Winch_ft

What can you win? Whampgather raffle prizes announced

It’s Whampgather XIII tonight, celebrating the fifth anniversary of @WHampstead on twitter and thus the start of the whole #whamp community project.

As always at whampgather, we’re raising money for The Winch. The Winch is a long-standing youth charity based in Swiss Cottage that works with young people all over Camden in a variety of ways. For some it’s an after-school club, for others it’s a critical support in their challenging lives. Previous whampgathers have funded drama programmes for the kids, and we’ve contributed to upgrading IT equipment among many other things. It’s a charity I personally believe in and think is very worthy of our support.

Thanks, therefore, to all the businesses that generously donate prizes to Whampgather raffles. Once again we have great prizes from the following companies:

West End Lane Books
Mill Lane Bistro
Yi Dao Clinic
Guglee
The Gallery
Look New Dry Cleaners
One Sixty
Feng Sushi
The Wet Fish Café
and our star prize tonight:
The 7-course tasting menu at Michelin starred restaurant L’Autre Pied

A huge thank you to all those businesses and to all of you coming tonight. Raffle tickets are £1.50 each or five for a fiver. You’ll be able to buy them at the cloakroom (back of the bar near the kitchen), and from our roving raffle ticket sellers. The draw is usually around 10.15pm. If you have to leave early, then I suggest you write your name/contact details on the back of your tickets and give them to a friend or to one of us for safekeeping as otherwise you won’t be able to win!

See you tonight at The Gallery from 7.30pm!

Whampgather raffle prizes

If you’re coming to #whampgather this Thursday, you’re in for a treat. It promises to be the biggest and best yet. [if you have a ticket and realise you can’t make it, do please let me know].

Regular whampgatherers know that the evening falls into two sections. Before the Raffle, when we exert considerable pressure on you to buy raffle tickets because, y’know, whampgather is still free and you get discounts at the bar, and because it’s for a really good cause… and After the Raffle, when the music gets a bit louder and the crowd is a mixture of people sobbing that they didn’t win a prize and other people rejoicing in their victories.

There is of course also a transitional phase – The Raffle Itself – when you get a chance to hear my booming voice coming at you through loudspeakers, as if I didn’t have enough of a God complex already.

What can I win? What can I win?
As always, the raffle ticket sellers will have the final list of prizes, but if you’re super eager, here’s the list as it stands (in alphabetical order)

Bake-a-boo – afternoon tea for two
Feng Sushi – sushi-making masterclass for four people (and the chance to eat some!)
Guglee – £50 meal voucher
La Brocca – dinner for two during the Game Weekend (7th/8th December)
Oddbins – three bottles of wine
Rococo Chocolates – truffle making workshop for four people
Tricycle Cinema – 11 (yes, eleven) seats in the box, for any regular cinema screening
Waitrose – a mixed case of wine
West End Lane Books – three of the latest signed hardbacks AND a £30 voucher
The Wet Fish Café – £60 meal voucher
Yi-Dao Clinic – 1hr massage (Tuina, deep tissue, aromatherapy or holistic)

Where does the money go?
We are raising money for local youth charity, The Winch. We have supported The Winch for the past few years in a variety of ways, and our fundraising efforts so far have pulled in something over £2,500.

At the last whampgather we were able to raise enough to ensure the drama programme continued for another term. I went to see the results of this, and it was so obvious how much this has benefitted the young people involved.

This time, we’re focusing on a different strand of The Winch’s work – its Youth Forum.

The Forum supports 20 young people, eight in the 13-16 age group, and twelve 11-13 year-olds. It is aimed at anyone who wants to develop leadership skills and have more of a decision-making role. It focuses on developing character strengths, and the sessions are built around a healthy meal that the young people cook and eat together.

To date, the focus of the decisions has been on shaping what the kids would like to do at The Winch, and the results have been eclectic – from restarting the music workshop, to enterprise stall ideas for the local Swiss Cottage Fair, to planning a weekend away together. The team leaders also work with sub-groups to develop new areas of activity for the charity, e.g., more sports sessions, music workshops, holiday activities etc.

The Winch works with kids from all over Camden, though it naturally attaracts more young people from the immediate area and the Swiss Cottage estates in particular. On the surface it looks like any other youth club, but its involvement in the lives of young people goes far deeper, especially with its “cradle to career” philosophy, which ensures continuity of support for those young people who face particularly complex and difficult lives. Having been fortunate enough to be involved with the organisation over the past few years, I can honestly say that supporting it has a tangible positive impact on kids who may not have had the priveliges and benefits that many of us have had.

When the raffle ticket sellers come round on Thursday, please buy one or two tickets more than you might otherwise, and we should be able to raise a record amount this time. Joanna from The Winch will also be around during the evening, so if you want to learn more about the organisation, do seek her out. You can also of course read more on the website.

Whampgather XII – November 14

Update Oct 16th: 3.30pm: Whampgather has sold out. There is no waiting list, but depending on cancellations nearer the time I hope to be able to release a few more tickets. So keep your eyes peeled on Twitter.

It’s been a strange year – there’s only been one whampgather. Back in March, 160 people squeezed into The Alliance and partied like it was 1999 (or 1989 judging by some of the music). After a summer hiatus, it’s time to get your mingle on, your party gear out, and your drinking elbow oiled. Whampgather is back. Read on for everything you need to know or, if you’re a #whampgather devotee, get your ticket right now.

The lovely people at The Gallery have agreed that #whampgather has reached such levels of importance that they’re willing to close on a Thursday night just for us.

Yes, we have exclusive use of the coolest bar in town, making this the party of the year. Details are still being ironed out, but all you need to know is that there’ll be music, there’ll be drinks and you’ll even be able to buy some food (come early if you want food, it might get crowded later). There will also be The Raffle, raising money for The Winch and with (I hope) amazing prizes.

What’s that? You’ve absolutely no idea what I’m talking about? Read this overview. In a nutshell, it’s a big party open to all ages (18s and over), and is an amazingly good way to meet some locals. We’re up to number 12, so we must be doing something right.

The Gallery has more capacity than I thought, so hopefully you can all come but YOU WILL NEED A TICKET (see below). Tickets are free (yay), but do tend to sell out (boo), so I suggest you register pronto.

But I won’t know anyone? That’s sort of the point. With so many people there’s bound to be someone you’ll get on with. I know it can seem as if lots of people already know each other, but we all met at events like this. Everyone’s been a whampgather virgin at some stage – people are very welcoming and friendly so just dive in and say hi.

The Winch got Bare Talent

You all know that we raise money for The Winch. At the last Whampgather all the money we raised from the raffle – which was just shy of £600 – went to support the youth charity’s drama group this term.

On Tuesday night I joined the Mayor of Camden, some parents and Winch helpers, and saw the group’s end-of-term production in one of the theatres at Central School of Speech & Drama.

We were treated to a Winch version of Britain’s Got Talent complete with nasty judges, entertaining advert breaks, and some fantastic performances by the young people. There was singing, dancing, comedy and a grand finale performance of the Harlem Shake.

