Charteris Summer Festival 1999

The Charteris summer festival is an annual event that occurs in my old neighbourhood every year, and has done so since I was a kid. I think it started back in the 1970's when the street where I used to live on had hippy squatters living across the road from my family's old house in unoccupied council property. When the council came to evict them, the squatters put on a mini-festival to drum up support for them, with jugglers, facepainting for kids and other things  (one of them had a go at being a fire-eater - a v.bad mistake for him, as he had a beard which promptly got singed as he placed the flames to his lips having been slightly soaked with petrol!). They got evicted, but those who were re-housed and settled in the area carried on the tradition of having a festival to this day. This was to be a fairly poignant festival for me, as I was going to move to Tottenham shortly afterwards. Here's some pics I took that day.

This was a flyer I got thorough my letterbox telling me about the event and who'd be featuring in it (those of you with keen eyes will have noticed it used as a backdrop on this page).


This is Abdul T.J.'s Rokoto, an West African zouk/hi-life band performing on a stage set up in the playground where local children would play football, cricket or whatever (I scored plenty of Cup Final-winning goals in that park as a kid, I must say). For folks playing such happy, infectiously danceable music, they looked pretty gloomy, sombre and restrained to me.


Here's two girls I spotted nearby doing some very accomplished Irish dancing to the sounds coming from the stage. For children so young, they certainly had their moves sorted, I must say. They reminded of some of my classmates who'd dance in the assembly hall on St. Patrick's Day at my old primary school (the nuns at Christ The King would always pin a piece of shamrock or a green ribbon with a plastic harp on it). I think you've got some competition to look out for, Mr. Flatley.


These are some of the revellers enjoying both the sun and the music (the lady with the blue dress and the handbag was certainly letting rip in the playground, I can tell you!).


Here's an individual I saw who was tottering rhythmically with to the music nearby. Not content with doing that, he seemed to get his jollies prodding ladies' rears within range with his walking stick - a closet "Carry-On" fan, perhaps?


More revellers enjoying the music.


Abdul T.J.'s Rokoto again. Do you think they've cheered up a little?


A young mum dancing with her baby (just below shot). I'd have taken a few more pics later on, but I had a chat with a lady who chided me for reading a book while all around me were dancing, only to ask me to keep an eye on her keys and tin of 'Strongbow' while she went off to strut her stuff - make your up mind, dear! When she did come back, she kept telling me to check out any books I could by Zora Neale Husrton (a major influence on Alice Walker, she told me). When the festivities ended I went off to Finsbury Park with a neighbour (hello, Joyce!) and her friend (plus teenage sons) to catch the tail-end of the Fleadh (we could hear The Pretenders playing as we got there).

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