Published on May 16, 2014 | by Thomas Andrei

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Folk, friends, poetry and Hampstead

My trip to Hampstead on the Bank holiday weekend started because of a dog named Falkor. A handsome saluko who was attacked on the Heath by another dog when he was out for a walk with his owners, Alice Old and Kayleigh Allenby. Poor Falkor was badly injured and in need of an expensive operation to fix his legs so his owners decided to raise funs via ‘Sun at Night’, a weekly event dedicated to music and poetry.

Performers take the tiny stage at the Pentameters Theatre [Zoran]

It was this fundraiser held on March 4th that created a new artistic community in Hampstead which continues to meet on Sundays at 8pm to share a pint and read a poem or two.

Beardy guys in denim, psychedelic girls and a rather drunk audience is who I spent my Sunday with. At 8pm, Léonie Scott Matthews and her  partner Godfrey Old, who’ve run the Pantemeters Theatre since 1968, invited everybody to come upstairs. Those who came along got to step away from the plush Hamsptead  surroundings and go back to a more bohemian past.

The Pentameters Theater looks nothing like the Hampstead cliché. A tiny space with only sixty seats, it is a marvellous time capsule, packed with souvenirs, old photos from the glorious past of the theatre.

The night was a mixture of unplugged folk music, fascinating stories about the theatre’s history and live uncensored comedy.

Falkor’s owners took to the stage to perform psychedelic synth with their band ‘Butterfly Wheel’. Alice sounded like a mixture of Siouxsie Sioux and Kate Bush, with an added shock of pink hair.

On May 4, the boozy host and stand-up comedian Andy J. Wilson made the announcement that enough money had been raised and that Falkor was going to get fixed.

The night of the 4th was probably the best example of this melting pot. After three splendid folk songs by The Family Monroe, Léonie Scott Matthews came on stage to tell some stories about the theatre. Some lovely stuff about a cave, Max Clifford, the 1960s, and her helping Robert Calvert from 1970s spacerock band Hawkwind to write a play about Jimi Hendrix.

So thanks to Falkor’s accident, these nights had become much more than a fundraising for  a dog.

For more information visit the Facebook page of this initiative: https://www.facebook.com/FalkorFundraiser

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