Friday, August 31, 2012

New Cross welcomes Cameroon Boxers

New Cross has still got that internationalist Olympics spirit, as reported in today's South London Press. According to tonight's Standard (sourcing their story from SLP without credit I assume)::

'Five boxers from Cameroon who went missing three weeks ago from the Olympic village have reappeared in a south London gym.The five fled amid suggestions — denied by the Cameroon authorities — that they had been threatened after losing their bouts. Another theory was that they planned to claim asylum when their visas expire in November.

This week they turned up to train at the Double Jab Boxing Club in New Cross and said they were living in Lewisham. Jim Addis, assistant coach at the club, said: “We understand they will be applying to stay in the UK.”'

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Death of the Walpole?

Back in 2008 we reported here that a planning application had been submitted to demolish the Walpole Arms in New Cross Road and build a hotel to replace it. The application was subsequently approved in August 2009 by Lewisham Council but no more was heard of it, and I assumed that this plan had been abandoned (some even wondered whether it was a joke - the architects' names being KennedyTwaddle).

But, as Brockley Central reports, the pub is now closed and a press release from "leisure property" firm AG&G trumpets:

'New Cross takes its name from a coaching inn that once provided accommodation for weary travellers, so it’s entirely appropriate that the site of the Walpole pub in New Cross Road is now set to become a 60-bed hotel – the only one in the SE14 postcode. It was sold off a guide price of £2.25 million by AG&G’s Anthony Alder, to a Middle Eastern investment company.The pub is an attractive, flat-fronted Victorian building that comes with a beer garden, letting rooms and two neighbouring shops but it was sold with planning permission for a new hotel. “There’s such strong demand for large plots in central London and it’s close to the terminus of the East London line, near up-and-coming Stratford and with that precious permission, so the potential was clear,” says Anthony'.

Well they're right it  is an 'attractive, flat-fronted Victorian building' and also has some very nice original tiles inside. So it's very sad that it seems to be facing demolition. I've had some nice nights in there, but it's probably true to say that in recent years The Walpole has struggled to establish a clear niche among the New Cross pubs. But as I've argued here before what is lost when a pub closes is a social space which always has the potential to give rise to the interesting, the unexpected and the marvellous. Lots of pubs have ups and downs and then suddenly become the centre of social life for some scene or other. Not sure the same can be said for a hotel.

Of course if there was a sufficiently informed and motivated body of opinion it might still be possible to get the building listed by English Heritage, as the Ivy House was recently. After all it hasn't been demolished yet.

The planned development would also demolish two neighbouring shops, including Skin & Ink tattoo parlour.

photo by Ewan Munro at flickr

The pub was known as the South Eastern Distillery from 1895 to 1915, maybe later. Its current name was presumably derived from Sir Robert Walpole, Britain's first Prime Minister, who presided over the 18th century South Sea Bubble financial crisis. In a roundabout way the current financial crisis could also be said to be dealing the pub its fatal blow. If the surplus capital flowing around the Middle East is being invested in speculative property deals in SE London it is because of the lack of opportunities to invest it productively in a world with stagnating growth. I wonder if they even have any intention of building a hotel - as the press release implies, it's the land with planning permission that they're after. The fact that planning  permission has been granted increases the value of land as it sets a precedent for permission to develop it, whether or not the original plan is followed through.

The end of the world as we know it

Coming up on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at South East London Folklore Society:

When Prophecy Fails... Again

'As December 21st 2012 approaches, alternative religions writer David V Barrett looks at prophecies of the end of the world – from Jesus’ expected return to the coming Maitreya to Nostradamus to flying saucers – and at how prophets cover their embarrassment when nothing happens... again'.

Meet in the upstairs room of the Old King's Head, King's Head Yard, 45-49 Borough High Street, London SE1 1NA for an 8pm start. £2.50/£1.50 concs

Monday, August 27, 2012

We could have been anything we wanted to be

Next Sunday September 2nd there's a free bike-powered outdoor screening of BUGSY MALONE on Nunhead Green. It starts at 8.30pm, and is part of the Nunhead Experience, with a  whole day of music, a local history walk and much more in Nunhead.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lol Coxhill Tree Planting

Saxophonist Lol Coxhill (1932-2012) died last month, having lived a rich musical life that saw him play with everybody from Kevin Ayers to The Damned.In recent years he played regularly in summer gigs at the Herb Garden in Deptford, and he will be remembered there tomorrow (Monday 27 July) with music and the planting of a mulberry tree. David Aylward writes:

'Hi all, I'm sure most of you are aware of the sad death of Lol Coxhill on the 10th of July.  This Monday there will be a tree planted at the Herb Garden at McMillan Street, Deptford at 5PM in memory of him and the numerous fantastic gigs he gave there over the seasons, there will be music from Tom Scott, Nick DD, Adrian Northover, Simon Coxhill,  and an account of one of Lol's last gigs at the garden, all hosted by Joe Bazouki'.

