Review: CoolTan Arts Largactyl Shuffle May Day Walk

Our May Day Largactyl Shuffle, in celebration of the coming of summer, was met with an overcast sky.
MAY WALK 6However, we gathered at Tate Modern to clad ourselves in flora and bells in tribute to some of the 1st of May traditions in the borough of Southwark. We set off through the streets, led by the May Queen whom we carried, coming to a stop at Quilp Street Gardens. We listened to tales of the Green Man (jack of the green) and sang ‘Now is the month of Maying’, kept in tune by a youtube recording. We set off once more to the beat of the drum; the pace seemed to quicken our feet as we reached Elephant and Castle in record timing (for us).

We rested to catch our breath by a tree on the roundabout, refueling with packed lunches and listening to how the Bermondsey may pole was cut down. Before setting off once more, we tied ribbons to the tree’s branches to commemorate the festivities that once took place on this site.

The drumming and garlands turned some heads along the Walworth road, whilst others started dancing. But we soon slipped off to the quieter side streets to reach our penultimate stop at Faraday Gardens. Here we switched to the red tales of mayday; the strikes and protests which have been associated with this time including the 1926 general strike where Southwark became of zone of much conflict between police and workers. We were also reminded of the effect unemployment has on mental health and Ruskin’s suggestions for good working practice.

Our merriment was lifted once more at Camberwell Green where a gathering for the unveiling of the bench met us. The criss-crossing of red and white ribbons around a home-made may pole was amateur at best, but we can only improve on it next year. We then gathered around the bench to pay tribute to all those involved in the project through poetry, song and speech. As the veil was lifted, the cava bottles popped and the final words from one of the poems rang true, ‘big bench welcome!’

Here are some photos from the day …

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