The Apple Cart Festival Flies By

The Apple Cart festival came to Hackney, following on from promoter’s ‘Eat Your Own Ears’ ‘Underage Festival’ and ‘Field Day’ last weekend. And what a mixed up, jumped up, pulled around and start up festival it was!

In Victoria Park’s bosom there nestled tents, bandstands and stages awash with teatowels, haybales and gingham for the one day family fest full of comedy, cabaret and music.

Arriving just as the rain started, luckily, just in time to shelter in the folk tent to watch Peggy Sue. Would have been nice to wash their sultry style of harmonising down with a nice, cool, English cider (being Apple themed n’ all) but the entire place was in drought, deciding to serve only piss weak perry. The girls were lovely though, playing new and old songs with a heap of instrument swapping and some cute smiles picking crooning melodies.

The rain battered the tent, but we braved the outdoors to go and find our bearings in time for the Magic Numbers set on the main Apple Cart stage. With an ever-so-polite audience evenly spaced, it felt friendly and that’s what you want when watching the Magic Numbers! More sing-a-longs than you remembered so looks like it didn’t all go wrong! (sorry!).

On to James Yorkston in the Cabaret tent (an odd choice you might think!?). I was really excited about seeing him play again. He has created many a beautiful album and really should be better known. The tent was rammed, but the ethereal noise was immense so the acoustic four-piece were fighting to be heard over the top of distant base thumps. All acts played short sets of about half an hour slots, tops. Enough time for James to run through a few songs (showing incredible talent at finger picking) and to read aloud some of his book “It’s Incredible to be Here”.  He had said before that the set might be “erm, random” with the new band and it was a bit! Lovely harp, clarinet and violin creating beautiful complimentary, just wish I could have heard them properly!

Patrick Wolf, for me, was the biggest let down I had bigged up, but I have read a lot of positive reviews so maybe I am not the best person to listen to! He was very… red?

Taking some time out to explore the rest of the offerings it was clear that the acts that made it, not the atmosphere. Or art (neon painted milk bottles for a fiver!?). Some Hipster inspired Mac n’ Cheese was quite nice to scoff down. Though not out of a dumpster. The best part of the “extras” was seeing a policeman get repeatedly spanked while carrying on walking. I only got one girls reaction to that though, see orange car below…

Strangest act had to be Chili Gonzales – a piano player that could have been a muppet in a previous life spouting intricate comedy lyrics and furiously hammering on the keys, full of charisma and possibly martinis. One incredible moment was when the sun came out to gospel prayer from the audience… no, really!

Tim Minchin was the absolute STAR of the festival. This was the first time he had played a main stage slot at a festival and, by jingo, it worked! I don’t think I even need to say any more, but it was so much funnier than on the tele. Rocked it rude style. Nobody makes cancer more fun.

You’ve never seen hoola hooping unless you’ve seen Marawa! I think she eventually hoola’d about fourty seven hoops. Stunning! Loved the leopard print too!

And then a quick dash to catch the end of Soul2Soul. Lottsa fun. Lottsa soul and some diiiivaaaas with violins. And that was the end for me! Just time to get fish and chips on the way home from The Fish House. Yummy end to a tasty day.

As London festivals go, this was a really nice one. Exceptionally middle of the road middle classes, but nice. Y’know… nice. Just please remember to have cider next year!?

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Festival Bicycle!

When: Sunday 31st July 2011

Where: Mabely Green, E9

More info: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=175011075887549

Another bike fest comes to Hackney in the form of ‘Festival Bicycle’, this Sunday on Mabley Green, E9. Definitely worth riding along to if you love the two wheelers – they are covering everything from classic bikes to a workshop dedicated to getting you in the know and on the road.

Hackney Wicked is just up the road in Hackney Wick, so Sunday is sure to be packed full so no need to leave the Hackney Bubble this weekend!

They say… 
Celebrity bicycle guest celebrity opening speech!
Try a Tandem – come along and try riding with two!
Grass Track Racing & Cycling Competitions! – do you have an unusual bicycle?, bring it along! It might win a prize.
Weird and wonderful in cycling! – tandems, penny farthings, tall-bikes!
Bike workshop – free maintenance and advice for your bike and on cycling!
Bicycle Art and Culture – Bicycle art, films, music, and drinks!
The festival will be the best of summer fete feel, with a bicycle twist!
During the same weekend as Hackney Wicked Arts festival and just across the road, so something for everyone.
Bicycle film after party back at The Kenton, E9 7AB – Yes, The Kenton!

A Personal View of the 2012 Olympics

We have watched the 2012 Olympic site grow over the last two years. From first seeing the building work and road works by the A12 to noticing the sculpted woodwork of the sleek velodrome and the protruding floodlight spires of the main stadium reach into the sky dominating the meagre Hackney skyline. You can experience an online virtual tour from the Guardian HERE.

When visiting Victoria Park on sunny afternoons or to ride through to my favourite coffee shop in Hackney Wick, I’ve seen the immense Olympic shaped city take shape from a pit of wasteland. And it has been impressive.

I was dreading the Olympics coming to London – the amount of people, the transport issues, the busyness of it all, but then after visiting the site and seeing the enormity of the project which will have all eyes on Hackney, I begun to see it as a once in a lifetime event; the chance to be part of something the entire world will be watching, happening in my neighbourhood, is quite exciting. I am not really into sports – watching or playing – but I do like events and this is going to be big!

Go to the lookout near Hackney Wick and see for yourself what’s taking shape. It’s worth it to see the incredible and diverse architecture. And grab a coffee at The Container Cafe!

I was lucky enough to get tickets to the athletics semi finals and can’t wait! I’ll be proud to be part of something that I’ve watch grow and change the landscape and the future of Hackney and east London. There is going to be an international rail station in Stratford, a Westfield shopping center (ok, not the best, but a Topshop is always handy!) and some world-class sports facilities including a brand new 50 mtr Olympic sized pool and diving center. I am also pleased that the roads have been repaved, the parks are getting a make-over and generally, the streets are improving for one of the most culturally interesting places on earth. Just have one more year to wait to see the results, unless you take a tour of the Olympic Village.

But, why have such a bad mascot and logo!? We saw this giant eye at a Search Party party last week and it scared us all… Especially its “tail”.

Twitter @HackneyBubble

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