Lol Coxhill (seated) playing in the Herb Garden in September 2007
with John Edwards on double bass and John's daughter dancing.
More details of Herb Garden happenings at Deptford Misc.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Circuses without Bread

This piece is on the Old Kent Road, across the road from the fire station (photo taken this morning)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Meze Mangal is better than the Ritz

Meze Mangal in Lewisham Way SE14 features in the Evening Standard tonight:

'A family-run Turkish diner in Lewisham has beaten some of London’s most expensive restaurants to be named one of the capital’s favourites - even coming ahead of the Ritz.  Meze Mangal has been one of London’s best-kept culinary secrets since opening 12 years ago but that may be about to change after it was ranked higher than the Piccadilly landmark The Ritz, Barrafina, Whits and Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley on website TripAdvisor.

Only six London restaurants rank higher than its 95 per cent approval rating - Gordon Ramsay’s flagship diners Petrus and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Brett Graham’s The Ledbury, Michael Roux’s La Gavroche, Da Palo’s in Charlotte Street and Mayfair’s Goodman steakhouse, which between them they hold a small galaxy of Michelin stars.

Sahin Gok, 43, and his brother Ahmet, 45, came to London in the 1980s from their native north Turkey, at first working in a Wimpy in Kingston-upon-Thames.They opened their own kebab takeaway in Ladywell in 1987, which expanded into a neighbouring cafe nine years later. They took on the premises in Lewisham Way, St John’s, in 2000, at first living in a flat above the shop...

TripAdvisor has been criticised for allowing unverified anonymous reviews - a point not lost on those who ranked below Meze Mangal the online ratings - but Sahin took issue with suggestions that the restaurant was inflating its rating by asking customers to post positive reviews.

He said: “If we’d asked them to put reviews up they wouldn’t do it - people never do something if you tell them to. I only found out that we were in the top 10 a couple of months ago when one of the customers told me.”

Headline is a slightly misleading 'Kebab shop in Lewisham beats The Ritz for customer satisfaction on TripAdvisor' (it's definitely a Turkish restaurant rather than just a kebab shop) but good to see this great place getting some recognition.

And don't forget Meze Mangal has its own song too!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Big Bat Map

The Bat Conservation Trust's Big Bat Map is just that - a place to log sightings of bats, or to go to if you want to find places where you might see them.

I've already added a Telegraph Hill top park sighting and I can see that David Larkin of Quaggy Waterways Action Group has added Broadway Field, Deptford as a hot spot for sightings ('Footbridge over concrete channel some 100 metres south of DLR station. Leads into recreation ground. Also look out for Common pipistrelles - can be detected and seen flying under bridge').

There must be lots more SE London sightings to report though, so get going.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

John Lydon Window SE14

There's this house on Florence Road SE14, across the road from the Royal Albert, that has an interesting window. Sometimes if features barbie dolls, when I last passed it in July it had John Lydon.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Alice in her party dress

Coming up at the Hill Station SE14 next week:

ALICE by Jan Svankmajer

'You've seen the Tim Burton version and probably many others, but this is by far the best version of Alice in Wonderland ever filmed. Created by Czech animator Jan Svankmajer in 1988, this what he says about his beautifully animated film:

"While a fairy tale has got an educational aspect – it works with the moral of the lifted forefinger (good overcomes evil), dream, as an expression of our unconscious, uncompromisingly pursues the realisation of our most secret wishes without considering rational and moral inhibitions, because it is driven by the principle of pleasure. My Alice is a realised dream."

Proper hot dogs (veggie ones as well), popcorn and a bar. What more could you want. 8pm THURSDAY 23RD AUGUST Admission free. No children please.

