Thursday, November 24, 2005

Philosophy in the Pub

Lots of philosophy is pondered in the pub, this SE1 group just a bit more official...

"What is Happiness?The topic is ‘What is happiness?'Will the upcoming holiday season make you happy? Why or why not? What makes a person happy - material success, achievement of goals, stability and an absence of suffering?I want to look at what different philosophers have said about happiness, from Aristotle to the rather austere Germans to thinkers like Bertrand Russell and John Stuart Mill. Can we make ourselves happy, and is happiness a goal worthing striving to achieve?I will ask for a donation of £3.50 towards expenses, and those who are on lower incomes can pay what they are able. The Rose and Crown, 47 Colombo Street, nearest tube, Southwark. "

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Future for Brockley?

Come & have your say on Brockley Common, Brockley Max, the market & Brockley Cross development
Brockley Cross Action Group’s AGM at John Stainer Primary School, Mantle Road, Brockley, SE4
Thursday 1st December, 7.30 pm - 9.15 pm.
Entertainment by The Strawberry Thieves Choir

Brockley Cross Action Group, PO Box 47615, London SE4 1RT.
Registered charity 1111176

Friday, November 18, 2005

Tramp along to Walworth's new film club...

This is from Andy Worthington....

Film-maker Neil Goodwin ('Operation Solstice') is launching a new film club, The Little Tramp' (named after one of Walworth's most famous sons) at the Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton St, SE17, every Tuesday evening from November22nd. 7.30pm start, £3.50/£2 concs.

First up (Nov 22) is 'Normal', Jane Anderson's affecting portrayal of gender dilemmas starring the excellent Tom Wilkinson and Jessica Lange.

Nov 29: Bill Hicks' 'Relentless' and Bob Fosse's 'Lenny', starring Dustin Hoffman as Lenny Bruce.

Dec 6: 'Shadows', the John Cassavetes classic.

For further info call Neil on: 07930 255233.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Cuttings Nature Reserve: New Cross

I've just heard that The Cuttings Nature Reserve, Vesta Road, New Cross / Brockley has been proposed as a site for development by a 'neighbour' of the reserve.

This is a green site alive with flors and fauna and I have had many happy hours working there. This is to be opposed from the start (before we have to get the monkey wrenches out) and Rob Whittle, volunteer co-ordinator of the reserve, suggests this:

This is precisely the type of insidious threat that all too familiar to urbangreen spaces and now it has come to ours. The good news is that here issomething we can do about it but it needs doing urgently.

You can voice your disapproval by emailing: and telling them what you think - it doesn't need to be long.

Alternatively you can write to them at the listed address on page 1 of thePDF by completing the form and posting it.

THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT WE HAVE TO DO THIS BY MONDAY! If you have already responded then many thanks.

Art stuff

At the always wonderful Dog and Bell pub,at the moment there's a wonderful exhibit of artworks by Dawn Fincham- huge blocks of wax in icecream colours, with eerie embedded photographs and text- very appealing.

More esoteric perhaps is a forthcoming exhibition at The Art House, 140 Lewisham Way- TIME TRAVELLER, promising a retrospective installation of 50 years of Fred Aylward. Close examination of the postcard advertising the event reveals a negative picture of a bald bespectacled man with a spirit level, for yes, some 20 years ago Fred Aylward was "Les" in Vic Reeves' Big Night Out. (but to be fair has done an awful lot of stuff since)
The exhibition runs from 1st to 18th of December.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Wolfgang Bopp presents:

Velofax, The Mules and tired irie plus Wolf Gang DJs playing out twisted rock n roll, retro grooves and bleak disco on Thursday 17th November from 8.00pm – 12.15am at The Montague Arms. Nearest Tube: New Cross Gate, Nearest BR: Queens Rd, Peckham
Price: £2/£1nus before 9, £3/£2nus after.

If You Go Down to the Woods Today...

It's SELFS time again
14th November: Steve Wilson - The Kibbo Kift.

Long before the emergence of Wicca in the 1950s, Britain's first modern pagan revival was spearheaded by "Kibbo Kift - The Woodcraft Kindred". This group mixed Saxon heathenry with a desire to transform the entire world by developing a group of people who had experienced the whole of human culture by starting at hunter-gatherer level. The parent group - The Boy Scouts - were not amused! Learn abut the group that spawned The Woodcraft Folk and their occult sister group The Order of Woodcraft Chivalry at SELFS..........
SELFS is a monthly meeting / moot in Greenwich, south east London, which has a different speaker and Q&A each month (except December). The regulars, who're made up of pagans, forteans, folklorists and many others, are a friendly, open-minded and intelligent bunch.
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 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.

Calling All Bands, Artist and the like

Artful was October, now Deptford X is now on us in November...

Order out of chaos, or not
We will be in residence at Open Arts Platform as part of Deptford X, every weekend throughout November. We hope to have a series of guests dropping buy to add their input to the project as well as a few experiments of our own.

If you want to drop by with an instrument, gadget, gizmo, or just yourself, feel free, and visit the above web page to add yourself to the list!
The Old Seager Gallery
6a Holland House
Brookmill rd
Every Saturday and Sunday in November (5,6,12,13,19,20,26,27)
12 - 6pm

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Her Noise

Went along to the opening party last night for Her Noise at the South London Gallery in Camberwell. Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth) and Jenny Hoyston (Erase Errata) did short performances but due to the queue/crowd madness I missed them. I did get to have a lie down on Kaffe Matthews’ Sonic Bed (which is just that) and browse through the archive of records and zines - all the Riot Grrl and related classics present and correct, including L7, Huggy Bear and Le Tigre. As well as the exhibition of interactive sound installations, there are various interesting events coming up, including a gig on 19th November with ex-members of The Raincoats and Bikini Kill, and a weekly Saturday afternoon ‘We’re alive, let’s meet’ get together to share music and experiences, and produce a zine.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mucky Needles

Sickidlehappy, gig organisers of some note, are putting their best punk rock friends The Dirty Pins on at Goldsmiths Student Union (Dixon Road, off New Cross Road) this Thursday: the 3rd of November. It's something called 'Livewire', nearest tube is, of course New Cross andNew Cross Gate. 8pm - 12am. On stage at 11pm. No cost mentioned and there's a cheap bar.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005


KERNEL PANIC (systemspacecitytechnologyangst) is an exhibition running from 29th October to 20th November, Sat & Sun 12-6pm at the Old Seager Distillery, 2nd Floor Atlantic House, Brookmill Road / Deptford Bridge, Deptford, London SE8 4JT. Old Seager Distillery is right by Deptford Bridge DLR and a short stroll from both New Cross and Deptford rail. Here's a map and directions.

The details are: "Kernel Panic brings together digital arts and architecture in a physical and entropic mode: enveloping net art, digital ephemera, computer structures and sculptural installation, the exhibition presents participatory performance, social image making systems and group collaborations together in a pluralistic experience."

Opening the exhbitionis a private view / party on 28th October with music by Man from Uranus and friends, Ninki V, Sculpture "audio tape, circuit bent instruments", and Dogheads and a 'performance' by/from Dædalus. Man From Uranus is far better than his 'joke' name, Sculpture and Ninki V looks jolly interesting too (though I'm not such a big fan of Dogheads, myself).

