Thursday, July 31, 2008

Saint Etienne

Bob from Brockley has correctly identified Saint Etienne as the great London band - but has described them, shock horror, as a North London band. Well it may be true they were living in Camden when their career really got going, and they certainly express a love of London on both sides of the river. But let the record show that band founders Pete Wiggs and Bob Stanley actually grew up in Croydon (Wiggs went to Whitgift School, not sure about Stanley), where they first formed the band in 1988. Stanley actually worked for a while on Croydon market: 'At 15, I took a Saturday job on Surrey Street market, selling Danish eggs past their sell-by date, because it was two doors away from Beano's' (the famous second hand record emporium).

The sublime Hobart Paving, arguably their best song, takes its name from a Croydon based company.

Their video for their 2005 song Side Streets was actually filmed in Croydon:

At their 2003 Xmas show (which I was lucky enough to attend) they gave out a CD with a track called 'Marcie Dreams of Deptford'.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Grrl Power

Rock 'n' Ruin are a pair of promoters putting on some excellent lesbian ‘n’ gay friendly music nights in New Cross and Camberwell which, in itself, is enough to have all good folk hugging their inner Huggy Bear fan. (The horrors of lad-indie, from the Stone Roses to the Frattelis never made the Bear go away for me.)

Ok, so She-Bop has just moved from Camberwell to Bloomsbury but we’ve still got Death by Stereo (I’ve seen Lost Boys about 20 times myself), their first-Thursday-of-the-month night at the New Cross Inn, 323 New Cross Road, to enjoy. It's free and the attitude is brilliant:



Thursday 7th August has three bands on, all with girl singers:
Virgina Slint
Big Gun Baby

And thank the gods that be for MySpace so one doesn't have ot go through the painful and wanky process of having to describle what bands sound like anymore. Hurrah!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bzz, Bzzzz

Art and music and noise on Thursday with arts collective They Did What They Could presenting Transpontine's favorite national grid botherers Strange Attractor vs. Disinformation, plus:

devour MEAT DUNGEON's macabre electro-acoustic delicacies (myspace)
sing ONE MILLION HOUSES' digital odes to love and loss
jack to URLAUBSHITS (LIVE) on the dancefloor, from acid house to cosmic disco (
and twist the wires of the chaotic GLITCH-A-SKETCH
plus AD HOC's rotating jukebox of early machine music, radiophonics and analogue classics (
We're also delighted to be offering FREE WRAY+NEPHEW RUM AND MIXER from 8pm to 10pm, or until the barrels run out, so drink your hearts out.
As always, free entry.
How to get here... (Escape Bar, 214-216 Railton Road)

All for free. With free rum. Possibly the best offer I've had since the chance I had, back in May, to drink my own blood content in free wine next to the remains a dinosaur and a pickled shrew at the Grant Museum.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Rare Doings at Camberwell

There's a brand new pamphlet from Past tense Publications, purveyors of radical history to South East London and beyond:

'RARE DOINGS AT CAMBERWELL: a short tour through Camberwel'ss radical and subversive history. A wild ramble through SE5's murky past, including a dubious cast - rowdy fairgoers, proletarian artists, rioting chartists, squatters, General strikers, feminist authors, mad fol, anti-fascists and the occasional transsexual trotskyist housing officer. Visit Camberwell Fair, banned by the local bourgeoisie in 1855; local asylums Camberwell and Peckham Houses; the Havil Street Workhouse; squatted centres at Dickie Dirts, the Labour Club and Warham Street. Upturned local stones, firsthand accounts and painstaking research: from the General Strike to Reclaim Bedlam; from the Camberwell Secular Society to the struggle against the BNP in the Elmington Estate. 'Rare Doings at Camberwell' is available from past tense for just £1.50 for 66 teeming pages, plus 50p postage and packing... Drop us a line with a cheque for £2 (payable to A. Hodson) to Past Tense, c/o 56a info Shop, 56 Crampton Street, London SE17 3AE'

White Hart in New Cross - lap dancing license row

The White Hart pub (184 New Cross Rd) has applied for a licence to provide striptease, lap and pole dancing on its premises from 2pm to 3am, 7 days a week.