You could see the confidence of the performers growing even while on stage as the nerves dissipated. They knew most of the audience members, but the stakes were raised by having the Mayor, replete with the chains of office, in the front row.

Aside from keeping us entertained, these drama workshops are enormously important in giving kids self-confidence as well as building their team skills such as listening. Even getting some of them to sit down for a couple of minutes was a challenge at the start of the term apparently, yet here was a controlled performance that the young people clearly enjoyed as much as we did in the audience.

A huge thank you to all the local businesses who donated raffle prizes and to all of you who bought raffle tickets at whampgather. You made it possible for the hardworking and committed staff and volunteers at The Winch to give these kids a creative outlet and an opportunity to develop a wide range of skills that will benefit them enormously as they go through life.

Support the Winch and win great prizes

Tonight’s whampgather (The Alliance, Mill Lane, 7.15pm, ticketholders only I’m afraid) will once again be raising money for The Winch. Specifically, its drama programme Drama Massive.

Each term a slightly different group of 8-14 year-olds attend the weekly workshops, and they create and perform a piece at the end of term. Last year’s Robin in the Hood explored topics such as poverty, wealth, law, and politics. The play was set in contemporary London with Robin using BBM to gather people to protest against the cuts.

Central School of Speech and Drama offer studio space, but the charity needs funding to keep working with its drama facilitator, Rebecca. The broader aim of Drama Massive is to instil confidence, creativity, focus and team work.

Rebecca explains:

“The work we do, whilst fun, is also incredibly important. Drama helps develop social and emotional skills such as self-confidence, team work, conflict resolution, speaking and listening whilst also providing a safe creative space in which young people feel empowered to question the world around them and express themselves. Many of the young people that come to The Winch lead complicated and difficult lives – the process of creating theatre as part of a team can help them to express some of those stresses safely, whilst giving them a place where they consistently feel included, valued & listened to.”

It costs £900 to fund a term of Drama Massive. If everyone coming tonight buys five raffle tickets, we’ll cover that in one night. You’ll get to help provide kids in the area with a chance to do something that’s great for their social development and that’s fun – something that doesn’t always play a big part in their lives.

AND, if the do-gooder in you isn’t moved, then let me appeal to the greedy… because by entering the raffle you’ll have the chance to win some great prizes:

  • A ticket to see Edgar Wright (director of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) introduce cult classic An American Werewolf in London at the BFI next month. These tickets sold out in 15 minutes, but thanks to @NxNW6 (who’ll be going with you) you can get your hands on one.
  • An easter egg from Cocoa Bijoux
  • Tea for two at Bake-a-boo
  • A £50 voucher from Guglee
  • A £50 voucher from Feng Sushi
  • A £50 voucher from West End Lane Books
  • A £50 voucher from The Gallery
  • A £50 voucher from The Wet Fish Café
  • A three-course meal for four from Spiga
  • A £60 voucher from Mill Lane Bistro

Also, everyone who buys a raffle ticket automatically gets a FREE easter egg courtesy as a little Easter treat from me. Really, what more incentive do you need?

If you want to find out more about The Winch, check out www.thewinch.org. Ann Kenney from the charity will also be coming along tonight, so you can also speak to her.

See you later!

Whampgather XI – March 28th

Whampgather XI
(Whamp’s Eleven)

March 28th, The Alliance, Mill Lane

7.15pm ’til late

In mid-November, 160 people managed to persuade Freddie on the door that their names really were on the list and they could come in. There was drinking, there was chat, there was music (bit loud?), there was even a rumour of dancing and there was the raffle.

“That’ went well”, I thought, as I stumbled home, picking my way between the couple making out by the bus stop (no names mentioned obviously), overtaking another pair skipping, literally, down Mill Lane, and helping one or two of the more inebriated guests get taxis. “We’ll do that again.”

So that’s exactly what we’re doing. Whampgather XI is going to look remarkably like Whampgather X. Thanks to Michael at The Alliance and his manager Russell, we entered double figures with a bang. So it’s a case of press repeat. We may have a different DJ as DJ Stoney has just become a dad for the first time (awwww), but basically if you liked the last one you’ll like this one. If you didn’t meet anyone interesting at the last one, well, maybe you should have chatted to some more people!!

We have exclusive use of The Alliance, and the landlord Michael is promising us a great night. Remember that The Alliance has a good food menu, so why not come early and get dinner there too. If you want to dress like you’re an extra in Oceans Eleven, you’re more than welcome but it’s definitely not compulsory.

If you’re not familiar with the whole #whampgather thing, then read this overview. In a nutshell, it’s a big party open to all ages (18s and over), and is an amazingly good way to meet some locals. We’re up to number 11, so we must be doing something right.

Getting there: Kilburn tube is slightly nearer than West Hampstead tube (10 mins vs. 15 mins), and the C11 stops 20 seconds away. It is NOT hard to get to!

Whampgather is FREE, but because we have exclusive hire of the pub, you will need a ticket (see below).

FAQs
What’s Whampgather? It’s just a big local party.
But I won’t know anyone? That’s sort of the point. These events are an excellent way to meet some locals and with so many people there’s bound to be someone you’ll get on with. I know that it can seem as if lots of people already know each other, and lots of us do… but we all met at events like this. Everyone’s been a whampgather virgin at some stage – people are very welcoming and friendly (without it being a weird cult – there’ll be no shaving of heads unless you get very drunk and demand it) so just dive in and say hi.

Record breaking #whampgather

The trouble with taking over ever larger spaces is that it takes ever so slightly longer for you to feel confident that you’ll fill them.

As I rattled around The Alliance with a few early arrivals and a couple of helpful stalwarts I began to get that nagging feeling that maybe this was too ambitious. This was a large pub after all. Could we really fill it?

Such concerns evaporated all too quickly as locals started to trickle, then pour in. There was even a queue at one point. A couple of people got lucky as others dropped out at the last minute, and managed to squeeze in to the buzzing room. Mike, landlord at The Alliance, had ensured there were enough staff on hand and his manager Russell did a great job of making sure everything ran smoothly.

Bar staff were kept busy
Photo courtesy of Brad

DJ Stoney was plugged into the speakers while Nicky and Brad started working the room selling raffle tickets. Chris and Katie took over for the final push and after the money was all counted up we’d raised £600 for The Winch. That’s a new #whampgather record. Thank you to everyone who bought as many as they could afford and a massive thank you of course to all the businesses that contributed prizes (there’s a full list below). In total, 160 people came along – also a record – many for the first time. I hope we’ll see you all at another whampevent in the not too distant future.

£600 for The Winch
Photo courtesy of @Snowyt79

DJ Stoney
Photo courtesy of @Snowyt79

Raffle anticipation builds
Photo courtesy of @Snowyt79

Louise wins the star prize
Photo courtesy of @Snowyt79

For more photos, check out Mark’s complete set on Flickr.

