Saturday, February 28, 2009
The invite states: 'Laden with police processes and signage, the facility is an archeology of institutional structures with period rooms, cinematic prison cells, an old gym and operations yard. For the next 7 years, this architectural infrastructure will house 30 studios, multiple gallery and rehearsal rooms, independent project spaces, a potential residency programme, an on-line radio station - and a 'Members Club', the social hub of the building. Brought to you by Anthony Gross of temporarycontempoary [formerly based in the old Seager Distillery in Deptford], the Old Police Station is an artist-run project in the form of a 'do-it-yourself art centre' responding to the ever-increasing momentum of the local scene. It is an experimental cultural and economic model that aims at least for self-sufficiency'.
The launch party runs from 6 pm to 11 pm.
Friday, February 27, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
They promise 'This is the pub Telegraph Hilll has been waiting for: real ales including London Pirde, Adnams, Chiswick Bitter, imported Czech Litovel lager. High quality modern British cuisine... real ales, real fires and real people'. It is officially open from 6pm tomorrow (Thursday 26th February).
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Anyway the matter is due to be discussed at the Telegraph Hill Ward Assembly next Monday night, 7pm in the Honor Oak Community Centre, Turnham Road. There will also be a discussion on some of the wider issues at a meeting on 'Pornography and Feminism' at Goldsmiths College (Small Hall Cinema) in New Cross on Tuesday 24th February at 6pm. Angela McRobbie and guests will be debating 'the purported post-feminist liberation of pole dancing and the mainstreaming of porn'. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it, but would be interested in hearing McRobbie's take all on this, as she is one of the few academics to have written anything insightful about one of my passions, the politics of dancing.
Incidentally - and unconnected to the pub or the lap dancing row - last Friday's South London Press reports that a group of teenagers were apparently shot at last week by a youth on a bicycle at Queens Road/New Cross Road junction near to the White Hart.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
A letter in the South London Press from somebody who was there recalls: 'The closing down of the Woolworths stores brought horrific memories back to me of the Woolworths store at New Cross Road, Deptford, which was packed with hundreds of Christmas shoppers in 1944 and received a direct hit [by V2 rocket]. A friend and I were at the scene within minutes. We gave an estimate of 800 people killed in the area. Bodies were put in Vestry Vans (dustcarts) by the score throughout the day. The government disguised the number to 170 to keep up people’s morale'.
It is undoubtedly true that during the war the government did disguise the extent of casualties in incidents like this, but it seems unlikely that the truth could be obscured for long after the war, and the 168 figure is supported by a list of those who died printed in 'Rations and Rubble: remembering Woolworths - the New Cross V2 Disaster, Saturday 25th November 1944' by Jess Steele (Deptford Forum, 1994). Still it's interesting that the story of many more dead has survived as urban folklore.
Another piece of folklore connected with this is the suggestion that the Woolworths that was rebuilt after the war (it reopened in 1960) was thought to be haunted and that a number of staff refused to work there as a result. The only source for this was an interesting site on Woolworths history that seems to have disappeared along with the company.
The Londonist has recently mapped all the V2 rocket sites in London.
Friday, February 20, 2009
The latter, as mentioned here before, was where the Asda now stands, and was used by the Gang of Four, Ian Dury and many others.
Here's my favourite This Heat track, SPQR:
Charles Hayward is still performing in various musical projects, working at the Albany in Deptford with people with learning difficulties and doing stuff in his studio at Lewisham Arthouse on Lewisham Way.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Moving Gallery – The Mysterium
7:00 pm Trinity College of Music, King Charles Court, Old Royal Naval College
Using all the spaces of Sir Christopher Wren’s great baroque building, TrinityLaban and guest artists create an interpretation of Alexander Scriabin’s strange artistic prophecy The Mysterium: ‘All will be participants…with visual effects, dancers, a procession, incense, and rhythmic textural articulation… mists and lights will modify the architectural contours…which will continually change with the atmosphere and motion of the Mysterium.’ Audience will freely move through the continuous simultaneous performances and installations - corridors, crevices, rooms, roofs, windows, staircases will all be used. Some will be areas just to peep into, others for interactive exploration.
