Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Brockley Max

Lots of events musical and otherwise next week in Brockley as part of Brockley Max. Check it out.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Free Improvisation in Deptford

Interesting (and free) event in Deptford next Monday:

"The Herb Garden presents a fiery quartet of edgy improvisation featuring

Tom Challenger - Tenor Saxophone
John Edwards - Double Bass
Nathaniel Facey - Alto saxophone
Charles Hayward - Drums

Spring Bank Holiday, Monday 28th May, 4pm to 6pm
The Herb Garden ~ MacMillan St ~ Deptford Green ~ SE8

The inimitable, critically acclaimed Charles Hayward is joined by the energetic Nathaniel Facey & Tom Challenger, with John Edwards - who has an increasing reputation for being a world-class bassist - all staged amongst the sculpture of resident artist, Mick Bonfield. Bring your own lemonade & join us under the kiwi vine for an evening with our finest local talent! Everyone is very welcome. Admission is FREE. Supported & managed by The Creekside Forum (Tel: 020 8692 5666)."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Do you remember the days of slavery?

A local initiative to mark the 200th anniversary of the Abolition Act of 1807:

"A unique event will take place outside Deptford Town Hall, New Cross Road on the morning of Monday 4th June 2007 at 10:30 am. A group of people wearing yokes and chains will stop outside the town hall and attempt to make reparation for the acts of the seamen carved in stone on the front of the building. The statues are of three figures with disreputable histories:

- Sir Francis Drake was a pioneer of the slave trade making at least three royally sponsored trips to West Africa to kidnap Africans and sell them into slavery.
- Robert Blake was Cromwell's chief admiral and fought the Dutch to secure the trade triangle between the Caribbean, West Africa and England.
- Lord Horatio Nelson was a fierce advocate for the trade. He wrote from the Victory on the eve of Trafalgar that as long as he would speak and fight he would resist "the damnable doctrines of Wilberforce and his hypocritical allies".

Following the ceremony, Goldsmiths is hosting a debate inside the town hall on the themes of reparation and apology, with a panel of speakers including:

David Potts – Expedition Lifeline
Dr Jean Besson – Anthropology Department, Goldsmiths
Toyin Agbetu – Ligali
Esther Stanford – Rendezvous for Victory
Dr William 'Lez' Henry – Sociology Department, Goldsmiths .

Prior to the event there will be a procession through Deptford and New Cross starting at 9:00 am from St Nicholas Church, Deptford.

Space is the Place

A chance to see the great Sun Ra film Space is the Place coming up on June 2nd at Camberwell Squatted Centre. There will also be a short Association of Autonomous Astronauts film, and space themed music, drinks and food (free/donation).

Friday, May 18, 2007

Acoustic Punk Night

Also at the Camberwell Squatted Centre next Tuesday 22nd May, an evening of acoustic punk folk action featuring 'imadethismistake' all the way from Pensacola, Florida, plus P J Shepherd and (ahem) a few songs from Transpontine Sound. Plus zine stall from Last Hours, cakes, tea, coffee. 8pm start, donation.

'Inglan Is A Bitch'

'Inglan Is A Bitch': Step Forward Youth Day of Film and Discussions - A tribute to John La Rose.

This Sunday 20th May from 2pm till late at Camberwell Squatted Centre, some great films (all for the cost of a donation):

SWEET SWEETBACK'S BAADASSSSS SONG (1971 Dir. Melvin Van Peebles): A controversial and landmark classic of Black Cinema and independent film-making: a celebration of urban black power - the story of a black street hustler turned revolutionary who goes on the run after killing tworacist cops. A journey through the dark heart of 1970s urban America.

BURNING AN ILLUSION, (UK 1981 Dir Menelik Shabazz): A film about transformation and identity, much of it shot around theNotting Hill and Ladbroke Grove communities; a love story tracing the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher's London. The first British film to give a central voice to a black woman, charting her journey to emotional maturity, emancipation and politicalawakening.

BABYLON, UK/Italy (1980 Dir Franco Rosso): Set mainly in South London, Babylon presents a portrait of the young black community in London different from the tabloid stereotype. These black people are not muggers, rapists or chronic thieves. They are ordinary young black guys at the sharp end of inner city survival with dreams and fears of ordinary young people in general, their lives are hemmed in by the predictability of poverty, disillusion and the randomness of violencethat can erupt at any time.

BLOOD AH GOH RUN, (Dir: Menelik Shabazz, 1982): Short 'newsfilm' looking back at the events of 1981, beginning with the killing of 13 young black people in New Cross, London. The film goes on to show the anger this aroused among black people, and their march in demonstration - `The Black People's Day of Action'. Also covers the Brixton riots.

THE DREAM TO CHANGE THE WORLD, (Dir: Horace Ové): Horace Ové's film about John La Rose, drawing on the visual archive of past events in the history of Trinidad's diaspora to tell the story of John La Rose's life. Having been involved in workers' rights movements in Trinidad in the 1940s and 1950s, La Rose settled in London and became anactive member of Britain's black community in the early 1960s, foundingNew Beacon Books and the Caribbean Artists' Movement.For the first time, La Rose discusses his life story, which is captured on film by the Trinidadian photographer and film-maker Horace Ové who made the 1968 classic film Baldwin's Nigger and the first black feature film Pressure (1974).