Prize givers
If you ever think that West Hampstead is becoming too full of chains then bear in mind that every business that donated a prize is independent. Here’s the full list of contributors:

Forming the Mill Lane Pamper Hamper (our star prize) we had:
The Kitchen Table
Achillea Flowers
Mill Lane Barbers
Natasha’s Sports Massage
The Private Space
Vini Vivi
Prestige Dry Cleaning
Bake-a-boo
Beauty Blossom

Restaurants and bars that contributed vouchers and meals:
Spiga
The Wet Fish Café
Mill Lane Bistro
Guglee
The Elgin
The Gallery

And other local businesses:
West End Lane Books
Rock Men’s Salon
Gloves Boxing Club
Monsters of Art
Dass Stores
Mistah
Natural Shades

Treasure Hunt – The Adventure Begins…

As this Thursday’s #whampgather is Whampgather X (still can’t quite believe I’m on the tenth edition), I thought I’d do something a little different in the build-up to keep you all excited. So, X marks the spot for the inaugural #whamptreasurehunt. Ooh-arrr, my whamphearties. (I shall never ever say that again).

How it works
Below, you’ll see the first clue, which is to a location in West Hampstead. Go there, scout around, and you’ll find the second clue. I recommend snapping it with your phone, or at least writing it down – you can’t take it away with you! Each clue will lead you to the next one. There are six locations in total. Crucially, you need to note down the two letters that are at the bottom of each clue you find. Get all the letters from all the clues and rearrange them to make a relevant phrase – this is your password to open the treasure chest.

On the night of whampgather drop the password in a box at The Alliance, or in advance if you’re not coming to whampgather. Assuming more than one person a) enters and b) gets it right, I’ll draw two winners on the night. You don’t have to be there to win, but obviously please leave contact details on your entry. The prizes are a couple of (nice) books.

A few tips
The clues vary from the cryptic to the straightforward. You’ll almost certainly need to use Google, and you may want to use a map. All are solvable without too much effort apart, perhaps, from one tricky one! Once you’ve solved the clue and get to the location, you may need to hunt a bit for the clue itself – I’ve tried to put them in places that aren’t too obvious so there’s less risk of them being removed. Each clue is on a laminated piece of pink card with orange paper and black text. Once you’ve found the first one you’ll recognise the others quickly. I will check them during the course of the week in case any have been removed – if you are convinced that you’ve got the right place and just can’t find the clue, e-mail me and tell me and I’ll try and investigate asap, but do look thoroughly.

By all means tweet about your progress generically, but obviously I’d appreciate it if you didn’t publicly announce the solutions to the clues – kinda defeats the object (and I may make some last-minute changes if that happens!!).

Clue #1
(no anagram letters at the bottom of this one, they start with your first clue “in the field”).

Where the Beatles heard Ono, long before Yoko or Eno

Work out where that is and you’re on your way to victory!

Call for raffle prizes

Next week is #whampgather X at The Alliance- the tenth edition of the local party to end all local parties. It’s sold out, there’s already a lengthy waiting list, and local breweries have been put on high alert.

As many of you will know, a regular and popular feature of whampgathers is the raffle. All the money raised goes directly to The Winch, the youth charity based in Swiss Cottage that we’ve been supporting for a couple of years. We raised £500 last time and we’re aiming to double that this time.

Traditionally, local businesses have very generously donated prizes ranging from free haircuts to dinner at restaurants. This year is no different, except that I’m limiting total prizes to 10 (10th whampgather you see). If we have more than 10 things to give out then we’ll bundle some of them together. This also means prizes will all be roughly the same value.

We’ve already approached a couple of businesses to get the ball rolling, but if you’d like to donate a prize you are most definitely very welcome to do so! In fact we’d love it! A large-scale prize (ie. worth >£50) also means you’ll get a free week’s worth of premium advertising on the website (worth £36). If you don’t feel you can stretch to that, which I think everyone understands is an ask for lots of small businesses, then you’ll still get plenty of Twitter and website love from me, and mentions in the write-up of the event and of course on the night.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll get to help raise money for a really excellent cause – the young people of this area who may not have all the opportunities that many of us reading this have had.

If you’d like to donate a prize, please send a mail to , who’s helping me out with the raffle. Or you can tweet/DM me @WHampstead

Whampgather X – November 15th

Three years ago, I walked, somewhat nervously, up West End Lane to the first whampgather. The turnout was better than I’d expected. Maybe, I thought, just maybe, I’d do a second one.

This November, you are all invited to the TENTH whampgather. Yes, we’ve made it to double figures.

[UPDATE: We’re sold out, but there’s a waiting list and as we always have dropouts, I strongly suggest putting your name down if you’d like to come – scroll to the bottom for the link.]

Where: The Alliance, Mill Lane
When: November 15th, from 7.15pm to late (late licence)
Cost: free (but you’ll need a ticket – scroll down for the ticket link)

Autumn is well and truly on us. It’s time to dust off any cobwebs left over from Halloween, get warm and cosy with your neighbours, and get your whampgroove on at what promises to be the biggest whampgather of them all. We have exclusive use of The Alliance, and the landlord Michael is promising us a great night.

DJ Stoney will be manning the decks as only he can; the raffle is back raising money for The Winch (we made £500 last time); and there are special offers on beer and wine. The Alliance also has a good food menu, so why not come early and get dinner there too.

Finally, X really does mark the spot – in the week running up to Whampgather there will be a Treasure Hunt competition with a special prize on the night. Keep an eye on the website for more details nearer the time.

If you’re not familiar with the whole #whampgather thing, then read this overview. In a nutshell, it’s a big party open to all ages, and is an amazingly good way to meet some locals. Put it this way – we wouldn’t be having a tenth one if the previous nine hadn’t been all types of brilliant.

The Alliance is a new whampgather venue for us. It’s a proper local pub that frankly more people should be checking out, and having had two gathers down at the southern edge of West Hampstead, it’s time to turn our sights to the northern reaches.

Getting there: Kilburn tube is slightly nearer than West Hampstead tube (10 mins vs. 15 mins), and the C11 stops 20 seconds away. It is NOT hard to get to!

Whampgather is FREE, but because we have exclusive hire of the pub, you will need a ticket. Register below (or you can go to the Eventbrite page)

Whampgather IX: Sunday lunch

It’s been a couple of weeks now since the ninth edition of the local get-together known as #whampgather.

Fifty of us took over the front half of The Black Lion on West End Lane while a sudden, if brief, monsoon arrived in West Hampstead.

The afternoon went well – it was great to see so many familiar faces and welcome lots of newcomers to their first whampevent. It’s the first time we’ve had so many people at a sit-down gathering, and thanks are definitely due to Martyn and the staff at The Black Lion for looking after us.

A smattering of folks hung around for more drinks until we got booted out as those who’d reserved tables to watch Italy beat England arrived.

