Mrs Kentishtowner is quite happy to admit that she is not a festival person. The only night she recalls under the stars was at the Secret Garden Party, back in 05, where she was forced to flee at the crack of dawn from the maddening thwub of teenage revellers in the tent next door.
And so the prospect of the Alma Street Festival had our First Lady coming out in a cold sweat, despite its proximity to Kentishtowner Towers. “But what about the toilets?” she insisted, more than once, her eyes blank with visions of stinking portaloos. She was, of course, forgetting that the Map Cafe would be a stone’s throw away, and the comforts of home not much further, should she feel – perish the thought – an unavoidable movement or two down below.
And yet there was no need to worry one bit. We arrived at lunchtime and a few pints of Camden Town lager later, all anxieties had been renounced – including her previous aversion to the outdoor life. “It’s like Notting Hill Carnival meets Ibeeefa!” she screamed, piling yet another cupcake into her mouth, before pushing through the thousand-strong crowd to the, um, rather esoteric cocktail stand. Hic.
And so the afternoon floated by in bursts of cloud and sunshine. Things we liked? Fantastic food from Kentish Towners Pane Vino, Delicious, Mario’s Cafe, and Parliament Hill Farmer’s Market regular Poppy’s Kitchen (we heart your tarts); beer from the local brewery; and dozens of local artists, artisans, designers, and residents flogging their wares and – well – whatever else they fancied. We loved this guy .
Oh, and decent music too, across two stages: local hero Mr Hudson swaggered in, dishing up a few hits including the ace ‘Supernova’; dubstep electro hopefuls Dansette Junior dazzled in the late afternoon sun, especially with the Kentish Town-referencing ‘Drums N Bass’; and the woozy, by this time excitable, crowd went crazy for the headliners, a brilliantly comic duo called North Of Ping Pong.
Best of all was the atmosphere amongst the huge crowd: this was a real slice-of-life event representing every aspect of our diverse neighbourhood: black, white, straight, gay, young, old, rich, poor. So thank you, the Inkerman Residents Assocation – and everyone else involved – for such an inclusive, impressively curated afternoon.
“What summer sundays are most definitely for, innit,” slurred Mrs Kentishtowner, trying on a little patois for size, as we wobbled back down Queen’s Crescent to let the dog out.