Friday, October 21, 2005

October Plenty

Another Borough Ritual event:
Sunday 23rd October at 12.00pm
An Autumn Harvest Celebration beginning on the Bankside by Shakespeare's Globe, mixing ancient seasonal customs and theatre with contemporary festivity, joining with the Historic Borough Market, Southwark.
A huge CORN QUEENE effigy heavy with 'Plenty' - wheat, barley and other grains, and apples, root vegetables and foliage will appear in a procession around the front of the Globe, Bankside, with the Company of actors, music, the time-honoured HOBBY HORSE, strung with cakes and loaves and the BERRY MAN - our autumn incarnation of the original Green Man - decked with wild fruits and foliage leads the company.
THE PROCESSION to the MarketWe process through the streets to the famous BOROUGH MARKET. There in the Green market, savour the delights on offer:, soul cakes, conker fights, cider from the New Forest, apple bobbing, a great beer selection and the wonderful market stalls and more DANCING.
THE PLAY The Company performs FASTNACHTSSPIELE or NONSENSENIGHTPLAYS. Vibrant old tales of pastoral life, these ebullient 16th Century verse plays by Hans Sachs are rarely performed. Witness them today in new translation for the occasion, spiced with present day festive spirit and song.
Apples cascade out into the crowd as the CORN QUEENE is opened up at the end of the play and this is followed by the celebrated EXECUTION OF JOHN BARLEYCORN.
THE STORY ORCHARDA glade of young English apple trees creates a space for children to gather. There they can re-clothe the trees with green wishes (paper apples) and listen to stories about apples, markets and harvest time.
There is tasting of old apple types from London by Brogdale Horticultural Trust and a colourful display created by ROOTS and SHOOTS, the Lambeth community gardens environment project who created the Corn Queene.
OCTOBER PLENTY is a collective celebration of the seasons, weather and food, in a public place, with access to everyone. For that reason too, the event is FREE. We are pleased to be supported by the Pool of London Partnership (PLP) Small Grants Fund in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers Contact Us! the lions part0208 452 3866 / 07736 1502 25 /

The Halloween of Cross Bones VIII

From John Constable:

Southwark Mysteries presents the eighth annual ritual to honour the outcast dead of Cross Bones graveyard.

Halloween Night, Monday 31st October 2005 from 6pm

Upstairs @ The Ship, corner of Borough Road and Borough High Street, SE1
(5 minutes walk from Borough or Elephant and Castle tubes)

admission: £7 (after 7pm); £5 members (anyone attending the AGM: 6-7pm)
Numbers limited to 70. Please come early to avoid disappointment. All attending the AGM (6-7pm) become members and pay only the £5 concession price.

No admission after 7.30. Those arriving later are welcome to have a drink downstairs at the bar and then join us for the procession at 8.30.

6pm Southwark Mysteries AGM – become a member of Southwark Mysteries, hear the full story of Cross Bones graveyard and join the campaign to reclaim part of the site as a memorial garden and people’s park.

7pm Southwark Mysteries Network – meet old friends, make new ones, make your offerings at the altar to the ancestors, and enjoy a drink or a bowl of soup.
7.30 The Halloween of Cross Bones – performance of The Southwark Mysteries by John Constable aka John Crow, with Niall McDevitt and friends. Samhain ritual blessing by Priestess Jacqui. Tantric blessing by Jahnet de Light.
8.30 Procession to Cross Bones graveyard - to honour the outcast dead with blessings, songs, candles, flowers, ribbons and other totemic offerings.

On admission, you will be given a ribbon bearing the name of someone buried in Cross Bones graveyard. Please take care of their spirit for the evening, releasing it when you tie the ribbon to the gates of Cross Bones graveyard.

You are also invited to bring your own totems and offerings, including mementoes of loved ones you’d like to remember, for the altar to the ancestors and for the people’s shrine at the gates to Cross Bones. Halloween dress encouraged!

For more details, please contact:

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Zipper Queen

Lots to do today so have a flyer. I think all you need to know is there....

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Wolfgang Bopp presents

More "twisted rock n roll, retro grooves and+ bleak disco..." from the Wolfgang Bopp DJ's with Larrikin Love and Roland Shanks live. Good, good, good.

Thursday 20th October, Doors: 8.00pm - 12.15am, Price: £3'
Venue is
The Montague Arms, 289 Queens Road, New Cross, London, SE15 2PA
Tel: 020 7639 4923

Nearest Tube: New Cross Gate
Nearest BR: Queens Rd, Peckham


The big south-east London news is, of course, The Artful Festival, an October wide celebration of DIY, independent, get stuck in, have a go, don't be shy, RRAARGH!, events. So far I've managed to dodge mosto f it 'cos I've been busy and stuff but for a full list of events, go here. There's plenty.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Angular fun at the Venue

Set in the heart of New Cross behind a crushed velvet curtain, 'An Angular Disco' is musical ordnance in the face of something less linear. Acute sounds from London's most obtuse record label. THIS FRIDAY 14th OCTOBER 2005 Angular Recording Corporation hosts a night of anti-post-art-punk-electro-new-wave-pound-shop-dandy-pop. Badges and brogues welcome, virtuosity will be confiscated...!

with... Neil's Children, The Violets, These New Puritans, The Answerfone, JUNK DJ's , and Greenwich Pirate

At The Venue Basement, 2a Clifton Rise, New Cross, SE14, £4/3with flyer or NUS, 9pm-2am.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

...and the Native Hipsters

One of the things we do here is gather together the musical history of south-east London so it's with great interest that Richard Sanderson has bought the continued existence of ...and the Native Hipsters to Transpontine's, and everone elses, attention on his livejournal blog.
Interesting history and sound:
"Tom Fawcett was also multi blessed with the ability to force squawking sounds out of inanimate objects. He played the early synth Wasp on Concorde. He throttled that thing to death, wringing every last ounce of twiddleiness out of it. Tom was squatting with Jim Moir in New Cross. They recorded a few things together. Tom went on to form 'Design for Living'. I'm not sure what happened to Jim."
Like all right thinking folk, they're now planning "the future". Only Forward, as I used to say. I expect to see them gigging at the Montrgue Arms pretty soon.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sunday Night

If you tried being nice to someone near Deptford Bridge on Sunday night, and they were distracted by a broken phone, a bit tired from morris dancing and, frankly, a bit rude, I'm sorry. Please go here.

Friday, September 23, 2005


New Cross's premier troubadours Fantasmagoria return to south-east London on Thursday 29th September to gig at the Montague Arms, the dusty old, skeleton strewn, stuffed-animal decorated venue that probably suits their crusty-gypsy-tango-goth sound the best.

No time, but time in the Montague is always fun and no details on cost but they're well worth seeing. If you don't know where the Monty is, (why not?) it's on Queen's Road, SE14, nearest stations New Cross Gate and Queens Town Road, Peckham. Look it up here.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Stick Around for the Gluerooms

The Gluerooms is one of our favorite local clubs, providing experimental music once a month at the Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Road, across the road from New Cross train and tube.

This Wednesday, 28th September, they have Craftwork, described as a "performance piece Dr. Polly Fibre (Christine Ellison) creates rhythms, loops and shadows by manipulating sewing machines while producing cloth "manuscripts" from interfacing fabric."

Obfuscator: "Improvised Laptop duo."

Temperatures: "Drums & Bass duo With a bit of synth for people who know they like sound relatively great in volume"

DJ's Body Damage & Possibly Sick and regular house Dj's Tendraw & The Gypsies


The slightly cliquey local zine group the Greenwich Pirate are launching their fifth issue, Neighbours, on Tuesday 27th September at the New Cross Inn with gig putter-onners The Public Gets What The Public wants, putting on Theoretical Girl, I couldn't find anything sensible written about her so read "stylish chic has some classy vignettes in her post punk box of delights" (sounds good, I think) and punkers 52 Pick Up plus djs Greenwich Pirates vrs Knight of the turntable.