There will be a chill-out room where listeners can lounge on pillows and be wafted away by sensuous colours and sounds, a construction of hoses and tubas, an Oracle, a Horror Chamber, an Aviary of interactive technology with music and birds, an homage to Rebecca Horn’s suspended grand piano (Concert for Anarchy, Tate Modern) where a corridor of practise rooms periodically erupts in pandemonium, a final denouement with the entire Trinity String Faculty creating Stephen Montague’s Snowscape, and many other surprises.The host of performers and creators include Daryl Runswick, Linda Hirst, Dominic Murcott, Oren Marshall, Kathy Crick, Gill Clarke, Martin Hargreaves, Nicholas Quinn, Rosemary Brandt, GéNIA, Philip Colman, Robert Coleridge, John Drever, Ian Mitchell, Charlotte Darbyshire, Susan Sentler, Alice Sara, GiGi Grady, Heni Hale, Jonathan Chadwick (AZ Theatre) and students and alumni from TrinityLaban.
Conceived and directed by Douglas Finch and Lizzi Kew-Ross. As the experience of this production doesn’t involve a precise beginning, audience are invited to enter the show any time between 7:00 and 7:30. The final performance with ‘Snowscape’ will happen in the courtyard at approximately 9:15. (Butler’s Bar will be open from 6:30 to 9:30)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
On the previous Sunday at the Amersham, BUG's monthly Sunday Uke Box session included guest appearances by Jude Cowan, The Strum Pets and Post-Puke (picture below), the latter a duo playing uke-accompanied cover versions of post punk songs by the likes of Bauhaus, Public Image Limited and The Cramps. BUG debuted a couple of new covers including Hefner's The Day that Thatcher Dies and Manu Chao's Desaparecido
Then on Thursday BUG played at the amazing Shunt Lounge, a complex of brick tunnels, shadows, art installations and performance spaces under London Bridge station. After about 45 minutes the PA blew, cutting the set shorter than planned - never underestimate the power of the uke! Shunt is being moved out later in the year to make way for part of the Shard of Glass building site, so get down there before it closes. It opens Wednesday to Sunday nights and has a late bar (entrance inside London Bridge tube on Joiner Street - posters below are on the wall at Shunt).
Monday, February 16, 2009
The title poem of Inglan is a Bitch mentions a crockery factory in Brockley (Brackly) - does anybody know if there really was such a factory? Anyway here he is performing it back in the day:
dem have a lickle facktri up inna Brackly
inna disya facktri all dem dhu is pack crackry
fi di laas fifteen years dem get mi laybah
now awftah fiteen years mi fall out a fayvah
mi know dem have work, work in abundant
yet still, dem mek mi redundant
now, at fifty-five mi gettin' quite ol'
yet still, dem sen' mi fi goh draw dole
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Music nights: Thursday 19th Feb - 'London's finest rocksteady/ska band, The Delegators (£6); Friday 20th Feb - Cafe Crema piano jam...'New Orleans New Cross. Bring your banjoes, trombones, ukuleles, tambourines and voices. Piano's just been re-tuned and is now at concert pitch' (free); Saturday 28th Feb -The Woodsmen 'jiving country-noir hillbilly blues' (£6)
Cafe Crema, 306 New Cross Road London SE14 6AF. 2mins from New x Gate tube and mainline. Easy on buses. mob 07905 961 876/ 07905 552 571.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Unfortunately not everyone is made welcome. I felt very sorry for the 11 people pulled out of lorries by police last week. As reported in the Mercury: 'Police arrested 11 suspected illegal immigrants after stopping three Swiss-registered lorries in New Cross. The convoy of bright red vehicles, from the Basel-based Möbel furniture company, was stopped in New Cross Road, close to New Cross railway station, on Tuesday of last week'.
Who knows how many thousands of miles they had travelled or how much it cost them - no doubt they are now in prison (sorry 'detention centre') for the crime of being born in the wrong country with the wrong papers, with their brief view of New Cross no compensation at all.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
It starts at 7.30pm at Hayes Galleria, London Bridge and ends about 90 minutes later (via London and Tower Bridges) with a chat about south east London folklore and mysteries at the Old Kings Head, Borough High Street. Walk is about ninety minutes and cunning weaves it's way along from London Bridge over Tower Bridge and back over London through Borough Market.
You might also want to put the date of the next SELFS event in your diary. On 12th March, David Boyle will be talking at the Old Kings Head on 'Fairy Superstition: Puck, Robin Goodfellow, the little people and other visitors'.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Briant Street, in the ‘Kender Triangle’, is supposed to see the flagship for New Cross regeneration – the scene for a new public realm with housing, a health centre and a library. But work on the building site has ground to a halt as the private developer involved in the project has pulled out.
