Last weekend provided East London with a sun scorching through a clear blue sky, the busiest streets streets I've seen this year, and the annual Vauxhall Art Car Boot Fair.
Usually days as hot as these I stay indoors and leave the taps on - am definitely more of a lake person than a beach person - and get the fake tan out. But this year I went down to represent Core Arts and plug some of our up and comings.
Core Arts is a gallery and venue with several art and music studios, not to mention a super sized hall, a bar and a contemporary garden, and promotes positive mental health. It's situated in the heart of Hackney and all it's experimental glory. I'm an artist/member here and I spent much of last week interviewing other artist/members about their experiences here and pretty much all of them at some point said that it's mixture of members and their personalities is what gives Core Arts it's character. From all area's of London, all types of diagnosis - which one person said he leaves at the door when he comes in, picks it up again on the way out - and a variety of talent.
The Art Car boot Fair was situated just off Brick Lane, where in the baking sun, we dressed Core Arts managers' sixties triumph in vintage bunting (courtesy of Nan's Cabinet) and filled it up with balloons - careful not to reenact a scene from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - which we invited members of the public to scrawl on (the balloons, not the car, even art needs rules!) Some drew self portraits - Jarvis Cocker did a particular stunning self portrait on one - whilst others wrote their darkest thoughts and get go (may I add these balloons were helium) to be found weeks later by baffled europeans in their back gardens. One read "Pronoia" the reverse of paranoia where you believe although everyone is talking about you it's BECAUSE YOU'RE AMAZING, another read "olanzapinacolada" an anti-psychotic cocktail (I'll take three) and another read "I want to marry Noel Edmonds but a caravan would do" (I confess to that one). Some of out event info was attached to balloons and let off, you never know if someone in the South of Italy may just happen to be in East London that day.
Some people just came over to talk about art, others about mental health. For one woman it was one of the longest chats she'd ever had about her own mental health as she's a very busy, very work focused woman who hasn't had the opportunity to meet others with the same condition as her own. We may not be therapists, but we've been there - or are still there - and are pretty resourceful too.
Other cars (boots or stalls) see the likes of Emin International, Peter Blake, Billy Childish (who has lectured and exhibited at Core Arts, sweet, sweet man) the list goes on, and I'd only be pretending to know who they are if I continued. One stall in particular took my fancy, behind it were two guys selling tat SO useless it was actually priceless. Anything from broken buckets, one glove, tasteless watch straps...
Then there was the Double Regina Experience which, having watched the frozen faces of people exiting this tent I thought this must be well worth a quid (very cheap for East London these days) where you actually meet Queen Elizabeth I and Queens Elizabeth II and amongst the velvet and scent are given advice without offering any information first. (I kid you not, mine was "Watch what you write this week") Think Dalai Lama in a basement cafe in Dalston.
At five thirty (half an hour before the event ends) I finally made it to the bar. Thanks to Blakey, Cocker, Emin, Hogg and Childish for all the sweet and strange messages on our balloons (something I never thought I'd hear myself say) and all the artists, organizers and people that made this event soooo damn East London. Back to the comfort of my own home for Caravan documentaries and back to back episodes of Deal Or No Deal.
Here are some links..