Monday, November 04, 2019

Capillary Tissues

Capillary Tissues, sound performances in the APT gallery and studio of artist Victoria Rance as part of the Deptford X festival, 2nd November 2019.

Lia Mazzari/David Bloor/Charlotte Law:

Costumes by Victoria Rance.

Offerings to goat god Pan and the Goddess alongside Deptford Creek

Phil Maguire /Mark Lyken/ghostly cassette technology:

David Bloor/a box of tricks:

Monday, October 28, 2019

Music Monday: The Drezone - 'End of Summer Blue' on Hilly Fields

SE London musician The DreZone has many talents - multi-instrumentalist, DJ and professional singer who can be found performing tributes to Prince and Stevie Wonder among others. He also writes and produces his own material, his latest song released yesterday to coincide with the turning of the seasons and the end of British Summer Time. 'End of Summer Blue' is a lush slice of classic melancholic soul which put me in mind of 'What's Going On?' period Marvin Gaye (yes Marvin, the guy who danced in Deptford!).

The video was filmed in Hilly Fields, so joining the illustrious company of several other Hilly Fields songs and videos.

The DreZone is on facebook and all the usual channels.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Long live the White Hart SE14

I've fallen back in love again with the White Hart in New Cross Gate recently. This iconic pub has been overlooking the historic junction on the old Watling Street/New Cross Road for 150 years or more, in fact I gave a whole talk about this spot in Telegraph Hill Festival a couple of years ago that is far too invovled to go into here.

I think the first time I went in the pub itself was back in the mid-noughties in the company of the late Paul Hendrich and others. In those days the pub was under the management of local character Ken Linwood, there followed a few years in which he tried to turn it into a strip club etc. I didn't agree with all that, but hey keeping a pub going in the middle of a busy road in SE London is difficult so it was easier to criticise than to see a way forward.

Since then pub has been refurbished but without losing its soul. Most recently it has faced an apparent threat from the people who own the bulding - the Wellington Pub Group have wanted to redevelop the upper floors of The White Hart into residential flats. Experience elsewhere has shown that when this happens new residents soon start complaining about noise and late nights and restrictions on the licence threaten the viability of the pub. Back in August though Lewisham Council turned down the planning application after more than 3,000 people signed a petition against the plans. Hopefully Patrick and Joseph Ryan, who currently run the pub, can keep it going for the foreseeable future.

I love the Irish music session there on Sundays (2 pm to 4 pm),  last week there were five fiddles, two flutes, a whistle, a guitar, a bodhran and an accordion and there were sublime moments when all of these meshed together perfectly. Irish sessions are one of the great gifts of London pubs to the world (see a bit of history and my limited involvement in scene here), so everywhere that these are still happening needs to be appreciated and nourished.

Another great London pub tradition is the Sunday roast, and the White Hart certainly delivers there. The vegetarian option is a very reasonably priced nut roast in filo pastry served with potatoes, carrots, kale and a massive yorkshire pudding.

The pub now gets pretty busy on a Sunday, with the session at 2 pm followed by the pub quiz round 5 pm - so they do eventually run out of food, but thankfully not beer.

The only improvement I would like to see is a reinstatement of the stag statue on top of the building, shown here in 1912. Then nobody would have any excuse for not finding this fine pub.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Brockley Stickers 2019

Some stickers around Brockley photographed yesterday. We have:

Jewish Antifascist Action
Never Seek Permission - pigeon-themed, artist is on insta as @neverseekpermission
Extinction Rebellion - climate change rebels
esse -SE London crew who did a zine I think
3 Hangers - retro clothes sellers
I should not be here - photo zine and t-shirts, image is from 1984 Sisters of Mercy E.P. ‘Body & Soul’


Monday, August 26, 2019

Extinction Rebellion on Blackheath

Last weekend (17-18 August) saw local supporters of the climate change movement Extinction Rebellion stage a series of protests, workshops and other events in Greenwich and Blackheath.

The weekend started on Saturday morning (17/8/2019) with a  couple of hundred people joining a procession from the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, up through Greenwich Park and on to Blackheath.

'Towards the Common'

A key local focus is opposition to the planned new Silvertown Tunnel river crossing, which campaigners say will simply increase traffic. On 9 August 2019 a protest blocked traffic in the Blackwall Tunnel area.

