The House of Norman Loves (…onions and Rob Auton)

house of norman loves

As part of Walthamstow’s Appetite food festival, and to launch Rob Auton’s newly-published book of poetry and illustrations – In heaven the onions make you laugh – Jenny and Kate (of Norman Loves) arranged an onion-themed Sunday afternoon of food, poetry, performance, music and piñatas.

onion door

They set up a ‘main stage’ in the garden and served delicious vegan food: onion bread, onion bhajis, humous with a garnish of sweet caramelised onions, raw vegetable salad with sesame seeds and a bulgar wheat salad, which we ate whilst listening to a burlesque performer singing; Kate reading some comical poetry from her wonderful handmade, photocopied book of poems; a brilliant spoken word performer (whose name I need to check) and Rob Auton.

rob auton on main stage

I follow Rob on Twitter (I met him for the first time today, can I call him Rob? Yeah, I think that will be ok) and he is very funny. It’s difficult to write good poetry, it’s even more difficult to write good funny poetry. But he manages to do this.

He carried a rickety suitcase onto the stage with him and struck up a conversation with the audience, reacting to the passing trains (the garden backs onto train tracks) to make us laugh, as a stand up comic responds to to his environment for comedy effect. He then read some poems from a ring-bound writing book with dozens of post-its jutting out the top and pages sellotaped together – all very homemade, all adding to the comedy.

We passed around onion rings and mango chutney, laughed a LOT, drank beers (£3.20 for 10 stubbies, according to Rob – “that’s 32p each”), and then ate the best chocolate cake I’ve EVER eaten, and rhubarb and almond cake with the lightest, crispiest buttery base.

For a Sunday afternoon, it doesn’t get much better than that: amazing food, great entertainment, lovely setting and non-stop laughter.

This is Kate with her onion piñata before we bashed it to death:

Kate and pinata

Check out Rob’s website

Buy his book: In heaven onions make you laugh

Come to Walthamstow and eat lovely food being prepared for the Appetite Festival

And keep an eye out for Norman Loves food events…

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