AT THE HILL STATION . KITTO ROAD . LONDON . SE14 5TY Tel: 0207 635 2955'

Yoda for Peace

Spotted by the Ha'penny Hatch bridge at Deptford Creek - Yoda declares 'War is over, if you want it'. But shouldn't that be 'Over war is'?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Blackheath Morris in the Olympics Closing Ceremony

As mentioned here before, in their various incarnations Blackheath Morris Men - who practice sometimes in the Dog and Bell pub in Deptford - have played with all kinds of people over their 40 year history, including Hawkwind. Last night they appeared with Monty Python's Eric Idle in the Olympic closing ceremony.

Another SE London connection in the same scene: one of the angels was Sharmina Harrower, a 19-year-old model from Sydenham (seen kneeling in front row above, and left below).

Battle of Lewisham 1977

Today is the 35th anniversary of the 'Battle of Lewisham'. On 13 August 1977, the far-right National Front attempted to march from New Cross to Lewisham in South East London. Local people and anti-racists from all over London and beyond mobilised to oppose them, and the NF were humiliated as their march was disrupted and banners seized. That means its also five years since we helped organise the Lewisham '77 commemoration events - a whole website grew out of that project, and from that here's a chronology of the key events and the immediate build up.

Lewisham town centre 13 August 1977: Riot shields are deployed for the first time in England 

The build up

May 30 1977: police stage dawn raids on 30 homes in New Cross and Lewisham and arrest 21 young black people accusing them of being involved in street robberies. (Times 31.5.77)

The Lewisham 21 Defence Committee is set up to support those arrested, as well as three others arrested in a subsequent scuffle with police. The police refer leaflets produced by the Committee to the Director of Public Prosecutions, accusing them of libel (KM 16.6.77).

15 June 1977: Prince Charles visits Pagnell Street Centre in New Cross ('The Moonshot'). The Defence Committee stages a demonstration outside with about 20 people and a banner saying 'Defend Lewisham 24. Who will the police mug next?' (KM 16.6.77)

Saturday 18 June 1977: fighting between National Front and Socialist Workers Party activists by the Clock Tower in Lewisham Town Centre, where both groups were selling papers. A socialist teacher from Deptford is knocked unconscious (KM 23.6.77).

Friday 24 June 1977: at a meeting of Lewisham Council for Community Relations, the police arrests of 21 youths are condemned by Sybil Phoenix (Pagnell Street Centre) and Alderman Russell Profitt, the latter describing the raids as 'scandalous and disgusting - a vicious attack on the black community' (KM 30.6.77).

Saturday 25 June 1977: 70 socialists and 50 National Front supporters turn out for rival paper sales in Lewisham town centre but are kept apart by the police. 17 members of the National Party (another far-right faction) stage a pro-police demonstration at Lewisham police station (KM 30.6.77).

Saturday 2 July 1977: Lewisham 21 Defence Committee demonstration in New Cross in support of local black youths arrested in police operation: '300 demonstrators marched through Lewisham and New Cross'; more than 100 National Front supporters turn out to attack it: 'Shoppers rushed for cover as racialists stormed down New Cross Road' (KM 7.7.77). NF throw bottles, 'rotten fruit and bags of caustic soda at marchers'(SLP 5.7.77). More than 60 people, fascists and anti-fascists, are arrested in clashes in New Cross Road and Clifton Rise.

Monday 4 July 1977: Lewisham National Front organiser Richard Edmunds complains about police arrests of NF supporters at the weekend and announces plans for a National Front demonstration in Deptford in August, promising its 'biggest-ever rally... Everybody will know that the Front is marching. Where we had a couple of hundred people in New Cross on Saturday, we will be talking of thousands for our march' (SLP 5.7.77). The march is billed as a demonstration against 'mugging'.

Monday 4 July and Tuesday 6 1977: 56 people appear at Camberwell Magistrates Court on charges relating to the clashes on the previous Saturday. 35 NF supporters and 17 anti-fascists are remanded on bail. A 29 year old mother of five from New Cross is given an absolute discharge after admitting 'threatening behaviour': she told the court 'I was called a nigger lover in front of my children which I objected to' (KM 7.7.77)

Week beginning 4 July 1977: All Lewisham Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (ALCARAF) call for peaceful demonstration on same day as NF march. ALCARAF and the neighbouring SCARF (Southwark Campaign Against Racism and Fascism) had been set up in the previous year in response to the rise of the far-right. Along with other London anti-fascist groups they were affiliated to the Anti-Racist Anti-Fascist Co-ordinating Committee

15 July 1977: fire at headquarters of West Indian League, 36 Nunhead Lane, SE15, an organisation providing advice and activities for black youth. Fire brigade suggests that the fire may have been started by a petrol bomb (SLP).