In Greenwich park

Briefly stopping the traffic on the A2 across Blackheath

Tents set up on Blackheath for the weekend gathering (scene also of the Climate Camp ten years ago)

'South East London Rebel Rising'
Local Extinction Rebellion groups have now now been established in Lewisham, Greenwich, Southwark, Lambeth, Bexley and Bromley.  Along with other groups across the country they are now planning for a major action in central London in October

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Deptford Island Disco

At APT Gallerty, Creekside SE8, 'Deptford Island Disco' includes 'Deptford Island Discs', inviting people to select their own songs and tell us why.

Careless Whispers, Being Boring, Yeah!, I was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar

For what you dream of, Push the Button
River by Joni Mitchell

Friday, August 02, 2019

Southbank skateboarding saved - exhibition

Great exhibition at the Bermondsey Project Space (183 Bermondsey St SE1) on the history of skateboarding on London's Southbank from its origins in the 1970s through to the successful 'Long Live Southbank' campaign to see off a recent threat to redevelop the space.

Some cool flyers from 80s/90s:

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Police Raid Forest Hill Gay Club (1987)

From London LGBT paper 'Capital Gay' (2 October 1987), a report of police raiding a gay club in Forest Hill in 1987, prompting the headline: "Clear out of Forest Hill! Police Want Gays Confined to the West End." 

The target was Frolic at 240 Stanstead Road, SE23 which on Saturday September 19th was raided by '30 officers, some wearing rubber gloves' who 'ordered customers off the premises'. The club was closed down and owner Phillippe Sinclair was summonsed to appear in court charged with licensing offences including serving non-members after pub hours (not sure if it later re-opened, anybody know?)

Local police Chief Superintendant John Taylor was reported to have said 'Gays belong in the West End, not out here'. 

The club promoted itself as 'South London's most exclusive gay nite club' with events that summer including a benefit for HIV organisation Terrence Higgins Trust.

Advert in Capital Gay, 14 August 1987

Monday, June 03, 2019

Deptford Gay Disco 1976

South East London gaysoc apparently grew out of Goldsmiths gay society and by 1976 was putting on what may have been the first 'regular gay disco' in the area - 'with upward of 60 local gays attending' -  at the Deptford Albany (then at its old building in Creek Road). 

Source: Gay News (London) March 11-24, 1976

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Balwinder Singh Rana recalls the Battle of Lewisham 1977

Interesting recent article by James Rippingale at Al Jazeera. In  'Lewisham, London 1977: Notes on fighting fascism' (24 November 2018) 'Balwinder Singh Rana, a 71-year-old anti-fascist, recalls the day he and thousands of others took on the National Front' in the August 1977 'Battle of Lewisham'. Here's a few extracts:

'"It was the only time in my life I thought I'd probably die. I couldn't breathe," says 71-year-old Balwinder Singh Rana. He recalls the mass of bodies pressed together as police separated anti-fascist protesters from 500 National Front marchers gathered at the bottom of Clifton Rise in the South-East London borough of Lewisham...

[At Ladywell]  "One of my comrades from the SWP approached me and gave me a couple of flares which I wrapped up in a newspaper and hid in my belt," recalls Rana. "He asked me to take a dozen people quietly and make our way here," he adds, gesturing towards Clifton Rise, now awash with pigeons. Then we noticed hundreds of other people were trying to do the same... We let the police pass, we let the [National Front] honour guard pass and when they got to about here," he says, motioning to a space on Pagnell Street, "we started chucking everything we could. Rocks, bottles, flares".

Several of the adjacent houses were derelict. Antifascists concealed on the upper floors and behind garden walls threw bricks at the marchers. Rana chuckles to himself as he recalls members of the National Front cowering in doorways.

[in Lewisham town centre]  'police equipped with riot shields and batons descended upon the protesters "People who were sitting in their own homes were suddenly involved - young or old. People who'd been watching TV. They came out ... I even saw some black old ladies from upstairs windows throwing cauliflowers at the police"'.

Balwinder Singh Rana took part in our commemorative events in 2007 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Battle of Lewisham, we did a walk around the route together which also included Red Saunders, founder of Rock Against Racism.

There's lots more information about the Battle of Lewisham here at Transpontine - to read all the posts see here.