Thursday, December 23, 2004

Winter Folk Stuff in SE London

That was a year and a half, really. I am now off to be sealed in to the trunk of an enchanted oak-tree, somewhere on Telegraph Hill, New Cross, where I shall be padded in with moss and be groomed by pine-martins and fed chestnuts and drops of mead by my trained army of squirrels who shall also defend my tree from any that would disturb my rest.
I shall arise again when I am requires, 10th January for Jeremy Harte's talk on 'Fairy Tradtions' at SELFS and the next SELFS newsletter will be gathered by my faithful information magpie, Philbin, and typed up by my crack Badger-squad.
Before I go, however, there’s a couple of folky events in south-east London you may want to know about. Blackheath Morris Men are dancing around Blackheath on Boxing Day (also known as St. Stephens Day and the 26th December), with the Fowlers Troop Molly and the [insert name here] Mummers. There’ll be at there pubs are around these times (as it is with this sort of thing, times as ‘ish’): 12:00 Princess of Wales on Blackheath, 14:00 The Crown, Tranquil Vale in Blackheath Village and 15:00 The Duke of Edinburgh, Lee High Rd, near the Lee end of the road (Tiger's Heads, Sainsbury's etc.). Best just hang around the pub.
Bigger and louder is the Lions Part Twelfth Night celebrations. It's that time of year again, see the Lions Part website for pictures from earlier years, here’s the details: Monday 3 January 2005, 2:15pm
Celebration of the New Year mixing ancient seasonal customs with contemporary festivity ON THE BANKSIDE, OUTSIDE SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE.
THE HOLLY MAN FROM THE THAMES To herald the celebration, the extraordinary HOLLY MAN, the Winter guise of the GREEN MAN (from our pub signs, pagan myths and folklore), decked in fantastic green garb and evergreen foliage, appears from the River Thames brought by the Thames Cutter, Master Shipbroker.
THE MUMMER'S PLAY The MUMMERS will then process to the BANKSIDE JETTY, and perform the traditional 'freestyle' FOLK COMBAT PLAY of St. George, featuring the Turkey Sniper, Clever Legs, the Old 'Oss and many others, dressed in their spectacular 'guizes'. The play is full of wild verse and boisterous action, a time-honoured part of the season recorded from the Crusades.
KING BEAN AND QUEEN PEA CAKES distributed at the end of the play have a BEAN and a PEA hidden in two of them. Those who find them are hailed KING and QUEEN for the day and crowned with ceremony. They then lead the people through the streets to the historic GEORGE INN in Borough High Street for a fine warming up with STORYTELLING, the KISSING WISHING TREE and more DANCING. TWELFTH NIGHT IS FREE, accessible to all and will happen whatever the weather.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Damaged Goods

The new Asda supermarket on the Old Kent Road occupies the site where two of the best albums of the late 1970s were recorded- 'Entertainment' by the Gang of Four and Ian Dury's 'New Boots and Panties'. The studio at 488 Old Kent Road was set up in the late 1960s as Maximum Sound Studios, and was used extensively by Manfred Mann. When Manfred bought it in the early 1970s, it was renamed The Workhouse. Others who recorded there included Motorhead, The Damned, This Heat, Squeeze and The Long Ryders, while Musical Youth's 1982 Number One 'Pass the Duchee' was mixed there. The studio was bought by Pete Waterman in the late 1980s, but burnt down soon afterwards (part of it surived as a rehearsal stuido).

Another building on the Asda site was the TV rental shop on the corner of Ossory Road. Squatted from October 2002 until its eviction by Asda/Walmart in January 2004, itt was the scene of the 'Reclaim the Future 2' party in February 2003, when 2000 people attended for an anti-war/anti-capitalist benefit with bands, DJs, films and workshops. It also served as the focus for the Dis-Asda campaign against the supermarket, the failure of which is now there for everyone to see.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Bellevue rendezvous

Back in New Cross, Cafe Crema, at 306 New Cross Road next door to Prangsta and Cyclic Art, is having "mighty soul voice" of Belleville tonight, which is accompanied by "guitar, harmonica and sampled beats" at their extablishment tonight (Friday 17th).
£3 not only gets you this gig but a hot meal too, which an be washed down with the cafe's range of beers, wines, fair-trade tea and their hot-choclate.
Starts at 8.00, café open from 7.00. Call Chris for more info: 07905 961 876. Or phone the café on: 020 8320 2317

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Scaledown: SE London invades Fitzrovia (or something)

Scaledown is a brilliant music club runs by a south-east Londoner in the upstairs room of the King & Queen pub, 1 Foley St, W1W 6DL. The concept is that performers give 15 minute performances with minimal gubbins, the music is either acoustic, played from a lap-top or just the human voice. I gave a spoken word performance there once and got out intact too. It's a relaxed and enjoyable way of seeing what talent is out there.

This Friday, 17th, from 7pm and most of their performers are from the New Cross / Greenwich area. The line up is (in alphabetical order):

Rebecca Closure, of Blackheath, is “A unique solo performance from an artist who has previously appeared here under the name fs ion .Here promising us something new for our Winter special. Rebecca's work is always challenging, intelligent and weirdly groovy.”

Lyndsey Cockwell, New Cross,: Scaledown says “For the last year Lyndsey has been taking her unique music all over the world for a series of solo performances, so we're delighted to welcome her back to London with her unique mix of soulful voice, funky, deep bass guitar and lo-fi sampling. Lyndsey's combining of the singer/songwriter's craft with a lateral thinking aproach to arrangements makes for an engaging but always warm performance.”

Sharon Gal, another New Crosser, as the best of us are,: “Bassist and vocalist with innovative improv power-trio Voltage (and originally a punk rocker from Israel). Sharon here gives a solo performance with electronics, amplified objects and her extraordinary voice. Sharon can also be heard every week on Resonance FM as co-host with Edwin Pouncey of the show "Diggers".”

Claire Lemmon & Melanie Woods, Greenwich: “Mainstays of the adventurous indie band "Sidi Bou Said" and now the creative force in "Eva Lema". Claire and Melanie perform a set of songs with starkest arrangements possible- taking the "scaledown" concept to its logical conclusion; performing acapella.

Wet Dog, neither I nor Scaledown know where Wetdog are from but we like the look of where they’re at: “There's already a healthy buzz about this young trio which has seen them compared to The Slits, The Fall and "Skank Bloc Belogna" period Scritti Politti- a kind of neo post punk perhaps? For this performance the group will be scaling down to suit the more intimate environment. But the power and innovation of their songs will remain.”

The last act, Stereoclic, is Scaledown co-host and my mate RichardMelodian playing, Badge collecting, Morris Dancing, Reason dollingSanderson. He lives in Hither Green.

There y’go, a good tip for music fans, a brilliant tip for stalkers and if your thing is to stalk innovative musicians and you like south-east London, fill yr boots son.