The numbers: 8pm to 2am. £3/2 nus entry.

Punk Rock Breakfast

Here's a thing, a morning gig this Sunday (25th September) from 9am to noon. This'll either be for those fresh faced sorts who're up with the wrens or the crazy kids who've been out all night and are trying to work out if they want to go to a gig or go back to a super-groupie model's penthouse to snort coke off her tummy in the company of reality television programme presenters (or something).

The Line-up is Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches, Strand of Oaks, Debbie from cardiff (one of them, anyway), Truly Kaput "enthralling folk--inspired solo performance of sharply-written and earnestly executed songs", Grip Right Swing Right andToby ( I've no idea where Toby is from).

This is put on by those fine sorts at The Bakery, costs £2, which includes tea but bring money for Breakfast. The venue is The Pullens Centre, 184 Crampton St, SE17, off the Walworth Road, map here, nearest tube and train is the Elephant and Castle or Kennington Tube. Many, many buses pass this way.

Morris Man Alert

Richard Sanderson infroms me that "Blackheath Morris, have their End of Season/Byron Daniels Memorial Tour on Sunday [That's 25th]. This involves going to three pubs in Greenwich, dancing outside them and drinking some beer. It'll also be the last chance to see me dancing in public before Boxing Day.12.00 Noon- The Ashburnham Arms, Ashburnham Road.13.30- The Morden Arms, Royal Hill.14.30- The Richard 1st (Tolly), Royal Hill.We will be accompanied by our guests- the excellent local ladies team Dacre Morris and the redoubtable Royal Liberty Morris."

Monday, September 19, 2005

Flat Sort of Day? See Films!

I'm suprise people aren't dancing in the street to this one but this Friday, 23rd September, from 7.30pm, Bob Godfrey is giving a talk and presenting a selection of animated films at the Lewisham Arthouse, on the Lewisham Way for a mere £2.50/£1.50 concessions.
Who is Bob Godfrey? Only the greatest living British animator after Oliver Postgate and the man who gave us such sublime works as Roobard and Custard. BLOODY ROOBARD AND CUSTARD! This is the man who MADE the cartoon. Ring 0208 2443168 for tickets.
Now, if you're mad, don't like wonky cartoons of a green dog humiliating himself in front of crows and a pink cat or if you think we should all just bloody well get over the television we watched as nippers then perhaps the films at Café Crema, put on by Fresh Films might be more your thing.
They're celebrating their first anniversary with an evening of shorts, animations and live music on the same Friday night (23rd). Starts: 8.00pm. Doors open 7.30. Price: £4.00 includes meal.
The animations include Last Rumba in Rochdale which includes the voices of "Anna Friel, Jane Horrocks, Timothy Spall, Peter Kay, [...] and Radio I djs Mark and Lard", Jo Jo in the Stars and the film Dog Years (more dog fun there).

Screenings will be followed by live music "a chaotic mix of music stuff going on/some open mic, some planned, in a smoky café crema style".

To reserve tickets phone 020 8320 2317 during café opening times Mon-Fri 9.30-6.00. They can only hold reserved tickets until half an hour before the screening start time. Or guarantee your place by coming to the Café and buying tickets in advance. Café Crema, 306 New Cross Road. Close to New Cross and New Cross Gate tube stations on the East London Line.

Friday, September 16, 2005

P.O.L.E. Dance

P.O.L.E. Dance and The Dirty Pins, Little Death and OK Junior this Saturday, 17th September, door 9pm to 2am. This is within the be-tiled walls of The Walpole, New Cross Road which is right by New Cross tube and train station and not too far from New Cross Gate tube and train and Deptford Bridge DLR.

Not heard of Little Death but, le Petit Mort, like it, that name promises wry and kinky fun or pretentious nonsense. Who knows? Could help you out with OK Junior either.

Still, it's music, its late drinking on a Saturday night; it's a possible boogie and brush against someone with asymmetrical hair and a pleasing, patterned nylon top. It's what life's all about.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

I Want to Tell you a Story

It's not all blues soaked wizards, god killing punk rockers and anarcho-psycho-geographers at Transpontine, y'know. Well you probably didn't know, probably because it's not true, we're old and cheese-ridden and folky. We like beardy things like morris dancing, real ale and entering pickling competions (I am, in fact, holder of first prize in the 2004 Dog & Bell Pickle festival, Pickle section.)
As well at the Dance of the Morris, the folk sessions in Greenwich and chugging the old pint of Sarsen Stone Ale, we also enjoy a good story-telling session and, while it's easier to do than play the melodian or expertly pickle a shallot, a would-be story teller does, often, still require a bit of guidance.
So here comes the "People Like Us" Storytelling workshops for adults at the Old Royal Naval College.
Details are: "An introduction to storytelling through the lives of the ordinary folk who have given Greenwich its rich heritage: immigrants and emigrants; slaves and pressed men; women where you’d least expect them: all travellers on the Thames and beyond.

This short course introduces basic storytelling techniques using traditional tales, and goes on to look at how those skills can be used with historically based stories.

Workshop leaders: June Peters, a nationally renowned storyteller and Rich Sylvester, creator of the “Journey Through Time” Greenwich story walks

The workshop is being run three times, offering a choice of day and time:
Friday 23 September 10.00am - 2.00pm
Sunday 25 September 11.00am - 3.00pm
Wed 28 & Thurs 29 September 7.30pm - 9.30pm

Cost:£5 full price, £3 concessions

The workshops are part of the Greenwich Maritime Stories Project run by the Storytelling-in-Hope Club, in partnership with the Greenwich Foundation, which has been researching local, maritime stories.

The climax of the project is Yarns, Shanties and Good Red Herring, a community storytelling performance of these stories in the Admiral’s House at the Old Royal Naval College on Sunday 27 November 2005.

Workshop participants will be offered the opportunity to take part in this performance.

For more details and bookings please contact Pennie Hedge, telephone 020 8699 0675 or
Story-telling is the greatest, lo-fi, scaled down form of entertainment there is and it would be great if this was a sucess. I am thinking of tootling along myself.

London Geek Glory for Deptford Man

We are, let's face it, a bit geeky about London town and our own niche of it. It's a big city, full of stories and wonders and our interest almost certianly doesn't do the place justice.
Here's a story from the BBC about one Deptford resident's own London adventure. It's not how I'd get about but, heck, they did it becuase they could, I suppose:

Tube station visit record broken

record for visiting all 275 London Underground stations has been broken by 43 minutes. Geoff Marshall, 32, from Epsom, Surrey, and Neil Blake, 31, from Deptford, south-east London, recorded a time of 18 hours, 35 minutes and 43 seconds.

But they finished so late - 0005 BST - that they could not take a Tube home and had to hire a minicab. It was seventh time lucky for Mr Marshall, whose earlier attempts were scuppered by train failures and injury. Taking no chances this time, Mr Marshall spent about six days of practice runs before being joined by Mr Blake.

The pair are keeping their exact route a secret to protect the record, but they did begin at 0529 BST at Amersham in Buckinghamshire on the Metropolitan Line and ended at Upminster in Essex on the District Line. Mr Marshall told BBC News Online that it became a personal challenge after completing the task for the first time for Cancer Research.

"We did not break the record that time, but it became something I became obsessed with," he said. "I tried many times before, but not managed it because of the trains or injuring my knee."