I’ve said it before, but it feels like a long time since the very first whampgather when I wasn’t sure if anyone would turn up. Now, we’re heading inexorably towards the 10th, which will be sometime in the autumn. We’ll be returning to the usual Thursday evening drinks & music format and I’d recommend booking the next day off work.

In the meantime, here are some ropey pictures of Whampgather IX by me, and some better ones of the food by Anthony.

Whampgather IX – Summer Sunday

Bring me sunshine, bring me joy, bring me another edition of the local party that everyone loves… bring me #whampgather!

Summer finally seems to have arrived, so I figured it was time for the NINTH installment of #whampgather.

The summer whampgather will be a bit different. The newly-refurbed Black Lion on West End Lane* does a cracking Sunday lunch, and as many of you expressed an interest in joining my own recent Sunday lunch escapades, this seemed like the perfect solution. It’s a Summer Sunday Whampgather! Read the details below, then sign up here.

What’s the deal?
There is room for 50 of us (just 50 – eek) at The Black Lion. We’re going to get a limited menu (with a choice of three starters, four mains, and three desserts – all priced as per the normal menu). In addition, we’ve got 1/3 off Bloody Mary’s (and a discount on house wine by the glass if you’re not a bloody mary fan).

Two important things:
Cost – I’m afraid I need to lock you in for this one, so I need a deposit. It’s a £10 deposit, plus 90p fees (which goes to the ticketing company, not me). You can pay via PayPal. If you really have a problem then e-mail me. The final bill will be calculated per table as at whampreviews, with your deposits knocked off obviously. It’s up to you how you split the bills.

Timing – So that we don’t break the kitchen at The Black Lion on what’s likely to be a busy Sunday for them anyway, we need to be there fairly early (hence the Bloody Mary to kick start the day). The first tables will be seated at midday, the last at about 12.30. I will send everyone a text message with the time you need to be there. Please please please be on time (the pub has really stressed this).

One less important thing:
A bit like at whampreviews, I’ll allocate everyone to a table. We have roughly the front half of the pub just for us – it’s mostly tables for 6, with one table for 8. If you book more than one ticket, let me know if it’s essential that you sit together (bearing in mind that one of the ideas of this is to meet new people.. *hint hint*). Obviously if you want to bring kids that’s more than alright.

For background on previous whampgathers, read this overview.

*Anyone who ends up at The Black Lion on the Kilburn High Road by mistake will be mocked for the rest of their lives.

We came, we saw, we gathered

I think I can fairly confidently say that the eighth installment of whampgather – the local get together – was the biggest yet. Think over the course of the night we had about 110-115 people through the door of the Priory Tavern.

Big thanks to the Dave Mitchell band – renamed the Priory Tavern All-Stars for the night, for keeping up entertained with their own (very loud) brand of the blues. Also big thanks to Brad & Nicky who tirelessly spent all night selling raffle tickets. We sold 490 raffle tickets, and then Niroch from Ammis Curry popped up with a 4th round FA Cup ticket to auction, which went for £40 and catapulted us over the £500 mark for the night. All the money goes to The Winch – and it was great that Paul Perkins was able to come down and give a quick intro to the charity that evening. (see previous post for a full list of prizes)

There’s really not a lot more for me to say – so I’m just going to post some photos of the whampagther excitement and bid you farewell. The next event of any sort is the West End Lane Books “lock in” on January 31st – keep your eyes peeled on here and on Twitter for more details. The next whampgather will be a few months away – the most reliable way to hear about all these things is to sign up to the mailing list.

 (photos courtesy of Brad)

What’s on offer?

Coming to #whampgather tonight? You’re in for a treat. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect.

First you’ll meet Freddie on the door. Be nice to him, he’s a lot bigger than you are. Give him your ticket (&/or name) and let him stamp your hand with a “#” stamp. Boom. You’re in.

You probably want a drink. Well, the Priory Tavern has devised a few bespoke cocktails to help us to blow away the New Year blues.

  • Kilburn Mist: Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, house vanilla syrup, large lemon twist (it’s still a bit chilly, whiskey to warm the cockles). [We had these at #whampgather VII – I’ll be on them all night]
  • Louisiana Jam: Southern Comfort, apricot jam, lemon & apple juices and fresh mint (January blues? Southern delta blues more like!)
  • Dark’n’Stormy: Gosling’s Bermuda Rum, fresh lime, Angostura Bitters, ginger beer (go missing in your own Bermuda Triangle…)
  • Blue Note Collins: Bombay Sapphire, fresh lemon, elderflower cordial, soda (fresh & floral, because spring is just around the corner!)
  • Straight Up’n’Chaser: One “Reverse Martini” Shot and a Tiger (beer) to chase (the only time Tiger hunting is acceptable.)

Not a cocktail person? Fair enough – the blues is more raw, right? Tiger beer is £3 a bottle, as is a glass of house wine. And of course the Priory’s frankly astonishing array of spirits and other drinks is available as per usual – just ask Merlin, Lucile, Danny, Casey or Richard for a little bit of what you fancy.

So, the band (the Dave Mitchell Blues Band – no, not that Dave Mitchell – sorry) is playing, the joint is jumping, you’ve got a Louisiana Jam in one hand and a gorgeous fella/gal/plant pot in the other… feeling peckish? The Priory’s even changed its menu for us. Hell yeah.

There are bar snacks, from chicken wings to that southern soul food classic hoummous!
There are mains from Cajun chicken & chorizo jambalaya to the 3/4lb #Whampgather burger.
There are desserts from warm pear & apple tart to Cornish Yarg & Cranberry Wensleydale.

In other words, there’s food – more than I’ve listed here.

Between and after the band, none other than DJ Stoney (aka @Swiss_Cottage) will be providing the tunes. He’s a DJ who actually likes taking requests! Then at around 10.15ish there’s the award for Tweet of the Year, and then it’s time for T H E   R A F F L E.

So, we all know the raffle is for a good cause – and it really is. The Winch needs your cash, but also your time and on the night you’ll be able to find out more about how you might be able to help. But we have some amazing prizes to win. You do have to be present to claim your prize I’m afraid. Absentee ticketholders means a redraw! But why would you want to leave?! Here’s what’s on offer.

If that’s not worth digging a little deeper into your pockets for – especially when every penny goes to a good cause – then you have no soul. Nicky and Brad – the raffle ticket sellers on the night – will even come to you. It couldn’t be easier to relieve you of cash. If you buy 17 tickets you could win everything – although you may not get out of the pub alive.

See you all later.

Whampgather VIII – Blow away the New Year Blues

I know we’re still in Christmas mode, and it’s not even 2012 yet, but preparations for the next installment of #whampgather have been underway for some time.What’s #whampgather? I suggest you read the FAQs!

Once again, I’m raising the bar. Alongside the usual delights of the raffle, a DJ, and a hundred or so locals all up for having a spectacularly good time… to blow away the New Year blues this January 12th, we’re going to have live music courtesy of the Dave Mitchell Blues Band. Don’t say I don’t do anything for you.

Regulars at The Priory Tavern, which is once again hosting whampgather, will know the band – they’re members of 12 Bar Blues, which plays the Tavern regularly. Very kindly, Dave and the band have agreed to do the gig for free as we’ll once again be raising money for The Winchester Project – a local youth charity that we’ve supported for the past couple of years.

Whampgather is still free to attend, although I hope you will all be generous in your raffle ticket purchases. Back in September we raised £350 for The Winch and I’d love to get that nearer to £500 this time around. There’ll be the usual selection of excellent local prizes – I actually lost count of how many we gave away last time, but there were at least four meals for two at local restaurants, a bottle of champagne, stacks of music, local books, tickets to comedy at The Good Ship and more.

Here’s where you need to pay attention. You will need a ticket. September’s whampgather sold out faster than Take That’s comeback tour. Places are limited to the pub’s maximum capacity of 120 – last time they were snapped up in less than 24 hours and the waiting list stretched to 60. It is worth being on the waiting list – people do drop out (and then tweet to say they regretted it), so if you’re too slow for a ticket then I’d recommend adding your name anyway.

Whampgather goes global

One of the lovely things about the whole #whamp world is that people actually meet up and do stuff. But it goes beyond the boundaries of West Hampstead, NW6, or even London… if you find yourself in a strange city in a foreign country, there’s always the possibility that some other #whampers might be there too. And before you know it you’ve got your very own Whampgather. People who’ve never met before end up going out for drinks in Sydney, Paris and now New York… I’ll let Sarah take up the story:

“October saw the inaugural ‘whampgathernyc’ take place in Manhattan. It was a sort of hybrid between ‘whampgather’ and ‘whampreview’: four ex pats from West Hampstead now living in New York City met up for dinner and to reminisce about our haunts back in the day.

Esther, Olivia, Tam and myself met at French restaurant Epistrophy in Mott Street. We were met by exceedingly grumpy service after one of us was late for dinner hence delaying our sitting (drama school student Tam made it up to us with a rendition of one of her show pieces on the night), however we refused to let this spoil our fun. Dining somewhat in reverse, we started with a delicious (and very large, such is the supersizing in these parts) plate of cheese before moving on to share main courses.

Over the food, we chatted about the glory days back in West Hampstead and tried to work out by which of the six degrees of separation from our mutual Twitter friend @WHampstead, who put us in touch in the US, we knew each other and friends back home.

The standout theme of the night was Esther and me trying to explain the appeal (or otherwise) of both the Lower Ground Bar and Lately to Olivia and Tam, who have yet to experience their pleasures. We didn’t go into too much detail at this point, agreeing that what happens in the Lower Ground Bar should stay in the Lower Ground Bar. We were also fairly hazy on our experiences in Lately, which pretty much sums us up every time we’ve been there. Overall we fondly remembered our favourite places: The Alice House, The Wet Fish Café and the sense of community in the area.

Our shared main course of a bizarre couscous salad with aubergine and tuna (even food critic Olivia had a hard job explaining that one) was a sharp reminder that we were no longer at home. At this point a La Brocca pasta plate would have hit the spot quite nicely. Not wishing to complain for fear of incurring the wrath of our French waiter, we moved swiftly to dessert. Or rather Tam did, as the rest of us were full from our cheese and are not required to do five hours dance practice a day, so we watched her savour a dreamy chocolate pudding.

I remembered a tweet from @amyfallon before a recent NW6 whampgather “Can Twitter friends become real life mates? About to find out soon at my first #whampgather #thepowerofsocialmedia”. I think the answer is clear from our experience in New York City – in Olivia, Esther and Tam I have found friends to hang out with in Manhattan. With plans for more meetings already, the power of social media is clear.

Thanks to Jonathan for “hooking us up” as they say in the big US of A!!”

You’re very welcome Sarah! Follow more of Sarah’s stateside exploits on her blog. If anyone else has an overseas whampgather, do let me know!

The Whampgather Story – Vol. 7

Photo via @anthonymarsh

I don’t think it’s too much of an exaggeration to say that Whampgather VII went quite well. The hyperlocal cocktails went down a storm – we had #whamppunch, Kilburn Mist (my personal favourite), Made of Ale (geddit?) and an SJW with a touch of sparkle. DJ Sid Trotter did an outstanding job – even getting me onto the dancefloor, which as many of you (too many of you) will have realised is not something you want to see every day.

Huge thanks to Lucile and Merlin at the Priory Tavern for making it such a great event. Thanks to everyone who bought raffle tickets – we raised £350 for The Winch, and a lot of that should be credited to Nicky who spent her evening brilliantly badgering you into buying them.

Photo via @gitfinger

Most of all, thanks to all of who you came and made it such a success. We had more #whampgather virgins at this one than we’ve had for a while, which is brilliant. It was great to see everyone mingling and it seems like quite a few friendships were forged on the night.

Photo (c) Lauren Geisler

It’s worth keeping in mind that pretty much every single person at #whampgather (except for the flatmate or friend you might bring with you) has met at a whampevent. I know one or two people understandably felt that this was a big gang of people who already knew each other – and while it’s true that the group of us who have become friends has grown, this is how we all met so everyone recognises the situation.

Enough prolesityzing from me. As always, the best people to tell the story of #whampgather are the people who were there. I could only include a small fraction of the tweets people sent about it, and it’s still a long ol’ Storify. But hopefully it rekindles some memories of a great night.

For more photos, go visit Lauren’s Flickr page, and for a pic of Lauren herself in action scroll to the end! [update: also check out Michael’s excellent pics].

Photo via @gitfinger

What can I win?

Want to know what the raffle prizes are at whampgather? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway:

The “Streets of West Hampstead” book (courtesy of me)
4 free tickets to a night at the Good Ship Comedy Club
The Bake-a-boo cookbook
A bottle of champagne courtesy of Dass on Mill Lane
2 bundles of promotional CDs and vinyl
Chocolates from Cocoa Bijoux
and meal vouchers from:

  • Gourmet Burger Kitchen
  • The Gallery
  • The Alice House
  • The Clifton 
  • The Wet Fish Café.

As if all that wasn’t enough, there’s also a special mystery bonus two-part prize. All will be revealed on the night. And I think there might be one more prize as well.

How do you win one of these lovely prizes? Um… buy a lot of raffle tickets, obviously. We are raising money for The Winch. Specifically, they need a couple of new (and astonishingly cheap) computers, and we think we can probably raise enough to get these for them. Be generous! The draw will take place at ~10.15pm.

A really big thanks to all the businesses who have donated a prize. It’s seriously very much appreciated by me, but especially by Paul and the crew at The Winch.

Slightly stunned

I confess to being very (pleasantly) surprised at the speed at which Whampgather tickets went. All the tickets have been snapped up in less than 24 hours. We are now at the legal limit of the Priory Tavern, so I can’t release more even though a) I know that not everyone will turn up and b) even if they did they probably wouldn’t be there at the same time. But I don’t think it would be a very responsible move.

There is a waiting list for #whampgather (register below). I’m quite sure that not everyone who has tickets will be able to make it, so if you’ve missed out then please put yourself on the waiting list.

If you have tickets and realise at some stage that you won’t be able to use any or all of them, please let me know so the waiting list people can have them.

In the meantime, thank you all for your enthusiasm – it promises to be a great night! Ideally, please bring your printed tickets with you, although we’ll accept smartphone tickets, and will have the ticketholder names on the door. Afraid that as things stand, we can’t take last minute +1s.

Whampgather VII – Four Worlds Collide

It’s that time again… no, not Hammer Time; not even “business time”. It’s whampgather time.

If you’ve been knocking around the world of whamp for a while, you’ll know the drill. Every few months, we organise a large get together. It used to be a tweet-up, but tweet-ups are a bit passé these days, and plenty of non-tweeters turn up (and are very welcome). So, it’s more a hyperlocal gathering. On September 8th, we’ll have number 7 (read about previous ones).

For this whampgather I’ve extended the invitation beyond the borders to some of our neighbouring hyperlocals: St John’s Wood, Swiss Cottage, Maida Vale and of course Kilburn. Lets make this this biggest whampgather ever!

Very excitingly, this wll be only the second gather where we have exclusive use of a venue. And what a venue. The incredibly popular Priory Tavern has very kindly given us the pub for the night. If you’re in the know you’ll be aware that this means amazing cocktails (as well as great beer and wine), so look out on the night for some very special customised local concoctions. Food will also be available. We’re starting earlier than usual – 7pm, so you might want to come straight from work

I’m also really pleased to announce that DJ Sid Trotter (a regular at The Good Ship) will be providing the music. There will of course be the chance to win fab local prizes in the raffle (with all money raised going to The Winch).

Best of all, there’s the chance to meet some fellow locals. I realise some people aren’t sure about meeting people “off the internet”, but hopefully, the fact that we’re on No.7 of these events and each one is bigger and better than the last proves that people enjoy it. So why not take a gamble and come along? Everyone is remarkably friendly, the age range is wider than you might imagine, and it’s neither geeky nor cliquey – just a bunch of great people who happen to live in the area.

What now? For the first time, this will be a ticketed event. It’s still free of course, but if you’d like to come along then please order tickets here. There is a maximum capacity, so I suggest ordering sooner rather than later to ensure your place.

If you don’t know the Priory Tavern, it’s on the southern edge of West Hampstead on Belsize Road (between Kilburn High Rd and Priory Rd, near Little Bay). It’s a five minute walk from Kilburn Park tube, amd a brisk 10 minute walk from West Hampstead tube. If you’re coming from the northern reaches, I’d suggest a bus down the Kilburn High Road and if you’re coming from Swiss Cottage or St John’s Wood, then the 31 bus.

See you there!

Whampgather VI – it just keeps on getting better

The first whampgather was unequivocally a tweet-up. That was back in October 2009. A year and a half later and whampgather is a broader – and much bigger – event attracting blog readers, Facebookers, and of course tweeters (and their friends). This was the sixth one and took place again in The Lion on West End Lane.

I stopped trying to count the number of people who turned up – but it was around 60 in total over the course of the evening. I’m really sorry I didn’t get the chance to talk to everyone but I’m going to let a few people tell the story of the evening.

Big thanks to Brad, who took photos – a small selection of which I’m showing here:

 
 
 
 

Whampgather VI

Hard to believe this will be the sixth local get-together, but ’tis true. On Thursday April 14th, come along to The Lion on West End Lane from 8pm for a great night of catching up with old friends and making lots of new ones.

There are always plenty of new people at each event, so don’t be shy – just turn up and you’ll be surprised how quickly you get chatting to fellow locals. By all means bring your flatmates/partners/accountants for moral support or just to introduce them to the gang.

Am hoping to sort out a raffle with good local prizes, raising money for The Winch as well.

If you’re not sure whether a #whampgather is your thing, read up about previous ones – but trust me, it’s a diverse bunch of people and we don’t all sit around comparing iPhone apps. I don’t even have an iPhone.

Get local and join in.

Whampgather V – the saga continues

The fifth whampgather – a local tweet-up/party/excuse for drinking – took place on Thursday at The Lion on West End Lane in West Hampstead. Once again, it was fantastic to welcome familiar faces and plenty of new friends into the community.

There seemed to be a healthy dose of mingling taking place, which is sort of the point, and it was great to put faces to names of people I’ve been corresponding with for many months but had yet to meet.

Inevitably, a small contingent carried on the revelry at The Lower Ground Bar but, as those of us who are post-whampgather regulars know, what happens at the Lower Ground Bar stays at the Lower Ground Bar.

Mistakenly, I agreed to list the names of everyone who attended the next day on Twitter and then terribly embarrassingly missed a couple of people out. There were some people there I didn’t even get to speak to at all – but with a total turnout of more than 50 people that’s perhaps forgivable. For those of who you are on Twitter, you can find everyone who’s ever attended a whampgather, whampreview or any other of our whampevents on this list.

Expect the next whampgather to take place in the spring – hopefully with DJ Stoney behind the decks (or his laptop). To make sure you don’t miss out, follow the #whampgather hashtag on twitter, and/or sign up to the mailing list, which gives you a weekly round-up of local news and announcements of forthcoming events.

Thanks to everyone for coming, and roll on Whampgather VI. Meanwhile, a few photos (which seem to make it look a bit bloke-heavy, but actually was about 50/50).

Whampgather IV: The Picnic

Once again, whampers proved they are a heroic lot as more people than expected braved the extremely dubious weather on Saturday afternoon and came to the picnic on Hampstead Heath.

The clouds looked ominous and we did have to endure a few spells of drizzle, but in the best British tradition we stood firm.

Rugs were spread on the grass and inquisitive dogs fended away from the various picnic delights everyone had brought. Yes, a few umbrellas went up as well, but thankfully the rain never amounted to much. Whampstalwart, @gitfinger turned up with a case of beer and more importantly his baby son, who became officially the youngest whampgatherer.

Alongside the familiar faces, such as @blakeconnolly @Cyburn and @mayfield22 who, like @gitfinger haven’t missed a whampgather it was great to welcome some international newcomers such as @DC_Londonista and @ECinLondon, @garymc and @hsheeran, and @annfenech, as well as a healthy dose of other first-timers and enthusiastic regulars.

 

After handing out the eco kits from @greentomatoNRG, we decided that we’d been stoic long enough and the pub was calling. While some people headed off, we picked up a few more back in West Hampstead including several new faces, and the drinking continued well into the evening.

Overall, with a turnout of 26, summer whampgather had been a success despite the weather and it was great to be able to say hello to lots of new faces and demonstrate that the whamp community really is as friendly and welcoming as it should be.

The next whampgather will be in early December. Keep an eye out on Twitter and the blog for updates. Look forward to seeing you all then.