Tickets to Heaven

If you're free this weekend, which may be a long shot, I don't know, why not get really into the Yule spirit with Geoids Amateur Operatic Society's show 'Tickets to Heaven', a collection of 22 Victorian ballads celebrating, kinky, morbid buggers that the Victorians were, "blighted love, death or heroism and occasionally all three with a preposterous backstage melodrama full of divas, jealousies, political intrigue, misunderstandings and family reunions.

Each show starts at 7.30 and the run ends this Saturday (18th), tickets are £8/£6 (which includes Lambeth and Southwark residents). The venue is an intriguing theatre that appears to be underneath the main concourse of Waterloo station. More details can be found
here and a map here.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


Treated myself yesterday to the wonderful Rough Trade shops Indiepop 1 compilation, transporting me back to the late 1980s, Talulah Gosh, early Creation, Sarah Records, paisley shirts and the Camden Falcon. The compilation includes 46 tracks, some from that era, including South London jingle jangle favourites The Field Mice and The June Brides, and some more recent in a similar vein. In the booklet notes, Matt Haynes of Sarah Records reminds us of the DIY ethos of this scene: 'everywhere you looked... people were doing things: wrting letters, editing fanzines, inventing bands, compiling cassettes, setting-up record labels, plotting revolutions'. He also remarks on the cool sexual politics of a scene where women musicians were prominent, and boys didn't feel the need to be geezers (this was after all just before the Brit pop counter-revolution). Of course this aesthetic has continually bubbled up, from Riot Grrrl to Belle & Sebastien, but in an age when every pre-punk bloke-rock cliche from heavy metal to prog has been disinterred, it is surely time for another revolt of the 'twee' underground.

The booklet also includes this fab old flyer from an indiepop night at the Fountain in Deptford. I think this was before I lived round here - does anybody know when it happened, or have any memories of it?

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Longest Night

21st December is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. The sun will rise over London at 8.03 am. A good, if cold, place to watch it happen is Brockley Stone Circle, a circle made by local artists and the like in Hilly Fields. This astronomically correct stone circle dates all the way back to 2000AD.
As with last year, no formal ritual is planned, come along and do your own thing, be it private or public, spiritual, astronomical or personal, before going to work (or bed or where ever). The solstice itself is at 12.41am.

The nearest stations to Hilly Fields are Ladywell, Brockley and Croften Park. Buses are the 171, 172, 122 and 484.
Info and map of Hilly Fields is here. Some useful information about the Solstices can be found on the National Maritime Museum’s website.

SELFS Yule Quiz

It’s the SELFS Yule quiz on Monday 13th December from 7.30pm and social which means everyone gets into SELFS free, have a laugh and try and win something on the quiz. Come check our horns, hooves and teeth and share with us your stories, schemes and dreams.

The quiz will be the usual mixture of questions on the themes SELFS interests itself in: “Paganism, Folklore, Forteana, High Strangeness and the Occult”, some questions will be easy, some a bit harder and a few will be a bit silly. A lot of them will be multiple choice so everyone will get some sort of chance.

There’s a cash first prize, a prize for best team name and sundry other prizes for runners up. Do come and join in.

SELFS meets every second Monday of the month upstairs at The Spanish Galleon, 48 Greenwich Church Street, SE10 9BL. Talks start at 8.00pm and costs £2.50 / £1.50 concessions (except for December which is free.)

Greenwich Mainline & DLR: Turn left from the main exit, walk about 5-10 minutes, the Galleon is on your right, at the cross-roads.

Cutty Sark DLR: Turn left from the station, right when you get to the road, the Spanish Galleon is across the road.
Buses: 177, 180, 188, 199, 286, 386.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Use Your Loaf

The Use Your Loaf Collective are back in action, several months after their Deptford centre was evicted. While still looking for a new permanent home, they are holding a party on Friday 17th December, 7.00 - 11.30pm, promising 'scrumptious food... good beer... live music...wicked gossip and sparkly people'. All happening at the Open Arts Platform, Hales St, Deptford.

Use Your Loaf Centre for Social Solidarity was a squatted project at 227 Deptford High Street. A semi-derelict former bakers shop was transformed for a couple of years into a space for cafes, meetings, music and general hanging out. Then in July, property developers Glen International boarded up the building. The collective got back in, and 30 people saw off High Court bailiffs in August. After a last acoustic music social, featuring among other things a terrible version of 'Career Opportunities' by me accompanied by mandolin, Use Your Loaf was finally evicted at the beginning of Spetember when 30 bailiffs and riot police smashed their way through the front door. Boo hoo - but the Loaf will rise again! Further information:

Monday, December 06, 2004

So Farewell then Pop of the Tops

Pop of the tops started life as an eager, wide-eyed and mildly loopy guitar music club as the much-missed Paradise Bar. It's was loud, it was enthusiastic, it was good.

Then the Paradise Bar was closed down and Pop of the Tops was evicted. The Music Tourist Board still thrives and there's plenty going on in New Cross, as this blog-zine demonstrates but we'll miss the crazed pup that was PotT.

But not with out one final flourish. The Lams, Crash Convention, Nebraska, M.A.S.S., Corporation:Blend, Digital Sneakers are going out with a bang (crash and a wallop) this Thursday, 9th December. Dj-ing is from The Fairies Band, Dirty Sounds and Captain Kev of The Cut Throats is doing MC'ing duties.

The venue is, sadly not the Paradise Bar, I think that’s heading toward bistro-hell for a while, will be Goldsmiths Student Union, Dixon Road, New Cross. It’s £4 / £2 concs and you can get tons more detail

The irony that Top of the Pops, the BBC's wet-brained pop program is being binned at around the same time as this farewell gig hasn't escaped me, either. It’s a pity I’m seeing a
kraut-rock Gamelan band play that night, though but, hey, it’s not everyday that two sets of mates support Lee Renaldo.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

South London Radical History Group

We’re back, we’re bad, it’s the return of the SOUTH LONDON RADICAL HISTORY GROUP

So. Though our regular venue, the very lovely Use Your Loaf squat centre in Deptford, was evicted in September, we’re still kicking… After a short rest and a brisk walk, e’re getting things together again, at a new venue. Next Meeting: WEDNESDAY 15TH DECEMBER, 8PM at 56a Info Shop, 56 Crampton Street, SE17 (nearest tube: Elephant and Castle).

Let’s discuss: THE HISTORY OF SQUAT CENTRES IN LONDON, 1970S - 2004... History, experiences, moans, groans, grumbles, high points, surreal stories... Licenses and legalisation: selling out or survival? The past, the present, the future...

