Thursday evening saw the launch of Imagine, Sutton’s Festival of Participatory Arts. This will run with a varied programme of events until 3rd June. The whole gamut of arts and heritage in the Borough has come together.

I’m pleased that the Council are looking at obtaining sponsorship and funding in future years. The Tories have been accused of knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing. It’s a good line but one that is usually trotted out when the Council make a colossal mistake that they would prefer to forget such as the totem poles in St Helier.

It’s important that Sutton enjoys good art and cultural facilities as these have an effect on our quality of life that is difficult to quantify. However, we ought to target our meagre resources wisely, not competing with the obvious attractions of Central London. Let’s celebrate our unique points like the Water Tower in Carshalton and Whitehall in Cheam, but we ought to look to the Arts Council and private sponsorship to come to the aid of the local taxpayer.I’m glad that this is being investigated in this example.

Anyway, what of the picture? Meet Breis (pronouced “breeze”), a rap artist or as he describes himself, a hip hop renaissance man, Emcee, beat maker, writer, event organiser, workshop facilitator etc. Imagine the size of his business card. Anyone that has “etc.” at the end of their job description needs to slow down a little. His was the first performance at the launch of the festival. Much as I don’t like rap music (it’s an age thing), he was brilliant, playing the audience, pushing positive messages and demonstrating a real poetic talent. Unfortunately his performance was somewhat marred by the fact that the front row consisted of Cllr Moira Butt, Lord Tope and me. Despite Moira’s best effort, our participation was reminiscent of a dad’s dancing at a family wedding. At least we got into the spirit and participated. Now it’s over to you.