23 or 24 July (?) 1977 - 600 people attend a public meeting in Lewisham Concert Hall called by Lewisham 21 Defence Committee. The meeting passes a motion calling 'for a united mobilisation to stop the Nazis... We call for all black people, socialists, and trade unionists, to assemble at 1 pm on August 13 at Clifton Rise, New Cross, so that 'They shall not pass'' (KM 28.7.77).

Lewisham Council turns down NF request to use the Lewisham Concert Hall on August 13th. The Council's Amenities chair, Gareth Hughes, states: 'The NF is a racialist organisation, and the hall belongs to the community which is multi-racial' (KM 28.7.77).

Saturday 23 July 1977 - Lewisham 21 Defence Committee march from Lewisham railway station to Catford (SLP 29.7.77).

Friday 29 July: A deputation of eight local church leaders hand in a 1500 strong petition to Police Commissioner David McNee calling for the NF march to be banned. The leader of the deputation, Rev. Barry Naylor (St John's, Catford and also a leading member of ALCARAF) meets McNee who tells him there will be no ban (SLP 2.8.77).

Week beginning 1 August: members of the Lewisham 21 Defence Committee take over an empty shop in New Cross Road, to be used as a campaing headquarters in preparation for the anti-NF mobilisation (KM 4.8.77). The shop is at 318 New Cross Road (now the Alltoment), next to the New Cross House.

Monday 1 August: The August 13 Ad Hoc Organising Committee issues statement calling for a 'They Shall Not Pass' rally to assemble at Clifton Rise in New Cross at 12 on the day of the NF demonstration (the NF were planning to assemble at Clifton Rise at 2 pm). The statement also 'welcomed the decision of the ALCARAF to route their march to reach New Cross by 1 pm. We urge that full support be given to that march and call on everyone to stay on to occupy Clifton Rise to prevent the Nazis occupying there'. The Committee spokesperson is Ted Parker, South East London Secretary of the Socialist Workers Party (SLP 5.8.77).

Tuesday 2 August: Lewisham police chiefs meet with National Front organisers to discuss plans for march. Martin Webster, NF national organiser, tells press: 'The Reds have had it all their own way and the only way you can fight Communism is to confront it. We believe that the multi-racial society is wrong, is evil and we want to destroy it' (SLP 5.8.1977).

Tuesday 9 August: Lewisham Mayor, Councillor Roger Godsiff, and 3 other Labour councillors hand in resolution to Home Secretary calling for NF march to be banned. Metropolitan Police commissioner David McNee issues statement opposing ban, saying that it 'would not only defer to mob rule but encourage it' (SLP 12.8.77).

Wednesday 10 August: ALCARAF press conference announces policy that 'if the police cordon off the road from Algernon Road to Clifton Rise, then the marchers will disperse. But if there is no police opposition the march will continue to Clifton Rise' (SLP 12.8.77).

Thursday 11 August 1977: High Court Judge Slynn rejects a request by Lewisham Council to issue a 'writ of mandamus' compelling the Police Commissioner to ban all marches in the borough for three months. Lewisham are represented in court by John Mortimer QC. NF organiser Richard Edmunds tells the press that 'We are deliberately going into the black areas of Deptford because these are also the areas where we have a lot of support' (SLP 12.8.77).

Friday 12 August 1977: final plans for demonstration: 'At least 2000 police will be in the borough... and in reserve the police will have about 200 shields and helmets... Lewisham council has moved old and disabled people away from potential trouble spots, and public buildings, shops and public houses on the routes have been closed or boarded up' (Times, 13.8.77).

Saturday 13th August 1977

3 am - two bricks thrown through the bedroom window of Mike Power, Chief Steward for ALCARAF, at his home in Ardgowan Road, Hither Green. He said that 'It was quite clearly an attempt by the National Front to intimidate me' (KM 18.8.77).

11:00 am: 200 police arrive at Clifton Rise. First anti-fascists also start to gather there.