The good folk at 56a are working towards a chronology of squatted spaces in London. If you have fliers or posters to donate or for copying, to fill in the gaps in their records, bring em along...PLUS: If you’re interested in a quick tour of 56a’s famous archive of radical papers, mags, leaflets, etc,come along at 7.30.

email: Write: c/o 56a info Shop, 56 Crampton St, London, SE17.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Saving the Commons

Back from the pleasingly packed Anarchist Bookfair, clutching the usual collection of radical product from the four corners of the world, including some South London gems. Hot off the press is a new pamphlet, 'Down with the Fences: Battles for the Commons in South London' (Past Tense Publications) describing how so many of our remaining green spaces have been 'preserved from development by collective action' over the centuries. The battles of Plumstead, Wandsworth and Sydenham commons are described in detail, as well as the riotous fence levellers who saved One Tree Hill in Honor Oak from becoming a private golf course just over a hundred years ago. You don't have to wait another year to pick up a copy from the next bookfair - the pamphlet is available now from 56a Info Shop, 56a Crampton Street, SE17 3AE.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Live at the Montague Arms 1971

Here's the cover of the now legendary 1971 album referred to below. More details here.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

On The Lookout

The music clubs of south-London are like mushrooms. They spring up in all sorts of unlikely places and if you go ahead and try them they are often tasty, sometimes mind expanding and occasionally cause you to soil yourself and die. So take care when sampling music clubs and mushrooms.

One of the latest crop is ‘On The Lookout’ which starts its first night in the function room of The Kings Arms, 25 Roupell Street, (the nearest Tubes are Waterloo and Southwark) this Saturday 27th December from 7pm. The
Lost Club message board, which I perloined this from, promises “a minimally organised night. Nothing fancy. An open floor for anyone with anything vaguely interesting to say. Music, talks, lectures, discussions, rants etc..

Certainly playing with be Adrian R. Shaw, whom you can read about
here, and a stall by The Meowing Kitten who’ll be supplying ‘uv clubwear’ and ‘one off t-shirts’ and not, sadly, a small furry animals with claws.

They seem pretty hopeful that people will turn up and do turns. If you’re not at the Dog & Bell Pickle Contest this Saturday night, in the Waterloo area and happen to have, say, a thumb piano, accordion or musical saw with you, they may well be pleased to see you.

Magical Pubs in South London Pt. 2

This is a continuation, due to length, of the Magical pub list I started here.
The Dog & Bell, Deptford

Loving this place is a sign of my advancing of my years and slowing pace, yes, but also of the maturing of my tastes. The Dog & Bell is a real ale pub, is always has five cask ales on the go, including guest ales and some interesting bottled boozes too. By all the gods that be, I have drunk some fine beer in this place. It has a scruffy and eccentric clientele and an ivy-covered corner in the beer garden. It is a perfect place for a chat with friends over a pint. Perfect.

Time was I wouldn’t have given a toss about the Dog & Bell being south-east London CAMRA’s ‘
Pub of the Year 2004’ but nowadays that’s not only that which excited me there, there’s also the ‘Home Made Pickle Contest’ CAMRA are running with the pub on the 27th November.

Do not pity me, though, for that sort of thing is good.

The Cricketers, Greenwich

The Cricketers starts well. It’s pubby, what some people might mistake for ‘dingy’, with three cask ales, toasted cheese sarnies, a book on local history on sale behind the bar and décor doesn’t look forced or contrived.

There are also board games lying around so you can play connect-four or drafts while you drink, which is conducive to the relaxed atmosphere. All of this is good, there are not enough ‘actual’ pubs in the world and lots of brightly-lit, soul-less holes trying to fake it.

The magic at The Cricketers really happens on a Tuesday night, of all nights. The
Greenwich Traditional Music Co-Operative get their fiddles, flutes and assorted squeeze-boxes out and start playing traditional English folk tunes.

If that doesn’t constrict your accordion, and I accept that my tastes can lean toward the ‘beardy’, then at around 10pm on this night the bar staff dole out free cheddar and biscuits to go with your beer and music. If that isn’t magical, then I don’t know what is.

Wibbly Wobbly, Surrey Quays

‘Pub’ is, of course, an abbreviation of ‘public house’, a house anyone can walk into and fill themselves with booze and crisps for money. This place is a barge sitting in Greenland Docks in Surrey Quays but its interior is ‘pure pub’ making it, perhaps, a ‘public house boat’. Anyway, enough of that, there’s a beer-garden that is an adjacent floating platform performing a ‘beer garden’ function.

It’s a site to see, really. One day I dream of taking charge of the pub, having a few beers by my drinking arm, a jar of pickled-onions under my right-arm and cutting the moorings. I would then tour the world, searching for ancient sacred sites and bizarre animals, hither-to unknown to science, on my floating pub. I can see the telly series based on these adventures on BBC3 already. Let it be known that I would like the part of ‘Skitster’ to be played by Emily Woof, if possible.

The Montague Arms, New Cross Gate

The location isn’t promising, the Monty is on the very boundary where bouncy New Cross becomes edgy Peckham and the exterior looks ominous, there’s big black boards with ‘COACH PARTIES WELCOME’ painted on them.

And s othe coach-parties should come. Along with the Brockley Stone Circle, the ruins of Lesnes Abbey and the wonky dinosaurs of Crystal Palace Park, the Montague Arms is one of the seven (or more) wonders of south-east London. The interior is full of old naval equipment and trinkets and stuffed animals and human skeletons watch you are you enjoy your ale. Think of an old, dusty museum that had been opened as a pub without clearing out the exhibits.

One of the family who run the pub, they may not be related but them seem like one big family, collected old psychedelic projectors so on the stage, there’s a stage, one can often enjoy illuminations of zodiacal signs and other strange beasts.

And of the stage, well, many have performed there, local music clubs such as Fear of Music, the
Lost Club and Throbb put on interesting and eccentric music there but, good though many of them are, none of them can beat the house entertainment.

I know not his name despite seeing him often. When the coach parties come to the Montague Arms on a Saturday night they, and any locals who potter in, are entertained by a blind organist who does ‘interpretations’ of both current pop songs, classic tracks and other surprises. This may be more than one evening rolled into one by my, frankly, harmed and faulty mind but in one sitting I have heard ‘Closest Thing to Crazy” by pony-loving Katie Mela-woo-warr, David Bowies ‘Life on Mars’ and the hymn ‘Jerusalem’ all played on a moog, often in a jaunty oompha style. All of these are interspersed with abuse hurled at the bemused Dutch and German coach parties and offers to let someone from the audience to get up and sing to the locals.

It’s very much like Bill Bailey when he performs Cockney versions of rock songs but real and performed by someone with south-east London engrained into them. In, remember, the strangest looking pub you will ever sit in. And according to
this page and this page on the UK Cabaret Records website, not only has he been doing in since 1972 but he’s also had four live albums out of him and his mates insulting the big-haired tourists of yesteryear and mingling Beatles songs with Hawkwind. The man’s a dangerous genius.

It’s both Yule and my birthday in December. Have you enjoyed reading this? Those records must be out there somewhere. You know what to do.

Magical Pubs in South London

A comment attached to Neil’s ‘Magic Pubs of South London’ post read: “The Wickham Arms in Brockley is a great little pub as well.”

