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Sunday 20 April 2014

The Perfect Sunday? Sunday Papers Live have got it sussed...

There are two versions of my perfect Sunday. One involves me having a major lie in and staying in bed all day in my PJs recovering from the madness and sleep deprived state I tend to find myself in at weekends and the alternative me wants to get up super early and cram in loads of fun stuff like going to a bootfair, hanging out somewhere Sundayish like Colombia Road and meeting friends for brunch.
So when I heard about Sunday Papers Live it was as if my prayers has been answered. Finally someone had cottoned on to the fact that Sundays should be reclaimed to be all those things we want it to be. So last month I made the pilgrimage to Primrose Hill to get a taste of the perfect Sunday at Sunday Papers Live.
A cross between a festival, Secret Cinema and a giant house party, Sunday Papers Live is a bi-monthly event that literally brings the papers to life without you needing to read a word. Every section of your typical Sunday broadsheet is covered from UK and World news to the travel supplement, crossword section and letters page, by special guests along with other quintessential Sunday pastimes like board games and a satisfying Sunday lunch. 
You can make the experience as interactive as you like or sit back and snuggle up in your PJs, with your dog on the sofa, as if you were at home. Running from 12pm-10pm it's a full day of Sunday indulgence, entertainment and stimulation....but was it really the perfect Sunday?

Here's what I loved about it and a few things I think they could have done better....

Having my Happyscope read

I'm a big fan of reading my star sign but when I stumbled across the Happy Scope table run by Dumb Love I realised that all my life I'd been following the wrong kind of karma. As my happyscope astrologer pointed out, Horror-scopes are horrible and happy scopes are so much nicer.
After a few questions he wrote me a personalised happyscope on the back of this fine postcard. I can't reveal what it said but it made me very happy. 

Tucking into a lavish lunch
Instead of a menu on our tables, Chef Tom Hunt personally introduced the afternoon's meal and it sounded heavenly. Served at banquet style tables over several settings, diners were sat down in order of how they arrived at the dining room doors encouraging banter between random strangers. In case there were any awkward moments there was a live music accompaniment. The dishes were then served communally so you could help yourselves. The room was gorgeously decorated and the closest I've come to eating in a Harry Potter canteen set up. 
The veggie option was delicious, a tasty nettle tart...but it was cold. And Sunday lunch shouldn't be cold. I mean I had hot spuds with caramalised garlic and yummy sprouting broccoli and mash but when your tart is cold and your neighbour's roast beef is steaming it's a little mean. 

Chill out time
The Sunday Capers room is an area that takes all the fun parts of a Sunday and condenses it into one space ....a chill out spot to grab a nap or watch movie matinees. There was even a mini grandstand face and live lonely hearts column. The main room gets completely rammed so it was nice to have an alternative space to hang-out in. 

So how do you fill 10 hours? With a back to back programme of stuff to do there was no chance of getting bored. You could even have a massage or book a canal boat trip but the fact it was such a lovely sunny Sunday meant just relaxing on a deckchair while sipping on juices was enough to keep me occupied.
Although most pastimes were covered there was no bootfair. Sundays are not Sundays without a car boot sale in my books. I'm pretty sure there is space to fit one in - hopefully they'll add this element soon. 

Not having to read the papers
Whenever I buy a Sunday paper it takes me over a week to get through it so having 'the contents' of a paper presented in the form of talks, discussion and performance is actually rather pleasant and useful. 
I particularly enjoyed the debates around the letters page bit - a drop in talk show where you could pull up a seat and have your say. 

In terms of speakers and topics there was an interesting mix - the spoken word performers got the biggest appreciation, but overall I was a bit disappointed with the 'western approach' to the choices, especially the World news. The main speaker for World news gave a talk about the issue of sex workers being excluded from the media in the United States. 

In my mind there are infinite unique and usual stories and issues of interest and relevance all over the world so whoever curated World news should have taken advantage of focusing on a geographic location we hear little about rather than one we hear about every day. 

As for whether I can now go back to reading a Sunday paper after I've experienced Sunday Papers Live....well if the truth be told, while I was there chilling, I picked up a physical newspaper and still enjoyed it.
Reading the Sunday papers are a great British pastime. There's nothing like chilling at home with your feet up reading the papers but also there's nothing quite like Sunday Papers Live. A lot of love, passion and detail went into planning the event (sooooooo much bunting and even a radio and candles in the loos) so I totally salute the organisers. It was probably one of the best organised events I've been to in a long time...but it wasn't overganised in a regimented way, I liked the fact it still had an air of spontaneity about it.

 I recommend Sunday Papers Live to anyone who loves all the non-music bits of music festivals, are overdue meeting up with friends and want an excuse to hang out with them, looking for somewhere quirky to go on a date or just want to do something a bit different. With only three events under their belts so far it's still got cult status appeal so go along before others start ripping it off.

The next Secret Forum's Sunday Papers Live is on Sunday June 1st. 
Find out more here

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