It took four months for the Guinness Book of Records to acknowledge the feat.
"We had to send them digital photos with the time on from every station - we even got the driver of the last train we were on to confirm it," Mr Marshall said.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Art is often at its best when it meets nature so the new exhibition at the South London Gallery looks a good one. ‘Microcosmographia’, by American artist Mark Dion is a show running from 9th September to 30th October.

The blurb says: “The centre piece of the exhibition will be a life-sized replica of a beached prehistoric aquatic animal, known as Ichthyosaur, with relics from the history of the natural sciences spilling from its belly.

"The work of Jean Henri Fabre, provides the inspiration for Les Necrophores-L’Enterrement. A giant mole, crawling in giant beetles, will be suspended by a noose from the Gallery ceiling.

"Biological Field Unit, a team of botanists, entomologists and artists will conduct a detailed survey of plant and insect life in the SLG’s Secret Garden. Working from a specially constructed research station, the team will collect, document and display their findings using traditional hand illustration and photographic methods.”

Entry is free; South London Gallery is on 65 Peckham Road, London SE5 8UH. A map and direction is here.

South London Gallery.

Saucy, Sacred, Secret, Scary Southwark

John Constable, who spoke at SELFS waaaay back in July 2003, is the shamanic poet of ‘The Clink’, the area around Borough that was once the sex, drinking and gambling den of London during it’s time under the Bishop of Winchester (we’ll skirt around the prostitution and bear-baiting here).

All sections of the city has their own spirit, created by history, psycho-geography and goodness knows what else. John has truly been captured by his part of London and will be taking some guided walks around this ‘outlaw borough’ of London.

See and here more of John at the
Southwark Mysteries site.

Details of each walk are as follows: each walk in on either on a Tuesday or Wednesday from 7pm. Assemble in the covered area outside John Harvard Library, Borough High Street, SE1.

Borough tube.

Each walk lasts roughly 1½ hours and is free.
Tuesday 13th September: The Outlaw Borough: The medieval Liberty of the Clink, outside the law of the City of London - prisons, theatres, bear-pits, taverns, and stews - outlaws, actors and Winchester Geese.
Wednesday 14th September: The Ghost Walk: Haunted inns, a Roman cemetery, Cross Bones graveyard and the legend of Mary Overie.
Tuesday 20th September: The Bermondsey Walk: Celebrating people, crafts and industries from Roman times to the present.
Wednesday 21st September: The Secret Elephant: Magic and myth around the Elephant and Castle
Tuesday 27th September: The Healing Walk: Guy's Hospital to Bedlam - via parks on the sites of former prisons andthe Cross Bones people's shrine.
Wednesday 28th September: What The Dickens? Marshalsea Prison, Lant Street and The Mint - the criminal underworld ofDickens' childhood.

Avalon in London Autumn Equinox

It’s the Autumn Equinox this month and The Avalon in London Autumn Equinox ritual will be held on Sunday 18th September 2005 at Stockwell Studios, Annie MacCall Close, Jeffreys Road, Stockwell (close to Stockwell tube station on the Victoria and Northern lines) at 5.30pm (for a 6pm start).

Here’s a map:

The theme is “Banbha: Blessings of the Fruit of Autumn”, so bring “along fruit for the feast and any items representing Mother Earth which you wish to place on the altar. These will be returned to you after the ritual.”

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

Avalon in London and a friendly and open group and Jacqui, who runs the group, welcomes any enquires about the rituals.

Contact her on 07711 515017 or join the Avalon in London email list at (for announcements only join the list at

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bonjourno Bopp-Fans!

The August / September issue of the Rocklands Star described Transpontine as "the essential local news site" so, um, we'd better get our acts together and post a bit more.

The Wolfganf Bopp, fine and witty gig put-er-on-ers are back at the The Montague Arms this Thursday, 15th September, from 8pm with two bands, each scintillatingly named Envelopes and Objects.
If I could pass you over to mein hosts: "Objects are an electro-punk 3-piece on a mission. Expect debauched synth n roll shenanigans a-plenty. ENVELOPES are so impossibly lovely they make us want to curl up in the foetal position and eat cake. This Swedish/French, York-based outfit make suitably quirky, lo-fi indie-pop to fill your heart with delight".

Wolf Gang DJs playing out twisted rock n roll, retro grooves and bleak disco. Thursday 15th SeptemberDoors: 8.00pm – 12.30am

Price: £3. The Monty is on, if you don't know, 289 Queens Road, New Cross, London SE15 2PA. Nearest Tube: New Cross Gate. Nearest BR: Queens Rd, Peckham.

I've now stuck a review of this gig here.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Phantom Black Dogs

12th September: Simon Sherwood - "Phantom Black Dogs: A psychological perspective"

Phantom Black Dogs have been reported for centuries and are still being reported today. Parapsychologists have concentrated upon human apparitions and there is very little consideration of animal apparitions, let alone apparitions of Black Dogs. This talk will consider the extent to which psychological/parapsychological theories of apparitions can explain these phantom Black Dogs?
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.
A map is

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Along with everything else, we collect portrays and appearances of south-east London in films here. This may not exactly count but I think it’s worthy of note. Steamboy is the new anime by Katsuhiro Ôtomo, the gent who borough Akira to the screen. It’s a fantastic steam-punk adventure set in an alternative Victorian England during the Industrial Revolution. It’s a tale of imperial might versus newly fledged capitalism and the battle to between greed and idealism, identified as father and son, over the future use of technology.
A large part of the action, including the climax that does drag a bit, takes place on ‘Steam Tower’ a vast, steam powered building, all giant pistons, cogs and boilers, that has been built next door to the site of the Great Exhibition by a mysterious, almost certainly American, corporation. The for the purposes of the anime (cartoon, I mean) the site of the Great Exhibition has been moved from Hyde Park, among other Hyde Park landmarks, (before being moved to Sydenham) to an area of London that great resembles Greenwich Peninsular.
That’s the site of the Millennium Dome”, whispered Carthy, as we watched steam-ships sail past the Crystal Palace and the twin-towers of what is now the Maritime Museum are panned over.
There’s a scene where bobbies pour off of boats to storm the Steam Tower, arriving straight at the doors of Steam Tower. The peninsular holds other wonders too, the Albert Hall is there, Nelson’s Column is there and that huge arch, which is at the Victoria corner of Hyde Park (can’t remember the name of it) is there too. It’s large pats of London’s street furniture place in Greenwich to set a scene of wealth and culture.
Steam Boy
All of which then gets destroyed by steam-driven soldiers and tanks whilst Robert Stephenson, the steam-railwayman and colleague of Brunel, coordinates the British forces from the north side of the Thames (more inventors should be action-heroes!).

See Steamboy, if you get the chance, and be warmed by south-east London making a fine, first appearance into the wonderful world of Japanese animation.

Monday, August 15, 2005


On returning and not having a camera on me.

I've been travelling a lot recently, hence the silence at SELFS and the lack of my own riffs on Transpontine, leaving plenty of room for Neil’s eloquent entries.

Got back from the Isle of Wight last night and I’ve still got the Baltic lands of Estonia and Finland rolling away in my head but a walk home from Brockley station to home last night helped remind me why I’m here in the first place.

(I’m still failing to spot the
Beast of Sydenham whilst travelling between Brockley and East Croydon though.)

The floral murals by the cab rank are a cool bit of folk-art, it’s a triptych, painted in differing shades for each section, blue, orange and green and hides fairies, cats and goodness knows what else within the tangled images.

Some of us know this area is magical by looking it up in books, others go out there and create the magic and others walk about and know.