Which is fantastic, thank you, all comments and reviews are welcome at Transpontine but I do feel the wrong end of the stick was grasped, if only slightly, of that particular piece. While the Spanish Galleon and The George Inn are two good pubs that have strange and magical meetings in them,
SELFS and WiccaUK, and the Fox on the Hill is a Wetherspoon’s pub where people discuss the Northern Traditions over their wether-burgers and cheap pints of Summer Lightning, these are pubs where magical happening take place and not, strictly speaking, pubs with a sense in south-east London that have a sense of magic about them.

Though another group I am jolly fond of, ‘PSI in the Pub’ used the Fox on the Hill for a discussion on parapsychology and it has a slightly pagan Fox shrine at the front and a totem-pole nearby so maybe this particular member of the Wetherspoon’s chain is touched by some manner of magical influence.

Anyway, I digress. As far as I know, no magical or paranormally inclined groups meet at the Wickham Arms in Brockley, (if any do, please let us know) and while it’s a nice pub that has plenty for the Karaoke fan, I’m afraid it does not hold too much of a spell over me.

Which is what I want to talk about, Arthur Machen once
said that he found “the average church, considered as a house of preaching, is a much more poisonous place than the average tavern;” and I would agree with the Welsh git as far as a pub, a good pub, a place where people gather, talk, live their lives, love their loves and eat their salt & vinegar crisps is a sacred space.

Particularly these three pubs, which are the first of seven pubs in south-east London, that I think are magical:

The Greenwich Union, Greenwich

(Click any pub names in this ramble to obtain less bias details, the address and how to get there.)

While the Union is often frequented by the braying, moneyed and preening end of Greenwich’s community, not to mention cursed some pretty banal live musicians, the spell of this place is worked by the beer.
Raspberry beer, properly brewed lager that shows one why the damn stuff caught on in the first place, Chocolaty stout and many other interesting brews are sold there. They are tasty and yet not a gimmick.

And they are all brewed up the road in Charlton. When it comes to beer it is best if one drinks local and acts mental. Avoid the fiddly food, though.

The Sun & Doves, Camberwell

Again, this pub/bistro is toward the ‘trendy’ and ‘a tad over-priced’ end of the spectrum but it makes it just for the art on the walls, which is often ‘loopy’ and the garden. The garden sits in three different sections and one could easily hide in some parts. There is a totem pole in the centre, at least there was the last time I was there, that is made up of eyes, each one slightly more open than the last. I like to sit in the sun there, pint in hand, watching this eye open (and then close) before me.

That might be a combination of drink and heat-stroke though.

Moonbow Jakes, Brockley

Moonbow Jakes makes a good intermediary between the ‘swanky’ pubs and bars and the more beardy, old man venues we shall be encountering in the next couple of entries. There are three MJ’s, one in Catford, which I’ve never been to, one in New Cross with a record shop in the basement and the one I am concerned with here, the Brockley Moonbow Jakes.

Part café/bistro during the day, with newspapers, coffee and comfy sofas, at night this place takes on the air of a scruffy bar with beer, wine, live music and pastry products. It captured my heart the night that I and my Transpontine fellow-conspirator Neil New-X drank very large bottles of beer whilst being harangued by an insane New Zealander who was hosting a poetry night at the bar that night to get up and do some poems ourselves. We had no poetry, I had a few things I had written for a party Clare B and I were having later in the week, blessings to go on presents and the like, and I volunteered those. The compare said ‘yes’, bought me another very-large-bottle-of-beer and I managed to totally avoid making, what would have been, my extremely drunken live poetry debut. There were too many poets booked anyway.

I think that story, while utterly pointless, touches on some of the things that are good about south-east London and, indeed, life itself.
Read Part two here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Reclaim the Venue!

Once upon a time The Venue in New Cross was one of the best places in London for bands. In fact, even before it was refurbished as The Venue it was a key stopping off place on the alternative gig circuit as the plain old Harp Club (I recently came across a Wire bootleg recorded there in 1985). In the 1990s, Blur, Pulp, Oasis, PJ Harvey and Radiohead all played there, and people came from all over to see them. I remember queuing half way down to New Cross station to see Chumbawamba. At some point it all went wrong, and The Venue switched to cover bands.

On December 3rd the first step towards reclaiming The Venue as somewhere worth going to will take place when Angular Records hold their first birthday party and tenth event in the bar there. The line up's not confirmed yet, but as it will be a release party for The Long Blondes 'Giddy Stratospheres' single, the appearance of Sheffield's finest might be expected. Definitely not to be missed.


Souk is the weekend party at the end of a week long ‘Islamic Awareness Week’ taking place this week at The Globe Theatre on Bankside. The word ‘souk’ means ‘market’ or ‘bazaar’; the one in Marrakech is a labyrinth of fabrics, spices and hands trying to drag you in their stall. The Globe souk, on Saturday 27th November and Sunday 28th, between 10am and 6.30pm, will have “contemporary arts which draw inspiration from Islamic traditions. Visitors will be able to see how work is produced and buy from the stallholders.

Unlike Marrakech, this souk will probably not have anyone offering sweaty tourists “herbal viagra for the men and woman, every night, yes” or snake-charmers coming at you with bloody big pythons shouting “photograph!

I still miss the place.

The Globe will also have storytellers from the Khayaal Theatre Company telling tales from all over the Muslim world that celebrate the connection between the market-place and story telling. Of a more serious bent are the lectures taking place over each day, including subjects such as: “The Concept of the Hereafter in Islam”, “Islamic Calligraphy”, “Art and Alchemy” and “Music and Geometry”. You can find the whole program here.

The whole event is free to attend, which makes it worth stepping in just to see the inside of The Globe.

The Art of Noise

Philbin also brings me news of another music / art cross-over. Lewisham Arthouse, 140 Lewisham Way, SE14, has monthly improvised music sessions within its walls. The next one is on Sunday 28th November.

Jeff Cloke on ‘resonation’ and Tony Moore on cello are PANE who say this on their website: “The work proceeds, not through points in time, but through moments in space. We do not 'make music'; the music is simply the sounds the audience listen to when they put themselves in the frame of mind to be music listeners”.

Meanwhile, violinist Angharad Davies, who is also on the bill, creates: “beautiful, a delicate and ethereal evocation of ghost tones” and then “grittier exercises in roughly bowed drone harmonics” according to this website.

I do enjoy a bit of experimental string, me. The performance costs £5 / £3 concessions and, what’s more, it starts at the particularly civilised time of 3.30pm which may mean that local punters can be home in time for the Antiques Roadshow.

What Sound?

Philbin, the little Transpontine information magpie has fluttered back through my window with a few more flyers in her beak.

I’ve not been to the Open Arts Platform on Hales Street, off Deptford High Street, yet but I believe I shall soon. From 19th November to 3rd December they are having an exhibition dedicated to Noises, “Noises you don’t even notice. Noises you filter out and dismiss as simply noises…” I'm sure you get the idea. The exhibition is offering the potentially synesthesiac delight of “21 artists [who] deal with the idea of NOISES without using sound.
"Go on, then", I say. Contact the gallery on 0207 232 1041 or the curator, Toby Clarkson, on 07952 765 306. The gallery can be found around about here.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Cafe Crema Nights

Lewisham is the only London borough without a cinema, but that's no excuse for not seeing some good films. DIY film collectives Exploding Cinema and My Eyes, My Eyes have both put on nights in New Cross in the past year (at the Hatcham Liberal CLub and the Montague Arms respectively) and now you can enjoy film screenings in Cafe Crema, 306 New Cross Road. On December 21st they are holding a Christmas party, showing ‘Down by Law’, a classic 1986 black and white Jim Jarmusch film with Tom Waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni as escaped convicts lost in the Everglades (and plenty of Tom Waits music).

