Sunday, February 13, 2011

Alt Wycombe 4

I spent yesterday - or a goodly chunk of it anyway - at Alt Wycombe 4, a day of beer, music, fashion, tea and cupcakes at the historic Nag's Head pub in High Wycombe. The pub was always a favourite alt-rock venue and, in the past, has hosted gigs by bands like The Who, Blondie, Eddie and the Hot Rods and The Jam. It's also been known for famous artists to turn up on open mic nights and to jam with local bands.

But once a year, the pub gets turned over to the alternative community to celebrate diversity, originality and difference. There were fashion shows of corsetry, rubberwear and all manner of frilly things, a graffiti wall, live sessions by several bands and an over 18 photography exhibit.

I spent most of my day manning a stall selling prints of my artwork and live doodling which was tremendous fun. Sadly, I'd had a headache all morning and by mid-afternoon it was turning migraine-ish so I had to quit and head off at 7pm just before the real party started.

The event was organised by top glamour and erotic photographer Mark Page of Photoswithattitude and Neil Reynolds of Alternator promotions. The event raises money for charities that, in the past has included Sophie Lancaster Foundation charity. You may recall the appalling story a few years ago of a girl being kicked to death in a park in Lancashire. Sophie and her boyfriend were savagely attacked just for looking different. Since then the charity has worked hard to break down barriers between sub-cultures and to spread the word that, no matter how we choose to look, we're all the same inside. This year, the cause chosen was Rafe's Place, a group that works hard to provide meaningful and safe activities for local kids. It's named in honour of Rafe Chiles who died at the tragically young age of 23 after a fatal asthma attack. Rafe was dedicated to discovering new young talent and had formed Ultimate Solution - a promotions company that treated everyone as equals and gave everyone a chance. Some artists who played at early Ultimate Solution gigs have since gone on to have successful careers. Rafe's Place continues the good work. I'm going to be doing some work with them myself this year by volunteering with art installations and illustration classes.

It was a very entertaining day spent among genuinely lovely people. Everyone was just so unremittingly nice. I guess that when you spend half your life being judged and abused by others solely because of the way you dress or wear your hair and make-up you become pretty tolerant. Certainly, I've rarely spent such a good day among charming, friendly folks.

Would I go again next year? That's a resounding yes. But next year I'll go as an attendee rather than an exhibitor. I missed so much of the day by having to man a stall. That's why these few photos don't come anywhere near capturing the range of activities or the numbers of people there.

If the alternative community ran the world, what a happier world that would be. With peace and understanding and cupcakes for all.


carol jones said...

theres so many things to say about this, first its a tragedy when people are attacked for their appearance, also what does that say about the tiny brains of the aggressor i dont know, 2nd its fun to dress up differently & also to look a different way every day if thats how the mood or the whim takes you, as a parent my kids come home with pink hair, tunnels in their ears, piercings ,tattoos whatever floats their boat its their own bodies and "canvas" to express themselves, i would hope i stick to the things which are truly important as a family, keeping a few house rules to do with safety , eg make sure you get a taxi home or respect, dont call your sister a twat ..but certainly public diversity is to be encouraged , it works for the animal kingdom ! as for what humans get up to in private oooo that would fill a book never mind a blog post

Photoswithattitude said...

Steve, It was a pleasure to invite you to our "community"...
Glad you had such a great day and you are always welcome at our events.. Would love to see the other photos you took on the day..
Many thanks my friend, Mark

fibroangel said...

It was a pleasure to be part of the, last time I was there was numero uno as a latex clad flyer gal for Overt clothing. The event gone from strength to strength

Mark asked me to compere How could I refuse it was for charity and a charity that helps young people is a worthy one in my book.

I did need a seat from time to time as I was giving my newly cortisoned hips there first run out.

I had a wonderful day lots going on I did wish I had more time to talk to everyone but time waits for no Thorn and I had to go before I changed into a pimpkin *grin*

Bravo all who were involved and here to next year Roze xxxxxxxxxx