As we approach Fun Palaces weekend – the office getting more and more frenetic, emails flying everywhere, people all over the UK and beyond working with their community to create together – we were moved this morning to read a hopeful series of tweets from Lancaster Fun Palace Maker, Aliki Chapple.
It’s a beautiful read and goes directly to the heart of what we’re doing – inclusivity, neighbourliness, humanity.
You’re going to make fun of me, because I always say this, and Fun Palace weekend is nearly here, but one way to fight hate is #FunPalaces.
Fun Palaces in particular, but also the kind of thing they are.
Local, grassroots, for, by, and about everyone. Radically inclusive. Neighbourly.
We have become unhinged from our communities. The relentless hours of late capitalism, its isolating pleasures (you in the earbuds, I’m talking to you), the constant anxiety, saturation with stories promoting anger, fear, despair.
Fun Palaces are an antidote to that.
They say: Invite your neighbours.
They say: Let’s make something together.
Let’s have fun. Let’s explore, trade skills, share enthusiasms.
Maybe we come from different places, have different experiences of the world, different sorrows. Let’s make something together anyway.
Don’t think I’m fantasising some happy-clappy utopia. Fun Palaces are made in the real world, by real people with all our limitations.
And, well, ours at least is always pretty chaotic. Every year we think of ways to make it better, and we never put them all in place. But some!
And it’s such a wonderful thing to be part of.
The people you meet, the things you do, the conversations you have.
And then you’re living, not in a city of unknown faces, but with the woman who made that amazing layer cake, the man who played piano for 6 hours, the little girl who taught your son to solder, the boy who hugged the Meccano robot, the man who organised a crystal-growing competition.
It’s hard to see your fellow humans as hostile in that world, no matter where they come from, what they voted, how they look.
We can’t wait to see and hear about what you all make this weekend.
Thank you for saying Yes.