The plans are being vigorously opposed by the New Cross Gate Trust (the successor to New Deal for Communities for New Cross), by local councillor Ian Page and an increasing number of local people. They argue that allowing the White Hart to become a striptease, lap and pole dancing venue will increase crime in the New Cross area, as well as making New Cross a destination for sex entertainment and prostitution.

More specifically they point out that the area immediately around the White Hart (including the traffic island and the area by the Barclays and Post Office cash points) has been identified by both NDC research and Transport for London as an existing crime ‘hotspot’. In 2007, New Cross was included in the Metropolitan Police’s ‘Challenging Wards Programme’ to tackle areas with the most serious crime issues, one of only eight wards out of 628 in London to be selected.

Licensing Law

One difficulty for opponents is that the powers of Councils to refuse this kind of license have been restricted by the Licensing Act 2003 – whether local people and/or councillors object on principle to having a lapdancing club in their area is immaterial unless they can clearly demonstrate that the specific application will have a negative impact on one or more of the four licensing objectives: Crime & disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance, protection of children from harm.

One thing in the opposition’s favour however is that Lewisham Council has previously designated the New Cross Corridor – the area along New Cross Road – as a Cumulative Impact Zone (CIZ) due to the higher levels of crime in the area. This means that it should be for the licensee (in this case the landlord of The White Hart) to prove that the proposed variation would not add to the problems in the area rather than leaving it to the objectors to prove that it will.

My personal view...

My own pro-feminism was influenced by hanging out with women who paint bombed porn shops in their spare time and took a straightforward Andrea Dworkin position that pornography (including sex shows) equals violence against women.

Later I have known feminist sex workers who take a different view. They have convinced me that not everybody who works in the sex industry is a passive victim of male violence and that some of the legal measures against it can actually put women working in the sex industry in greater danger (e.g. by forcing them underground)

Despite this I am still clear that lap dancing clubs are there specifically to attract the kind of bloke who thinks that women exist solely for their sexual gratification, and having more of these blokes hanging round in New Cross Gate is bound to have an impact in terms of increasing harassment of women walking by. What’s more pissed up punters of this type will be a honey pot for street robbery, which again will increase the risk for other people having to pass by this area at night. Lets be clear what’s being proposed is not some post-feminist burlesque performance art but the sleaziest kind of strip joint.

I have some sympathy for the landlord of The White Hart, Ken Linwood, who has told the South London Press that the pub risks closure. The pub is a historic landmark on this ancient road junction (see pictures at Notes from The Island) and it would be a great shame if it had to close. But the fact is if it becomes a lap dancing joint it will in effect have closed as a pub in the sense of a public space where men and women can go and have a quiet drink without being harassed. The pub is not very busy at present and needs doing up – but there must be another way of making it a more popular place for local people to go.

If you want to put across your views on these proposals you will need to write to the Licensing Team at Lewisham Council by 30th July 2008 (that’s tomorrow). Their address is Licensing Team - Laurence House, 2nd Floor Laurence House, 1 Catford Road, Catford SE6 4RU (Tel: 020 8314 6400) Or email

The application is due to be heard on 14 August (although there is a possibility that the date may change).

See also result of application

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Placebo formed locally, with lead singer and Goldsmiths student Brian Molko living at one time in Drakefell Road. He later recalled as one of his most treasured memories ‘the night I did a gig in a small pub in Deptford called Round the Bend, because that was the first night [band member] Stefan came round to see me play guitar, and at the end of the it he said, 'lets start a band'.’ Round the Bend is now the Harp, at the corner of New King Street and Creek Road. This is their first first single ‘Nancy Boy’from 1996.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Gay Liberation Front at Goldsmiths, 1974

The Gay Liberation Front was a radical movement founded in 1970 who, among other things, started Gay Pride and organised the first open, publically advertised gay dance nights in London. In February 1974, one of the groups involved - 'the drag queens of the Bethnal Rouge Bookshop Collective' - caused a commotion in New Cross.