The cafe is also holding music nights. Saturday November 27th promises Sundown Sinners with their 'sweet country ska' plus acoustic open mic slot, while on December 18th it's Belleville described as 'a mighty soul voice plus guitar/harmonica and sampled beats'.

Events start at 8 pm, with the cafe open from 7, with entrance only £3 including a hot meal. Call Chris for more info: 07905 961 876.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Sniff out The Glue Rooms

Wednesday 24th November is the last Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for the Glue Rooms monthly mixture of art, film and music at the Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, right near New Cross station, 8pm to Midnight, £3. The entry is on Amersham Road.

This month the music is by Petri Huurinanen, Stephen Moyes, Stuart Fisher & Evrah, although I'm not sure if their playing individually or as an improv group or both, Sculpture: audio tape and circuit bent instruments and Liberation Jumpsuit an Altern8 tribute are to be confirmed.

Even though I'm not sure if some of these are musical acts or artistic installations, the Glue Rooms are good, you should go.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The Only Hopes

A young New Cross-based band have entered the Xfm Rock School competition. The Only Hopes have recorded a version of The Pixies classic 'Gigantic'. You can hear it and the other entries here, and will be able to vote for you favourite track at the weekend. Marianne Auvinet Gould (12), Billy Gordon-Orr (12) and Connor Cobby (14) stand to win music equipment for their schools (Bacon's College and Askes), as well a chance of a gig at the Hammersmith Apollo.

Monday, November 15, 2004

New Cross gigs

On Friday (19th November) it's LOST CLUB time at the Montague Arms (Queens Road, New Cross) with a line up including: Kn0wn (Jimmi Handricks and the New Cross heroes);
Twisted Charm (sounds from venus/mars); The Dirty Pins (northern fuck-off punk); Gosha Valentine (cyclic arts) and Spinmaster Plantpot (ranting poetry remedy against insomnia). It starts at 8 pm and costs £3 on the door(£ 2.50 with badge).

Then there's the launch party for Greenwich Pirate fanzine issue 2 on Monday 22nd November at the New Cross inn, 8 pm - 2am, and all the following for free: The Fucks
The HCD, Lovells Wharf and Bogus Gasman.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

We travel the spaceways

A fantastic free event at the Festival Hall on the South Bank today where a couple of hundred young people from local schools took part in Space is the Place, a tribute to the music of intergalactic visionary Sun Ra. There was a brass section in Anubis headgear, blue robed drummers, and Egyptian and Cosmic Angel dancers, all co-ordinated by Kinetika Bloco. I loved the very notion of school kids being exposed to the cosmic utopian visions of Sun Ra; you're never too young to learn that 'If you find Earth boring / just the same old same thing/ come on and sign up with Outer Spaceways Incorporated'. I noticed Robert Wyatt was in the audience, but decided against making a prat of myself by saying 'wow, you're the incredible Robert Wyatt'.

There are more free events happening in the same venue this week as part of the London Jazz Festival, including some improvisation from Clearframe tomorrow - Monday 15 Nov. - at 5.30 pm, featuring Deptford's own Charles Hayward (see the 6 Nov. posting at this site for more about this outfit).

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Deptford babysnatchers?

Anyone coming out of the Paradise Bar earlier this year would have been confronted by the huge sign opposite advertising Gilbert Deya Minsistries, the Church based at 459 New Cross Road. Today the Church is closed and is accused of being involved in baby trafficking. A court case in London this week heard evidence that desparate infertile women gave birth to 'miracle babies' after joining the church. Conveniently they were under anaesthetic at the time and didn't actually see the baby being born. Church leader Gilbert Deya is wanted in Kenya over allegations of baby trafficking, including suggestions that babies were stolen from hospitals and their real parents told that they had died. More details in today's Guardian or see this article from Kenyan press.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Strategies Against Marketecture

DaDaDa: Strategies Against Marketecture is an interesting exhibition at Temporary Contemporary, an art space in the Old Seagar Distillery opposite Deptford Bridge DLR station. It includes work by Chicks on Speed, DAT Politics, Pil and Galia Kollectiv, ROR (Revolutions on Request) and others, with a general theme of DIY appropriation of the ruins of popular culture. According to the programme "Some see spaceships in tea cups, insects in shopping carts, pagans in Tesco, erotic eruptions in videogame consoles and wonderful weird druid songs in polyphonic ring tones. Others dance to a different tune, recorded on makeshift instruments in a bedroom all their own"

I particularly liked Christopher Dobrowolski's toy size landscapes with mutant cassette and turntable soundtracks and the 3D Jesus picture with a twist. Oh and watch out for the whistling cup! It runs until 21 November 2004, open from Friday to Sunday 12-6pm (admission FREE).

Also coming up this next week is the free closing party for Soup of the Day at 'Shamleys' a subverted toy shop art thing in Brixton Village Market. The party on Thursday 18th November, 6 - 9 pm will include an open mic for performance and music by dj anoianoid and others.

Throbb Night 3

It seems that there is a music club putting something interesting on at the Montague Arms on a Friday. Not surprising either, really, it's a much loved place that is a pub/music venue crossed in equal parts with a cabinet of curiosities, a navel museum and Mrs Haversham’s spare room.

You’ll hear plenty more about it in these (web) pages, rest assured.

The next night we know about is ‘Throbb Night 3’ on Friday, 12th November. It promises to be an interesting and particularly bilious evening going by the bands and their descriptions I just got over the interweb: ‘Sid Viscous (acousticy and violiny bile)’, ‘The Breakfast Club (Eighties Bile-Thrash Wrongness)’, ‘ODDJOB (Indie-Blues-Bile)’, ‘Jacknife Kid (Hooky Rock Bile)’ and ‘
The Dirty Pins (New Cross Punky Bile)’.

So, for £3 one can be positively awash with music, and bile, from 9pm to half-past midnight in a spooky yet charming New Cross Gate venue. What more could you want?

You want the address? Ok, the Montague Arms is on the corner of Queens Road and Kender Road, New Cross Gate/Peckham way. Here’s a

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Hip Heaven

Hip Heaven is a monthly jazz-poetry night which takes place on the last Thursday of the month at where ever the nightclub Bubblegum is hidden on Deptford Broadway (the site says number '46, opposite the Antiques Warehouse').

It's either free or three pounds, depending what even site you look at, and the next one, on 25 November from 8.30pm, has Paul Taylor performing his Trombone Poetry. The idea being to combine music and poetry, I quote the website here: "music frames poems; poems shape music". Topics covered during the performance are, apparently, "jazz, drink, urban life and sopranophobia".

