Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Marmalade Skies

Marmalade Skies is a wonderfully obsessive archive of flyers, gigs, happenings and everything else connected with British psychedelia, 1966-70. Did you know that The Bee Gees played in Lewisham in 1967 at a charity show in aid of the Hither Green train disaster fund (40 died on 5th November 1967)or that Pink Floyd played Woolwich Poly the following year? Most interesting sounding was an event at The Albany Institute, Deptford in June 1967 featuring 'Films, Strange Sounds plus Psychedelic Poetry!', with artists incuding Michael Chapman, Daevid Allen and Gilli Smyth.

I will also have to check out some of the forgotten psychedelicists like East of Eden, who played in New Cross at the South East London College of Further Education in 1969, and Focal Point, a band signed to The Beatles Apple Records who lived for a while in East Dulwich.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Did you see the stylish kids in the riot?

South London Radical History Group have a talk coming up this week on the 'Stop the City' actions of 1983-4 in the City of London. There will be a video, a brief talk by Stop the City activists, followed by a discussion about other anti-capitalist efforts then and now.

Its on Thursday 30th March, 7.30 pm at The Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton Street, SE17, five minutes from Elephant & Castle. Entry is free. More details from:

Down in Albion

Just noticed this Deptford reference on The Babyshambles Albion, never saw Pete Doherty and Kate Moss walking down the Broadway but maybe I missed it:

Down in Albion
They're black and blue
But we don't talk about that
Are you from 'round here?
How do you do?
I'd like to talk about that
Talk over
Gin in teacups
And leaves on the lawn
Violence in bus stops
And the pale thin girl with eyes forlorn

Gin in teacups
And leaves on the lawn
Violence in dole queues
And the pale thin girl behind the checkout

If you're looking for a cheap sort
Set in false anticipation
Ill be waiting in the photo booth
At the underground station
Now come away, won't you come away
We can go to
Deptford, Digbeth, Tuebrook
Anywhere in Albion

Flying Carpet over New Cross

Edith Nesbit was one of the most popular children's authors of the early 20th century, as well as an interesting socialist, feminist and general bohemian. Most famously she was responsible for The Treasure Seekers and The Railway Children (filmed starring Jenny Agutter, who in another south London connection, now lives in Camberwell). E. Nesbit lived in various parts of SE London, and her books feature a number of local locations, including in The Phoenix and the Carpet (1904) a flying carpet adventure accompanied by said Phoenix:

"On and on the carpet swept, still keeping much nearer to the chimney-pots than the children found at all comfortable. And then, just over New Cross, a terrible thing happened... both Robert and Jane suddenly, and at once, made a bound to try and get on to the safer part of the carpet, and the darn gave way and their boots went up, and the heavy heads and bodies of them went down through the hole, and they landed in a position something between sitting and sprawling on the flat leads on the top of a high, grey, gloomy, respectable house whose address was 705, Amersham Road, New Cross.

The carpet seemed to awaken to new energy as soon as it had got rid of their weight, and it rose high in the air. The others lay down flat and peeped over the edge of the rising carpet... 'Stop!' cried the Phoenix; 'the carpet is dropping to earth.' And indeed it was. It sank swiftly, yet steadily, and landed on the pavement of the Deptford Road. It tipped a little as it landed, so that Cyril and Anthea naturally walked off it, and in an instant it had rolled itself up and hidden behind a gate-post. It did this so quickly that not a single person in the Deptford Road noticed it'.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Deptford Fun City Revisited

A very good turn out (50+) at my 'Sounds of SE14' New Cross and Deptford musical history talk last night at St.Catherines, thanks for everyone for coming. For me it was great to have a mixture of some of the people who make the area interesting in one place, and in some cases ‘networking’ in the pub afterwards – those present included Caffy from Music Tourist Board, Mark Sampson (whose ‘New Cross Sympony’ was played), Ceri James (whose 'Deptford Broadway' was also played), Catherine from Cartridge, our very own Scott from South East London Folklore Society, Andrew from Ragged School Blog, Paul from Deptford Free Radio (who recorded the talk for a future podcast) and Paul Hendrich from Goldsmiths' Town Hall Pirate, the latter a new initiative looking to contest Deptford's colonial legacy as seen on the old Town Hall (now a Goldsmiths building) with its statue of the slaver Francis Drake. If you want to find out more sign up here and select 'Town Hall Pirate'.

