Sounds From The Other City

April 14, 2011

A chat with… Croquet East

Sounds from the Other City is, technically, a music festival. But anyone who has ever been will tell you that it has always been about much more than simply a case of which bands are playing, a more fulfilling experience than just ticking off the acts on your wishlist and going off home. Of course, you can still do that, but in between the music and the mojitos (do they sell mojitos at The New Oxford?), we’ve invited Croquet East up from London to provide us with some jolly good fun to balance out the events. We spoke with Miranda from the organisation about it all:

Hiya, how’s your week been? You’ve just done a huge Sports day, haven’t you?

Hello dear, do hope you’re well…we’ve had a delightful week so far, thanks very much!

We have just done a huge Sports Day…we hosted The Most Marvellous Sports Day in London on Saturday: we played croquet, ran egg and spoon and three-legged races, sold cakes, lounged in the beautiful sunshine and, most importantly, raised lots of lovely money for Shelter.

Firstly: why croquet? Is it really just hitting balls with mallets through hoops?

I’ve always loved croquet and decided I wanted to play more of it…so I started my own club last year. I’m trying to reclaim a game now generally associated with crusty old folk and make it young and sexy again.

An article in a 1868 edition of Harpers Bazaar defining croquet as a game of: ’contact and competition between the sexes sublimated into an elegant, highly formalized ritual, occurring in a deceptively wholesome garden setting, amidst a display of finery and manners. Fashion sets the tone for gentle titillation…an exquisite game, at which the stakes are soft glances and wreathing smiles, and where hearts are lost and won’.

That pretty much sums up the Croquet East ethos: it’s definitely NOT just about hitting balls through hoops with mallets! It’s a great competitive game, but there is a also strong emphasis on socialising and having a jolly time.

Your website mentions Pimms and Cucumber sandwiches being involved. Do they aid performance in the game?

Absolutely. As to straw boaters, stripey blazers and frilly dresses.

You’ve done a festival before though, right – Field Day last year. How can we expect this all to work at a festival?

Nope, we’ve never been to Field Day…we hit End of the Road last year and had an amazing time. This year, alongside our regular London meets, you can find us at Sounds From the Other City, Secret Garden Party, Shoreditch Festival, End of the Road and Wyndstock. It’s a busy summer!

There’s no complicated format for croquet at a festival…we just rock up, set up our lawn and get going. People can just turn up whenever they fancy a game and one of our glamorous coaches will show them the ropes. We’ll be playing doubles so more people can play, but it you’re flying solo you can team up with a coach.

Ever been to Salford before? Any good tales?

Nope, never been to Salford…it’s Croquet East’s first Northern adventure and I’m excited!

Any bands that you’re interested in seeing? Or are you just all about the croquet?

We’re all about croquet, but hoping to check our some bands as well. I’m looking forward to the Post Cards From Manchester stage – Hannah and Dan from PYT are old friends. I’m also a big Those Dancing Days fan, so hugely looking forward to that. Definitely interested in checking out some local bands as well – if anyone has any hot tips, let me know!

Thanks!

Delighted…see you all there!

You can read a bit more about Croquet East here