A Summer in the Park
A publication from Freedom Press. A Summer in the Park - A Journal of Speakers' Corner by Tony Allen with a foreword by Ken Campbell.
This 200 page book of London social history by "mixed-ability shaman" and one-time alternative comedian Allen, contains 50 b/w photographs and is a fascinating read. It's a must for anyone interested in the tradition of free speech that Speakers' Corner symbolises.
'Nothing can prepare you for the Hyde Park speaking experience. The performance dynamics are unique. The close proximity of other meetings and the robust heckling tradition make Speakers' Corner unlike any other forum of public performance. Having an audience of easily distracted browsers harbouring hit and run snipers demands a house style of "dramatic conflict" raw and obvious. A take-no-prisoners gladiatorial confrontation with the speaker as devil's advocate remains the preferred tried and tested format. Even the rough-house of street theatre is subtle by comparison.
From the foreword
"What stuns is Tony's enthusiasm to pick himself and his art apart, to dwell (fully and healthily) on his many shortcomings and failures as an Hyde Park Orator and in so doing throws up more insights into the performer's art than any other book I know. If you've got Keith Johnstone's Impro, this is the book to sit next to it on your shelf." Ken Campbell.
An hilarious account of the techniques and vulnerabilities of the art of perfor mance, and a manifesto for Allen's anarchic Utopia, in which tolerance and opposition are freely intertwined with the exploration of ideas. John Phillips
Article by Tony Allen, The Guardian 3 December 2004
Guardian - William Cook
New Statesman - Mark Thomas
Freedom - William Briggs
Ready Steady Book - Stuart Watkins
KSL - Kate Sharpley
The Times Literary Supplement - Mark Garnet
Amazon -Readers' Reviews
Listen to Tony's Radio London interview
as Robert Elms's Listed Londoner (26 July 04)
A Summer In The Park (£8.50) (IBSN 1 904491 04 9) 204 pages
Published Summer 2004 by Freedom Press Angel Alley
84b Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX.