Cheese Fest is a micro-summary of everything that is wrong with Thatcher’s Britain. @CheeseFestUK #RipOffBritain #CheeseFestUK

I had been looking forward to Cheese Fest for months but it could barely have been a more disappointing experience. Only the grilled cheese sandwich made it tolerable. I have no doubt any of the other food stalls would have been just as good but how much cheese can you eat? Well, quite a lot, actually, but not within the span of one hour. That’s how long we were there and that period would have been shorter if not for the inclusion of our lunch break. I must say we both really enjoyed our grilled cheese sandwiches on sourdough bread, but £5 each?

I have no issue with The Plug as a venue for live music, but its black walls and utility lighting constitutes a brutalising experience as far as a food festival is concerned. Fortunately / unfortunately most of the stalls were outside.

Outside in northern Britain at the end of November.

In the loading bay and car park.

What were they thinking? Silly me, that question presupposes a degree of insight that was clearly not present in the planning of this series of events.

However, the most stunning inadequacy was the stage presentation on how to make vegan cheese. Vegan cheese?

IT’S NOT FUCKING CHEESE!

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with vegans or vegetarians, and it’s quite possible I might be one or the other at some point, but an emulsion of plant protein and bacteria IS NOT FUCKING CHEESE!

What kind of demented imbecile booked this bloke for Cheese Fest? It’s in the  title. What’s more, there were stage lights pointing at the audience, so we couldn’t see, there was no video feed of the preparation area, so we couldn’t see what he was doing, and HE WAS NOT MAKING FUCKING CHEESE!

If you were the producer for a satire written by Peter Kay or Chris Morris, you probably would have thought this set-up too facile to go to production. But this is real life in Thatcher’s Britain where everything and everyone it a potential profit centre, an income stream, a financial target.

We paid £6 each to go in, but everything inside was to be paid for. So why are we paying to go in? Anything and everything on sale is available in a range of shops on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield. Last year, for his birthday, I bought my father a range of continental meats and cheeses from a Polish deli on that road, and the shopkeeper let me taste every one before i committed.

Fortunately for me, my wife has a very positive outlook on life and a don’t-sweat-the-small-stuff attitude, so we left in good humour despite feeling defiled by the experience.

It’s like looking at our wedding photo.

More irritating than any of the above, I could have opened Rick’s Fast Art Takeaway today, but I didn’t because we had tickets for Cheese Fest. No-one was following me into the space, so I had agreed with the management company that runs Orchard Square that I could open an extra day after my official closing day of 24th November. I could have spent the day delivering children’s workshops, talking to people and raising money for the Archer Project.

Cheese Fest UK. What a rip off.

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