I have a good opinion of Ben & Jerry’s. They simultaneously make great ice cream and are unafraid of taking political stances on issues such as climate change, LGBT rights, and, most recently, the Black Lives Matter campaign. Continuing in this spirit they held what I can only describe as a community fundraiser ice-cream party at Wünderlust in Deptford, and it was a magical dairy-filled evening of community love.
Initially, we were sceptical. Unlimited, and entirely free, ice cream and cocktails for the meagre £3 entrance fee? It was impossible to believe, but yes, this was the premise for the evening. For someone with the ability to consume a huge amount of sugar without too many awful consequences, it was the stuff dreams are made of, and it did not disappoint.
Along with the free ice-cream and Baileys cocktails which were handed out upon arrival, Wünderlust were serving up their distinct take on German hot dogs, as well as sides including hand-cut sweet potato fries and, what looked like perfection itself, homemade onion rings. This kitchen occupied the back garden area of Wünderlust, and the smell of fried goods seemed to be discernible wherever you were. Alas, these were not free, however, £8 for a Bratwurst and a veritable heap of fries seemed very reasonable. After a dose of starchy fried goodness, it was back to the ice cream.
In between stuffing yourself with the variety of food on offer, there was also the opportunity to speak to Lewisham-based not-for-profit groups, who occupied the infamous Big Red Bus at the bar. We spoke to AFRIL, a small charity based in Lewisham who provide legal help and English classes for refugees in the area. Being able to speak directly to groups providing such necessary services was enlightening, and everyone there was so happy to be able to tell people about the good work going on in Lewisham.
After chatting (and picking up yet more ice-cream – which was definitely not needed), the artists and DJs playing throughout the night offered a welcome opportunity to dance off the sugar. Mercury Prize-winning artist Corynne Elliott, aka Speech Debelle, played a set, and her rich blend of politically outspoken poetry and hip hop aligned perfectly with the values that Ben & Jerry’s wanted to emphasise during the night. Elliott is also involved with HOPE not hate, the charity to which all entrance fee profits went to, who were also showing short films in a cosy trailer cinema about the value of community in this post-Brexit world. The choice of artists and charity workers that were present at the event combined to give the evening an uplifting spirit, a sense that as a community – and with mountains of ice cream – anything can be achieved.