Monday, 31 January 2011

Chappy types: hip-flasked shaped pegs that don't fit in any hole.

On Sunday found myself in Soho, I am beginning to live up to the title of this blog again. Torquil and I were interviewed by a charming French journalist on, inevitably, chappism. It is amazing how actually being asked a straight question about something concentrates the mind: especially as I am inclined to be a bit ‘wooly’ in the way my conversation moves as regular readers of this blog will know.  ‘Chappism’ itself is really just a vague term anyway.

Interviewed in the French House.
The interview did provide a chance to clarify a few things so I thought I’d mention them here. One was the idea that some people get that it is full of  fogey types with right wing leanings, Yes there are a few, a very few and if they can back up their beliefs and don’t combine them with racism, homophobia, sexism or a sense of superiority they are as welcome as the other extreme. Of course the likelihood is that any one racist, sexist or homophobic will very rapidly realize they have fallen in with entirely the wrong crowd within about 15 seconds of entering any event.

Faux aristocratic pretension is another problem. Again I have no problem with this as long as it is a reference to the eccentric, above petty pretensions, nonsensical side of things rather than an effort to feel superior to others. I’m irritated by excessive ‘what- hos’ and ‘old-chaps’ a little, but that is my problem. But I have no time with those who turn up just gagging to fulfill their preconceptions about people behaving like Margaret Rutherford or Terry Thomas.  Especially when prancing about being an edgy wanabee working class type is the order of the day. Posh hating for the sake of it is ….well, just plain old up-tight retro middle class behaviour. It's not the seventies anymore.

I have more problems with the faux radical/working class or those that feel they have to indentify with one mind set. The urbanites of Norf London are particularly guilty of this. Being from mean streets and having in my extended family people who have suffered appalling upbringings and set backs I know that kind of person does not feel the need to spend their life verbalizing it and indentifying it. If someone is rude about state schooling or council estates I'll get narked, but I get this more from other groups than anyone at a Chap event.  If you grow up in care, have run from a dangerous country in the dead of night or have battled with gender/addiction issues it does not have to delineate you whole life or mean you have to spend it in a (dis)comfort zone. If you are annoyed because an electrician or builder is wearing tweed and using terms such as 'pip,pip!' there is a scary element of real prejudice in that. We should be able to annex any accent, linguistic tic or physical habit we want. Unless you feel that working class people should only behave in an erm working class way. Or, even worse, we should all fit into some acceptable pattern of liberal (not really effing liberal) London inspired form of acceptable behaviour?

The people at ‘chappist’ events seem both more tolerant and diverse than those found in many more established straight forwardly retro events. The price for that is people you may not agree with or seemingly have much in common with will be present but this left wing firebrand would take that over a bunch of Guardian reading right-on brain deads any day. There is a difference between treating people as humans  equally and decently and expecting conformity.  Thinking about it with the journalist I concluded that there was a distinct leaning to the left sprinkled with a  lot of anarchism and libertarianism but it was tricky to state it even that strongly.   

The journalist also prompted me to consider what the Chap magazine had to offer to women as despite being quite masculine it has a decent female readership.  My conclusion is that it appeals to retro fans but those of an independent cast.  The humour and absurdist occult stuff appeals to all genders, and in fact the rag itself is paradoxically endearingly un pc whilst being entirely inclusive.  The contrast between praising proper tea, good manners and well made clothes whilst being completely disinterested in conventional morality is appealing from a modern feminist point of view.

Also, and here I have to say I know a lot of wonderful vintage women who adore cats, knitting and baking  (or they'll kill me and you don't mess with the vintage mafia!) those popular ‘vintage’ pastimes leave me personally cold.  The Chap magazine fortunately doesn’t bother with these, when it did publish a ‘chapette’ section it was too far in this vein and not as appealing to the lady reader. as the normal edition, which does have the estimable Fleur de Guerre's contribution. So if I were forced to describe a so called chapette what would she be like?:

1) Independent.
2) Curious
3) Tolerant
4) Unconventional

Thats it, nothing more specific. Because again diversity and difference are more a feature than any solidarity.  I think with the current trendiness of all things vintage, the success of so called Chap events and themed things has taken a lot of people by surprise and it can be resented.  Some can be critical, quite a few affect that ‘I am so bored with it all’ attitude which is the stock in trade of the kind of urban trendy I have already taken a pop at. But the people who write the magazine and the close knit group around it are amongst the most interesting people I know. Yes they can be show offs but I like show offs, many don't. Interestingly I have met people who moan about the chaps but adore their flamboyant gay chums. Weird inverted prejudice going on there, seems to be set rules about who can be flamboyant.  Not if you are female, straight, working-class
and so forth.

