Friday, August 07, 2009

Peckham Sunset

So we made it to the top of Peckham car park last week, meeting some of the Londonists in Frank's Bar for a drink and a wander through the Bold Tendencies sculpture park (followed later by an adjournment to the nearby Bar Story).

There was a very snotty review of the place by Matthew Norman in The Guardian, seemingly annoyed at having to come down here and not knowing his way around, hence 'an aimless drive around what would have been Del Boy Trotter's manor if they hadn't taken fright and filmed in locations as far from Peckham as Bristol and Brighton'. I think it was missing the point to review it as a restaurant - I'd say it was more of a bar with food (there was a more positive review in Time Out).

And it's not that hard to find unless you are totally clueless. Just get on the lift next to the cinema entrance, go as high as you can and then go out into the car park heading up to the top storey via the ramps. It's going to be there until the end of September.


Norman's scathing 'look at that view of the Gherkin and the London Eye. Imagine being 19 and into bad art, LSD and urban deprivation tourism. It's paradise!' was also a bit of cheap shot. I am usually at the front of the queue sniffing out 'deprivation tourism' - something a Guardian restaurant critic slumming it in a Peckham car park could probably be accused of - but there has been a largish population of art students and post-students around Camberwell and Peckham for many years.

I am sceptical about grandiose claims that initiatives like this can - or even should - fundamentally change areas like Peckham. What's going on on the top storey of the car park isn't going to have the slightest impact on the ground level of minimum wage jobs, knives and guns (I know there's more to Peckham than that, but let's not airbrush it away either). But with all its contradictions a space that has been off limits - car park users will know that the top storey has been closed for many years - is for a while some kind of zone of human interaction and sociability.

And whatever else you may think of the place, it's a fantastic vantage point for a Peckham sunset.

5 comments:

RUINIST said...

Yes great that the press release for this show says 'in deepest, darkest Peckham'.

RUINIST said...

Ha Ha
How funny is that!!

RUINIST said...

So ironic!

Transpontine said...

Really? Is the press release online, I can't see it. If that's right they are a bunch of f'ing eejits. Looks like I was too soft on them because I had a good night in the bar, now I'm going to have to subject them to a withering critique!

RUINIST said...

Press release Field Of Sets:

'In deepest darkest Peckham all things are possible, even a clash between the Bun House Bandits, littlewhitehead and the contemporary titans of havos; Swarfega.

As far as we can tell from eye-witness accounts gathered from traumatized locals, and a police report, the 'dust-up' occurred sometime after dark on Monday...'

Goes on at length in this fashion