a call for traders, troubadours and trouble makers

Your Canal Boat, a Community Interest Company whose mission is to activate underutilised canal side spaces, is organising a floating market with up to 8 boats to trade pop-up style, continuously, for two months across West London this Spring.

Brigadoon LogoWith CRT appproval of our final schedule pending, we anticipate space for five more traders beginning with our first market at Uxbridge 1 May.

Boats currently subscribed include 'Molly Anna', our main entertainment and broadcast centre, 'Shorewaters', serving delicious traditional Indian dishes and 'Winnimax', a state of the art recording studio offering demo recordings for performing artists.

With additional providers of food and services, we aim to create a festival-like atmosphere that generates new interest in overlooked locations, culminating in stakeholder engagement sessions that encourage residents to effectively “own” and manage them going forward.

If that sounds like your kind of “trouble”, organisers invite you to get on board.

The flotilla will rendezvous for the first week of May in Uxbridge before travelling to the Hanwell Hootie - UK´s biggest free music festival, where Molly Anna serves as the official ¨busking boat¨. The ‘’village’ then spends three weeks at two Brentford locations, before travelling back up the Hanwell Flight to the Hayes Festival where they will end two months of trading at Alperton.

What happens thereafter depends on public response and the collective decision of participants.

Jeet Bahal is one of the flotilla´s pioneers, a 70-year old marine engineer who has circumnavigated the globe 7 times, he passionately believes that a canal boat village is as appropriate for London as those he marvelled at in Thailand and Cambodia. Jeet brings his boat Shorewaters, his curry recipes, and deep connections with West London’s Sikh community to help achieve it as a reality.

But what should we call this experiment in perpetual canal boat festivity? A canal boat village that pops up, casts a magical spell and disappears again?
Jeet opined for the name “Brigadoon,” a nod to the Broadway play about a mythical Scottish Highland Village that materializes every 100 years. What better analogy for a floating ‘village’ that relocates, popping up from week to week along the canal?
Brigadoon suggests marvel, mystery and a fleeting presence. In Hollywood’s 1954 version, Gene Kelly is an American who stumbles into Brigadoon and falls in love.
- Does he stay with the woman he loves or should he return to his lived reality of a ‘real world’ in New York?

And will this canal boat village be similarly enchanting? Will people follow along to wherever it moves in accordance with continuous cruising requirements?

Woody Travis Walker believes they will. Woody, a classically trained actor, has sailed on tall ships and run music sessions on the Golden Hinde. He looks forward to hosting a podcast that promotes the project with music, theatre & interviews, or as he describes it, “the poetry of the waterways”.

With the help of the Punjabi Theatre Academy that poetry will likely include a South Asian accent. Recognised as the first thespians to bring the story of the Southall riots to the stage, the Punjabi Theatre Academy will utilise Brigadoon as a platform to solicit immigrant memories of the renovation of Heathrow Airport, from a wartime facility into London´s principal terminal.

Families are encouraged to bring their elders to be interviewed and photographed at public engagement sessions in Uxbridge, Hayes, Hanwell, Brentford, Southall and Alperton. Collected content will be transformed into a Bollywood style production for the following Year 2 village flotilla.

Sir Tony Robinson, England´s most beloved popular historian, has contributed a video encouraging people to get involved and bring the program into the heart of London.

To be a hit in the The Big Smoke, the village needs a coffee service and beverages, and services from massage to haircut to tattoo, are invited to consider joining.

Write to learn more..

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About Eric Ellman

Eric is an ex-pat, who, like most Americans, thought Europe’s canals were all in Amsterdam or Venice. On visits to an elderly relative in Islington, he fell in love with the Regents Canal. To remain in England he launched 'Bards on Boats', with a vision to hire London actors , “the world’s greatest story tellers,” to tell one of the world’s great stories...