My favourite people are pretentious and flamboyant, but they are great fun, you can stick your little cliques, and fashionable urban habits where the sun don’t shine.  Most trendy London minorities are arses….  You might find the Chap magazine doesn’t appeal, fair enough nothing wrong with that per se.  But in any case generally if someone is actually rude about them I know I am facing a bore. And you know what we Sohoites think of bores….

I was a bit wrecked and couldn’t face the full vintage turn out, no hat and my best white gloves were a bit grubby. I did wear my Tara Starlet Peggy dress for the first time which is a very practical frock and matched the general ambience of the French House on a Sunday lunchtime. Shame there weren't any olives tho.

 Minn xxx

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Gender ageism on television.

There has been a rumbling through British society about the position of older women in the visual media recently, with the BBC presenter of a wildlife programme winning her  case against them for age discrimination. Earlier controversies include Selina Scotts complaints against television for it’s anti older woman bias and the furore over Arlene Phillip’s being replaced by Alesha Dixon, a younger, prettier woman  who although personable lacked any real knowledge of dance.  It has been suggested by some that the agenda behind these complaints has been sour grapes or personal ambition, but obviously anyone wants to keep their job and should get annoyed when their male peers retain theirs.

I’m getting older, I never used to be very concerned in that way that the young don’t tend to be. However the situation is now beginning to grate.  My mother who is in her sixties has only been able to see one woman who resembles her physically on television.  Anne Widdecombe, a far-right politician who became a figure of amusement when dragged around a dance competition.  The media trumpeted the achievements of Felicity Kendall on the same show, a woman who has never had much in common with other women at any point.and whose television career is based on being a fey sex symbol.  Where is the shared point of reference? And in any case Strictly Come Dancing is essentially frivolous entertainment. Even then the serious stylish soft voiced Ms Winkelmann does the associated evening weekday review slot, and some big galumphing boobed blonde presenter plays second fiddle to an ancient Brucey.

More importantly I’m noticing that there are not that many women of my age in serious positions in front of the camera. Experience female broadcasters are farmed out to consumer shows or daytime tv.  Admittedly to be an actress or performer looks have always been part of the equation. But what really gets to me is news reporting. The array of serious, graying men facing an array of bambiesque younger female colleagues. is odd 
and sometimes seems a touch peadophilic and icky.  I don't want my news read to me by male eye candy, I like the older authoritative clear spoken male newsreader. But I want to hear the news from a female equivalent. It’s all very well ranting about this but lets provide some visual evidence.

 ITV News at Ten. Mark Austin and Julie Etchingham.

BBC News at 10pm George Alagiah and Sophie Raworth.

BBC London News programme. Asad Ahmad and Riz Lateef.

ITV London Tonight Ben Scotchbrook and Nina Hossein.

I could go on but having been through lots more stations I can confirm there appear to be a strict set of rules for being a woman reading the news (with just a few exceptions):

You must be younger or appear younger than your male colleague.
You must be Caucasian or of Indian appearance.
Your hair must be straight and in a tasteful bobbed hairstyle.
Your eyes will be your main feature and heavily made up.
You will not have to obey the strict rules of dress applied to your male colleagues.
You will not have grey hair.
You will look soft and approachable.
Serious is required but gravitas is not.

I’m not the only one to notice this, the advent of the ‘autocutie’ has annoyed some male newsreaders.  Some of the poppety news ladies have good qualifications and experience and fully deserve to be where they are. So why the appearance? Why are men, grizzly, rumpled, greying and very average in looks acceptable, fully acceptable to women, yet we cannot have the female equivalent? would gentlemen be unable to deal with it?  Sometimes I also think female newsreaders are their own worst enemy. Male newscasters don’t feel the need to push their masculinity but female newsreaders seem to feel the need to make their sexiness an issue, even if it is for charity.

