As a Londoner, you have access to the best and the most diverse culture and entertainment the world can offer: music, theatre, exhibitions and events. I wasn't too worried, far from it: just board an (overpriced) train and you're back in London within the hour. Easy.
Since I have been here, though, I have been able to enjoy some of my culture locally. Indeed, we are lucky enough to have The White Bus, The Palace Theatre, the Southend Shakespeare Company, The Lindisfarne Players and of course Metal to name but a few. It is extremely important that we support culture in Southend because it is what keeps a town alive and it is what will allow Southend to grow. Hopefully the new cultural centre on the Pier will add to its cultural allure. We are lucky to be so close to London, but we need people to see beyond the cliches and take notice. Most certainly, the success of this year's Village Green will contribute to it.
Unfortunately, we couldn't be there the whole day, but we arrived around 2.30pm on time to skim through the programme and check out the three acts we definitely wanted to see: The Correspondents, Wilko Johnson and Lili la Scala's Cabaret. My music journalism days are behind me and I will not write the kind of detailed review I used to come up with on a regular basis. This is a general kind of report.
This was an event for everyone; and I mean, EVERYONE. All tribes, all ages - from what looked like tiny babies only a few days old to fearless and fun-loving 80 year-old, side by side. Big dogs and - mostly - small cuuute dogs. Everyone having a great time, enjoying the sun, the music, the food, the art, the dancing, the vintage clothes, the beer, the cakes... Well planned, well organised and impeccably delivered - at least, that's what it looked like, but obviously, I wasn't in the production office!
So here goes.
After having covered the alternative scenes in London for 10 years as a music journalist, I can safely say that I've seen everything that one can see on stage: the beautiful, the charismatic, the ethereal, the ridiculous and the grotesque, the good, the bad and the ugly; but never ever the blandness of the mainstream. All this to say that I am still very demanding with my music and I am not easily seduced. I look for something original, new and challenging in some way.
I wanted to catch The Correspondents because their website looked interesting. I stopped myself from listening to anything they had done and waited for their set at Village Green, and I wasn't disappointed. Mr Bruce and Chucks don't fall into any category - extra points in my book - and produce a surreal mishmash taking in Jazz, 20's music, jungle, drum'n'bass, electro, and more. Mr Bruce looks like the hyperactive cross between Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and an esoteric Mister Punch - his DIY costume is brilliant. They got the crowds going like crazy with their great beats, funny banter, Mr Bruce's outlandish dance moves and their delicious lyrics - and their energetic take on The Jungle Book's famous song, I Wanna Be Like You, was dedicated to all the under 12s present! A nice touch...
Lili la Scala was hosting the event with charm, cheek and wit.
For another take on our day, go to Matt ArtPix's VILLAGE GREEN BLOG!