The Brockley Central Interview: Bridget McKenzie
Bridget McKenzie is a Telegraph Hill resident and the driving force behind Hillaballoo, the area's main summer event.
Last year, we went along and confessed to being a bit perplexed about what kind of a thing Hillaballoo was meant to be.
It turns out, that was the desired effect.
"Although it is loosely themed around Telegraph Hill's communications heritage [she cites the views from Telegraph Hill as the best thing about the area], it's not meant to be that structured. Originally, I just wanted to feel like a spontaneous picnic - the community coming together for a relaxed day out. I have some friends who organised a small-scale arts event for customers at Jam Circus - it was that kind of spirit I wanted to capture.
"But the process of applying for funding turned it in to something bigger. Last year, we didn't succeed in getting any money from the Localities Fund, so I decided to fund it myself. If I have to sum it up in one sentence, I'd say it's a community fete with a difference - an event that draws lots of different groups together to showcase local talent."
Although badly affected by rain last year, Bridget says it was successful enough that the people involved wanted to do it again. And this year, it raised £700 from the Localities Fund.
"This year, there are some really exciting things happening. The Camera Obscura, which was one of the successes of last year, will return. I hope there will be a big turn out for the Brief Encounter night, with everyone coming in 40s period costume. And I can't say too much, but during the day, there will be an unveiling of a giant mystery sculpture - it will be made and hoisted in to place on the day!"
When Bridget left her job two years ago to set up her own consultancy, Flow Associates, she began by meeting local freelancers and forming what she describes as a 'loose network' called Hill Business. She also played a key role in the Save the Livesey Museum campaign network and she explains that Hillaballoo too is network-driven:
"There are a lot of different groups involved this year. Each of those groups will bring something different to the day and will help to promote it and spread the word to their members.
"I'm pleased to say that Tea Leaf Arts will be involved this year, the artistic communities of Brockley and Telegraph Hill shouldn't regard themselves as separate - the area's not big enough to start drawing boundaries. I hope that a lot of people from Brockley and Ladywell will come this year."
Hillaballoo takes place on Saturday, July 19th. For full details of the programme, visit the Hillaballoo website.