11:30 am - All Lewisham Campaign Against Racism and Fascism (ALCARAF) demonstration gathers in the rain in Ladywell Fields. 'Over 5000 people from more than 80 organisations congregate in Ladywell Fields to hear speeches by the Mayor of Lewisham, the Bishop of Southwark, the exiled Bishop of Namibia and others' (South London Press 16.8.1977).

11:55 am: ALCARAF march sets off down Ladywell Road and into Lewisham High Street, taking at least half an hour to leave the park. 'Those taking part in the ALCARAF march included members of the Young Liberals, Lewisham Councillors, Young Socialists, Communists and Young Communists, and the Campaign for Homosexual Equality' plus 'banners from GEC Elliot's factory, the Electrical Trades Union, Christian Aid, the Indian Workers Association and many more'. The march is led by a lorry 'with the Steel and Skin playing' (KM 16.8.77).

12:10: First clash between police and anti-fascists in New Cross: 'The SWP were occupying the derelict shop next to the New Cross House pub. Police broke down a door and evicted the squatters, arresting 7 and taking a quantity of propaganda and banners' (KM, 18.8.1977). 'The first clash came... when police ousted Socialist Workers Party members from the New Cross Road shop they were squatting in, overlooking Clifton Rise' (SLP 16.8.77).

12:45: A wall of police prevent ALCARAF march reaching New Cross. 'Police block the way to New Cross at the junction of Loampit Hill and Algernon Road. As the lorry leading the march turns in Algernon Road, march stewards try and stop it. Commander Randall shouts 'Keep that lorry on the move'' (SLP 16.8.1977). The police want marchers 'to go along Algernon Road back to Ladywell'. The Mayor of Lewisham, Councillor Roger Godsiff, formally appeals to police Commander Douglas Randall to 'allow the march to go on the original route that was agreed' (i.e. on to New Cross) - this is refused.

1:00: Mike Power of ALCARAF tells the crowd 'ALCARAF is not prepared to be directed away from Deptford' and appeals 'for the march to disband peacefully there and then' (KM 16.8.77). Although the march as such is halted, many of the demonstrators managed to get to New Cross via other routes. 'The order is given to disperse [the ALCARAF march]. The police allow hundreds of people to pass on to New Cross' (SLP 16.8.77).

1:30: National Front begin to assemble behind police lines in Achilles Street. New Cross Road is closed with thousands of anti-NF protestors in Clifton Rise and New Cross Road (KM 18.8.77). Estimates of anti-NF crowd vary from 2000 (KM) to up to 4000 (Times).

2:00 pm 'Police in two wedges - one from Clifton Rise the other from New Cross Road - moved into the crowd to eject them from Clifton Rise'. Two orange smoke bombs are thrown, and a tin of red paint. Clifton Rise and New Cross Road 'became a seething mass of demonstrators and police. Police helmets were knocked off as arrests were made' (KM 18.8.77).

2:00 pm: As fighting rages in New Cross, the Bishop of Southwark leads a church service against racism and for peace at St Stephens Church, Lewisham High Street. 200 people attend, with a banner outside with the words 'Justice, love and peace' (SLP 16.8.77)

Image by Paul Trevor

2:06 pm '10 mounted police moved into the crowd from New Cross Road to be greeted by a sustained bombardment of bottles, cans, and attacks with poles. The ferocity of the attack drove the horsemen back. Youths began to gather bricks from a builders yard in Laurie Grove and pelt police' (KM 18.8.77). 'Running battles broke out at the top of Clifton Rise and, after, a smoke bomb exploded, mounted police moved in to drive the crowd back into New Cross Road' (SLP 16.8.77). Two mounted police are dragged from their horses.

2:10 pm 'The police line on foot at Clifton Rise broke, but reformed. A youth attacked a policeman with a stick' (KM 18.8.77).

2:20 pm: 'Police drew truncheons and used them against the crowd. Most of Clifton Rise and New Cross Road was cleared of demonstrators. The battle for control of Clifton Rise was over. A man lay unmoving outside the New Cross Inn and was taken off in an ambulance. Another stretcher case lay in New Cross Road' (KM 18.8.77).

