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Saturday, June 16, 2007

John RipleyLisa and I have just returned from the Kemp Town Carnival, which is currently taking place a hundred yards from my flat. Actually, I probably shouldn't tell you that, because according to this article by the lovely Xenia Gregoriadis (who's featured on this blog before), the organisers have "cut right back on advertising to keep the numbers down". So if you're thinking of going, please don't.

I spent last year's carnival picking up the keys to my new flat and then flooding the kitchen, so this was my first real opportunity to experience the celebrations first hand. And may I say I wasn't disappointed. Mainly because I had low expectations.

The gentleman on the left reminded me somehow of my Dad. Not so much facially, more in the way he dresses on a Saturday afternoon. His name's John Ripley (the man on the left, not my Dad), and he was there representing the Max Miller Appreciation Society with a very convincing (apparently) tribute act. I can't say it was really my cup of tea, but Mr Ripley's clearly a versatile performer, because according to the society's website, "John, who has made stage and TV appearances as Max, does other impersonations including Howard Keel, Elvis Presley & Al Jolson". It's a case of Ripley's believe it or not. And I barely can.

Mark 'Uke' WalshOf far more interest to an accomplished banjo ukulele player like myself (I've owned one for a good ten days now) was Mark 'Uke' Walsh, who according to his own website "is regarded as the finest Ukulele performer in the World today". If we'd known that at the time, we might not have walked off halfway through his first song.

But having had our fill of old-fashioned music hall acts, we headed off for a pre-arranged rendezvous with Sarah, the editor of the Kemptown Rag. I congratulated her on her journalistic efforts, she thanked me for my contributions, and I chatted to fellow Rag regular, Letitcia, who told me she ghost-writes for Julie Burchill (officially the 85th worst person in Britain), and then flogged me a copy of her book for a fiver. Lisa's currently reading it in the bedroom.

All of which is hungry work, so we finished up by following the sign next to Uke Boy, and arriving at the French Market, where I spotted a stall selling that most traditional of French dishes... um... paella.

French Paella
That frying pan is enough to dwarf anyone standing nearby. Which probably explains the woman on the right.