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Richard Downes - disability arts online
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Berghaus. Karrimor. North Face. / 18 January 2016

Berghaus. Karrimor. North Face.

A rambling Forecast

Lumiere will leave you cold

Poor. Variable.

There is something special about London's new Lumiere Festival, imported from County Durham. But it’s not in the art work, the reason to be walking. Its elsewhere. London doesn't need Lumiere. It’s always alight anyhow. Road signs, street lights, late revellers and the tat on the local trattoria. But it does need that which is special and this is best seen at Kings Cross. Wide boulevards with people smiling, glad to be out there, a wide vista of festival feeling, a plethora of included wheelchair users, accessible loos and free loos in St Pancras which I'm always tempted to write as St Pancreas. You get up the road and go back again. Careful to make a crossing with the assistance of stewards stewarding before catching the 91 to Trafalgar Square.

A central point of the show and a crushing disappointment. The lights are largely off. A street entertainer plays with fire, encircled by the best crowd of the night, an engaged crowd, one that has put its smart phones down to be bewitched. We head towards Piccadilly. Eros stands at the point where love leaves. Regent Street is chocca. I stand tall enough to see my wife but I know she can't see me and is steps ahead so I call her name and say hang a right. We are in Soho. The crowds are behind us. They had turned glum. Smiles gone. Grimaces betraying signs of potential panic. What if I should fall here. We are delighted to be out of the crush.

On the tube home sitting across from me I see Berghaus, Karrimor, North Face. Ramblers who could have been better served. Lumiere had appealed. It had called out the people, streets had been closed. Something wonderful could have happened. But crowd control like the weather was way below zero and is this art form that interesting any way?