Here's the music I played last night. If you want to know more about the connections between them and SE London, you'll just have to come along to my next event, likely to be in May during the Made in Deptford festival.

Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – The Only Living Boy in New Cross
Roy Harris – Ratcliffe Highway
Robert Wyatt – The Red Flag
Marie Lloyd – A Little of what you fancy does you good
Fats Waller – The joint is jumpin’
Spike Milligan – The Q5 Piano Tune
Bonzo Dog Band – Monster Mash
Velvet Underground – Black Angel’s Death Song
Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel – Come up and see me make me smile
Dire Straits –Sultans of Swing
Squeeze - Cool for Cats
Alternative TV - Action Time and Vision
This Heat – SPQR
Kate Bush - Cloudbusting
The Flying Pickets – Only You
The Fabulous Poodles – Mirror Star
… and the Native Hispters – There goes Concorde again
The Chords – Maybe Tomorrow
The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet
Japan – The Art of Parties
Homosexuals – My night out
Johnny Osbourne – 13 Dead
Linton Kwesi Johnson – New Craas Massahkah
Test Department – New World Order
Band of Holy Joy – Mad Dot
Ozric Tentacles – Sploosh!
The June Brides – Every Conversation
Blur – Girls and Boys
Placebo – Nancy Boy
Blak Twang – Trixsta
The Violets – Laxteen
The Swear – Ch ch eh!
Shortwave Set – Is it any wonder?
Mark Sampson – New Cross Symphony
Zen – Deptford Broadway.

Blowing Up Greenwich

Here’s an art exhibition in south east London inspired by a peculiar piece of Greenwich History:
Greenwich Degree Zero

It's on until 2 April 2006 on Wednesdays to ­ Sundays 12-6pm.

Greenwich Degree Zero is the first collaboration between artist Rod Dickinson [of various crop-circles and the "air loom" fame] and artist/novelist Tom McCarthy. The artists' starting point is a strange late nineteenth-century event: on the afternoon of February 15th, 1894, a French anarchist named Martial Bourdin was killed when the bomb he was carrying detonated. The explosion took place on the slope beneath the Royal Observatory in London's Greenwich Park, and it was generally assumed that his intention had been to blow up this building — the place from which all time throughout the British Empire and the world was measured and regulated.

"In Greenwich Degree Zero, Rod Dickinson and Tom McCarthy re-imagine Bourdin’s act as a successful attack on the Observatory. The resulting installation reports an event that did not quite happen, blurring the distinction between fact and fiction and relocating the genuine public outrage and hysteria about the threat of anarchist terror that prevailed in the 1890s in this ambiguous space of non-event."

For more information, contact Rachel Fleming-Mulford,T: 020 7582 6465 E:

The Beaconsfield is at 22 Newport Street, London SE11 6AY.

I Love New Cross so much I'l frame it.

This just came in, no idea who the other bands are but nights down the Monty are always good:

"Hello all, We, 23frames, are playing the good 'ol Montague Arms this Friday night - 24th March.

It's an 'I Love New Cross' night and there'll be three or four other bands playing too. I think most people know the Montague by now, but here's some info if you don't.

We're on second I think, so probably about, ermmmmmm, 9:30? ish "

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bopp bopp bopp

HOT CLUB DE PARIS (oo-laa-la ect.) and The Dolly Daggers

+ Wolf Gang DJs playing out twisted rock n roll, retro grooves and bleak disco…

Date: Friday 7th April
Doors: 8pm – 12.15am
Price: £3
Venue: The Montague Arms, 289 Queens Road, New Cross, SE15 2PA
Tel: 0207 6394923
Nearest Tube: New Cross Gate
Nearest BR: Queens Rd, Peckham.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Camberwell walks

There are three free walks round north Camberwell coming up: March 19 (10.30am), 25th and 26th (both 2pm). All leave from Camberwell Green and take in some of the hidden green spaces of Camberwell, local artists, the history of the Grand Surrey canal and Burgess park, Robert Browning, with a break for tea and cake at Chumleigh gardens. Free but please book if possible 020 7277 0571 or
There's a new map that covers the same territory, available now in local libraries and cafes.