According to Stuart Feather's account, they 'appeared by invitation at Goldsmith College Gay Soc to give a Pre-Disco talk. They were dressed for the occasion in their best Disco Diva Drag. Whilst enjoying a pre-talk drink they were attacked by Group 4 Total Security and badly beaten up whilst Lewisham police were called and told by the same security guards that Bethnal Rouge had come to the disco to cause trouble. One queen needed hospital treatment; another who was head butted lost two front teeth. One was arrested and later that night thrown through a glass door in the police station. The rest escaped'.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Spike Milligan

There's a campaign growing to put up a statue of comedian Spike Milligan (1918-2002) in Lewisham - inevitably there's a facebook group. Milligan was actually born in India but first moved with family to South London when he was 12, in 1931. He went to Brownhill Road School, where he was surprised to find 'chaps wanking - they used to go in the toilets and wank', and then nearby to St Saviours School in Lewisham High Road. In 1933 his family rented part of a house at 22 Gabriel Street, Honor Oak Park, later moving to 50 Risedine Road nearby. He recalled this period in a poem, 'Catford 1933' (anybody got a copy?) and later still joked about heaven "I'd like to go there. But if Jeffrey Archer is there I want to go to Lewisham."

In 1934 Milligan got a job at Stones' Engineering in Deptford (Arklow Road) and later worked at Chislehurst Laundry. After being sacked from a tobacconist for stealing cigarettes he worked as a labourer at Woolwich Arsenal.

Meanwhile he had won a crooning contest at the Lady Florence Institute in Deptford, come second in a talent show at Lewisham Hippodrome and sung at St Cyprians Church Hall in Brockley and Ladywell swimming baths. He taught himself the ukulele, bass and trumpet and guitar ("My mother bought my first guitar for eighteen shillings from Len Stiles’ shop in Lewisham High Street") and took music classes at Goldsmiths in New Cross. He played with local dance bands including the New Era Rhythm Boys and Tommy Brettell's New Ritz Revels (pictured, Spike on right) in South London dance halls.

After serving in the army in World War Two, Milligan moved in with his parents for a while at 3 Leathwell Road, Deptford, before leaving South London and finding fame through the Goon Show on radio.

So does he deserve a statue? I guess that depends on your view of statues and who should be commemorated. I don't think the decision should be made on the basis of politics, but it would be dishonest to pass over the fact that some of his comedy was incredibly racist. He appeared blacked-up as a 'pakistani' in the TV series Curry and Chips (1969) and his books feature many Jewish and Asian jokes. In a 1975 interview he declared 'I'm sorry that you can't call people niggers anymore. Or wogs'. Not that this stopped Prince Charles from being a fan who invited him to the 1981 Royal Wedding.

Sources include: Spike Milligan: the biography by Humphrey Carpenter (2003).

Rocksteady SE14

From the folks at Cafe Crema (306 New Cross Road, SE14):

"Absolutely fantastic rocksteady/Jamaican ska band The Delegators are playing at Cafe Crema, Thurs 31st of this month.
The Delegators are a 7-piece band fronted by the great, big, delicious voice of Janet Kumah who play original songs packed full of tasty melodies, sweet harmonies and jumping rhythms. They will put a grin on your face and a couple of large springs in your step.
In our humble opinions, for shear authenticity of sound and dancefloor-filling capabilities, they're a match for Brixton's Topcats. We'll be clearing the tables and chairs out, and inviting you to dust off yer dancing shoes. It's a fiver on the door, and doors open at 8pm".

