homage to the A13 and a parody of Route 66, and Phil Jupitus leading â€˜What a Waste,â€™ went down a storm and the crowd pulled together for the finale of â€˜Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick and ‘Reasons to be Cheerful.â€™Â Â
Picnic blankets on the green behind Chalkwell Hall, the new headquarters of art group Metal, were as colourful and varied as the families and friends dancing at their tasselled and frayed edges.
After a couple of hours giving out Bookstart goody bags and library bookmarks, encouraging parents and toddlers to join the hourly story rhyme sessions, I left to flit between stalls of nut-made jewellery and silver filigree pieces by Burkmar jewellery from Leigh.
â€œMake sure you get the flags in,â€ said Kate whoâ€™d kindly agreed to a photograph as she threaded a pennant through her sewing machine adding to the other 8990. The length ofÂ Southend Pier, 2158m, was chosen as the target and when ratified by the Guinness Book of Records the bunting will break the world record of 1504.72m set in July 2006 by the Myotubular Trust, a rare and serious neuromuscular condition affecting children.
I threaded a route past sandaled ladies, heavy-booted teenagers, lead-pulling dogs and buggies as I crammed in as many stalls as I could before meeting Glen for lunch.
Bronwyn Oldhamâ€™s flower photographs bloomed from her stall and she proudly beamed when I revealed her work was my first stop at this years Leigh Art Trail and Dizzy Diâ€™s stall swarmed with mums and girls eager to make their own bracelets. Seeking out Level 4â€™s stand, flamboyant editor Syd was everything Iâ€™d imagined; vibrantly dressed and beaming, she congratulated me on my â€˜End of the Pierâ€™ story published in the May edition of the magazine, offering to publish more of my work.Â
It was a great day and Metal should be proud; with free creative activities, obliging weather and quality music, the 15,000 visitors and organisers certainly had many reasons to be cheerful.Tags: Billy Bragg, blockheads, chalkwell Park, Ian Dury, My Kitchen, Phil Jupitus, Route 66, southend-on-Sea, Squueze, village Green, Westcliff