Reflections of Polyfest: 2016 Half Moon Putney

Being otherwise committed meant that for EiTC attendance at this year's Amazing Polyfest at the awesome Half Moon in Putney, was beyond the realms of possibility. So in his stead Guildford Lil gathered up the in-Blacks and headed for the heart of the known universe (i.e. Putney), from whence she and Mr Bloggs brought back this journal of their collective experiences...

Is it better to travel than to arrive?

If life is a journey then travelling should be celebrated…

Ravenette and I set out Thelma and Louise style to such a celebration, Polyfest 3: a gathering at the Half Moon in Putney organised to remember Poly Styrene (X Ray Spex) and Diane Charlemagne (Urban Cookie Collective) while supporting the charity CLIC Sargent.

Amidst the blue sky there were isolated black clouds that threatened our topless progress. We outran one only to pass under the sparkling blue to the gloom of another. But the way of life is that tinges of rain will always make an appearance. The art is not to let these droplets get you down. On the contrary it was only our car top that remained steadfastly down while my driver was getting her first blast of the Dead Kennedys to dispel thoughts of the rain filling up her vehicle.

My navigation skills backed by research meant that no satellites were required for our transit. Streetview had shown me the pub in drab grey light with thunderous clouds in one direction and bright sunshine and fluffy wisps in the other; we saw both views as we arrived. Is Putney in a meteorological zone of its own? Following careful consideration of the area’s parking restrictions we enclosed the car and took a short walk to the venue.

BLOGGS:- Backtrack several hours and myself and Lou are planning on taking in the “Visible Girls” exhibition by Anita Corbin so we travel to Farringdon only to find the exhibition is closed weekends (something they didn’t say on the web site). So as it was still early we decide to have a wander around Clerkenwell green and visit a few drinking establishments, The Dovetail, The Three Kings and The Castle – all great pubs. We then realise that it is not as early as we thought and jump back onto the tube for a swift trip to Putney Bridge.

While waiting at the bar, first one of us spotted Spizz Energi of Spizzology and the other correctly identified Saffron from Republica. This was the opening page of the I-Spy book of Polyfest performers completed and many more were ticked off during the evening. Parrot Boy was the next to join us but had little to contribute in terms of travel tales with his description of walking from the railway station. Loopy Lou and Mr Bloggs arrived (how was your journey/day?)

BLOGGS:- Fine thanks, yours? – Waiting at the bar, we were thinking of opening a book on who would be first to buy the drinks, The group of Hare Krishna who were shuffling about waiting to go on stage or Parrot Boy who had promised to “get the beers in”. Our feathered friend did not disappoint.

In the rush of catching up with each other and acknowledging a few more rounds of Polyfest performers I-Spy we only made the transition into the back room in time for Spizzology. Then I Ludicrous had us nodding along in agreement about “A Very Important Meeting”, we’ve all been to these.

BLOGGS:- That’s an interesting hand stamp I thought, on entering the gig proper. But why do I love “Her Majesty’s Prisons”?

My initial reaction to Celeste and the Tabloid Queens was that there weren’t as many people on stage as their name suggested. That was quickly replaced by being drawn into the mesmerising performance by the beautiful Celeste who effortlessly commanded the stage. When Lou told me that she is Poly Styrene’s daughter the connection was obvious and perfect. And later it was revealed that Diane’s daughter Chantelle was also in the audience. There was great enthusiasm shown by those in attendance that we were able to share in the personal journeys, for just a very short time, of these daughters of two unique women. The Putney rain/sunshine weather combination must have been ordered for this bittersweet event

Acts whizzed past, swiftly taking the stage and packing in the tunes but the relentless onslaught to the ears and the pace of change, ably compered by John Robb and Wolfy (have I got that right?), only kept our interest levels high throughout. Artists joined bands for a quick tune. The Jet Reds performed with the addition of Dominique Olliver whose long dress left everyone in the audience with questions about underwear. Musicians and singers merged and morphed together in many different combinations. The Shakespearos came along with a set of punk classics including Sounds of the Suburbs when JC Carroll (of The Members) joined them and when they ended with the splendid Turning Japanese were there enough members of The Vapors present to call it The Vapors? The mood was taken in a smoother direction by Ben from Curiosity Killed the Cat (appreciative noises were heard from Lou who was in touch with her inner 80’s self at this point). The Woodentops amazed with their beat driven songs. Those of us who tried to tap our toes along with them had to concede defeat, it just wasn’t possible to keep up with their drummer.

I have to apologise to anyone who we’ve omitted to mention, it is no reflection on quality just on the sheer pace and that we were having such fun that I did not make many notes to remind us. We heard JC Carroll with Melissa on ukulele, Saffron from Republica (thanks to my subconscious, I told her she looked ready just before she performed. Cracking song is Ready to Go but I didn’t mean to reference it), Then Jericho, Angie Brown and closing were Doctor and the Medics (“He’s tall” said Ravenette. Cue groovy dancing). Phew!

Throughout there were songs sung in tribute to Poly and Diane of which particular mention should be made of those by performed by Rosie (sorry, didn’t catch a surname) and of Jennie Bellstar with the Hare Krishna (who sang Oh Bondage Up Yours). BLOGGS NOTES: Diane Charlemagne’s “The Key The Secret” was played / mentioned two or three times. The cheerful crowd was packed in and from the stage there was the suggestion that a larger venue might be sought for next year. BLOGGS: Possibly the Roundhouse was mentioned? Whoa, big jump! Could Polyfest become a victim of its own success? We should not anticipate limits in life for growth and expansion of experience. Go with the flow. I sense that Polyfest will continue the journey. And those of us in attendance will travel with it.

BLOGGS:- The after show “Disco” was sublime, more great tunes from great DJs – unfortunately the crowd was thinning and we finally had to make our journey home via Streatham’s finest chicken shack. A great night was had by all I believe.

A great night indeed, Bloggs.

BLOGGS: Why was there a large portrait of Domestos on the wall next to Elvis Costello?

GL: Because he’s always liked a clean Bush?

Words/Interjections: Guildford Lil/Rebus Bloggs.

Inspiration: Poly Styrene, Diane Charlemagne, Mrs Bloggs, Ravenette and Parrot Boy.

Pics: poly1

I Love HMP hand stamp
I Love HMP hand stamp
Important Meeting
Important Meeting
Wooden Tops
Wooden Tops
Then Jericho
Then Jericho


Dr and The Medics
Dr and The Medics

Click Here for Polyfest 2014 review

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