3:00 pm - Police escort National Front marchers out of Achilles Street, up Pagnell Street and into New Cross Road, behind a large 'Stop the Muggers' banner. Estimates of NF marchers range from 600 (SLP) to 1000 (KM). 'Suddenly the air was filled with orange smoke, and a hail of bricks, bottles and pieces of wood fell onto the Front from demonstrators and householders leaning out of their windows... At one point the Front marchers stopped. Half the marchers remained in Pagnell Street, afraid to walk into the hail of missiles' (KM 18.8.77).

Anti-fascists break through police lines and attack back of NF march, 'separating them from the main body' (SLP 16.8.77). There is hand to hand fighting in New Cross Road, and NF marchers are forced off the road onto the pavement.

'One young man, perhaps 16 years old, rushed into the Front ranks and grabbed a flagpole from one of them, broke it in half and held the pieces up while the crowd cheered. Others hurled dustbins and fence stakes into the Front column from close range' (KM 18.8.77). 'The protestors then burnt captured NF banners' (SLP 16.8.77).

Police separate NF and anti-fascists, and mounted police clear a path through crowd attempting to block progress of march towards Deptford Broadway. For part of the route the NF are forced off the road onto the pavement.

Police lead the march 'through deserted streets of Lewisham' with crowds held back by 'by road blocks over the whole area' (KM). Marchers are flanked by three deep police on either side, with 24 mounted police in front. The march route goes down Depford Broadway/Blackheath Road, Lewisham Road and Cressingham Road, where 'more missiles were hurled at the marchers' (SLP 16.8.77).

While small groups attack the march from side streets, large numbers of anti-fascists head East along Lewisham Way. They reach Lewisham Town Centre and block the High Street.

The NF approach the town centre. 'The fighting intensified as the Front members were escorted from Cressingham Road to their rally in Conington Road' (SLP 16.8.77).

Unable to meet in the town centre proper, the NF hold a short rally in a car park in Conington Road, addressed by NF Chairman John Tyndall, police usher NF 'through a tunnel in Granville Park and then into Lewisham station, where trains were waiting to take them away' (Times, 15.8.77).

Clashes continue between the police and crowd, the latter largely unaware that the NF have already left the area. Anti-fascists occupy the area by the Clock Tower. 'A road barrier was dragged across the High Street by demonstrators' (KM, 18.8.77).

Police bring out riot shields for the first time in England, and attempt to disperse crowd south down Lewisham High Street towards Catford. Bricks and bottles are thrown. 'On the corner of Molesworth Street, mounted police prepared to charge. Beside them were police on foot, truncheons drawn. Police came racing down the street. One officer shouted 'get out of the way' and as he ran a man was hit. The officer then apparently collided with an elderly woman. She went sprawling on the pavement' (KM, 18.8.77).

A police Special Patrol Group van is surrounded and its windows smashed, and part of the crowd attempts to surround Lewisham Police Station in Ladywell Road. A press photographer's BMW motorbike is set on fire near Ladywell Baths. Several shop windows are smashed in Lewisham High Street, including Currys (no.131), Kendall & Co. (no.256) and Caesars' fancy goods (no.230).

4:40 pm; 'the riot in Lewisham High Street had been quashed, but there were continuing outbreaks in side streets. It was not until after 5 pm that the fighting ceased and an uneasy calm settled over Lewisham' (SLP 16.8.77). 214 people have been arrested and at least 111 injured (Times, 15.8.77).

The aftermath

Monday 15th August: 14 people appear in Court in Greenwich and Camberwell on charges arising from Saturday's events, the first of 202 people charged. Three are remanded in custody accused of causing grievous bodily harm to policemen.

Sources: Kentish Mercury (KM), South London Press (SLP), Times.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Deptford X and other delights

I took in some of Deptford X contemporary art festival today, suggest you do too - tomorrow is the final day.

I liked Dzine's blingtastic bike at Bearspace.

There's various work in and around St Paul's Church, a magnificent space in its own right. Charlotte Squire's Pleonasmos made the most of it by reflecting its ceiling on mirrors placed on pews in the balcony.

Always plenty of other creativity out and about in Deptford, not confined to artists and self-proclaimed 'creatives' either (sorry, I hate that word - if some people are 'creatives' what does that make everybody else?). This jelly shoe mountain in the market was not part of Deptford X or its fringe - but it's a work of art isn't it? 

(thanks to Rose G-O for the photos)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Fred Aylward's Deptford X Art Quiz

Tomorrow night (Friday 10th August), 9 pm at the Dog and Bell, 116 Prince Street, Deptford SE8 3JD..