Friday, March 10, 2006

New Cross Music Talk

A talk on at The Telegraph Hill festival on Tuesday 21 March 2006 on the musical history of New Cross and Deptford. To quote from the programme:

"Neil Gordon-Orr explores the rich musical history of New Cross and surrounding area, from music hall to punk, reggae and beyond. Which glam star went to Edmund Waller school? Where did Louis Armstrong play? What connects the Velvet Underground and the Bonzo Dog Band to SE14? A talk with music and visuals by the author
of 'Deptford Fun City'".

It takes place at the Narthex community centre at St. Catherine's Church, Drakefell Road, New Cross SE14 (the church at the roundabout by the top of Jerningham Road), price is £3 (£2 concessions). Start time is 8:30 pm.

Visions, Ghosts, Goddesses... same old same old South London

More local themed weirdness coming up at South East London Folklore Society:

13th March: Jack Gale - The Track way of Carnal Desire: Holda & the Sacred Landscape.

Local history expert and respected magical writer Jack Gale presents his researches that followed a vision in Greenwich Park. This is a tale starting with the sacred landscape of Germany and takes us to the histories, mysteries and scandalous past of King William Walk in Greenwich.

10th April: Malcolm Godfrey - Ghosts of Deptford & Greenwich.

Malcolm C Godfrey is well known for his deep interest in the Greenwich. Always enthralled by the past and particularly the supernatural, Malcolm has now embarked on recounting tales of Greenwich's departed inhabitants from the very famous to the
virtually unknown. Malcolm's talk will be followed by an open forum for anyone to
discuss or recount tales of local ghosts.

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.

Monday, March 06, 2006

South East London Folk Songs

I have been collecting folk songs/ballads that refer to South East London locations. So far I have come up with the following:

- Georgie - Martin Carthy's version of this poaching ballad mentions Shooters Hill;
- Wapping Old Stairs - mentions stepping out with 'Susan from Deptford';
- Buxom Joan of Deptford - a song in Willliam Congreve's play Love for Love (1695);
- Wings of a Gull - whalers' song where the singer longs to be 'snug in a Deptford pub';
- Ratcliff Highway - not SE London I know, but at the end the hapless sailor returns to his ship at Deptford;
- Sweet Thames Flow Softly - Ewan McColl's song starts 'I met my girl at Woolwich Pier'. McColl and his partner Peggy Seeger lived at 35 Stanley Avenue, Beckenham from the early 60s until his death in 1989;
- Lady from Lee - I think McColl and Seeger did a version of this.
- Fair Betsy of Deptford - a song from the 1830s about a sailor called William returning from sea to marry the aforementioned Betsy;
- Stormy Weather - a Thames barge song (no relation to the Billie Holiday song) that mentions Surrey Dock, Greenwich Beach and other places along the River. It was recorded by Bob Roberts.

Some of these I only have titles for, others just lyrics. Any guidance on tunes, or any other suggestions, let me know.

Dirty South

Lots of interesting stuff coming up at Dirty South in Lewisham (formerly the 'Rose of Lee' pub). On March 26th, Alabama 3 present 'outlaw club', while on April 1st there's a DJ set from Terry Hall (ex-Specials and Fun Boy Three). Its at 162 Lee High Road, SE13 (020 8852 1267).

For a listing of South East London gigs in April, check out Rocklands.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Thank you, Philbin.....

Date : 14 March
Time : 8pm

Venue: P.O.L.E., New Cross Inn, 323 New Cross Road, Rocklands, London SE14 (right near New Cross Station)
Entry : £3
Beer £1.50 a pint, DJs bar until 1am.


"...Shouty, funny, poppy, punky fairy rock n roll..." - Claire Sturgess, XFM
"It's the first time a group has induced pop rapture in too, too long" - Drowned In Sound


"This is pure whisky soaked trailer trash ripping up the rule book." (Smash Music)
"White Man Kamikaze are like a gang of ASBOs doing the The Clash on karaoke" ( [a rather lazily written review from] South London Pulse)