Monday, July 21, 2008

Hillaballoo - South London Songs

South London Songs at last Saturday's Hillaballoo festival was a great success, with a good crowd in Cafe Orange (Telegraph Hill Centre) for an afternoon of South London-themed acoustic music.
The lengthily-named 'Purple Stripes, Blue Jeans & The Occasional Converse' kicked off proceedings with a version of The Coral's 'Dreaming of You'. Admittedly not a South London song, but as the band - made up of Year 6 students at Edmund Waller Primary School - are the future sound of New Cross we let them off.

Brockley Ukulele Group made their public debut with a set including The Only Living Boy in New Cross (originally by Carter USM), Up the Junction (Squeeze), At the Bottom of Everything (Bright Eyes), Anyone Else but You (Moldy Peaches), Rawhide and Hotel Yorba (White Stripes). The first two are bona fide South London classics, the last one has the connection that the band did play at the Rivoli Ballroom in Brockley.

There was more Uke action from Jude Cowan Montague, who performed a couple of South London songs written especially for the occasion, one about William Blake's Peckham Rye vision of angels and one - Doodlebug Alley - about German rocket attacks on the area in the Second World War.

Next up were two bands from the Quaggy delta. Little Devils played a good bluesy set of original material, with plenty of River Thames references. The male and female voices worked really well together.

The Quaggy River Boys played a version of Nick Nicely's 1980s cult pyschedelic classic Hilly Fields 1892, as well as Five Years - a song by Mr Davy Jones from Beckenham, also known as David Bowie.

Singer songwriters Nathan Persad and Ceri James both have albums out on Mile High Music and sang a couple of their own songs each. Nathan mentioned that he used to go to school opposite the venue at Haberdashers' Aske's before playing his I Love Deptford and Nunhead-checking Ivydale.

Ceri played his Deptford Broadway and another track of his new album, Start and Begin.

I (Neil Transpontine) rounded off the proceedings with a mandolin and my Greenwich Park song, Snow Hill.

When I Came to Greenwich Town

Here's another South London Song, a warning to the girls of Greenwich to watch out for sailors (the tune is here). This version is from Roy Palmer, The Oxford Book of Sea Songs (1986) - there are other versions which mention other places.

The Rambling Sailor

I am a sailor stout and bold,
Long time I have ploughed the ocean
To fight for my king and country too,
For honour and promotion.

I said: "Brother sailors I will bid you adieu.
I will go no more to the seas with you,
I will travel the country through and through,
And still be a rambling sailor."

When I came to Greenwich town
There were lasses plenty!
I boldly stepped up to one
To court her for her beauty.

I said: "My dear, be of good cheer.
I will not leave, you need not fear,
I will travel the country through and through,
And still be a rambling sailor."

When I came to Woolwich town,
There were lasses plenty.
I boldly stepped up to one
To court her for her money.

I said: "My dear, what do you choose?
There's ale and wine and rum punch too,
Besides a pair of new silk shoes
To travel with a rambling sailor."

When I awoke all in the morn
I left my love a-sleeping.
I left her for an hour or two
Whilst I go courting some other;

But if she stays till I return
She may stay there till the day of doom.
I'll court some other girl in her room,
And still be a rambling sailor.

And if you want to know my name,
My name it is young Johnson.
I have got a commission from the king
To court all girls that are handsome.

With my false heart and flattering tongue
I court all girls both old and young;
I court them all and marry none,
And still be a rambling sailor.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Chartist Meeting on Blackheath, 1844

Following on from the previous two posts, here a report of another radical gathering on Blackheath, this time a Chartist meeting from 1844 featuring Chartist leader Feargus O'Connor. Not sure whereabouts Princess Sophia's estate was, maybe a Blackheather can enlighten us (Blackheath Bugle are you out there?)