(photos via @gitfinger and @DC_Londonista)

Summertime and the whamping is easy

It’s the summer. At least legally. And it’s been a while since the excitement of Whampgather III. So, I thought that for the next installment of hyperlocal get togethers we should have a picnic. If you’re relatively new to the whole #whamp thing, whampgather is the local tweet-up (although non-tweeters are welcome). We’ve had around 50 people at the last couple.

I know that Saturdays in August can be booked up months if not years in advance, so not sure that there’ll be 50 people this time round, but I wanted a daytime event that those of you with kids (young and old) could bring the whole family to if you wanted.

To that end, this coming Saturday – August 21st – will see Whampgather IV: The Picnic taking place on Hampstead Heath from 3pm. Specifically it will be on Parliament Hill, just down towards Highgate No.1 Pond – as shown by the flower on this map (click for larger version).

This is going to be a very casual affair. I’m going to bring along a small amount of food/drink, but please do feel free to contribute something (especially beverages!) – even if just for yourselves. I also have five Green Tomato Kits to give away. These are worth £7.99 and contain various things to help you kickstart a greener lifestyle.
“But hang on Mr WHampstead,” you’re thinking, “what if it rains?”.
If the forecast looks dismal on Friday then I’ll kill the picnic idea and we’ll do a very informal meet-up at The Lion on West End Lane. Please please follow the #whampgather hashtag for the latest news. If the weather is mixed we’ll try and have the picnic, but if rain stops play then we’ll retreat to the Freemasons Arms on Downshire Hill as the nearest pub (that’s the wineglass on the map).
Any questions, drop me a mail or a tweet. And if you’re definitely coming, please let me know so I have some idea of numbers. Look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Whampgather III ft. #whamptunes

Last Thursday’s whampgather went down a storm. Around 50 guys and girls turned up to The Gardens bar over the course of the evening.

For the first time, we went all exclusive with private room hire. It seemed to work well and much mingling ensued as @DJStoney kept the music flowing. A large screen showed live music requests tweeted by partygoers (as well as by @gitfinger remotely from his own birthday dinner – poor Mrs Gitfinger). There was no question that @ghostontoast was the #whamptunes queen, bombarding DJ Stoney with requests, which he kept up with brilliantly.

The raffles for “Local prizes for local people” raised just shy of £50 for The Winch, which was fantastic. Suspiciously, previous whampgather prize winners @blakeconnolly and @gelle took home prizes from Bake-a-boo and Walnut respectively. @mbeevor walked away with the £30 voucher from West End Lane Books and @gitfinger even got a birthday prize of £20 from Social. Liina from @ghostontoast’s group took The Wet Fish Café prize (just proving that you don’t have to be on Twitter to benefit from whampgather!).
Festivities wound up just after midnight, and once again a few hardy souls ventured into the murky world of the Lower Ground Bar.
Huge thank you to everyone who came; to Zoe, André, Jake, Danny and Aidan for the prizes; to Jane for moral and practical support in the run-up to the event, and of course to Mark for his outstanding DJing.

There won’t be another full #whampgather until the summer, but look out for more #whampreviews, #whamplunches and a surprise or two between now and then.

Thanks to @gitfinger and @gelle for the pics

Whampgather III – Local prizes for local people

Where and when is it?
We have exclusive hire of the downstairs (as in basement) room in The Gardens (188 Broadhurst Gdns, next to The Gallery). It’s a good sized room with its own private bar. Should work perfectly. It’s on March 11th, starting at 7.30pm and going on until around midnight. There are usually a few people there at the very start, so don’t feel you have to be too fashionably late, but if you want to drop in on your way home after something else, we’ll still be there. And until 11pm a glass of house wine is just £2.

How much is it?
It’s free.

You mentioned prizes?
Yes I did. After successful prize draws at Whampgather I & II, this time we’re going all out with “Local Prizes for Local People”. The star prize is a 3-course meal for two incl. bottle of house wine at Walnut, West Hampstead’s ethical restaurant. We’re also giving away £30 to spend at West End Lane Books, Wet Fish Café martinis and tapas, £20 to spend at Social, and coffee & cakes for two at Bake-a-boo. More prizes to be annouced shortly. To be in with a chance of winning you’ll need to put your name down when you arrive and there is a minimum £1 donation to The Winch required to enter. The prize draw will be about 10.30pm.

What can I expect on the night?
This is the first time we’ve had private hire (big thanks to The Gardens for waiving all the usual fees and minimum spends for this event). This means we also have our very own resident DJ @DJStoney manning the decks. He’s very happy to take requests. Send a tweet to him/me with “#whamptunes” in it and we’ll see what we can do. You can even do that on the night (or just go up and ask him). Whampgathers are very social affairs. Most people come on their own or with a friend/flatmate and mingling is the order of the day. There are always new people at these events, so it never feels cliquey (my mantra when starting this was that they should be neither geeky nor cliquey). Everyone is welcome and it’s a mixed age-range from early 20s to… well, to older.

Can I read about the previous ones?
Of course, Whampgather II has lots of people’s comments as well, while the first whampgather made the papers. Well, a paper.

Sounds great, what do I do now?
It would be v.helpful if you can let me know if you are definitely / probably going to turn up. Just tweet me @WHampstead. I need a rough idea of numbers to help us with the last-minute planning. We had 45 people at the last one, and am expecting similar numbers this time give or take a few.

Thanks. See you there.
Indeed.

Tremendous turnout for Whampgather II

Anticipation for whampgather seemed to be building early Thursday evening as locals downed tools and began heading over to The Alice House on West End Lane.

As people piled in, both the volume of the chat and the temperature began to rise.
The complimentary bottles of wine soon vanished leaving people to deal with the erratic bar staff

But one thing was for sure

As the waitress struggled valiantly to fight her way through the crowds with the tapas plates, The Wet Fish Café‘s André was the first to leave.

Tough call between the Prince of Darkness and #whampgather of course.

The evening wore on and friendships were formed – some seemingly closer than other (naming no names of course). No-one seemed to capture the entente cordiale between Lib Dem PPC @edfordham and Conservative deputy leader of the council @AndrewIMarshall, but I can vouch for the fact that they at least waved amicably at each other.

One whamper who couldn’t make it was @DJStoney. Lured away by the promise of DJing for quasi-royalty he nevertheless kept in touch throughout the night.
And clearly realised he’d made the wrong decision.
The Alice House had a 1am licence, so there was none of the embarrassing throwing out at 11.15. By midnight though, most of the 40+ revellers had wended their way home save for a hardcore group who stayed until the end before switching to the Lower Ground Bar.
The buzz the next day was unanimously positive – at least anyone who hadn’t liked it kept their mouth shut! The prize draw was carried out the next day with @NManville winning dinner for two at The Wet Fish Café (there’s no point trying to talk him in to taking you… he wouldn’t make it out of the house alive).
@gelle won @danusiskin‘s Dot-To-Date calendar.
Huge thanks to everyone who came. I really hope you all enjoyed it and managed to meet some new people. Thanks also to @gitfinger, who took photos (including the two at the top) and helped out on the evening. The next #whampgather won’t be before mid/late February but there will be #whampreviews and #whamplunches before then so keep an eye out for details on those.