Which is something, I think, we can all relate to. Other acts are on, providing poetry and eclectic sounds, interested parties can email the organiser, Jazzman John, at:

Right, that's more than enough jazz.

Sumerian Stories

5000 year old stories from Iraq, “newly translated from excavated clay tablets” will be told on Sunday 21st November, from 7.30pm, in that hot-bed of ancient Sumerian culture, the Bob Hope Theatre Bar, Wythfield Road, SE9.

It’s the Story-telling in Hope group, who put on monthly story telling sessions in Bob Hope’s bar. The cost is £5, £3 concessions. I’ve been to some good nights of theirs in the past and it’s a good way to fill your brain with magical ‘stuff’ to defend yourself from the assault of Monday morning. The group delivering these stories is Zipang, the ‘Breath of Life’.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Paradise Regained?

I remember the Paradise Bar on the New Cross Road. Not as well as I should, the last time I was there I was sliding down the wall at an Angular Records event to the tune of the Long Blondes and the Fucks. The Rocklands Tuesday night club Pop of the Tops was a genuine showcase for up and coming bands that also happened to have cheap beer and a smiley crowd.

Then the neighbours complained about the noise, the place closed down and re-opened without its music licence so it could still stay open until 4am and play records as loud as it fancied but no live music was allowed which was a bit of a kick in the teeth all round.

But the DIY culture is like moss: green, furry life growing on the greyest of places and now Minxy, head pixie at Rocklands, forwarded this our way:

“Pass it on friends! Only just got this!

PARADISE BAR MEETING WEDNESDAY 10TH NOVEMBER 7PM GO AND GET YOURSELVES A TOP QUALITY VENUE I catch the bus outside the Paradise Bar, and it's out on the road pick-up / drop off / meeting point and I have never noticed this sign.
It obviously wasn't meant to be read, so hats off to Gus for having a sharp eye

I believe that the new management want to be on the side of the alternative community, so it could be good news..”

Sharp-eyed Gus reports:

“I was just walking past the Paradise t'other day, when I noticed a small sign on the wall outside. I went up and had a look, and lo, the new management are holding a public meeting about the future of the place. Now, I may be a cynical old git, but it reminded me of the similar tactics the council employs when they want to knock down a nursery and sell the land to Tesco - I believe they're legally bound to inform the public of the development, and so a small sign on a lamp-post and some small print in the local newspaper tends to suffice as their 'public announcement'. The fact that one has to get up on the step and stand a few inches from the sign to read it may mean that the new management don't really want 'the public' to attend...
But as I say, I could just be talking out of my arse. Anyway, the meeting is tomorrow (Wednesday, 10th of November 2004) at 7pm, presumably within the Bar itself. I thought you might like to know.
Don't let them turn it into another swanky 'plonk lounge' - we need all the live music venues we can get!”

We concur; see you there.

Monday, November 08, 2004

“I have mated with Brian Harvey”.

Not me, you understand, but someone who felt sufficiently delighted by the act, or the thought of the act, to write it on a metal fence down Shardeloes Road in New Cross. I have to pss it most days and it snags my mind whenever I pass. Presumably this refers to the former E17 singer and celebrity Brian Harvey, not the Computer Science author or American motorbike enthusiast.

I think what makes this bit of graffiti my favourite in New Cross in the glee in which it is written and the sheer animal brutality of the words. Look at
Brian Harvey, as the anonymous New Cross street artist would suggest, you probably would not have Brian Harvey ‘make love’ to you, neither would you ‘tumble’, ‘tangle’ or ‘share a moment of passion’ with, in my own opinion, Brian Harvey. ‘Rutting’ is for the noble stag, ‘bonking’ is for fluffy-bunnies and ‘romping’, that favourite tabloid pseudonym for sex, is what teddy-bears do in the woods after a boozy picnic in mid-Summer.

One would ‘mate’ with the bull-terrier like
Brian Harvey, the ‘act’ being pinned down perfectly in the statement.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

New cross/new thing

The Paradise Bar in New Cross gets name-checked in the November issue of Vogue magazine (UK edition). Sandwiched between adverts for Jaeger Le Coultre watches and Jean Paul Gaultier perfume is a bluffers guide to new music 'trends' including 'Art Rock', 'Country Troubador', 'Grime', 'Acid Folk' and 'City Blues', all of them apparently 'to be found in basement bars and small festivals where there is little or no distinction between the people making the music and those listening to it'. Following on from a hilarious Evening Standard article that proclaimed New Cross as the 'New Hoxton', do we have to be worried about being priced out of the area by Shoreditch trustafarians? Not if they are planning to use the Paradise Bar as the launchpad, as unfortunately it's been closed for months after losing its licence.

Message from Thee Temple

John Eden (see previous post) will be speaking at South East London Folklore Society on Monday night (8th November) on the story of ‘Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth’.

Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth began in 1981 mixing art and ritualistic occult practices, deconstructing language, sexuality and the sacred. John's presentation will summarise a history of the network and its practices, focusing specifically on his own involvement and experiences.

Upstairs at The Spanish Galleon, 48 Greenwich Church Street, SE10 9BL. Talk starts at 8.00pm and costs £2.50 / £1.50 concessions.

13 Dead (Nothing Said)

Thanks to Jon Eden and the wonders of the global blogosphere, a CD landed on my doormat the other day featuring a wonderful 1981 reggae track by Johnny Osbourne '13 Dead and Nothing Said'. This is one of a number of tracks recorded at the time inspired by anger at official indifference to the deaths of 13 young black people in a fire at 439 New Cross Road (others included Linton Kwesi Johnson's epic New Crass Massakkah).

Jon's excellent Uncarved blog is worth checking out for lots of dub stuff and and much, much more.

Magic Pubs of South London

If you are interested in entering the otherworld via a South London pub, there are a couple of new opportunities.

Nine Worlds is a group of people 'who are interested in exploring experimentally the mystical/shamanic aspects of primarily indigenous European traditions, with a largely Norse focus'. They are meeting from 2 pm on the last Saturday of each month at the Fox on the Hill, 149 Denmark Hill.

Meanwhile WiccaUK are back at The George Inn, Borough High Street, SE1 on Saturday 13th November from 2pm blunt. It’s an informal moot without a speaker that is “open to all with an interest in Paganism, Witchcraft and the Occult.” Best way to get there is to head for the ‘Borough High Street’ exit in London Bridge tube station. Look out for the WUK sign to find the room they're in, which is usually the first room on the right as you come down the court yard.

Clear Frame

'Clear Frame' are playing at the Amersham Arms on Tuesday November 9 2004. I haven't come across them before, but if this isn't a jazzy free improvisation supergroup I don't know what is. Line up includes Lol Coxhill (saxophone), who has played with everyone from Kevin Ayers to The Damned; Charles Hayward (drums, keyboard), he of the legendary This Heat and numerous south London sonic experiments; Hugh Hopper (bass), once of Soft Machine and collaborator with Robert Wyatt and others; and jazz vibes merchant Orphy Robinson (Steel pan, percussion). It all kicks off at 9pm at the Amersham Arms, 388, New Cross Road, SE14 (£5/£4).

