Monday, February 28, 2005

Future sound of New Cross

People sometimes talk about the New Cross scene, but it seems to me there are any number of different scenes, albeit ones that overlap at the edges. As well as the various Montagu/New Cross Inn/Rocklands/Angular scenettes there is a whole scene of younger bands either in or just out of school, with their own website New Cross Scene. On Friday 4 March 2005 some of them are playing at the Telegraph Hill rock night, including Phoenix Jam, Eleven IQ, Gebus, Provocative, Tone-Deaf Messiah and The Only Hopes. Its at the Telegraph Hill Centre, top of Pepys Road, Doors open 7.30, admission £4. If you are out of your teens you will feel very old.

Live in Rocklands

You can't keep a good bunch down and the Rocklands crew are back, with new players Beat Crazy, at busy old halls of the Amersham Arms, 388 New Cross Rd, Rocklands (erm, that'll be New Cross) SE14.

The first night of their LIVE IN ROCKLANDS gigs will be on Wednesday 9th March, from 8pm until midnight and will cost 35/£3 concs. Playing are The Modern, "dark wave synth pop" apparently, Luxenbourg, "pop noir", and a band called William who do "weirdrock". I like the sound of weird rock.

DJs will include Simon Price of the Stay Beautiful club. Maybe see you there. Future nights will be posted up near the time but you can get more details on these, and loads of other things, at the Rocklands site.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Totally Wired

If you live in New Cross you should be able to hear a new radio station for the next month, put together by Goldsmiths students. Wired is broadcasting on 101.4 fm (or online at all day, every day until 23rd March.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Past Tense Publications

Past Tense Publications, purveyors of South London histories, mythologies and mysteries, have a new website. You can now peruse their catalogue and order online pamphlets such as 'Deptford Fun City - a ramble through the history and music of New Cross and Deptford' and 'Down with the Fences! - battles for the commons in South London'. Check it out at:

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Lumiare de la Loup

There’s plenty of music out there and there’s plenty of film too. There’s film clubs out there too. Joining Exploding Cinema and My Eyes! My Eyes! is the equally well named WEREWOLF Underground Film Club. Their opening night is on Sunday, 6th March at the Funky Munky bar in fair Camberwell, 25 Camberwell Church Street, London SE5 and costs £4.

They will be showing the British Premiere (possibly the first film premier in Camberwell ever?) of FAITES VOS JEUX By AKAS and
Filmgruppe Chaos (‘in loose cooperation with the copyright violation squad’ apparently)

‘ FAITES VOS JEUX ‘ is, and I quote “a feature film made without a camera, a collection of pirated images/ 'samples' from home movies, adverts, art-videos, TV news, documentaries, game shows and movies from Hollywood to 'Bollywood'.”
So, perhaps, more like a film made on lots and lots of cameras, along with “doses of sandpaper, acid, felt-pens, 'Letraset', sharp blades and other devices” that tells the tale, somehow, of “a baby born in the seventies to the end of his life by suicide. Along the way the film explores political events, music, andmedia styles : the deaths of Germany's Red Army Faction (Baader-Meinhof Group) in a high-security prison, the rise of the punk movement, early eighties new wave culture, the Gulf War, the WTO-riot in Genoa and ultimately to a 'mega-media-mix' showdown of th eevents of 9/11 and the war against terror.

As I said about something else a while back, could be brilliant, could be a bit of old toss but it looks an interesting night. There’ll also be ‘Klassik shorts, live tv mixing and MC Ray Beam.’

Nearest tubes to the Funky Munky are the Oval and the Elephant & Castle, though there not that near, you’ll need to get a 12, 36, 436, 345 or 171 bus.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Gluerooms & Scaledown

I've not got round to photographing the new poster for the Gluerooms but it's a good one. Loads of horses are going into the top of a grinder and coming out as glue (or dog-food, I suppose) at the bottom. Is this a commemorative Charles and Camilla poster?

Presumably down to February being a sawn-off runt of a month, they are not running on the last Wednesday of the month, as is their present set-up, but the first Wednesday of March, the 2nd.

Pay £3 from 9pm at the door of The Amersham Arms, Amersham Road, New Cross (just by New Cross station bridge) and you will get a live ‘ticky tape set’ from DJ Tendraw & The Gypsies Dog & No Disco and live music from Moonus (who may be “psy-groove-poetic-ilic excursions deluxe" but may not be, part of the fun of writing about Gluerooms is finding out about who’s playing) and The Reactorcore Is Splendid.

