Brockwell Park, South London, where today Home Defence reports back from an extensive clear up operation following the climax of a new event in the capital’s festival calendar, a two-day celebration of all that is best about the UK’s meat industry, a late-August cavalcade of activity and carnivorous interaction known as “For a first attempt at this kind of thing I think we did very well.” Concluded festival organiser and president of the Pig Farmer’s union Bellow Timkring, while around us slaughterhouse workers packed spoiled meat into vans, to be distributed amongst livestock at a number of Essex farms. “Attendance was far higher than we expected, and the weather stayed beautiful all weekend long. Unfortunately that made it difficult to keep the meat cool, and we had a hell of a job stopping the flies getting at it. Luckily health and safety must have been on holiday. Besides, none of the families who enjoyed our prime brisket or the massive hog roast were concerned, they loved it. If I’ve managed to turn just one kid away from a lifetime of vegetarianism this weekend, it’ll all have been Beefstock is the brainchild of Choppy Splendor, a corpulent man in a tight suit and a compatriot of Timkring’s from the British Meat Foundation. The maiden event was sponsored by the PFU in conjunction with ‘Pork Aid’, a charitable organisation aimed at promoting pig eating in the poorer European countries. The ’07 event comprised
a free weekender, with the aim of getting vast swathes of the public away from the newly fashionable green lifestyle for a couple of days, and was notable for bringing together butchers from around the country. Dozens of them could be seen throughout Saturday and Sunday, wandering the site, patting children on the head, and inviting their parents to sample black pudding or tripe from silver trays.
“We’ll definitely be making this an annual event in future.” Splendor told HDUK between mouthfuls of lamb shank. “Those pig-skin parasols we handed to the lady attendees were particularly popular, while dads
couldn’t get enough of our steaks, barbecues, cold cuts, and whole sucklings rotating over open fires. This
was a true meat-eater’s paradise with something to sample at every stall, from gourmet luncheon meat, to
new Fray Bentos duck-in-a-can. There were early fears about foot and mouth and e-coli, but once we got
the all-clear from DEFRA it was full steam ahead. Of course, not having done this before, inevitably there
were a few kinks we have to iron out for next year. People seemed to spend far longer in the portaloos than
we anticipated, and some attendees were disappointed at the lack of anything except meat or hot dog buns
to consume. In fact, even the buns had run out by the end. We might have to get a bit of salad in next time or something.”
Home Defence found the musical element to the festival particularly intriguing, Beefstock’s line up based around the Atkins Diet Main Stage which held a thematically eclectic bill. Opening with the sunshine pop of The Thrills, we then watched thrash metallers GWAR spray an unsuspecting crowd with fake blood, upsetting a number of toddlers. Their black noise assault was directly followed by Il Divo who seemed all at sea in these surroundings, and kept looking over to their manager in confusion during what turned out to be a heavily truncated set of close harmony opera. Sanity was restored by headliner Hazell Dean who thanked the crowd for sticking around “in spite of the smell”, and played a crowd-pleasingly upbeat cavalcade of forgotten eighties pop hits.
“That’s one thing we might have to change for 2008, our musical director.” Nodded Choppy Splendor when we
pressed him on the lack of a unifying principle behind the bands. “I think Dave was having a laugh when he made
some of those bookings, and we’ll need to tighten up on security too. Some vegan protestors almost made it as
far as our VIPs from the North America Cattleman’s Association. That could have turned into quite a nasty
scene. Luckily the police were on it in time, dispersing the lettuce-munching troublemakers back outside the
festival gates. It only took a couple of officers, them vegans didn’t seem to have any strength to fight back.”
As guests of the BMF, Home Defence were particularly impressed by the educational aspects of the festival, including talks and
demonstrations which illustrated the virtues of meat. We learned that the substance is high in protein, low in ‘carbs’, packed full of Vitamin B, Zinc, and Riboflavin and, in the words of one moonlighting meat packer, employed for the day selling pork chops off a picnic table; “it just tastes bleedin’ good!” HDUK now understands that ‘meat’ is the common name given to dead animal tissue, and that 4.4 million cattle were killed off in this country following the BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) outbreak. However, we don’t worry about that any more, since British farmers no longer turn their cows into cannibals by force feeding livestock their dead brethren. Officially at least.
Many of the children in attendance were as impressed as us, spending their time inside a special play area to
enjoy the abattoir-themed rides and play match the cut of meat to the live animal on display. Crime was
low, with very few arrests on the day (just a couple of Hindu troublemakers), while the beating sun and sense
of bonhomie both played a part in making it a busy couple of days for St John’s Ambulance. In all
paramedics were called upon to treat around fifty obese people for sunstroke, pump the stomachs of several
who had overdone it on the delicious meat, and supply oxygen to a small group of teenagers complaining of
lightheadedness after attempting to smoke a kabanos.
Apart from these isolated incidents a great time was had by all, and Bellow Timkring has already begun preparing next year’s event, even as the last site workers finish spraying green paint on bloodstained grass,and trained professionals fumigate the surrounding area to remove the smell of decomposition. “I’m thinking of expanding to make Beefstock 2008 even bigger, possibly franchising my idea around the world.” Timkring asserted, seconds before biting down on a Bratwurst. “That way we can keep British meat on the lips of every man, woman and child across the globe. Beef lovers from Alabama to Zanzibar! But not