On Wednesday a meeting was held on Blackheath, near to the Princess Sophia's estate, pursuant to announcement, for the purpose (according to the placards) of considering the propriety of petitioning Parliament against three measures now before the house - namely, the Registration for Ireland Bill, the Commons Enclosure Bill, and the Twelve Hours' Factory Bill. A van was used as a platform, on which there were some half dozen speakers, of which Mr. Feargus O'Connor was the chief. The chair having been taken at 7 o'clock, Mr. M'Donell proposed a resolution and the adoption of a petition based upon the principles of the Charter, but more especially praying that the Registration for Ireland Bill, as proposed by Lord Eliot, might not pass into a law, as the provisions of the bill were calculated to curtail the privileges which ought to be enjoyed by the community at large.

Mr O'Connor addressed the meeting at great length, and dwelt very forcibly upon the hardships endured by factory women and children, and called upon those assembled to use their best endeavours in relieving that unfortunate class of labourers from the yoke which they laboured under. The speaker then referred to the other subjects set down for discussion, and contended that the only effectual remedy for the evil was making the Charter the law of the land. Another resolution and a second petition were afterwards moved and adopted, which, however, varied little in principle from the first, and some time after sunset, the meeting dispersed.

(The Times, May 17 1844)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

John Ball on Blackheath

Following the last post on the peasants' revolt, Andrew pointed out that John Ball Primary School in Blackheath must be named after the radical preacher who made a famous speech at Blackheath in 1381.

Our knowledge of John Ball, as with the rest of the revolt, comes from largely hostile contemporary sources. Froissart - A French chronicler of the period - wrote." And so long they went forward till they came within a four mile of London, and there lodged on a hill called Blackheath... The unhappy people of Kent, Essex, Sussex and Bedford began to stir, because, they said, they were kept in great servage. And in the beginning of the world, they said, there were no bondmen; wherefore they maintained that none ought to be bond, without he did treason to his lord; for they were neither angels nor spirits, but men formed to the similitude of their lords; saying why should they then be kept so under like beasts? The which they said they would no longer suffer. For they would be all one, and if they laboured or did anything for their lords, they would have wages therefore... And they had a captain called Walter Tyler, and with him in company was Jack Straw and John Ball: these three were chief sovereign captains, but the head of all was Walter Tyler, and he was indeed a tiler of houses, an ungracious patron."

John Ball was apparently a preacher, excommunicated from the Church for his radical views, who was freed from Maidstone Prison by the rebels at the start of the revolt. Ball's speech on Blackheath has been translated as follows: "When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman? From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may ( if ye will ) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty." Ball was hanged, drawn and quartered in the presence of the King, having been arrested in Coventry after the revolt.
William Morris wrote his novel 'A Dream of John Ball' in 1888, from which the above illustration is taken.

Wat Tyler, Jack Cade and the Cornish Rising

Greenwich Phantom has recently posted on the Battle of Deptford Bridge in 1497. Briefly, in June 1497 5,000 Cornish rebels marched on London in revolt against a new tax to pay for King Henry VII’s planned invasion of Scotland. The rebels reached Blackheath Common and secured Deptford Bridge. It was here they were engaged by the King’s forces, with at least two hundred Cornishmen killed compared with eight of the King's soldiers. The leaders were hung, disembowelled and quartered, with their heads stuck on pikes on London Bridge

This was only one of three occasions in just over a hundred a years in which rebel armies headed down from Blackheath to Deptford Bridge on their way to London. Unlike the Cornish rebels, the other two succeeded in reaching the City.

1381 saw the Peasants Revolt against a new poll tax. Tens of thousands of rebels from Kent set up camp at Blackheath where they were addressed by the radical preacher John Ball who argued that all things should be held ‘in common’. They passed through Deptford on their way to destroy prisons and kill the Archbishop of Canterbury before the rebellion was crushed, with the deaths of thousands of rebels. Wat Tyler was killed by Sir William Walworth, Lord Mayor of London.