This thought occurred to me again recently when I saw the image below:

Why does the only woman in a humorous programme surveying news and politics have to be in a red mini dress? She is already cursed by being young, female and blonde. Is this mean't to be ironic? Why isn't she in a suit, why aren't her arms crossed. As a woman I just see the fact that she is likely to be a foil to the boys, in another publicity still she is holding a clipboard, that really better be humorous. Maybe you feel I am being over judgemental, well perhaps the average Lauren shouldn't be in the show instead of someone funny (say Sarah Millican). But honestly it is one short step from this, to this:


I doubt any news person will read this but I just want to put across the fact that the same qualities that make a good male newsreader, serious presenter or commentator make a good female one. Please don't inflict only pretty or good looking ladies on us. We suspect, sometimes unfairly as a result that sparkly eyes and a cute expression have got them where they are. Also older women are grossly unrepresented. A sixty year old journalist of either gender with sombre stylish clothes a clear voice and an air of authority is what I want telling me about death and destruction, not someone who looks like they should be booking me in at the hairdressers....

Mark Austin has become the latest TV journalist to hit out at news presenters who are chosen simply for their looks.
The ITV News host said a large number of the current crop of telegenic newsreaders - so-called autocuties - lacked a proper journalistic background.
Read more:

What do you think, is this my old baggishness coming to the fore again or do you agree? xxx

Friday, 21 January 2011

Le manifeste Chap photoshoot.

A couple of photographs from the L'Optimum shoot of the Chaps and Chapettes lurking in Soho. Connected to the success of the Chap Manifesto by Gustav Temple and Vic Darkwood in it's French translation. Available from Amazon and selling like hot croissants!

In the French House.

Le Chap Manifeste.

Don't mess with the vintage crowd...


Minn x

Vintage at Goodwood hit South Bank this Summer.

It is interesting to hear that the controversial Vintage at Goodwood is relocating to London’s South Bank this year (see: This move has not gone down well with many posting on social media. There has been a lot of bleating about losing the ‘festival vibe’, beautiful fields, the camping experience or even in a couple of cases the sitting around and singing to guitars (blleuuugh!).  Some have declared it non-festival like and that they won’t be going.  Huzzah!!

This naturally fills me with a modicum of hope.  I personally am put off by the entitled, middle class immature hordes that turn up for these corporate commercial wank fests. I am generalizing I know. I am aware that some festivals are jolly and some festival goers lovely. A lot however are people I would cross continents to avoid (and they’d probably prefer to avoid me). So naturally I avoid festivals.

 The wellied string haired wannabe decadents that flood to summer festivals and  the idea of a vintage inspired  fun fest do not compute, you need not to be ‘up yourself’, be friendly and have decent manners, not something you get a lot of in a lot of modern festivals.  This made me philosophical about missing the inaugural Vintage at Goodwood thing.  As I was not there I have no criticisms to make.  Some of the things I heard from people I respect gave me the willies. Big brand corporate presence, disrespectful treatment of property, not looking after or rewarding volunteers and the presence of lots of arses taking the piss in stupid costumes being examples.

On the other hand I liked the idea of hearing some of the bands playing, I know some good retro types who had a lot of  fun and personally always enjoy the chance to chap around. For every photo I saw of someone behaving twattishly I saw photos of people having a good time. I also think it has to be remembered that it was the first outing and was always going to have teething problems and that the festival was actually held and put on. Not just talked about.  A lot of us have to be wary of getting our backs up or being a bit possessive about our scenes or interests. Yes it is annoying when some young pr or organizer obviously knows bugger all about the forties or fifties but you don’t sulk, you help out, of course with the codicil that organizers are prepared to be helped. There was a lot of unnecessary griping and sniping from both sides. Some people were always going to whinge, some were unfairly criticised for fair comment but also I think the organisers got a lot of grief for things they may not have anticipated.

The South Bank is actually a really good idea with it’s skylon/festival of Britain associations.  Although many will whinge about Londoncentricism this is going to be easier for many to attend than a festival in the Home Counties or some smaller city with worse transport.  There is lots of accommodation (including camp sites if you really have to), the best transport links and lots of other things to do including all the great museums and galleries. Think of the beautiful river views from the South Bank too. 

Also present in the metropolis is a diverse, established and active vintage community.  If the organizers tap into this and produce a festival which is not just about making money it could be fun.  The organizers will probably have registered what worked, what didn’t and how to deal with things after reviewing last year.  I would presume an enthusiasm for retro things is what motivates at least some of them, rather than the idea of a themed idea of retro to sell to the Topshop demographic and make cash ethos.  Obviously it should make some cash though, you can’t expect something for nothing, a happy medium is a tricky thing. I'm sure that now they have an idea of how to harness vintage help (really a case of mutual back scratching in the service of promoting enthusiasms on the one side and commercial/critical success on the other).