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

South East London No Sweat

South East London No Sweat, campaigning against sweatshop labour, are holding a meeting on Disney’s corporate greed. The meeting will include a video about conditions for Haitian garment workers in Disney factories, plus discussion about campaigning to put pressure on Disney.

The meeting takes place on Tuesday 23 November, 7-9 pm at The Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford SE8.

Yesterday's council flats, today's luxury pads

Once upon a time only the poor lived by the smelly, noisy, working River Thames in Deptford. Now converted council flats are all the rage for the well-off who want a river view. The following is from enrager:

A riverfront tower block of flats is being transformed into luxury apartments with prices starting at £230,000. Private developer Berkeley Homes has now begun work on converting Aragon Tower, on the Pepys Estate, Deptford, following its sale by Lewisham Council for £10.5m.

With five floors being built on top of the existing 24 floors, the scheme will be the capital's tallest refurbished private residential tower to date. Standing at 300ft in height, The Z Apartments will comprise 158 two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom penthouses with split-level layouts and views of Canary Wharf, Greenwich and the River Thames.

Mark Dickinson, operations director of Berkeley Homes, said: "Deptford is already proving popular with the young and fashionable, so we're looking forward to the launch of what we believe will provide buyers with the most spectacular residential scheme in Deptford to date."

Lewisham Council will use the sale of Aragon Tower to finance a £7m leisure centre, which will include a swimming pool, on the Sundermead Estate, behind Lewisham Shopping Centre, Lewisham. This is the same Lewisham Council which is planning to close down the existing swimming pool in Lewisham, having just spent millions on its refurbishment. The sale will allegedly help fund £4m of affordable housing on the Pepys Estate or the surrounding area. Oh really?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Nunhead Angels

If, like me, you have a thing for the stone angels of Nunhead Cemetery, you need to get down to the ‘With words and wings’ exhibition at The Surgery. Anne-Marie Glasheen has created some beautiful images through digitally montaging photographs of angels, foliage and text. The Surgery is a small gallery hidden amongst the shops at 123 Evelina Road, Nunhead, SE15. The exhibition is open until 7 November, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only, 10 am – 4 pm. Admission free.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Angular Update

South East London's finest Angular Records are keeping busy, with a new album out by Elizabeth Harper enticingly described as 'ten tracks of Smiths-esque wonderment'. Angular artists The Swear are playing for free on 31st October at St. Christophers Inn, Greenwich (9.30 pm start), while The Violets are headlining at Artrocker on Tuesday 26th October, up by Highbury and Islington tube in the Buffalo bar. Meanwhile, Angular are planning an event in December at the Venue in New Cross, a place in urgent need of reclaiming from the hordes of cover bands that have plagued it since its 1990s indie-heyday.

Corn Queene in Borough Market tomorrow

The Berry Man - 'decked with wild fruits and foliage' and the Corn Queene will be leading an Autumn Harvest Celebration on Sunday 24th October, starting at 12.00 noon at Bankside, Southwark, by Shakespeare's Globe. The October Plenty procession, put on by The Lion's Part theatre company, will also feature a hobby horse, strung with cakes and loaves. It will finish up at Borough Market, where the company will perform a number of 16th century 'Nonsensenightplays' and stage the execution of John Barleycorn. And all for free!

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Gluerooms

What does the world need?

"More noisy bastards."

Quite right. The Glue Rooms is a monthly music club that meets very last Wednesday of the month at the Catapult Club, which is round the Amersham Road side of the Amersham Arms pub in New Cross. Directions and details on getting there can be found here.

The Glue Rooms describe themselves, rather charmingly and naively in caps-lock, as "A LIVING EXPERIMENT IN SOUND AND VISION" and I'd agree with that from my seat, not too close to the stage or projection screen, taking all the strangeness in.

Their next night is 27th October, the show starts at 9pm prompt. Entry is a mere £3. The five strong line up includes improve from Afracadabra, guitar-bod Petri Huurinainen and the No Name Band.

I've not heard of any of these people but it's a darn good night.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


London’s premier providers of counter-cultural weirdness Strange Attractor are coming to south-east London. They shall tie up their ferrets outside The Corsica Arts Club, 5 Elephant Road, London, SE17 1LB, enter and present, with Serpent’s Tail books, the: TECHGNOSISymposium.

19th November from 7pm

Celebrating the reissue of Techgnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism in the Age of Informationby Erik Davis; there will be presentations by Davies, along with authors Mike Jay and Julian Vayne. Speakers will make a 25 minute presentation on subjects relating to contemporary myth, magic & mysticism, followed by an open panel discussion, chaired by Strange Attractor's Mark Pilkington.

The night will climax with a moving philosophical entertainment involving The evening will then progress to, what the Strange Attractor site describes as “a moving philosophical entertainment” involving live mains electricity and high frequency electro-medical equipment by ::: NATIONAL GRID ::: and Disinformation vs. Strange AttractorRunning throughout the evening will be a live installation by Testcard and the event will dissolve into an informal night of music provided by the speakers, plus DJs from the ever-good Kosmische & Resonance FM.Tickets £6.50 advance, £7.50 on the door, book them here

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Peckham Halloween Weirdness

Ride 'em and booze are putting on the self-proclaimed 'party to end all others' on 30th October 2004 at The Old Co-op, Peckham Rye Lane. It will feature 'Acres of space, art exhibition. live music, nightclub and theatre. Slasher movie/frat party theme'. The exhibition will be from 7-9, the party all night.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Autonomous ESF South London Info Point

In case you haven't noticed, this weekend in London is the European Social Forum, with perhaps more interestingly a whole lot of 'beyond ESF' activities for assorted global radicals happening at autonomous spaces across the capital. Most of this is happening across the river (check Indymedia for details), but there is a South London information point at 56a Info Shop, 56a Crampton Street, SE17 (5 minutes from Elephant and Castle). Pop along between Thursday and Saturday from 3 pm to 7 pm to pick up the latest flyers, news and free food. Also the usual range of books, t-shirts and CDs - surely the best place in London for music-lovers of a certain age to replace their time-ravaged anarcho-punk vinyl collections with CD reissues of Poison Girls, The Mob etc. Not to mention large bars of Green and Black's organic vegan chocolate for only £1!

Southwark Samhain Ritual

More information on the Southwark Samhain ritual on Sunday 31st October. Avalon in London, an open, eclectic and very friendly group of pagans and sympathisers who perform ceremonies around the wheel of the year are gathering with the excellent Southwark Mysteries to perform a Samhein (or Halloween) ritual.

Halloween of Cross Bones Graveyard: Honouring the Outcast Dead

The Avalon in London and Southwark Mysteries Samhain ritual will be held on Sunday 31st October 2004 at The Ragged School, 47 Union Street, on the corner of Union Street and Redcross Way, Southwark, SE1 (close to Borough tube station) at 4pm for a 5pm entry after 5pm.