Tyler was from Kent, but it is unclear where exactly. Interestingly, the 18th century radical Tom Paine maintained that ‘The person known by the name of Wat Tyler, whose proper name was Walter, and a tiler by trade, lived at Deptford. The gatherer of the poll tax, on coming to his house, demanded tax for one of his daughters, whom Tyler declared was under the age of fifteen. The tax-gatherer insisted on satisfying himself, and began an indecent examination of the girl, which, enraging the father, he struck him with a hammer that brought him to the ground, and was the cause of his death. This circumstance served to bring the discontent to an issue’ (Rights of Man, 1791). Similar stories are told about Dartford, and there doesn’t seem to be any real evidence for Tyler coming from Deptford – but the latter was certainly part of Kent, not London, at the time.

In 1450, Jack Cade led the Kentish rising, with grievances again including the excessive taxation of the common people. As in 1381, they established a camp at Blackheath before moving their headquarters to the White Hart in Borough High Street, Southwark. After a bloody battle on a burning London Bridge, the rising was defeated. Cade was later killed and his head displayed on London Bridge

A cave in Maidenstone Hill, Greenwich was apparently once known as Jack Cade’s Cavern. Wat Tyler is commemorated in the name Wat Tyler Road, next to Blackheath. And there is a plaque commemorating the Cornish rising on the wall of Greenwich Park, by the Blackheath Gate.

See also John Ball on Blackheath

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

London Footprints

London Footprints have lots of suggested walks around London, with a wealth of historical and other information. Local highlights include a number of Deptford walks, Peckham, Ladywell and St Johns.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Caroline's Miscellany

Caroline's Miscellany is an excellent new blog with a particular focus on Deptford, but also other general Londonist eclectica and even a bit of Brittany lore. There have already been posts on Peter the Great in Deptford , Deptford and the Pirate Flag and the history of Deptford Station. One to watch.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hillaballoo Flyer

Transpontine Map Update: new Southwark sites

I have added 10 Southwark sites to the South East London History Map (see sidebar), including Samuel Palmer's birthplace, the Marshalsea prison, Elizabeth Siddall's childhood home and the Blackwing Studio/All Hallows Church.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Gasworkers strike 1889/90

I've posted before about the South London Gas Workers Strike in 1889/90 - the owner of the gasworks was George Livesey who later used his wealth to build a library (which became the Livesey Museum) and to pay for the creation of Telegraph Hill Park.

Michael, a regular Transpontine correspondent, has been researching this and come up with some more details. The main gasworks were where the gas tanks still stand today on the Old Kent Road, with the headquarters of the South Metropolitan Gas Company at709a Old Kent Road.

The Central Strike Committee had their HQ at 87 Old Kent Road (according to the South London Record), evicted by the police in early January. The Times reported: 'Yesterday the following poster, in very large type was displayed in the window of the coffee-house in Old Kent road, to which the Central Strike Committee have now transferred their headquarters: "The Battering-ram Brigade in London. Eviction of the Gas Workers' Strike Committee by the police. In consequence of the above the Central Strike Committee-room is removed to 671, Old Kent-road. Jan 7, 1890." The committee appear to be very bitter about the way in which the police arrangements have been carried out, and still further irritation was felt by them yesterday because two policemen were specially stationed outside the premises where they meet" (The Times Jan 9th 1890).

The Greenwich branch of the gasworkers' union, formed during the strike, met at the Three Cups coffee tavern in Greenwich.

An interesting strand of this history is the role of coffee houses - you see they weren't invented by Starbucks! In this period, there was a strong overlap between the trade union and socialist movements and the temperance movement - as a result of which many meetings of the former were held in coffee houses rather than pubs.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Hillaballoo Latest

The final few acts are confirmed for the South London Songs acoustic music event at Hillaballoo on Saturday July 19th (2 pm - 4 pm).

Nathan Persad has recently release an album on Mile High Records - we have mentioned his Deptford and Nunhead songs here before.

Jude Cowan Montague is a singer of dramatic songs and is working on a new South London special for this event. Finally, there's Apopsi.

All this plus the already confirmed Ceri James, Little Devils, Brockley Ukulele Group, Quaggy River Boys and Neil Transpontine.