The selection of vegetarian junk-food in the Costcutter, opposite the Brockley Barge is pretty magical too, better than the behemoth Sainsbury that squats by the New Cross Gate train tracks. Brockley, as is often reported at the
Wickham Arms, has the densest population of artists in Europe, is there a density of veggies there too (or could you only refer to a ‘density’ of McDonald’s regulars or a ‘density’ of people who prefer thick-crust pizza?)

At the top of Shardeloes Road was a big bloke is a frock. It was a silvery frock that contrasted against his black skin in the twilight and it had am alien luminescence about it.

A similar bloke the same style of frock came out of the corner-shop at Brockley Cross and I spotted a third in the phone box across the road, having a bit of a natter. The outfits were good, though they showed a bit too much of what was underneath when the wind blew against them. I wondered if they’d been locked out of their church, it looked like church-wear and it was Sunday evening, hence the phone call. Or were they Christians from another planet, hopefully nicer than the ones we usually get round here.

As a rule, I’m not really in to church-goers but men in random silver frocks is something a grubby urban streets needs, now and then.

What I do like is food foraging, there’s a untapped larder of wild food in London, especially down in our part, so the kids picking the blackberries that were hanging down over the
huge poem that runs along the top of Shardeloes Road was a fine thing to see.
If only I had the camera, and they were nearer the word ‘Eat’, that stands out tall and proud on that wall that would be one of the best photographs ever.

This area is urban but it’s still wild, just ask the foxes, frogs, birds and plants. I get hops coming in a month, bluebells in the spring and plenty of local birds and insects feeding off the pear and apple trees in my back garden. This place is alive, there’s life crammed into every single crevice. We’re part of that, not always the best part, but we’re part of it and that’s good.

When I got home I also saw that, unsurprisingly, the Brazilian Jazz Hippies that live above us haven’t got round to building their sweat-lodge at the bottom of the garden yet.

It’s good to be home, for now.

Listen this Thursday

This Thursday (18th August) features two nights of left-of-field musical talent, do go and have a sniff if you're free. The Wolfgang Bopp post fantastic posters up around New Cross way, each month's poster has a photograph with figues in it, one of which has the head of a gentleman with a funny hat and huge beard superimposed over it's own head. Every month, a new picture and the same, wildly bearded face. It always cheers me up.

This month they have bands redcarsgofaster, "giving post-rock a much-needed post-punk kick up the arse", they say and This Et Al, the slightly less encouraging (to me) "Smithsian melodies with an ethereal shoegazing aesthetic" though it you've ever wanted to look at Morrissey with a bright-red 'Mickey from Lush' bob then this may, or may not be, you're lucky night, you 30-something indie kid, you.

The Wolfgang DJ's play "twisted rock n roll, retro grooves and bleak disco" and the venue is the sacred ground of The Montague Arms, 289 Queens Road, New Cross, London SE15 2PA. Nearest stations: New Cross & Queens Rd, Peckham.

Entry is £3, doors, 8.00pm – 12.15am, if you need to know anything else, email Wolfgangbopp here.

Also on Thursday night from 8pm, also £3 and also something I've not made it to yet (so all reports gratefully recieved) is the Camberwell music night Echo Chamber at the Funky Monkey, 25 Camberwell Church Street Camberwell SE5 8TR (Buses 36, 136 and 171 from New Cross).

Appearing is Mark Pilkington's new muscial thingy Raagnagrok, who're a "synth 'n' sitar sounds" duo as well as the band Striplight, whom, Mark has found out through diligent research, style themselves as "Noir-wave angular artsters" though perhaps are more like "Jangly indie shouty popsters".

The night will also feature Petris and DJ and MCing spots from the resident resonance trio of Sculpture/Dan Hayhurst, Clive Graham and Richard Thomas. Go on!

Friday, August 12, 2005


More ritual goings on on the River Thames. A couple of weeks after Christians beat the watery bounds of the parish of Deptford by boat, Buddhists and others this week 'floated lighted candles on the Thames' to commemorate the dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki while on their way from Westminster Cathedral to the Peace Pagoda in Battersea Park.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Free Ronnie Biggs

Former great train robber Ronnie Biggs is apparently seriously ill in Belmarsh prison. Why is he still being kept in prison several years after he voluntarily returned to Britain? He is old and sick and obviously no threat to anyone. It seems he is being punished not just for the audacity of the original robbery in 1963 and subsequent escape from Wandsworth Prison but for making the authorities look stupid in all the years on the run in Australia and Brazil, for the crime of obviously enjoying himself including making ropey records with ex-Sex Pistols.

Biggs once saw a bit more of South London than the inside of the hospital wing of Belmarsh. After escaping from Wandsworth, he hid in Dulwich, Bermondsey and Camberwell before making his way to France. Legend has it too that the robbers celebrated their success with a drink in East Dulwich at The Cherry Tree pub (now called the New Hamlet Inn, opposite the train station).

Image is from Stencil Revolution

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Saturday, August 06, 2005

Deptford, Opium and the East India Company

Last month 'A mediaeval cermony called beating the bounds was held to mark out territory in the Thames and protest at plans for flats and recycling facilities on Convoys Wharf. Canon Graham Corneck, of St Nicholas Church, Deptford, and the Bishop of Woolwich, Christopher Chessun... led the proceedings from a tug boat' (Mercury, 27 July 2005).

There is a certain irony in the Deptford riverfront at Convoys Wharf being bought up by a Hong Kong based property company (see below), since the existence of Hong Kong as a business enclave came about as a result of the activities of an organisation closely linked with Deptford - the East India Company.

I was reminded by my holiday reading of W.G. Sebald's 'The Rings of Saturn'(1998) of the Opium War, a British government war for drugs in the nineteenth century: 'In 1837 the Chinese Government had taken measures to prevent opium trading, whereupon the East India Company, which grew opium poppies in the fields of Bengal and shipped the drug mainly to Canton, Amoy and Shanghai, felt that one of its most lucrative ventures was in jeapordy... In the name of Christian evangelism and free trade, which was held to be the precondition of all civilised progress, the superiority of western artillery was demonstrated, a number of cities were stormed, and a peace was extorted, the conditions of which included guarantees for British trading posts on the coasts, the cession of Hong Kong, and, not least, reparation payments of truly astronomical proportions'.

As Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak notes in her 'Critique of Postcolonial reason' (1999), the East India Company was 'the first great transnational company', establishing the British Empire in India and forming the state in its image: 'The governments of India were the Company's governments, the army the Company's army'. The Bengal famine of 1770, which wiped out one in six of the local population, can be viewed as the Company's famine.

From 1600 until 1782 the East India Company stores were based at the Stowage site on the river at Deptford, the location for the new Millennium Quay housing development. One thing that hasn't changed over the centuries is the ownership of large chunks of the Deptford riverfront by multinational corporations - from the East India Company, to Rupert Murdoch's News International to Cheung Kong, who recently bought the Convoys Wharf site from Murdoch.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Electric Six in New Cross

Detroit’s Electric Six (Danger! High Voltage!) are playing a gig in the basement of The Venue, New Cross on September 2nd, hosted by XXIV Records' I SWEAR I WAS THERE club. This intimate show will warm the band up for a major festival in Spain the following day. Limited tickets will be available from this weekend for £10 via

In October there's a huge amount of music and other stuff happening in New Cross and elsewhere as part of 'Artful - a non conventional convention of entertainment and exhibition'. We will be posting more details of events as they are firmed up, but check the Artful website for updates.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Bucky & Co.

