Last Sunday I had a date with my friend Daphne in Brixton. The Brixton Splash festival was happening and I thought it’d be a great place to practice photography. Daphne and I are good friends, but things haven’t always been so rosy for us. I first met her 7 years ago when I was temping at a call centre in London Bridge. The business was growing, so they put together a brand new team of phone monkeys. Daphne joined later on and I was asked to show her the ropes. As she was new to the place, she made all the efforts in the world to fit in. She would ask me million questions about EVERYTHING! She wouldn’t stop talking! I would think to myself. “Why is she being such a keeno?”. “Leave me alone!” I can’t remember the exact moment when we ‘clicked’ but we’ve been friends ever since.
So yeah – Brixton Splash! I’ve been to Brixton before, but never to the festival. I decided to Google it and one of the first photos I saw was of a young man, lying on the floor, covered in blood. Luckily I’m not the prude type, so I thought at least it would be interesting.
As soon as the tube doors opened at Brixton underground, a strong whiff of jerk chicken mixed with weed climbed into my nostrils. Bear in mind that the tube is UNDER ground – it was pretty clear there was a party gong on!
It was a hot day and the only place providing shade was the bus shelter. I sat down and waited for Daphne. I then saw a woman in her 50s crossing the road. Her impressive display of slowness caused an array of car horns at full blast. It genuinely looked like she was doing it on purpose. The traffic was an absolute carnage and drivers had no patience for this nonsense. ”Attention seeking crazy-lady!”, I instantly made up my mind about her.
She finally managed to cross the road and the thing that always happens, happened – a random mentalist was walking towards me. “She’s going to talk to me!”. “I BET she’s going to talk to me!!”
One accidental eye contact later, the crazy woman sat next to me.
She stared at me for a few seconds and then complimented my hair. “Your plait reminds me of Yulia Tymoshenko’s hair” she said. This lead her to saying that she studied politics and wrote her theses on women in communism. She expressed her views on Russian foreign affairs in a very analytical way and I agreed with everything she said. The more I learned about her, the more I realised that this woman was awesome and I was the tit here. Daphne and the “crazy lady” have one thing in common – ME judging them too quickly! There’s an underlying theme emerging … Hmm.
So yeah, Daphne and I finally met and went for a stroll. The festival was like a condensed version of the Notting Hill Carnival – incessant grinding, smell of weed, queues to everything, over priced chicken, and a lot of happy people.
Instead of standing in the queue for the porta loos like some filthy commoner, we decided to use the fancy toilets of the newly opened Black Culture museum. We then sat down outside and waited for Daphne’s friends to arrive.
Out of nowhere, these two security guys suddenly approached us. They handed us two bottles of water. As soon as we accepted the gift, I realised we had unwittingly signed
a contract to speak with them.
It was like any another night in a club. The normal guy is interested in your friend, and you’re stuck with his mate, the ‘rotting-tooth man’. But he was romantic. “You are beautiful. If you was my girl, I wouldn’t let you out of the house!” Every time he opened his mouth, a big clump of plaque on his lower teeth was staring right at me.
Daphne went to the toilet again and the guy goes, “Your friend is cute”. After some pussyfooting around, the inevitable question came up, “Does she have a boyfriend?” The answer was, “yes”. The guy was polite enough to stick around for small talk for a minute, but then off they went.
Daphne’s friends finally showed up. One of the girls was just amazingly bonkers (ugh, I hate that word). She was loud and funny. She told me all about her relationships, likes, dislikes etc. The high point was when she said “You know, I’m here to have fun! Taking my pancakes out for a walk.”, pointing at her chest.
Daphne and I managed to lose her friends in the crowd some time later and as it was Sunday, it was time for this piggy to go home.
If you haven’t already, I highly recommend to check out Brixton Market. It’s filled with cute little independent restaurants and cafes. I think it’s safe to say the days of ‘Eugh, you live south of the river?’ are over. All the cool kids are moving from East to South. Check it out before it becomes too gentrified.