The event is scheduled to take place from 2 pm to around 4:00 pm next to the park in Cafe Orange, Kitto Road, SE14. Admission free.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Transpontine History Map

You might have noticed a new addition in the sidebar of this blog - the Transpontine South East London History Map. Created in google maps, it is in early stages of development but already has 40+ local sites on it, most of them linked to previous posts here. Interested in feedback and suggestions for what to add to the map.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Come on Eileen

The video for the famous 1982 Dexy's Midnight Runners track, Come on Eileen, was filmed in Kennington. After the initial Johnnie Ray section, most of the video features the band singing and playing in the streets just to the west of the Elephant and Castle, particularly in Brook Drive, SE11 (the road sign is visible in the film). The pub in the background in some shots - the Two Eagles - was later replaced with flats.

The corner where they stand by a shop is at the junction of Brook Drive and Hayles Street.
A semi-derelict house on Holyoak Road also features.

I love Dexys, and had the pleasure of shaking Kevin Rowland by the hand when he was DJing at How Does it Feel? in Brixton last year.

South London Murder No.6 - in one week

The headline in last Friday's South London Press - Five Murders in Five Days - was out of date before it was even on the stands. On Thursday night Shakilus Townsend (left), a 16-year-old girl from Tanners Hill, New Cross, was stabbed to death in Thornton Heath crying out in the street: "I want my mum, I don't want to die."

Ross at Save Catford is right to note the lack of reporting of the earlier murder of John Howell in Milord Towers in Catford last week. Bloggers too can collude with this media indifference. As I said in the comments discussion on the earlier post, I do think we need to acknowledge these horrors, if nothing else out of respect for the victims, rather than just go on about our wonderful metropolitan South East London lifestyles as if nothing had happened.

It's easy to kid ourselves that this is nothing to with us, especially if we don't fit the profile of most victims - young, black and male. But it is happening on our streets, in our communities and it impacts on all of us in many ways.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

That Petrol Emotion

As surely everybody knows, The Undertones were a legendary punk band from Derry - most famous for Teenage Kicks. However in the 1980s two members of The Undertones were apparently living in Southwark - to be precise in Eastwell House, Tabard Gardens Estate, SE1. My source - a friend who used to live there - says that they were at that point members of That Petrol Emotion. So I assume that the people concerned were John/Sean and Damian O'Neill, who formed That Petrol Emotion when The Undertones split up. There's a (poorly transcribed) 1989 interview with Damian here, 'in the living room of his flat in South East London".

That Petrol Emotion were a great band in their own right ( I saw them once at Kilburn Irish Youth Festival), more overtly political than The Undertones and musically more daring.

Here they are from 1987 on The Tube performing Big Decision. I always assumed that the line 'You'd rather sail the ocean, Than make a big decision' referred to the Falklands War and the Irish conflict, i.e. the big decision was British withdrawal from N.Ireland. The song mentions plastic bullets, which at that point were frequently being used by British forces in Belfast and Derry.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A South London Funeral

I didn't know Mark Side, the East Dulwich dad who was recently killed in a motorbike crash in Evelyn Street, Deptford. But his funeral at Lewisham crematorium last week sounds like quite an event, hailed in the Southwark News as 'one of south London's biggest funerals for a generation'. I like this SE15 floral tribute (he grew up in Peckham), apparently there was also one that said 'Fuck It'. The latter put me in mind of the funeral in 2006 of Andy Kelly, an old South London punk, where they played Firestarter by The Prodigy as the coffin rolled.

Made in Deptford

Various things going on as part of Made in Deptford this weekend, perhaps the most promising is the MAD CAP MARDI GRAS PARADE to be held on Sunday 6th July, 11am to 1pm, in Deptford High Street - 'The MADCAP Coalition, with Dr Burnheart Gloss, Pocket the Clown and the RUR Rough Music Processing Band invite one and all to fling open your drawers, put on your glad rags and a fancy hat, run into the kitchen, select utensils; a wooden spoon, pots and pans – just something to bang! A hooter to whistle or a kazoo, make a shaker from a milk bottle and beans, take an empty cereal packet – stick it on yer ‘ead or get out the scissors and paints – cut out and colour a mask'.