Interesting Sunday afternoon gig happening tomorrow featuring Bristol band Bucky, as well as Corey OS, Wetdog and Smartypants plus 'Crafting, Tea & Cakes'.

It all happens at The Pullens Centre, Crampton Street, SE17 (map here), 2-6pm.

Monday, July 25, 2005

30 Seconds under Chislehurst

Reading Simon Reynolds' marvellous new book 'Rip it Up and Start and Again: Post-Punk 1978-1984'. Deptford's finest Alternative TV and This Heat both get their dues, along with just about anybody making interesting music in that period. I hadn't realized that David Sylvian and Japan came from Catford - a quick Google search shows that the world's most beautiful man (as he was once described) was born David Batt at Stone Park Hospital, Beckenham, and met other band members at Catford Secondary School.

But the best vaguely South London story concerns Pere Ubu. In 1978 the Cleveland band staged the UK launch of their LP Dub Housing with an 'Ubu Mystery Trip' with ticketholders transported by bus to a secret location - the freezing cold Chislehurst Caves in the London Borough of Bromley. The Caves are well worth a visit, if you can take some of the guide's more lurid tales of Druid sacrifice with a pinch of salt. They have been variously used as an ammunitions depot (World War One), a mushroom farm (between the wars), an air raid shelter (World War Two), and a venue for gigs and parties - Jimi Hendrix played there in 1966, and Pink Floyd the following year. As a film location they have been used for Doctor Who (The Mutants - 1972), Insemenoid, Bliss, Neverwhere and Randall & Hopkirk (deceased).

Convoys Wharf

Thanks to Bob from Brockley for finding an article from the South China Morning Post about Deptford: "Residents in southeast London have mounted a campaign against plans by Cheung Kong (Holdings) to redevelop a 16-hectare site at Convoys Wharf in Deptford into a mixed high-rise residential and commercial complex.The move threatens to stall the Hong Kong developer's ambitions to expand its British portfolio. Cheung Kong and its ports-to-telecoms arm, Hutchison Whampoa, bought the site in May from Rupert Murdoch's News International, the publishing arm of News Corp, for $1.46 billion".

Cheung Kong holdings seem to be in the vanguard of global waterside gentrification - developing luxury accommodation in areas previously reviled by the wealthy because they were full of dockers, sailors, mudlarks and other vanishing urban types. The same company has been involved in similar developments in Vancouver as well as in Hong Kong itself. The interesting Hong Kong anarcho site In the Water obviously knows the company well:

'Hong Kong, with our physical and political environments governed by a ruling class of unrepresentative, unaccountable bureaucrats, and the overriding economic decisions controlled by corporate giants with names like Hutchison, Cheung Kong, and Sun Hung Kai, organisms that will live for decades longer than you and I could ever dream...In our Hong Kong, too, some humans rule and others are invisible. The demolitions continue, the harbor 'reclamations' continue, West Kowloon is commercialized in the name of culture, Mong Kok is smashed for yet another mega-shopping mall, the land and the people are erased until neither land nor people matter, and until... until what, then?'. Sounds familiar.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Swear / Violets

What are our favourite Angular artistes up to (or should that be post-Angular, as they're now putting out material on other labels)? The Swear are playing at the Six String/Paradise Bar in New Cross on 4th August with Strange Chocolate. Their recent 'repeat it, repeat it' CD EP is available from their site and you can also check out what they sound like, if you've never had the pleasure.

Meanwhile The Violets have gone one better on their site - you can hear what they sound like and what they look like, with a video of their Mirror Mirror single.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

"They're all Londoners"

More bombs in London... at the moment a lot of people seem more weary than anything, but as the reality sinks in that we could be in for a long campaign, who knows what forms the creeping paranoia and edginess will take? One possible direction is racism, already being stoked by the British National Party, who used images of the bus bomb in their Barking election leafet, and by the Daily Mail, where Melanie Phillips bemoans 'the disaster of multiculturalism'.

Obviously this is an insult to the 7/7 dead, who included people from Poland, Italy, Israel, Turkey, Afghanistan and many other places. Anyway the BNP's ethnic purism is actually very close to the ideology of the bombers, leaving aside the fact that the last bombing campaign in London was carried out by an ex-BNP member, David Copeland. There has always been a link between the Islamist far right and their European counterparts, going right back to the mutual admiration of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Third Reich.

The Daily Mail might want to distance themselves from the BNP, but how could the monoculture they dream of be imposed except by ludicrous patriotic propaganda, repression and ethnic cleansing? My street in New Cross would be pretty empty once they'd driven away my French, Portuguese, Brazilian, West Indian and African neighbours, and I'm not sure that many of the 'White UK' remainder would want to take any kind of citizenship oath to Queen and Country. Count me out for a start.

Anyone would think that London's diversity was dreamt up by some committee in the 1980s. In fact, London was created and has always been sustained by constant migratory flows, a fact that has often been celebrated. In 'London belongs to Me' (1945), Norman Collins wrote:

'And the people. They're London, too. They're the same Londoners that they have always been, except that from time to time the proportion of refugees has altered a little. At one moment the doubtful-looking newcomers are the Huguenots. At another the Jews and it is the Huguenots who are the Londoners wondering whatever London is coming to. They're all Londoners - the French and the Italians in Soho, the Chinese in Limehouse, the Scotsmen in Muswell Hill and the Irish round the Docks'.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Save The Hood

No, not a reference to Respect's hilarious "stop the Hoodie Ban" demo at Elephant and Castle, but a plea to save one of South East London's finest community pubs. The Lord Hood in Creek Lane has successfully avoided the gentrification of Greenwich, and remained a fine example of a good community local. OK, it only has one real ale, a fairly nondescript Courage Best, but it is reasonably priced, and unusually for the area has a music license. This means that on different nights you can can go to a disco, hear a jazz group, have a sing-along or (like me) join in with a fine English Traditional Music Session. (not made any the finer by me, I hasten to add) The pub also seems to be a focus of activity for local pensioners ( ie they're not driven out by pricey drinks and loud contemporary music) and there's a feisty Womens' darts team too.

All of this is endangered by a proposed property develpment which will result in the demolition of this great bit of 1930's pub architecture, and its replacement with more soulless overpriced wine bars and bong shops (probably).

Do your bit and sign the online petition

Future Sound of SE14

Saturday saw the latest gig from the alumni of Felix's School of Rock at Prendergast School, Hilly Fields, with school-aged rockers taking the stage. Highlights for me were Redrum (average age 9.5) with their versions of Seven Nation Army and Californication, and Unique, who supplemented Audioslave and Led Zeppelin covers with a song of their own.

Hot-footed it from there to the Six String Bar, where I said a few words about Deptford Fun City and played a few SE London classics (including June Brides 'Every Conversation, plus a bit of This Heat and Carter USM). Couldn't stick around for the bands, but Charlie Brown looked good from their sound check. Maybe next time...

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

After the silence

Some places have periods of silence all the time. I imagine that, say, Dulwich Village is pretty quiet in the middle of the night. Walworth Road is never quiet, so the two minutes of silence last Thursday for the victims of the London bombings felt quite eery - construction, shop and council workers standing on the streets, and the traffic gradually coming to a halt.

The day before, the London bombers' comrades in Iraq blew up 20+ children in a working class quarter of Baghdad. Hardly anybody mentions them, and nobody mentions the blood on the hands of some of those leading the silence. Never mind Iraq, who now remembers the civilians blown to bits by NATO in 1999 on a train at Grdenicka in the former yugoslavia?