Friday, May 11, 2007

Munition Worker's Romance

Here's another South London song...
'She works at Woolwich Arsenal Now - a munition worker's romance' is a song from the First World War written and composed by Robert Donnelly.
It was published by the composer 'c/o Mr Tom Eno, 1a East Street, Walworth Road, London SE'.
No idea how the song goes or even what the lyrics are - anybody know anymore?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The McClintock Factor

Next week at the Elephant and Castle sees the first screening of a new film 'The McClintock Factor', presented by Films Noirs.

This political satire tells the story of Jeremy McClintock:, 'His tabloid newspaper ran prizes offering 20,000 straydogs, and today, with a controversial career as a roving reporter behind him, Jeremy McClintock is seizing the moment. His new political movement, theRight Path Party, is garnering record approval ratings, and now he hopes a documentary devoted to his life and work will up the ante. Can Jeremy break outof Sappington Bounce and succeed on the road toWestminster? Or will his murky past catch up with him?"

Thursday 17 May, Corsica Studios, Elephant & Castle, SE17. Film screening at 9 pm, approx. 45 minutes long. Bar and music ‘til 1am, free entry. More details at

Monday, May 07, 2007

Turnpike Trouble 1846

In the mid-19th century (1839-44) the Rebecca riots took place in Wales, famously featuring men disguised as women to take direct action against turnpikes because of the high tolls on using roads. In South London, their example seems to have been followed in this case from 1846 in what is now Great Dover Street off Borough High Street:

'On Thursday morning, and to some extent during the day, a good deal of excitement was caused in that portion of the Great Dover Road from St. George's Church in the Borough to the Turnpike near Main's floor-cloth manufactory, in consequence of the demolition of a temporary bar placed opposite the Swan Inn, by some of the "Rebecca" party in that neighbourhood.

Since Saturday last posts have been driven into the ground, and a bricklayer's pole attached to them, at the corners of all the streets along that distance, in order to exact a toll for vehicles passing through them to the Great Dover Road. The persons, however, who are placed there to exact the tolls, so far from using their "pole bars," which would not reach half way across the streets, as a means to refuse the passing of the vehicles, have had the ends iron-bound to the posts, so that they are like a fence by the side of the foot-way.

In the course of Wednesday night the "pole" near the Swan was broken down, and it would probably take a dozen such lengths to reach across the street. The inhabitants never remember a toll being demanded, nor were bars ever placed there, and they feel it a considerable hindrance to their business to be thus novelly and without any reason taxed. Men are placed there, who demand the toll sans gate, and some pay and some do not. Westminster Hall will probably be the place where the novel proceeding must at last be decided.

Source: Times 21st March 1846. There were also toll-gates at the Green Man (near where Tescos now stands on the Old Kent Road) and New Cross Gate. In fact the turnpike put the 'gate' in 'New Cross Gate'. It shifted position but ended up near the White Hart at junction of New Cross Road and Queens Road.

Dead Fairy in Borough High Street?

This week at South East London Folklore Society:

10th May: Dan Baines - Dead Fairy Found in Derbyshire!

Illusionist Dan Baines, of the Lebonan Circle, gives his account of how he fooled the world (well most of them) with his mummified fairy. From the conception of the idea through to the press reaction and public response Dan will give a full account of his miscievous antics. He promises to bring along one of the fairies he discovered in the Derbyshire barrow on Firestone Hill for all to see. Pagan Priests have warned that the remains need to returned as soon as possible so this may be your last chance to see them....

Future events:

14th June: John Callow - Isobel Gowdie, the Queen of the Witches. John Callow, historian of early modern magic and witchcraft, brings alive the tale of the infamous Isobel Gowdie, accused of witchcraft in 17th-century Scotland.

12th July: Catherine Rider - Magic and Impotence in the Middle Ages

SELFS meet every second Thursday of the month at The Old King's Head, Kings Head Yard, 45-49, Borough High St, London, SE1 1NA. Nearest stations are London Bridge and Borough. It is just off Borough High Street , a map is here.

Talks start at 8.00pm. £2.50 / £1.50 concessions.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

May 5th in New Cross

Bad news, this weekend's music festival across New X venues has had to be cancelled. Seems like some guy was taking the organisers for a ride falsely claiming to have booked bands. The full story is here, along with plans which are going ahead for a scaled down party at the New Cross Inn and elsewhere.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Workers of the World Relax

The May Day picnic in Kennington Park was fun yesterday, with about 50 people hanging out in the sunshine. The maypole, featuring an imitation surveillance camera on top, was taken in a procession from Camberwell Squat Centre with a banner reading 'Workers of the World Relax'. Another said 'Kennington Park - A common place for all', referring to the park's pre-enclosure history as a common, where the Chartists gathered in 1848. A leaflet given out stated 'Today the Park is still being enclosed, this time socially, as groups of people who use the place collectively to hang out and have fun - playing volleyball or football - are being forced out'.

Later down at Brockley Social Club, the Strawberry Thieves Socialist Choir hosted an evening of songs including 'Bandeira Rossa' and 'Power in the Union'. I gave a short talk on the history of May Day in South London.

Judging by Baggage Reclaim's fine photos, the Jack in the Green procession from the Borough also went well yesterday.

Meanwhile next Monday at the Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park there's a 'May Day Festival and Procession' featuring a mass procession around the Park, and ending with the ritual burning of a giant Jack in the Green sculpture. Worksops include Maypole and Morris dancing, better banner making with Richard DeDomenici, Speakers Corner and Apathy Workshop with Bob & Roberta Smith.