Avalon in London is an open group which welcomes those following any path or at any level of experience. We meet together to celebrate each festival in the Wheel of the Year and to connect to the Ancient Goddesses of the British Isles.

The Southwark Mysteries group works to bring a sense of belonging and community to the people of Southwark, and the surrounding areas, through ritual, plays, songs and creativity of all kinds.

4pm onwards - gather for Pumpkin soup communion and to make food offerings to the dead.

5pm - Avalon in London Samhain ritual for letting go and moving on.

6pm - Halloween of Cross Bones ritual conducted by John Constable aka John Crow Shaman - with songs and poems from The Southwark Mysteries channelling the Spirit of The Goose, The Goddess incarnate as a medieval prostitute, licensed by the Church to ply her trade within Southwark's 'Liberty of the Clink', yet buried in the unconsecrated Cross Bones graveyard.

This ancient graveyard, containing the graves of the forgotten prostitutes and paupers of The Liberty, was rediscovered during the building of the Jubilee line. Since that time local people have been campaigning for part of the land, now owned by Transport for London, to be rededicated as a memorial garden.
Our rituals will culminate in a candlelit procession to the graveyard to honour The Goose, the souls of the outcast dead, and the Crone Goddess who holds them in Her dark embrace. There will be Goose songs, incantations and a ceremony to release the spirits. Please bring offerings - such as totemic objects and images, petals to be sprinkled, or ribbons to tie to the gates...

If you wish to, please bring something to place on the altar which represents the Dark Goddess, or the time of Samhain, to you. This will be returned to you after the ritual. Please also bring a little food to share.

Dressing up encouraged!

We will be asking for a £5 (£3 unwaged) donation to cover costs.

For further information please phone Jacqui on 07711 515017, or John on 0207 402 1496 or email John. For updates and more rituals; join the Avalon in London this list.)

For directions to Redcross Way please see here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

South London Magical Landscape

I am doing a talk on 'The South London Magical Landscape' at London Earth Mysteries Circle on Tuesday October 26th. Basically it will be a tour of some of the ancient sacred sites to be found South of the River, including lost trackways, springs, burial grounds and temples. In particular I will be covering some of the mysteries of the Old Kent Road, and the network of healing wells (Camberwell, Ladywell etc.).

It takes place at 7 pm at the Diorama Centre, 34 Osnaburgh Street, London NW1, 2 minutes from Great Portland Street station (map here). Admission is £3.50 (£3 concessions, £2 members). If anybody's seen me do similar talks before, rest assured that there will be plenty of new material!

Skeptics in the Pub

On 21 October, David Green (a lawyer) will be giving a talk to Skeptics in the Pub about how the legal system treats paranormal claims, from the witch trials of the seventeenth century, to the satanic ritual abuse claims of the nineties. Come along on Thursday 21 October to hear David Green tell us about it (£2 admission).

Skeptics in the Pub is for all those interested in and/or skeptical of the paranormal, alternative medicine, psychic powers, pseudo-science, UFOs, alien abductions, creationism, Fortean phenomena, cult religions, water-divining, lost civilizations etc. It meets (usually) on the third Thursday of every month starting at 7.30pm at The Old Kings Head, London Bridge. Non-skeptics welcome!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Ghosts of East Greenwich and the River

Ghosts of East Greenwich and the River starts 6.30 pm on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st October. Meet top of escalator North Greenwich Tube Station
Tickets: £4.00 (£3.00 concs)
advance booking Tel: 07833 538143

Wrap up for a unique Hallowe'en walk along the riverside of East Greenwich.
Local storyteller Rich Sylvester will lead you into the murky past with ghostly tales of Greenwich Marsh and the River.

Contact: Rich Sylvester: 07833 538143 e: (replace _at_ with @)

Cafe Crema Film Night

Cafe Crema Vegetarian and vegan café/restaurant, 306 New Cross Road, SE 14 6AF, have re-opened and will be brining food and film to the masses. The schedule in to follow but they will be having an opening party on Friday 15th October. They promise: "a food, music and party night at the cafe".

7.30-11.30pm, to celebrate the opening of the café they have a selection of old time ska/funk/r’n b and rock’n roll from: DJ Johnny Clash and his fine vinyl, DJ Lance and his lovely collection (tbc). Entrance: £3 includes meal: veg. pasta or pizza.

Tickets can be bought on the door or in advance from the café (open mon 11am-4pm, tue-fri 11am-4pm & 7-11pm and sat 7-11pm)

Reserve a place by email: freshfilmscafé (or go and see the Swear instead).

(Replace _at_ wirh ' in

Where is it? Café Crema, 306 New Cross Road. Close to New Cross and New Cross Gate tube stations on the East London Line. Easy on the bus from Lewisham and Camberwell/Brixton. Lots of routes, 36, 136, 177…

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Deptford Park

People around Deptford Park are campaigning against a plan to build on part of the park. Lewisham Council have given the go-ahead for a housing association, London and Quadrant, to build a 4-storey block of flats, along with other buildings, a car park and access road. More information at

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Launching The Fucks

Thursday saw the launch of the fabulous Fucks EP at Goldsmiths Student Union in New Cross. The Fucks, for those not exposed to them, are an energetic boy/girl duo (Jemma and George) using guitars and yamaha keyboard pre-sets to head towards the whacky end of the spectrum (think B-52s, the Rezillos). The EP on Angular Records captures their lo-fi Kate Bush-in-a-garage-band sound, even if it doesn't include their cover of Kim Wilde's 'Kids in America' which sent the crowd into delirium at Goldsmiths. Also playing on Thursday were the increasingly confident Violets and The Vichy Government, the only band yet conceived able (or willing) to write a song imagining Oliver Cromwell in Weimar Berlin. Copies of The Fucks EP should be available from Morps Records, in the basement of Moonbow Jakes cafe in New Cross Road, where other South London treasures include the second Angular sampler, Rip off your Labels, with tracks from all of the above.

Mutiny at the Montague

Best local band The Swear are playing at the Montague Arms in New Cross next Friday (15th October) as part of a Mutiny night put on by Greenwich Pirate. Entrance is £3 (£2 if you're dressed as a pirate). The Montague (289 Queens Road, SE14) is worth a trip in itself with its fabulous collection of animal heads, skeletons and maritime bric-a-brac.

Southwark Witch Trial talk

South East London Folklore Society will be hosting a talk on 'Urban Witchcraft and Witch Trials' on Monday 11th October 2004. Kathleen Blackmore will be talking about a Southwark witch trial in 1701 and related matters. It all happens at 8:00 pm in the upstairs room of The Spanish Galleon, 48 Greenwich Church Street, Greenwich, London, SE10 9BL. Entrance is £2.50 (£1.50 concessions). SELFS meets on the second Monday of the month to discuss 'paganism, forteana, folklore, high strangeness and the occult'.