Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Proud to be a Highgater.

It’s Hallowe’en and the streets of Highgate village are full of little ghouls, mini-witches and tiny besheeted ghosts. At about 6pm tonight, we drove along the High Street which was a kaleidoscope of carved pumpkins, twinkling lights and excited children on sugar-highs trick or treating with the yummy mummies of North London. I've never been one for the commercialisation of pagan festivals, but I found the sight incredibly heart-warming. There was something rather old-worldy about it. All the shops had stayed open late, specifically to hand out sweets, and the kids were obviously having an absolute blast in a very safe environment. I felt proud to be a Highgater.

In the 1980s, Hallowe’en parties were fairly rare, but we always had one. Hallowe’en to me was the best of all the festivals; the one that truly fuelled my fertile imagination. I was a brilliant teller of ghost stories, and was known to bring panic and terror to huge groups of my friends. I can still hear the screams of little girls running up and down flights of stairs during one school trip to Whitby because I’d convinced everyone that the hotel we were staying in was haunted.

Fiona stayed the night with us last night, and we spent the late afternoon carving out pumpkins. Fiona’s was a cubist masterpiece, Nathan’s looked like a terrifying kabuki doll, and mine has a whiff of the art nouveaus about it, although the poor fella looked like he’d had a stroke!
This evening we went to the launch of my friend Marc’s Horrorgami exhibition which is being held at the 1 ½ Gallery in Islington. If you get a chance, you must go. Marc is a genius, and painstakingly cuts three-dimensional buildings out of single pieces of A4 paper. The buildings are all models of iconic buildings from Horror Films; the house in The Exorcist, The Adams Family’s mansion and, my personal favourite, the fire station from Ghostbusters. The pieces are displayed in light boxes of different colours and the whole exhibition takes place in a pair of eerie darkened rooms. Marc’s attention to detail is bordering on autistic. I was very proud of him.

Who you gonna call?

350 years ago, Pepys spent the day with his workmen, who were laying the floorboards in the upstairs extension of his house. They managed to lay all but one, and Pepys was thrilled, feeling that, if he'd left them on their own, they'd have taken twice the amount of time. Workmen, eh? Never change.

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