As a humanist and internationalist, I don't value London lives any higher than anybody else's, but I recognize that there is a (self-centred) emotional charge to death on your doorstep. A city is daily traversed by millions of individual paths intersecting with each other. It is the fact that we can plot our own paths crossing those of the dead that reminds us of our vulnerability and enables us to idenitify intimately with the victims.

After reading acres of coverage of the London bombings, the detail that finally brought a tear to my eye was buried in a report of the life of Shahara Islam, killed on the no.30 bus. It wasn't the face of the pretty young muslim woman staring from every front page that got to me so much as the fact that she regularly stopped off at Patisserie Bliss at the Angel Islington on the way into work, just as I did every day for the three years I worked there.

Back to work after 120 seconds- bury them and be silent. The much vaunted stiff upper lip, business as usual attitude is wearing thin. It's one thing to say we're not going to let a few bombs stop us getting on with our lives, its another to order people to carry on as if nothing has happened. As Jon Eden at Uncarved experienced, most people weren't given the choice of not immediately returning to work.

After two minutes of silence, two minutes of critical argument with our friends, colleagues and neighbours would be a start. Why is the world in this state and what are the alternatives? Do we just have to accept living in a permanent state of global low intensity war? Discuss.

As Iain Sinclair wrote last week 'Random acts of terror are finite, the money wheel never stops turning'. Business as usual means more of the same. No thanks.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

On the buses

In the aftermath of the London bombing there has been an almost delirious outpouring of rhapsodic prose about the city and its pleasures. Following Iain Sinclair's Theatre of the City piece, Laura Barton penned a hymn to London buses in yesterday's Guardian, apparently based on a day traversing the capital by random routes. As I sat on the 171 into work yesterday, I read her poetic observation that 'Londoners sail the buses, floating along its surface like the flotsam of the city, each passenger following their mystical routes as if by divination'.

Sinclair and Barton are in a line of double decker flaneurs. In 'The Nights of London' (1926), travel writer and journalist HV Morton included an essay 'To Anywhere' with the starting premise that 'Strange things happen now and then if you just take the first omnibus and sit there long enough'. He describes a journey that ends with him getting off the bus and wandering through a park by cricket matches, a political meeting and open air dancers. Only as the night closes in as 'Lovers drifted slowly under the moon' does he ask a policeman ''Where am I?'... He looked at me suspiciously, and replied: 'Peckham Rye''. Must have been a number 12.

See also: A Delaware County writer recalls a trip with a Deptford bus driver.


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Walworth Jumpers

Philip Hoare's 'England's Lost Eden - adventures in a Victorian Utopia' is a fascinating exploration of the overlapping milieus of spiritualism, millenarian religion and utopianism in late-Victorian england. Of most interest to transpontinians is his account of the so-called Walworth Jumpers, a split from a group known as the Peculiar People who had a chapel in Gravel Lane, Kennington (they were later known as the Plumsted Peculiars- presumably they moved). There were rowdy scenes in a railway arch in Sutherland Street off the Walworth Road in 1871-2 as curious crowds gathered to watch the jumpers' ecstatic dancing, leading to them being compared to the similarly inclined Shakers in the US. After facing similar hostility at premises in Salisbury Row, Lock's fields (under the current Aylesbury Estate) and another railway arch near Waterloo, Mary Ann Girling and her followers moved to Hordle in the New Forest where they lived communally while waiting for the end of the world. The 1881 census record a number of south londoners still living with them, including the unusually named Emma and Elizabeth Knuecheles, the latter a 14 year old born in Camberwell.

In and around the New forest in this period there seem to have been various experiments in different ways of life, from the plebeian to the aristocratic, encompassing various combinations of dress reform, Bible communism, vegetarianism and celibacy.

Back in South London, we also hear of Captain Alfred Wilks Drayson, a spiritualist who claimed to have 'witnessed fresh eggs, fruit and flowers descend from the ceiling' of his quarters at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and who held seances with John Ruskin (then living in Camberwell) and Arthur Conan Doyle. Peculiar people, one and all.

Spring Heeled Jack

Steve Ash gave a great talk to South East London Folklore Society on the Spring Heeled Jack phenomenon. In 1838 panic swept through the villages on the edge of London, with people apparently being accosted by a mysterious figure in a cloak able to leap great heights to avoid capture. A servant girl in Forest Hill was frightened out of her wits by a creature in a bearskin; horses panicked after Spring Heeled Jack lept over Streatham High Road...

Steve talked through some of the different explanations that have been put forward - was it all a prank played on gullible peasants by toffs? Was it mass hysteria linked to the stresses of urbanisation and disease? Was there some paranormal content? In true Fortean style, the mystery resists any single explanation.

Next SELFS on Monday August 8th features another dark creature of the night, with a talk on the folklore of the Black Dog. Upstairs at the Spanish Galleon pub, Greenwich, prompt 8 pm start.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Camberwell Shows

Lots of interesting and free art stimulation to be had in Camberwell last weekend. The Summer Show at Camberwell College of Art had some really good work. Our favourites were Hanna Park's melancholic sketches of London bus life (example here), rendered very poignant by recent events. Other Londonist work included a sound recording made in the Dragon Wok Chinese restaraunt opposite the college, and Cui-Li Zhang's exploration of traffic lights and other street signs, incorporating a video clip of New Cross Road, tapestries of signs and a fake aquarium of plastic fish and miniature signs. Its finished now, so look out for next year's show - for now there's still time (until 17 July) to see Saskia Olde Wolbe's short film 'Trailer' at South London Gallery, a short story to lush shots of cinema interiors and tropical flytraps.

Subterranean Sonic Women Artists take Greenwich

I've waited ages to write that headline and finally....I CAN! This came over the email today:
Local women tunnel under the Thames
Local Greenwich women are filling the Greenwich Foot Tunnel with sound on Saturday 16th July 2005. They have been working with London sound artist Jo Lucas to produce a sonic journey called 'Tunnel of Time' through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. The project was set up by the Greenwich based media arts organisation Independent Photography. The installation brings together ambient sounds and spoken word by the artist and women created through intimate discussions amongst themselves.
A collage of voice and sound is immersed within the environment of Greenwich and woven together with 5 women's tales of fear and faith. The project explores a fragility and power within private experience that is often overlooked. The installation will run from 12pm - 6pm, with information, refreshments and a short presentation by the artist and women at 5pm at the tunnel entrance in Cutty Sark Gardens.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Hannah Baneth

Bob from Brockley notes the passing of Hannah Baneth, post-war Jewish refugee and Deptford housing activist, among other things.

6 X 6 at Six String Bar

6X6 is a mini-music festival happening at the Six String Bar (formerly Paradise Bar),460 New Cross Road this Saturday 16th July. It starts in the afternoon (3 pm) and goes on until 11 pm with a diverse range of musical talent including THE CROWD, NEBRASKA, CHARLIE BROWN and DEVIL IN MISS JONES . DIGITAL SNEAKERS will be showing their documentary film 'Rocklands - Live In New Cross' featuring Twisted Charm, Angular Records, Art Brut, Bloc Party and many others. All this plus DJs, pub price booze and good company. I will also being doing a short talk about Deptford Fun City, and probably playing a short set of Transpontine tracks (maybe a bit of ATV, This Heat, Band of Holy Joy etc.).

Its free before 5 pm (bar is open from mid day) after 5pm it's £4 / (£2 with a Music Tourist Board card/NUS). Come and hang out, watch/meet bands, play pool, read/write zines, watch visuals.

