Okay, NOW I’m feeling festive

I met up with a couple of pals for a fun time in east London last night. We went to Spitalfield’s Market for their “Merry Different Christmas” celebration. It was a bizarre but joyous alternative service, free for anyone who wanted to cast off the tedium of over-the-top light displays and socks that no one wants.

Events were officiated by the sherry-fueled Reverend Duncan Pritchard from festival mainstay Big Love Inflatable Church. We saw a hillbilly band, Spitalfields Residents’ Association boss and Sinatra-crooner Mike Myers, a recital of Jabberwocky, Santa getting a cheeky dance from burlesque duoLilywhiteass, a big entrance from The Masters of the Kazooniverse (who did a ripping version of “Seven Nations Army”), and the Helium Choir (yes, they inhale helium from balloons to sing their songs squeaky-voiced; they led us in a shambolic but well-intentioned “12 Days of Christmas”). We got free mine pies and mulled wine, too. Finally Radio 1 DJ Rob da Bank turned on the single (and energy-saving!) Christmas light bulb atop the sock-amnesty tree. It was moving, I can tell you. We didn’t stay for the dance party.

Afterwards we found a pretty good Italian restaurant called Osteria Appenninojust steps away from Liverpool Street station (although we took the long way to get there), as well as a bar (the Bull) across the street that served up some wicked drinks.