Capitalism functions (when it does) through a series of bets on the future. In the case of a project like this, investors are betting on being able to sell off private housing for more than it costs to build, and in turn betting that there will be people with the means to buy them. Today all bets are off, with a collapse of confidence in the future. The knock on effect is that regeneration plans for affordable housing and community facilities are under threat, as these have been based on another kind of gamble – that Council-owned land could be sold off for private housing at sufficient value to pay for these plans, or that private developments would generate large capital receipts that could be re-invested in community facilities. These bets too are off.
Meanwhile behind the hoardings on Briant Street there is a strange, almost lunar landscape. Mountains of rubble from the council housing demolished to make way for the new development, a crater-like hole in the ground, and an icy ‘lake’.
Most of the rest of Briant Street is blocks of flats, including the newish Pankhurst Close. There is also a London Electricity Service Station.
At the end of the street, on the corner of New Cross Road, there is another kind of dereliction – a boarded up pub, most recently known as ‘Down the Hatch’.
It’s easy to be depressed by sites like this, when you think of all the wasted potential to meet people’s needs that is represented by empty buildings and building sites. But the skills and resources to turn them into something useful are still here – wasted too at present in the form of laid-off building workers and warehouses full of unsold building materials. We just need to find another way of using them.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Standing on Brockley station platforms today you can watch trains pass overhead on the line that heads up to Nunhead and beyond. At one time these trains stopped at the nearby Brockley Lane station.
All that remains of the old station are the steps up to the former entrance on Brockley Road by Brockley cross... ...and the former stationmaster's house opposite. There was also a subway (presumably still there) from the entrance to the platform.
Nobody talks about new rail stations nowadays, but given that these trains still pass through Brockley is it really unimaginable that they could stop there once more, giving direct access to Victoria?
Presumably 'all' it would take would be some stairs, a couple of platforms and some kind of link to the existing Brockley station (so that you wouldn't actually need a separate station). The land where the old platforms stood is still unused, behind the hoardings at the corner of Mantle Road. Come to think about it, you could access platforms there directly from the existing northbound Brockley station platform.
(by the way, railway modelling enthusiast has done an elaborate model of a fictional Brockley Green station).
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Here's a few photos - from the top: Telegraph Hill top park on Monday; snowman in Telegraph Hill Park; snowman (or is it a snow-woman?) in Gellatly Road; side of a van in Drakefell Road.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Brockley Central has already noted that 'Vorderman is uniquely qualified to lead such a project, having capitalised on her adding-up skills to trouser a fortune plugging loan companies to the innumerate' (see Recess Monkey for more details of her dubious doings). In any event, even if Vorderman can add up that hardly makes her suited to reviewing the complex task of teaching numeracy. Still who needs educationalists when you can get washed up celebrities to determine education policy?
Wonder why Cameron chose Aske's? Politicians of all colours normally want to use schools within a short hop of Westminster (i.e. in inner London boroughs) for their publicity visits, and it is very hard for a school to say no to a visit. So maybe we shouldn't read too much into it. On the other hand, Telegraph Hill is the kind of demographic - often leftish middle class with memories of the days when the word 'Tory' was inevitably followed with the word 'scum' in everyday conversation - that Cameron hopes to swing with his faux 'I am a nice caring Liberal' routine. Whether the senior management of Aske's are cosying up to to Tories is another matter- even if the school does seem to go for a pseudo-Etonian ethos of private school trappings (ludicrous gowns for instance) and Victorian homilies ('serve and obey' is the school motto - hardly likely to encourage independent learning).
Anyway, snowballs at the ready in case there's an attempt to restage this visit.
- Thurs 5th Feburary - Ladyfest Goldsmiths - Celebrating Women's Creativity with bands including Toy Toy, Tiny Tigers, We Rock like Girls Don't, Helen McCookery Book, Bobby McGee and The Lovely Eggs.
- Mon 9th February -I SHOOK THE ROYAL THRONE - live hardcore punk from The Shitty Limits, Broken Arm, Fashion, The Sceptres.
- Every Tueday - 15 MINUTES OF PHAMOUS open mic night. Turn up early to get a slot.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Misty view of St Pauls from Nunhead Hill/Nunhead Cemetery - I am sure on a clear day a good photographer could do better!
(thanks to Alan McArthur for spotting the Turner picture)