27th August 2000
Smithfield Market, London EC1M 6BF
Here we are at Smithfield and this usually cheerful cheeky cockney is looking uncharacteristically sombre, despite it being a festive occasion – that being a revival of the (in)famous Bartholomew Fair: for hundreds of years one of London’s most notorious carnivals, held at the ‘smooth field’ just outside the boundaries of the city and celebrated in Ben Johnson’s 1614 comedy (here’s a full student production of it if you have the time and here’s a synopsis if you don’t).
Maybe he’s looking glum because this particular event isn’t quite living up to the reputation of its predecessor – or maybe he’s reflecting on the grim events associated with the area: the betrayal of Wat Tyler, the brutal despatch of William Wallace, the counter-reformation executions and the closure of Fabric [ok, that’s actually still quite a few years away, but no doubt he could see it coming] – or maybe it’s because he’s somehow been lumbered with this ridiculous fluffy pig type thing.
Anyway, despite attracting a good crowd of game punters, the festival here didn’t seem to really get off the ground, and after trying it for a few years it quietly slipped away to be replaced by more dynamic events.
And so… here’re the Fairports with a tribute to the unfortunate Mr Tyler.