Saturday, April 30, 2005

May Day

Various May Day bits and pieces going on tomorow. As well as the Jack in the Green in Borough (see below), there's the May Day demonstration from Clerkenwell Green (12) to Trafalgar Square, with music promised at the end, plus a surpize EuroMayDay event at a location to be announced at the last minute.

Tomorrow night there's some kind of May Day social at Moonbow Jakes in Brockley. Not sure exactly what's happpening, but it will include the Strawberry Thieves Socialist Choir and I have been asked to come along and say a few words about the origins of May Day. Starts around 8.

There's also a May Day anti-racist music night in Catford at the Power-league Sports Club, Canadian Avenue with Eternity Sound System.

If you don't mind heading even further South and East on Monday, there's a May Day festival in Whitstable complete with May pole, jack in the green, etc.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Brixton Prison Blues

Doing a talk at South London Radical History Group on 'Brixton Prison Blues - the history of Brixton Prison and some of its illustrious inhabitants'. It all happens on Tuesday April 26th 2005, 7.30 pm at the Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton Street, SE17. Admission free.

Come along and hear about hunger strikes, escapes, war resisters and various other rebels and find out which songs and which books were written there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Spring Celebrations in South East London

Beating the Bounds is an English tradition where the boundaries of a certain area, parish, town or county, is marked out, sometimes by bouncing people off of boundary markers, more often by whacking the boundaries themselves. The general idea is that without maps and road signs, folk in the past would need some pretty clear reminders of exactly where one place starts and the other ends.

Giving the boundaries of Lee the thrashing it richly deserves is the Dacre (women’s) Morris Troop on Saturday 23rd April. They’ll be starting at their namesake pub the
Dacre Arms, Kingswood Place, SE13, 10.30am for an 11.00am start, processing along the boundary of the old Dacre estate before calling at the Duke of Edinburgh at about midday and the Woodman at about 1pm (both pubs are along Lee High Road) and finishing at the Dacre at about 2.30-3.00.

All are welcome and the Dacre web page is
here. Information and directions (you’ll need them) to the Dacre are here


Another tradition that emerges locally at this time of year is the Deptford Jack-in-the-Green, who some of us followed around Greenwich last year and the jolly green giant is going around Borough this year. If you have not seen the Deptford Jack before, and not made it to the Hastings or Rochester Jacks in the Green, there is nothing more evocative of spring than seeing a bunch of tipsy people in fancy-dress coming up the road at you, one of whom is dressed as a tree.

The dressing of the Jack will take place on Saturday 30th April at Horseshoe Inn, Melior Street, SE1 (which coincides with a Star Trek meeting so, ha-har, come see when minority interests collide) and the Jack and co head from the Horseshoe from 12.30pm on Sunday May 1st before setting out to the following pubs (at approximately the following times):

12.30pm at the very latest: Leave from the Horseshoe Inn, Melior Street,
1.00pm: Royal Oak, Tabard Street,
1.30pm: Lord Clyde, Clennam Street (this is possibly the shortest street in London - it is just off Marshalsea Road)
2.00pm: Founder's Arms, Hopton Street, Bankside (near Tate Modern)
3.45pm: Market Porter, Stoney Street
4.30pm: The Horseshoe Inn, Melior Street,all in the Borough, London SE1 area.

Sarah Crofts, who organised this fantastic event, says "All of the these stops are confirmed, but between the Founders Arms and the Market Porter, we may venture on to the Millennium Bridge and cross to the north side of the river to the Centre Page, Knightrider Street, near St. Paul's. This depends entirely on the weather; Jack does not like high winds and as it is very exposed on the bridge, it may not be possible for him to make the crossing.

Everyone is welcome on both Saturday evening and Sunday. Most of these pubs do food on Sundays, but the longest stop around lunch time will be at the Founders Arms. The Horseshoe also does food if you want to have something to eat when we return."

The Sunday parade/pub-crawl coincides with the monthly folk session at the Horseshoe Inn. A map to the Horseshoe is here:

For more information on the Jack and the Lee Beating of the Bounds, contact Sarah.
For more information on this honest working class, urban tradition, go to Sarah’s website.

Friday, April 15, 2005

The Loaf has Risen

Use Your Loaf Centre for Social Solidarity has risen from the grave. Their squatted bakery on Deptford High Street was evicted last year, but the collective are starting a new project at the Ragged School, Hales St, Deptford SE8. This time they have negotiated with the owners to use it until the builders start work, which could be quite some time. There will be a regular Friday night cafe starting next week (22nd April) from 7 -12. Other activities will include:

Tuesdays: Capoeria 5-7pm, Dance 7-9pm and Solidarity Federation (fortnightly) 7pm onwards.
Weds: Dance 7-9pm Capoerira 7-9pm
Thurs:Capoeira 7-9pm, Yoga 7-9pm.
Fri: Capoeira 5-7pm, Use your Loaf cafe 7-12pm.