Whampevents

A quick recap of the various #whampevents and ideas coming up.

Thursday Nov 5: an informal trip to Roundwood Park in Willesden to see the fireworks. By which I mean, I’m going and if anyone wants to come along – or meet in Willesden – then let me know. Fireworks start at 8pm.

Wednesday Nov 11: #whampreview. FULLY BOOKED. The first #whampreview dinner at the Czech & Slovak National House. Keep an eye on twitter for details of the next one, but it probably won’t be until the New Year now as places switch to their Christmas menus.

Thursday Dec 10: #whampgather. The second edition of NW London’s premier tweet-up. Once again The Alice House is hosting, and there should be some free food and wine (details tbc). Starts at 7.30pm and we have the sofa space at the back reserved. There’ll be the chance to win dinner for two at The Wet Fish Café. Everyone welcome (it’s a mixed crowd, so no-one should feel out of place). By all means just turn up but, to give us a good idea of numbers for our conversations with the venue, it would be really helpful if you could let me know whether you’re planning to come (quite a lot of you already have, which is great).

Tuesday Dec 15: #whampcarol. Still being finalised, but a small band will be playing Christmas music on West End Lane that evening. We’ll be collecting money for charity, and mince pies (and maybe mulled wine!) should be available. Watch this space for more information as we sort out the details.

November/December: #whamplunch. Dates to be decided, but expect 2-3 of these mini-whampreviews to be happening before the end of the year for people who are around West Hampstead during the day. Very open to suggestions as to where to go.

We have a winner

I have just made the draw for the winner of an item of clothing from I Love My Postcode.

There was no independent ajudicator, and no equipment was checked or verified in advance. However, I promise I did it properly, and The Guardian is free to report it if it so wishes.

First all your names went on the bits of paper you could have written #whampgather suggestions on last night.

Then I folded them all up and put them in this attractive “tombola”.
At which point I realised that they were a bit big and wouldn’t really move much even if I shook it a lot. So I shook it a lot anyway, and then scattered them on the table.

And randomly picked a winner. And the winner was….


Congratulations to Blake. We may have to force him to wear the item he chooses at the next #whampgather

The morning after the night before

Last night was the inaugural #whampgather. It was a terrific turnout, despite tube and bus delays doing their best to slow people down. But there’s no stopping an NW6er when there’s free alcohol to be had.

Thanks to everyone who came. We missed those of you that couldn’t make it, but the good news is that there seemed to be a desire to do this again, so I shall soon be polling dates/ideas for a December #whampgather. With critical mass behind us, we should be able to do bigger and better things. And now Stephen Fry knows about us…! A terrible photo of the event below. If anyone happened to take any better, let me know and I’ll happily add them. See you all at the next one – if not before! Full list of attendees underneath for those of you that didn’t catch everyone’s name.
In approximate order of arrival:
@WHampstead – Jonathan
@gitfinger – Bradley
@Cyburn – Tareq
@DJStoney – Mark
Michael (Twitter name pending!)
@hannajaneprice
@SarahReardon
@JudeStone
@helenstone
@hollycocker
@danusiskin
@blakeconnolly
@AndrewIMarshall
@mayfield22 – Jane
@lifes_good – Lisa
@Matt_Coop

Whampgather – Five days to go

Good #whampgather news. The Alice House has generously agreed to give a free cocktail to the first 15 er… Whampgatherers. So I hope this entices the alcoholic-minded among you to drop by (I know there are some followers who are partial to a drink or two).

We have the sofa area reserved from 7.30pm on Monday October 12th. That’s “next Monday evening” for those of you working in analogue. Would be great to see as many of you there as possible. The bigger the turnout, the easier it will be to make the next one (pre-Christmas anyone?) even better. I’m looking forward to putting faces to avatars although I shall be disguised as a giant London Underground sign for the entire evening.

Don’t forget that as well as a free cocktail for the early arrivals, there’ll also be the chance to win an NW6-branded item of clothing from the lovely people at I Love My Postcode. To stand a chance of winning you need to come up with a better name than “whampgather”. I’ll choose the anonymous winner on the night – you have to be there to enter. If all your ideas are terrible then I’ll pick a random winner out of the hat 🙂

After starting @WHampstead five months ago, I’m chuffed that there’s something of a sense of community among the people who follow along. Hopefully you enjoy the mix of the informative and the banal, which – as West Hampstead’s most famous Twit Stephen Fry reminds us – is really what Twitter is all about. Stephen hasn’t confirmed his attendance I’m afraid. If anyone bumps into him over the next few days, do invite him along.

That’s it fellow Whampsteaders. Except to say a big thanks to @DJStoney, who has worked tirelessly – often going without food or water for days, he tells me – to secure us the venue and cocktails.

See you on Monday!

Whampgather Oct 12 – Let the Countdown Commence

OK everyone, don’t say I do nothing for you. Apart from telling you every weekend that the Jubilee Line is down, I now have prizes!! Well, a prize. But hey. Lets not get greedy now

If you make it to #whampgather (and I hope lots of you do because I think it would be great to turn an online community into something more tangible), then you’re in with a shout of a prize!

The lovely people at http://www.ilovemypostcode.com/ (and by lovely, I mean “Rachel”), have agreed to donate an NW6 item of clothing to #whampgather.

“But wait,” I hear you ask. “How do I get my hands on this marvellous merchandise?”

Good question.

I’m going to run a small competition on the night of #whampgather. I’m looking for a sexier name for #whampgather than “whampgather”. It’s got to be shortish as it needs to fit into a tweet easily, but I’m sure y’all can do better than me. Anyway, on the night we’ll have a competition. I’ll pick the best suggestion and the winner can choose any NW6-branded T-shirt or vest or (apparently) pants! from the Ilovemypostcode site.

In return for Rachel’s generosity, she’s asked that we answer a few questions for her postcode blog.

So, get your thinking caps on and send me your answers to the following (and remember this is for ALL of NW6, not just West Hampstead – although whether there’s really life beyond West Hampstead is still up for debate in my book).

The I Love My Postcode blog questions (see http://www.ilovemypostcode.com/blog/ to get you started:
What’s the best thing to eat in your postcode?
What’s the best smell in your postcode?
I have 3 hours in your postcode. What do I do?
If your postcode wasn’t in London, where would it be?
What’s the best thing in your postcode?
Talk dirty to your postcode. Go on… what would you say?
Best bus route in your postcode. Where does it start and where does it take you?
Has anyone written a book about/set in your postcode?
Have you seen your postcode in a film or on tv?
Trading up or trading down?

Post responses as comments below, or tweet me, or just bring ’em along on the night. We might be more creative after a drink or two!

Talking of which, I know the venue is still unknown. This is being worked on! Fear not, we won’t have to resort to sitting around Fortune Green with cans of Special Brew although now I think about it…