All together now: “The reactor core is splendid, it gives us light to read. Each sub-atomic particle is a friend indeed.”

Tendraw & The Gypsies Dog will also be appearing this Friday, 25th February, at central London music club Scaledown along with Blackheath-er Rebecca Closure. Scaledown is free to members (join on the door) and starts at 7pm upstairs at The King and Queen, 1 Foley Street London, W1.

Friday, February 18, 2005

I Swear I Was There at The Venue!

An acquaintance of mine is coming back to south-east London for a quick holiday after three years or so in American and he asked "What's new?"

"Well," we said, "beer's gone up, fox hunting is meant to be banded, you can't laugh at Bible botherers anymore and the pubs still aren't open 24 hours because there's worries about people getting drunk."

I was being a bit of an old misery. What I should have told him, and him being an ex-New Crosser he would have understood, is that the Venue is doing proper music again! Friday 18th was a great night, the vaulted basement bar is a slightly arabesque (I love that word) features, the crowd where the usual mix of local scenesters, from non-smiley young boys (who we laughed and pointed at) to girls who love to hit the dressing-up box to so many other weird and wonderful people. The bands were all loveable, from the multi-instrumental, experimental punk noise from Mitten, to the cheeky on-stage banter and sheer love of being there from both the ever-gorgeous cartoon-punksters The Blue Minkies and the boppy Raw Sex (as in the Roland Riveron duo) of The Fucks.

So let’s do that again! Angular are planning another night at The Venue in March but before then those other punk-providers I Swear I Was There are putting Lovell’s Wharf, SONY (Somewhere Outside New York), Fine Lines and The Idle Lovers on at The Venue on Friday 4th March from 9pm with multiple DJ’s. Entry is £3. The Venue is on the New Cross Road, giggers go to the side entrance on Clifton Rise.

Arabesque Nights

Hubble Bubble is back in Deptford on 26th February for more Turkish-fusion tubes from Oojami and Balkan brass-band the,um, The Balkanatics. There’s also beats, belly dancers, trapeze artists, DJs and Turkish food.

It’s £8/£6 a ticket, a darn good chance to wig out to some great beats and an ace introduction to Turkish and Arabesque music . Go, go, go (if you can).

It’s on at the
Albany, Douglas Way, Deptford, 8pm to 2am.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Nirvana in New Cross?

The Venue in New Cross has seen many tribute bands, incuding 'Teen Spirit - a tribute to Nirvana'. Over at Urban75 there has been a bit of discussion about whether the real band ever played there, with a couple of people thinking they saw them there. 

It can be difficult to be sure about gig memories, half the bands I 'saw' at the Venue I only semi-heard through a drunken mist, or I missed most of because I was dancing upstairs. After digging around at Nirvana-obsessive sites, I am pretty sure they never played at The Venue. 

However according to the very comprehensive Kurt Cobain and the rest of the band did go there on the 22 August 1991 to see 'Mudhoney', 'Hole' and 'Captain America'. The following day they played Reading. This was about a month before 'Nevermind' was released. 

Someone who was there thinks that Nirvana may have played a few numbers with Mudhoney, but I'm not sure about this either. There is a Mudhoney set list for this gig which doesn't mention doing any numbers with Nirvana, but who knows? 

 Anyway that was then, this is now, I'm off to the Venue tomorrow (Friday) for the Angular night.

Who does that bell toll for?

There’s this new mystery in New Cross, I’ve heard it on my road twice in the last few days.

We’re in the dark, grey, guts of February and, by the gods and goddesses, it’s cold out there. Not only is the cold closing itself around my, and everyone else’s, extremities with an intensity of grip normally associated with pit-bulls, solider ants and bull-dog clips but everyone around me has the chapped nose and wheezy rasp about them of the long-term cold sufferer.

So why have I, whilst lurking in the warmth of my burrow near the New Cross end of the Lewisham Way, heard an ice-cream van playing it’s chimes twice in the last few days? Not only have I heard these chimes (the traditional, discordant ones that sound like a sack full of cuckoo-clocks and musical boxes being rolled down a steep hill) but I’ve heard the familiar whirr of an ice-cream van engine.

My burrow-mate, Clare, even saw someone approach this van last night, purchase something and disappear back in to the sterile, frozen night. What can this 'ice-cream van' be selling? Surly not ice cream? Is it a roving burger-van, filling in before the festival and fair-ground season and making do before haunting the car-boot sales this weekend? Is it delivering oily meat to the masses on the street and on demand? Is it selling soup and tea? Weed and speed? Gloves and scarves? Is it bringing much needed cheese, wine, hot pizza and chips to ones doorstep and, if so, why am I not aware of its services?