'A pub quiz consisting of 40 questions based on art, design and knowledge of the local area and history. £1-00 per person.Cash prizes for the 1st and 2nd winning teams and spot prizes.Good real ale,beer and lots of fun.Look forward to seeing you there best wishes Fred'.

Fred Aylward as Les in
Vic Reeves Big Night Out

Deptford Tales

From StoneCrabs Theatre Company:

'We have been working with local children to create an audio tour of Deptford including stories inspired by the area, written and recorded by the young people.Members of the public can pick up an mp3 and map from Deptford Lounge anytime between 11 am and 2 pmthis coming Saturday 11th August, and  Saturday the 18th for a completely FREE and unique experience of Deptford. Last week we had a trial run of the audio tours and had wonderful feedback.

“Breathtaking!”,  Olowale, aged 9.

“I have learnt so many new things about Deptford. I never knew why the anchor was there!”, Patience, who came with her children.

Anyone interested should head into Deptford Lounge where we will be giving out the tour packs, which are exchanged for a deposited item, to be returned at the end of the tour'. 

Monday, August 06, 2012

Brockley Grove Street Art

This mural is outside Crofton Park Baptist Church in Brockley Grove SE4. I am guessing that it was painted as part of the commemorations for the 200th anniversary of the Slave Trade Act in 2007, as it is themed around slavery.

The mural was presumably commissioned by the Church, though it appears to criticise the hypocrisy of those Christians involved in the slave trade. The central figure says 'vote for Christian values' while behind his back a procession of slaves are led ashore from a ship (or is he supposed to be a William Wilberforce character urging the abolition of slavery in line with 'Christian values'?). The final panel says 'Slavery still exists in many forms', showing a child soldier, a prostitute, a sweatshop and a DVD seller.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Return of fftang! fftang!

Following a successful event in April, fftang! fftang! return to the Amersham Arms in New Cross on Saturday 11 August for a free 'rum-fuelled carnival jam of global beats and tropical bass for afro ravers, latin funksters and balkan b-boys with live percussion over the top'.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Deptford X 2012

I'm out of town for the first week of Deptford X, but suffice it to say that there's a lot to see and do at this year's contemporary art festival - full programme here.

Couple of events I am sad to be missing, but you don't have to:

Walking In The Footsteps Of Deptford’s Jack In The Green
Wednesday 1st Aug 11am - 4pm, starting out at Utrophia in Deptford High Street.

'David Aylward’s Rediscovered Urban Rituals, Ancient and Modern, Real and Imagined, Present this event. A talk, walk and the making of a collaborative improvised soundtrack to a experimental film that was produced to illustrate a mayday in Deptford 2006. No musical experience needed, although feel free to bring any small instruments. You may like to bring comfortable footwear'

Three-sided football tournament- Deptford Psychogeographical Association 
Saturday 4 August, 11 am in Fordham Park, New Cross

'Three-sided football (3SF) is a variation of football with three teams playing on a hexagonal pitch. It was devised by the Danish artist Asger Jorn to explain his notion of triolectics, a refinement of the Marxian concept of dialectics. Jorn wrote several essays during the late 1950s and early 1960s elucidating the concept but, as he admitted himself, struggled to define his concept using the written word. By providing the example of three-sided football, Jorn felt he was better able to give meaning to the flavour and texture of the triolectical method.

While it is not known whether Jorn ever participated in a real game of three-sided football, a number of games have been played and recorded by psychogeographical groups over the last twenty years. Some of the participants in these early experiments came together in 2011 to found a Deptford Three-Sided Football Club, and games have been held bi-monthly during 2012 to develop the tactics and strategies of the game.

The three-sided football tournament proposed by the club for Deptford X is intended to bring together creative protagonists from both the local area and across Europe who are interested in exploring the interaction between sport, art and non-linear game theory'.

There have been a number of three-sided games played recently in the local area, including in Deptford Park and on Goldsmiths green in March (the latter part of a project linking Millwall's community scheme with Goldsmiths MA in Art & Politics students). The games's situationist origins are interesting, but you don't have to worry about them, it is actually just fun to play a game where the winning team is the one that concedes the least goals (not the one that scores the most). More details at Deptford Three-Sided Football Club.