London healing

Avalon in London are holding an impromptu ritual of healing and protection for London, and all her inhabitants, and to celebrate her vibrant life force. They will be meeting at Cross Bones Graveyard at the north end of Redcross Way, close to Borough tube station, at 7.00pm on Friday 15th July.

They say: 'Please bring flowers and ribbons to decorate the gates, poems and London songs, objects that symbolise London to you, messages to be tied to the gates etc, bring candles to honour the recent dead, bring your love and your longing for change, bring your courage and your creativity, bring your passion for the city that opens her arms to all... Cross Bones Graveyard is an unconsecrated graveyard, dating back to medieval times, which holds the bones of the prostitutes and paupers of The Liberty, who were denied burial in consecrated ground or were too poor to afford it. The graveyard was closed in 1853 but was unearthed during the building of the Jubilee line. Each year a Halloween of Cross Bones graveyard event is held by John Constable and The Southwark mysteries and vigils are held there each month to honour the outcast dead. Over time it has become a place of deep healing and of hope for a better and more compassionate city, the city that is stirring beneath our feet as we walk her streets'.

A description of a previous London protection ritual has been posted at the Dragon Environmental Network site.


Friday, July 08, 2005

London belongs to me

Transpontine crew all believed safe and sound after yesterday's madness, though Skitster apparently went through Edgware Road station not long before the blast. Met somebody this morning who had been on the top of the bus that got blown up - after the explosion she looked round and most the seats behind her had disappeared along with the people on them. So it was no surprize when they said today that 13 had died on the bus, rather than the 2 originally announced. Miraculously she got away with perforated ear drums and shock. Some of the people on the bus had earlier been caught up in the bomb at Edgware Road a full hour before. This in itself calls into question the story of the super-efficient emergency operation swinging seamlessly into action, though who can say if any course of action would have made any difference by that stage.

Lots of schmaltz on the radio about indominatable London pulling together, spirit of the Blitz etc. Some of this a bit bogus, judging by the actions of hotels putting up their prices to take advantage of captive customers unable to travel home. Nevertheless there was obviously lots of mutual aid, and its interesting that in times like these people affirm their connection to the place we live in rather to than the imagined community of the nation - London not England.

It's over-dramatizing things to compare the situation today to the Second World War when millions were slaughtered on all sides, but it is notable that London was appreciated in similar ways in the 1940s. I recently picked up an old copy, from a Walworth Road charity shop, of HV Morton's 'London', a series of sketches of pre-war London life published in 1940. It has a touching hand written message in the front saying 'Another war time birthday. Here are happy memories of our beloved London. Just Chubb 11.6.41'. The book itself is full of London pride: 'London, once so aloof and so vast a mystery, has, in the anxiety of these times, become comprehensible in her danger, and Londoners by the thousands have ceased to be merely lodgers in London, and have found a new importance as helpers of London'. Similar sentiments can be found in Norman Collins' 'London belongs to me' (1945) and Noel Coward's London Pride: 'Ghosts beside our starlit Thames, Who lived and loved and died, Keep throughout the ages London Pride'.

Too soon for me to write much about the politics and to be honest I've found some of the internet comment a bit irritating with people trying to slot events into their favourite conspiracy theory (including usual anti-semitic crap) without waiting for even the basic facts to become clear. Suffice it to say that mass murder in London is no more, but equally no less tragic that mass murder in Iraq, whether carried out by Islamo-fascists or Imperial armies. Neither justifies, or even explains, the other - we need a world without both.


Freaky Friday

Sorry, that's the only subject line I could think of for hese two south-east London event. Maybe 'Fine Friday' or 'Fab Friday' would be more positive, these are both cool looking events, but, what the heck, everyone's heard of 'Freaky Friday'.
Anyway, I digress, in New Cross this Friday (8th) Fresh Films at Cafe Crema, 306 New Cross Road, are hosting an event called 'Rats and Roses' where they will be screening animated shorts from the 10th Brief Encounters Short Film Festival.
First up is Jo Jo in the Stars’, The description of this award winning film is: ‘The heart wrenching tale of two unlikely lovers; Jo Jo, a silver plated trapeze artist and the nameless hero who worships her'.
This is followed by 'Dog Years’, winner UK Film Council audience award, ‘Ben, 39, castrated mongrel, needs love. GSOH essential’, as well as London Fields are Blue’ and a film called ‘The Curse of Geoff’.
The films will be followed by music from George Leitenberger, singer songwriter and composer of film scores for cult german films of the 80s: including La Fuente Verde;Glasnost Junkies;Night Comes Falling.
Now, if you're like me and you've never seen or heard of these films, Cafe Crema helpfully lists George's influences and sound as "Bob Dylan, Tom Waites, Jacques Brel….Beautiful guitar, bittersweet ballads…drink and dream"
The cost is £5.50, including a meal, and Cafe Crema can only reserve a total of 5 tickets over the phone. To reserve tickets phone 020 8320 2317 during café opening times Mon-Fri 9.30-6.00.
Oops, actually, the Kosmische night is on Saturday 9th July, Friday 8th at the Corsica Studios, (Unit 5, Farrell Court, Elephant Road, SE17 1LB), which is under the arches of Elephant & Castle station, just off the top of Walworth Road is:
Friday July 8th - Shortwave Films 8pm till 2am, Entry £4/£3 concRunning order: Short films/videos by emerging talent from 9pm till 10pm Bands on stage from 10:30pm Following on from the films we have live music courtesy of Battant, Crack Village and The Hands. Battant are Chloe, Mole and Tim. Formed in November 2004, they produce a flurry of pop-dripping rampage. Laptop, drum machine, keyboard and electricguitarcomebass gang-bang the twisted corners of Chloe's mind as she spits out convulsively addictive mutterings. Quick on the path to success, these three will not stop til they've reached the far corners of Everywhere.First release is out on Firewire July 11th. Wait for it... Crack Village are building an enthusiastic and loyal fanbase with their irreverent brand of hip-hop, mixing in live brass, human beatboxing and punk rock attitude together with electro and breakbeats. They will be showcasing material scheduled for release on MAKE SOME NOISE RECORDS. The Hands are a crack four-piece playing wired-pop in the finest tradition. Formed 18 months ago, the quartet from south east London have taken inspiration from the everyday to create a quintessentially English sound. Built from keyboard, guitar, bass and drums, the songs go from thoughtful to throwaway in a beat: love, loss, work and play all feature in the big sound of their short stories. Joining the dots between audio and visual will be resident DJ’s Rob Wray and John Reynolds. Visuals come courtesy of Digital Mass.Email for guest list. For more info visit who can be contacted on 0778 869 2137
On Saturday, Kosmische, kraut-rock to the masses, are demonstration their exquisite taste by hosting their nineth Birthday party at Corsica Studios, Unit 5, Farrell Court, Elephant Road, SE17 1LB, which is under the arches of Elephant & Castle station, just off the top of Walworth Road.
The line-up is:
Fine Finnish drone-rocked Circle, Jean-Herve Peron of Faust (with guests), Delia Gonzalez & Gavin Russom (DFA synth genies), Amal Gamal Ensemble (Shock-Headed Peters/Cyclobe/Guapo/Alabama 3) and the always fab Now.
They also promise "Kosmische club djs, Barry 7 chamber, whacked-out films, liquid lighting by Lightning Rod from Bubble Vision, strangeness and surprises."
there are only 2 ways to get in:1. buy a ticket for £12 from WeGotTickets or email with the subject 'put me on the list'. It's £15 on door and you'll need ot be on the list.