It is selling something I don’t know about to beings in New Cross that I normally do not encounter or perceive? It is like a ghostly galleon or the wild hunt or the enchanted party boats that travel the Amazon, providing entertainment for ‘the others’ amongst us and only glimpsed by mortals on clear, moon-light bathed nights?

The next time I hear it I’m going out there to catch it and see. I hope I am able to come back afterwards and let you know what I shall witness.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

St Valentine Be Hanged!

Monday, 14th February, London. The restaurants of the city will be filled with couples, listlessly munching their pizza, staring glassy eyed in to the middle-distance wishing they could think of something to say to each other.

Perhaps a guitarist or fiddler will sidle up to them and begin to play. He (or she) doesn’t care about what they are doing, the couple are embarrassed but they all go through with this awkward and joyless ritual. It is, after all, Valentines Day.

The tired rose on their table will fade a little bit more and lose another petal.

Other couples will have just got back from a weekend break, tired and a bit fed-up with the craft shops and cloying tea-rooms of out-of-season resorts and retreats. Yet more will wonder what to dread more, gifts of cuddly toys or of novelty, and cheaply made, racy underwear and fluffy-handcuffs. All of which are made with slight, ironic shrug, just in case the gesture is taken too seriously.

Look, if you’re in love, or if you just enjoy shagging a particular person a lot, celebrate it your own way and at your own time. Celebrate it every day it’s there.

And this Monday, well, come to SELFS and see “A Man Called” Jason Oliver discuss a, perhaps, different form of physical passion. Jason has recently been described by no-less of a wise-woman as Treadwell’s Christina Oakley as “a lively speaker and a serious practitioner” as well as “Engaging, intelligent, thought-provoking. We can only imagine that whatever he's speaking on, he makes the evening out worth the journey.” Good use of the royal ‘we’ there.

Jason will discuss suspension and other forms of body ritual and compare these with the techniques of everyone’s favourite self-loving proto-chaos magician, Austin Osman Spare.
Here's the details Jason gave me plus some other shameless SELFS promotion (location and directions after these messages:
14th February: Jason Oliver – Suspension and other Body Rituals.

Jason will discuss body ritual with specific relation to suspension, both past and present, and its relation to the death posture as posited by Austin Osman Spare. Other body modifications will be discussed as a peripheral to these body rites of passage.

Jason is studying at the Royal College of Art for a Masters degree, his main themes being body modification, ritual and associated practices.
SELFS now distributes books, pamphlets and magazines on our chosen interests of paganism, folklore, forteana, high strangeness, radical history and the occult. We currently hold:

Deptford Fun City – Neil Gordon-Orr: £2

Down with the Fences: Battles for the Commons in South London – Past Tense Press: £1

Fowlers Troop and the Deptford Jack in the Green: a history of an old London
May Day tradition – Sarah Crofts: £1

LVG Vampire Chronicles Issue: Slayer Special: £2.75 (with an article by me in it).

Do contact
me if you think you have something we could distribute for you.

SELFS made the national press! One Hermione Eyre (possibly not her real name) cam to SELFS on the 10th January, made a few notes, gave Jeremy Harte the rave review he deserved and then wrote us up in the Independent on Sunday on 16th January.

The review can be read

It’s not on the Indie website so I had to scan the photocopy Jeremy sent me. We, “the pagans”, are “lovely”, says the bar staff of The Spanish Galleon, which is nice to know, and they talk about foxes a lot and wear a fair bit of purple, do a bit of note taking in green biro and but, ultimately, are “friendly” according to Hermione. Hopefully she wasn’t too perturbed by the thought of the Galleon bar-staff thinking she may be one of those ‘pagans’ (or forteans, folklorists or various other SELFS sorts).

As well as posting the above over the interweb, I have finally gotten around to setting up an online photo-gallery for SELFS which includes three pictures from the epic Jack Gale walk in Greenwich Park in 2003 and one of our first goes at watching the Winter Solstice sunrise at Hilly Fields Stone Circle in Brockley in 2003.
Also in there are a few photos, that I’ve pinched off Stewart Smith, of former SELFS speakers (me, Gordon Rutter, Richard Freeman) mingling with March’s speaker Mark Pilkington as well as (before this turns too much into ‘Hello’ magazines for pagans and forteans) some snaps of last years Fowlers Troop Jack in the Green procession around Greenwich pubs, the Lion’s Part October Plenty gathering and our growing collection of ‘plant people’ pictures.
The link to the SELFS & Forteana page is
here, The gallery is updated as often as we can so if you have any SELFS-related pictures (or pictures of cute, furry animals) that you’d like to put up there, such as pictures of speakers, SELFS or related events or anything interesting snapped in South East London then do please let me know.