It is all to easy to anticipate the problems, how will they close the area off? handle queues? keep the hard core and the newbies happy? Personally I think they need a magic ray machine gun type thing to delete hipsters, gormless rahs and nylon fancy-dress outfits (I can hear arsey people yelling ‘snob’!) as I write that.  But that isn’t me. I think that  Goodwood as a venue was ageist, classist and elitist. Only a certain kind of person can and wants to camp, otherwise you had to be rich or local to make it. A London based festival would attract a wider demographic and less of the aforementioned rahs, hipsters and monied teenagers.  More  fanatics and more of the genuinely interested up for a laugh type of punter may turn up. And going back to the crap fancy dress, I’d rather see people in their preferred natural clothes rather than taking the piss.
For fucks sake....
I wish the organizers well, I hope they realize that there are a huge number of fanatics and enthusiasts in a very well established vintage community across the decades who are not cliquey or snobby and want to help and share their enthusiasm with people.  But they do not want to see the things they love demeaned and crassly commercialized by people who know and love their enthusiasms less.  This could be a really fun weekend, or awful.  I’m inclined to think it could easily be the former, as long as this is an inclusive event. So I look forward to seeing the line-up.  Ultimately it is better to be positive and no matter what your impression of the last event was (as I said I didn’t go and am neutral but optimistic) at least these people are getting off their bums and organizing something. So Vintage Festival organizers, over to you and all the best!

NB:  I still think people who wear nylon afros, fake moustaches and dumb 20’s headbands should be put in the stocks though….. we could pelt them with jellies for charity?

Friday, 14 January 2011

The kind of mouse I want in my house, djungarian hamsters (serious cute alert!)

I was in a conversation with someone they other day about pets and I think they doubted the veracity of the existence of a creature, three of who I have kept quite happily. My assertion that whilst unable to have a hound, the crème de la crème of human pets, I would like again to keep Djungarian Hamsters.  Cue unconvinced look and raised eyebrows. I elucidated “they are Russian”…..this explanation did not convince….”maybe bred from the Chinese ones”…..
Well as proof, and as an excuse to post some pictures of cute fluffy rodents I am recommending the Djungarian or Dzungarian as a pet but am not sure how easy they are to buy here.
They are small..
 In England we are used to the Syrian Hamster, large, quite aggressive but strangely comatose, well at least for all of the time we want to interact with them.  Prone to grow extremely fat and get stuck in tubes. We had one called Fred, I was quite fond of it and it developed a very amiable relationship with our sheepdog.  But there are problems with the Syrian hammy, primarily that they are a little dull. But how different I hear you mutter, can comrade Hamsterovich be?
Annexe your home..
 Well for one the Djungarian is much smaller and far far cuter.  They are nervier than their larger cousins and completely unsuitable for children. They are at the same time dramatically nosier and although nocturnal they cannot resist finding out what you are doing. Being nervy they have to get used to you, and rather remarkably they fade and pine without company so you actually have to go and fuss over them. Most notably they have very distinct personalities ranging from harmonious to psychopath. 
More cute...
My first, George, a little grey was inherently grumpy but extremely curious, the sound of the door opening and straight to the cage door. Very fond of tugging things, pockets, chewing buttons and yawning. Also liked watching television. He developed an ear infection and was smart enough to curl into a little ball on his side in your hand to get his ear drops. Distinctly smarter than a Syrian hamster.  He also squeaked loudly when annoyed and lived far past his allotted 2 years.
His replacement was white and I had planned to call him nipper but he had such a sweet disposition he ended up being called Snowball, which is what he resembled. Saying he had a sweet disposition he did bite one of the most unpleasant children I ever met. Would sit on my knee washing his face and was quite fearless. Liked chewing the tatami which was not so good and I once caught him chasing a cockroach in a determined way, his frustration when it crawled up a wall and efforts to leap after it are one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

My third hamster, white with grey tips was a bit mental, a rescue Djungarian if you please. He would swing from the bars, hurl himself around and was nosy to a peeping tom like degree. A complete show off and the only hamster I ever heard hiss. Party trick was to cover himself with shredded bedding, wait until you were looking and then leap out.  In Japan we had great cages, designed to mimic Japanese homes so the little scampers end up sleeping in kotatsus and have Japanese calligraphy on the walls!
Famous bedding trick...
I have always quite liked ‘invited’ mice and rats and things that scurry. The Djungarian hamster isn’t really Russian but comes from Borat like outposts of Eastern Europe. Cute, peculiar, cheap to keep and short but sweet lives. And they do exist!!!

