UPDATE: For info on the 2011 Blakcheath Fun Fair, go here.
I was wondering why so many people were coming to my site Googling “Blackheath Funfair”, until Mrs Bugle pointed out that the fair is currently setting up on the Greenwich end of the heath.
So I wandered up there in the pouring rain to take a look. There’s a good reason it was called Bleak Heath – when the wind and the rain are buffeting you around, it really is quite barren up there.
Anyway, I got there in the end, and it was totally deserted. There’s something about funfairs – they seem like the last vestiges of something unsafe, ungoverned and risky left in our safe little lives – like a kind of in-between space locked somewhere between the 19th and 21st centuries… Maybe a sort of “liminal zone”, with some similarities to how Kate Fox describes UK pubs in the brilliant book Watching The English
Although the pub is very much part of English culture, it also has its own “social micro-climate”. Like all drinking places, it is in some respects ‘liminal zone’ an equivocal, marginal, borderline state, in which one finds a degree of “cultural remission” – a structured, temporary relaxation or suspension of normal social controls (also known as “legitimised deviance” or “time-out behaviour”).
What a lovely book… Anyway, I eventually found someone to speak to, and asked them when the fairground will be opening. The answer: “Tomorrow, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday”. In other words, the fair on the heath will be open from Thursday 21st – Monday 25th August 2008.
Further reading: The Phantom has a great piece about the Greenwich Fair here. Fewer Dodgems and more tumbling.
If you are going to Blackheath Fair, for god’s sake, watch out for Spring Heeled Jack, particularly if you’re called Polly, and you’ve had one too many shandies…