Other plans include setting up a darkroom. There is plenty of room for projects to happen and exhibtion space as well, so if you've got any ideas come along to the next collective meeting on Weds 20th April at 5pm or email

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

I go out on Friday night

Friday night (that's Friday 15th April) is looking like a busy one, looks like I'm never going to get to see the last episode of Fingersmith that I've got glaring at me from the video I've put it on.

So, the Para, err, Six String Bar at 460 New Cross Road, New Cross (left out of New Cross station, right out of Deptford Bridge) has the Metro Riots, Crash Convention and DJs Duckie Music, C:B D:Js and Dirty Sounds. £0 before 8pm, £3 after. (from looking at the band url's, it looks a bit rock for my tastes, mind but then many do love rock.)
Angular Records are back in the Venue's beautiful basement bar with a night of "PUNK ! : Old / New / Post / Art / Sex / Delicate" (hooray!) featuring The Violets, Twisted Charm and The Phobics. Time is 9pm until 2am, the Venue, if you didn't know, is on the New Cross Road, SE14, though you'll need to go down the side, Clifton Rise, to get into the basement. The bouncers on the main door look a bit confused when locals turn up there.

The Venue Price is left out of New Cross Gate station, right out of New Cross, £3 or £2 with a hand stamp from folks the Lava Club night.

Eclectic Electric are doing their thing at the Montague Arms, 289, Queens Road, New Cross, SE15 2PA. Expect plenty of danceable "electro(nica), d&b, hip-hop, dub, funk, global ect." (got to love the 'ect.', cowards) tunes from 8-12.30, a pie-eyed and pretty crowd dressed up to the nines, installations, fire dancers and some frantic bongo-playing. Entry will be around £3 and just sitting in the cob-webbed wonder that is the Montague Arms is something worth paying for.

The Montague Arms, Transpontine's number one magical pub in south-east London, is right out of New Cross Gate, left out of Queen Town Road. There's loads of buses.

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Spell in Time

Story Telling in the Hope is a monthly story-telling club for adults who meet 7.30pm at the Bob Hope Bar, Wythfield Road, Eltham, SE9.
Their April session is on Sunday 17th and is ‘Tales of Hidden Bulgaria’ by A Spell in Time, who are the “only Bulgarian myth and folklore storytelling and performing arts group in the UK” apparently.
I heard some utterly captivating traditional Bulgarian music on Resonance a few days ago and Spell in Time will be performing music with their story-telling so it should be another excellent, wombling event. If you don’t want to take my word for it, their patron is none other than big Ron Hutton who says “Primal theatre from the heart of Bulgarian myth and folklore... A brilliant blend of storytelling, ritual and music combined with divine Bulgarian singing

Story Telling at the Hope is £5 entry, £3 concessions, email Tony Aylwin for more details.

Great Horned Beasts

Possibly in celebration of all things frisky and spring like, the Lewisham Art House is exhibiting the painted driftwood of Charlie P! on the theme of “Minotaurs, Unicorns and other Horny Beasts”. The blurb describes these works as the artist examining “Greek and Pagan Myths with his usual eclectic mix of rich oil painting and found objects.”

I saw Charlie P!’s (that ! isn’t a typo) last exhibition, Angels Descending, at the Art House last year, which had quite a few pictures of male pop-stars like Tupac and Michael Stipe looking winged, wanton eyed, angelic and available and, sure enough, this exhibitions offers “Musician Tricky appears as the Green Man of Pagan Myth and a drop-leaf table top is transformed into a triptych opening to reveal a Garden of Earthly Delights.”

Which is all fair, there are plenty of pictures of goth girls and waifs done up like S&M vampires, ragged pixies or some other saucy mythical creature out there for straight boys* so it’s only fair some gents get the same treatment. The exhibition is free and runs until the 1st May. Lewisham Arthouse, 140 Lewisham Way LONDON SE14 6PD, the website is here. Opening Times are Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm till 6pm

*so I’m told.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Spring Rites!

The sap is rising, trees are unfurling, daffodils are swaying gently in the breeze as fat and furry bumble-bees buss by. Blossom, well, it's blossoming, isn't it? It's Spring and it is in my step.

In keeping with the season, my fellow Transpontinian, Mr Neil Gordon-Orr is speaking at the South East London Folklore Society (SELFS) on Spring Festivals in South London on Monday 11th April. Neil is a local historian particularly interested in forgotten and radical history. In the run-up to May Day and Beltane, he will discuss spring rites from Pagan times to the present day, concentrating on rituals and festivals in South London
SELFS meets every second Monday of the month upstairs at The Spanish Galleon, 48 Greenwich Church Street, SE10 9BL. Talks start at 8.00pm and costs £2.50 / £1.50 concessions.

Greenwich Mainline & DLR: Turn left from the main exit, walk about 5-10 minutes, the Galleon is on your right, at the cross-roads.

Cutty Sark DLR: Turn left from the station, right when you get to the road, the Spanish Galleon is across the road.
Buses: 177, 180, 188, 199, 286, 386.