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Parents and babies are not the most important people in the country....

Recently Eastenders has got into a bit of bother about a storyline involving cot death and child napping, a plot line too far it is said.  Funny that the sad but real condition of cot death and the thankfully rare baby napping are unacceptable yet peadophilic grooming, violence against women and rape are. It seems to me that discussions of things that make a certain kind of mum uncomfortable are becoming demonised. I’m not sure it is about children (no one doubts that children need good health, protection and education) but their parents. It seems that there is this push to persuade us that the small child, and notably their parent are the most sacrosanct and important members of our society. That Bonoism ‘the children are our future’ is hurled at us. The children are in fact their future, and their parents and friends future but not necessarily mine. A child or its parent is not more important than anyone else. A child is vulnerable and needs care, but so do the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill and the teenage girl.  But that is related to extra care, a five year old is not societally more important than me. In fact we need less children, not more. Having several children is selfish and irresponsible to the nth.

As a woman, and one without children I risk being accused of a lack of awareness, I have not understood the special pressures of caring for children. True, but I do not thankfully understand the pressures of several situations, such as being the victim of homophobia or suffering from a chronic disease. More worrying would be an accusation of lacking sisterhood, but my sympathies lie with human beings as a whole and I regard motherhood as a voluntary chosen situation.  Fortunately I am in a profession which can support and nurture women with children and my colleagues mothers or not are mutually supportive. However in other professional fields I would (and have) been furious to have to work harder to support another woman’s lifestyle choice.  Additionally I do not feel that you can have a child and expect to advance as far as those that don’t in certain fields. Abilities all being equal, the childless woman or man who works longer deserves that higher professional achievement.  The sticking point is the married man who gets the babies and the job, but a mother/wife who accepts this situation has to take some responsibility for it.

At present a disproportionate amount of effort and time is expended on infants, whilst the elderly who have still got lives to live are sidelined, receive less support and worse health care. A small child who has five years to live receives more investment and attention than an elderly person who may have fifteen years left and has contributed to the country for decades. The reasons for this are a combination of ‘cuteness’, sentiment and the media savviness of the family lobby. Why are families getting child benefit? Why are tax breaks even considered when we are cutting all public services. Shouldn’t pensions be more important?  People chose to have children, an 85 year old man with arthritis chose neither to be born or to be ill.  Then there is the NHS money wasted on fertility treatment, not having children is not a disease, there are always people who haven’t procreated. Any woman so obsessed with herself as a womb has got to be a bit of a nutjob really. 

I’m sick of bloody great prams dislodging paying travelers from buses and trains.  I find the company of toddlers for more than five minutes extremely tedious, they don’t really provide much in the way of intellectual stimulation do they?  As for Mumsnet? They sound like Skynet the nasty corporation from the Terminator films and you know, they are really beginning to irritate me. Biscuitgate was bad enough (who cares what biscuit Gordon Brown likes best?) but recently organisations like this are getting on my goat.  All the whinging about how hard motherhood is, is it really? Has always seemed fairly simple to me, very stupid people manage it, people with hardly any money manage it, criminals manage it. A child may impinge on every aspect of a parent’s life but surely they knew that before they threw the contraception away?

No doubt someone will be angry with me… I do like children and was a teacher for a long period (not a job you can do if you dislike them). I’m happy to be without kids because I know I would get bored and frustrated.  Many of my friends are happy parents who do not whinge. I’m happy to support mothers in desperate straits. However parenthood is a lifestyle choice, have children when you want to, can afford to and adapt to them . Don’t expect to suddenly become a special case, get extra spending money, take up double space for free on buses or have your grade at work protected so you can have a couple of years off with the kids.  And don’t try and ring fence storylines on soap operas to fit your precious sensibilities.

