The Common was the scene of a few parties in this period. Test Pressing has reproduced Whose Smiley Now? an article about it from The Face (August 1982), written by Sheryl Garratt:
"'Mental, Mental, Let's go fucking mental!' There were stories last year of people dancing to police sirens, traffic noises, anything to stretch the Summer of Love out a little longer, but never before have I seen people dancing to a generator. It started when a sound system was set up on Clapham Common on the Sunday morning after a Saturday all-nighter, the party simply carrying on in the middle of this South London park. Word spread, and the following week clubbers truned up for a repeat performance. 1,000 people danced their Sunday away on the grass while police took souvenir snapshots from nearby buildings.
When the same thing happened one week later the police took a more active part and refused to allow the sound van onto the common... Towards the end of the afternoon the heroes of the day arrived. These were the people shouldering a hired generator and a home stereo, bringing much of the crowd to its feet in anticipation. The generator all but drowned out the music, but the chants were loud, the atmosphere hot, and with a few hundred people packed protectively around the sound source, the police retreated, with a hail of bottles and cans following amiably in their wake. Surprizingly (but given that no-one was doing any real harm, sensibly), they didn't return. 'It's only a matter of time' said one obvserver with relish, 'before there's a riot'."
I wasn't at these 1989 parties, but I was on Clapham Common on Sunday April 30th 1995 when a 3,000 strong march against the Criminal Justice Act ended up there. There was a May Day festival in progress there with bands and marquees, but neither the police nor the festival organisers (the GMB union) were keen to allow the United Systems anti-CJA rig on to the Common. It pulled up alongside the park, and we danced on the grass. I came across some photos from that day by David Minuk, an American visiting London at the time:
Thanks to Controlled Weirdness for tipping us off about the film footage