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.