RUR is Rediscovered Urban Rituals (including David Aylward) who helped put on the fine Deptford Jack in the Green procession in 2006. They are also involved this Saturday in the Alternative Village Fete outside the National Theatre on the South Bank.

South London Limmud

Bob from Brockley has details of an interesting event in Bromley (in itself a cause for celebration): the South London Limmud is an educational event/conference focusing on contemporary issues in Jewish life, with speakers including Ben Gidley on East End Jewish radicals before the First World War and Ellen Goldberg on Kick Racism out of Israeli Football. There will also be food, music and dance. It all takes place on Sunday 13 July 2008 Bromley College Rookery Lane, Bromley, BR2 8HE.

In my beautiful neighbourhood

From the South London Press:

A woman has been knifed to death in South London's fifth murder in five days. Dee Willis, 28, from Peckham, died after suffering a single stab wound to the upper body. Cops were called to Bellenden Road, Peckham at 11.10pm yesterday (Tuesday) after reports of someone being attacked in the street. Paramedics were called and the victim was rushed to Kings College Hospital for treatment but she was pronounced dead just after midnight. A murder inquiry has been launched and Bellenden Road remained cordoned off this morning while forensic investigators examine the scene. Detectives are keeping an open mind over the motive. It is the latest in a string of murders across South London.

On Monday night Tunisian national Hamouda Bessad, 34, was stabbed in the chest several times near the L.A.N exchange and internet cafe on Old Kent Road.

On Sunday, firefighters discovered the remains of two men during a flat-fire in Sterling Gardens, New Cross. Cops believe the men were killed before the blaze started.

The day before that, the body of John Howell, 24, was found on the Milford Towers estate, Catford. Eugene Sinclair, 31, of Milford Towers has been charged with his murder.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Hillaballoo - July 19th - South London Songs

Plans are coming along nicely for the Hillaballoo event in and around Telegraph Hill Park on Saturday July 19th. Confirmed activities and events include a local history walk by Malcolm Bacchus (Telegraph Hill Society), a camera obscura, an arts and crafts fair, Brief Encounter film night, sculpture, photography and much more beside.

As mentioned before Transpontine is sponsoring an afternoon acoustic music event as part of Hillaballoo, themed around South London Songs. Local singers and musicians will be doing short sets, with all of them agreeing to sing at least one song that mentions a South London location. Confirmed to take part so far are:

- Ceri James - talented local singer/songwriter with his first album due to be released later this week.
- Little Devils - New Cross rhythm & blues
- Brockley Ukulele Group - after several months strumming in Cafe Brocca, BUG makes its eagerly anticipated public debut!
- Quaggy River Boys.
- and... er... Neil Transpontine.

The event is scheduled to take place from 2 p m to around 3:30 pm next to the park in Cafe Orange, Kitto Road, SE14 (subject to confirmation of music license). Admission will be free.

We could probably still squeeze in a couple more acts, so do get in touch if you're interested (you can use the email at top of blog or leave your details in the comments section).

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Fallen

The Man from Catford is apparently calling it a day. Shame, but we'll see... I've known a few people to retire from blogging whose addiction kicks back in sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile Slightly Lost in the World seems to have not only ceased posting but deleted the entire blog - the end of that particular gay cyclist perspective on Brockley life.

I can understand the sense of getting sick of it all and wanting to wipe away what you've written, especially if you've exposed more of yourself than you're comfortable with. But generally I hope that even if people decide to stop blogging they leave what they've written in the past up there - as a sometime historian I appreciate how useful these first hand primary sources might be to future historians trying to understand what people are doing and thinking today. Anyway, I am sure that everything any of us have ever written online is cached somewhere - maybe it's an illusion that we can ever really delete anything.