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.

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.

Contact email

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Long Lost Club

The Lost Club is one of New Cross's more interesting music nights, presenting an ecletic mix of bands and performers with a dark and punky atttiude. Their next night is at Cyclicart, 308 New Cross Road, New Cross and costs £3 (£2.50 with lost badge. My Lost Club badge sits very proudly on my pea-coat and often draws admiring comments. Well, it has twice, anyway).

Doors are at 8pm and you get this long, Lost Club line-up for your money: Twisted Charm, The Lazy Angels,
The Dirty Pins, Wearesix, Venus Pollution, Thatchers Clit (shudder), One Jah and acoustic stuff from Deadeye and Zen.

Also performing are Jazzman John, Jo Angel, Paul Abbott and the migraine that is
Spinmaster Plantpot.

Pirate Punk Pub

This Friday / Tomorrow / 11th Feb has the Greenwich Pirate mob putting on another bunch of bands, described as "some of the finest bands of the area with a penchant for the female singer" which is perfectly fine by me as well as girly DJ's..

Live are The Violets, Alice And The Enemies and Lovelle's Wharf, DJ's are Love Pirates, Bodie & Doyle and, um, Daisy. Not that that means much to me but I'm sure they'll be a good and drunken mix of punk-rock and disco.

By the very magic of the venue nights are the Monty are always magical. The time is 8-12, Rntry: £3/2 concs.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Call of the Wild

Saw a poster on a tree in Gellatly Road today offering a £500 reward for finding a parrot, 'last seen in Meeting House Lane' (Peckham). Strangely a few weeks ago at the other end of the road there was a poster seeking information on Freddy, a missing parakeet. What's going on?

Until recently I believed that such creatures were doomed to die in London, at least until some JG Ballard-style future in which the ruins of the city are submerged in tropical vegetation. But then on Peckham Rye last year I saw a flash of green and became aware of the parakeet population living there and indeed all over London (the South West being particularly popular). According to this report there may be up to 30,000 parrots and parakeets living wild, descended from escaped pets. Presumably all the birds in solitary confinement have heard the call of the wild and plot for the moment when the cage door is accidentally left open - looks like at least two are on the run right now in this area.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Pound shop pop at the Venue

Angular records and friends are starting a regular night in the basement at The Venue (Clifton Rise, SE14). They promise "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. Angular Recording Corporation hosts a regular night of art-punk-electro-new-wave-indie-pound-shop-pop. Badges and brogues welcome, virtuosity will be confiscated...".

First up on Friday 18th February are The Fucks, The Blue Minkies, Mitten plus DJ's Greenwich Pirate, Throw Another T.V. In The Thames.

A month later on Friday 18th March its Neils Children with Wet Dog. I saw the former at the Vibe Bar in Brick Lane a couple of months ago and they were really good (well with a name like that how could they not be), some of their stuff reminded me of Deptford's own Alternative TV.

Tax on the door is £3, 9pm start.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Time for the Chinese New Year in Greenwich

It's nearly time for Chinese New Year and the National Maritime Museum (NMM), being in charge of Greenwich Observatory, is into all things chronological, are putting on some events. They look good:

Most exciting are the Chinese Astronomy planetarium shows from Saturdays the 5th to the 19th February at 14.30. These “live digital planetarium show, explore the myths and legends surrounding the Chinese constellations and their relationship to the Chinese calendar” will be at the National Maritime Museums Neptune Planetarium. Price is £4.00 adults, £2.00 sprogs.

On Wednesday 9th February the NMM Lecture theatre is screening (for free) “a variety of mainstream and Chinese art house films”. More information (Such as, presumably: “why are you showing these potentially interesting films at such a stupid time of day?”) can be obtained via this email address.

Sunday 13 February is the ‘Chinese Community New Year' and the NMM will have free events from 12.30 - 16.00 which will include plenty of Chinese dance, Chinese dance workshops as well as mask and flag making and Chinese calligraphy workshops.

All through February there is a ‘family trail’ to “discover our beautiful collection of Chinese objects on display.” For directions and the link, visit the museum’s website.