This is an opinion piece, please feel welcome to add alternative or personal views but any personal vitriol will have no effect whatsoever! xx

Thursday, 6 January 2011

WDI's list of wants for 2011

This was a comment in reply to my last post of 2010 which listed my hopes for 2011 by WDI (Worker Dandyist International), it tickled me so I thought I would post it here (hopefully he won't mind)! You can tell it was composed by a chap though....... here is his list:

1) Ugg boots are outlawed due to the incessant shuffling being considered noise pollution.

2)Above-the-knee, chiffon pleated skirts and fully-fashioned nylons are the big fad of a quite windy 2011.

3)People of limited wit cease using the word 'literally' to mean the exact opposite.

4)They invent a lager that makes you thin.

5)The AGM of the Countryside Alliance gets attacked by wild bears and sexually excited stallions causing multiple injuries and many embarrassing deaths.

6)People remember how to riot properly.

7)Ben Goldacre is appointed Health Secretary while Gillian McKeith is jailed for quackery.

8)The kids drop their idiotic, made-up, 'street' accents in favour of RP.

9)The march of technology into the chasm of crapness is halted and film cameras, analogue sound and CRT televisions become commonplace again.

10)Ostriches become the new vehicle of choice for the smart set.

Top beauty product hint.

I like to wear a bit of eyeliner occasionally, some of you might have read the blog post where I tried all but one liquid eyeliner in the Selfridges beauty hall. That was insane, I had considered doing the same for lipstick but realised I would have to move in for a week. My favourite instant liner remains Dior's but an issue remains staying power. My eyes are deep set and due to my age increasingly creased. I was finding that eyeliner, particularly in the outer corners would rapidly break up or wear off. To be honest my tendency to get allergic and have to give my eyes a wipe does not help. I have found one thing that really helps, a gel sealant used by actors and dancers (including ballerinas who as we all know are eye-flick goddesses).  It is a sealant that you use  instead of water with block liner and it seems to work really well and dry quickly. Additionally it comes off quite easily and the only set back I can see is that you really have to have a cake liner just to use with it. 

I'm quite a fan of kryolan products which I used as a goth and never seemed to irritate my perverse and temperamental skin. It can be bought in Charles Fox in Covent Garden and costs about a fiver. Might not suit all but useful for me so I thought I'd share! xxx

Little bottle of usefulness.

My favourite Christmas present.

A vintage lucite bag, purchased by the bearded man in a shop near Camden Passage Islington (thanks also to Fleur for her collusion). He is definitely in my good books the lovely! However being transparent I shall have to be careful not to fill it with used tissues, twix wrappers and old bus tickets!  

What were your favourite presents this year? xx

Happy New Year, wassailing, mummery and frivolity on Bankside.

Happy New Year to all of you. I hope you had a great Christmas despite the weather and all the assorted plagues and lurgies on the loose. Honestly it has been a season of snot and snow.  We managed to enjoy it though. Our new year was spent with lovely friends in a lovely house in Cheshire for whose generosity and kindness we are still grateful. As I sit writing this on Twelfth Night proper, it occurs to me that this first week back at work and after the festive season can be a trial. The old Twelfth Night habit of having one last hurrah should be reintroduced.  A night of naughtiness away from church, familial strictures and with a stream of heathen jollity. I blame the Victorians, or the puritans, or the Nazis (it's always down to one of the three) for it's virtual disappearance from the modern world.

Wishing kissing tree and the crowns for King Bean and Queen Pea.

We were able to extend the jolliness to some extent by celebrating Twelfth Night on Bank Holiday Monday by going to Bankside in London to join the celebrations organised by the Lion's Part Theatre Company.  These involve an old fashioned mummer style performance and was followed by the traditional crowning of a king and queen who then led a procession to the George pub in Borough where wassailing and dancing and storytelling took place.  Washed down by generous amounts of cider and mulled wine of course. A wonderful combination of the traditional and pagan, old and modern and making the most of the very particular character of the Southwark Bankside. The whole thing was cheering, raucous, and energising. It extended your feeling of Christmassiness whilst celebrating the arrival of a new year, one that I hope will be good for all of us.

Calum Coates (as St George) and Emma Bown flanking a Twelfth Night erm..thingy.

Crowds in the courtyard of the historic George pub.

The Green Man was rowed up the Thames and arrived from the river to commence the proceedings.

Southwark dancers strutting their stuff.

New Sheridan club members gather under the heated poles.


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