Saturday, September 29, 2007

Free Parties

Tonight (Saturday 29th September), Reclaim the Beach are planning an end of summer party at the beach on the South Bank. Should be easy enough to find, look out for a bonfire.

No more parties though at Crystal Palace, where over the summer there have been a number of unofficial events in the subway under Crystal Palace Parade. Bromley Council say they have stepped up security to prevent access to the subway, which is a Grade 2 Listed Building in its own right. The acknowledge that there has been no damage to the subway, an impressive crypt like structure built in the 1850s to provide access from a now-closed railway station to the Palace.

Friday, September 28, 2007

No one is illegal

A sad story in the South London Press today, eight people arrested at a building site in Clyde Terrace, Sydenham in a raid by police and the Border and Immigration Agency who 'checked identity documents to establish whether employees had the right to work. The men arrested are from Cameroon, Jamaica, Ghana, Nigeria and Ukraine. Steps are now being taken to remove them from the country'. A couple of weeks ago there was a similar tale, with three workers from Iran, Iraq and Kosovo arrested at a car wash in Lewisham Road. Fishing expeditions for so called 'illegal' workers seem to be becoming increasingly common round here - earlier in the year I came across a big immigration/police operation in New Cross Road. They seemed to be going on to buses and checking people's tickets - anything unusual and people were getting passed to immigration people to check their papers. Behind all these stories are human tragedies - parents who went out to work in the morning and didn't come back to pick their kids up from school, lovers who were forcibly separated.

What is shocking about these stories is the assumption that people who are just going about their daily lives without harming anybody can be treated as criminals, arrested and locked up in detention centres just for having the wrong papers - and that this should be regarded as normal. The South London Press car wash story even invited readers to phone Crimestoppers to 'report suspected illegal workers'. A dangerous trend in which whole categories of people, rather than actions, can be classified as illegal and in which Gordon Brown can revive the 1970s National Front slogan of 'British Jobs for British Workers' and barely raise an eyebrow.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Greenwich Phantom

Greenwich Phantom has provoked some intense debate with a post criticising New Capital Quay, a new luxury gated community by the river in Greenwich.

Inspector Sands has weighed in, particularly mocking the suggestion that we should be grateful because our little corner of the world would be a cultural and culinary desert if it wasn't for the money being spent by the inhabitants of similar developments - You should be grateful we moved here, poor people.

Following our previous posts on Disappearing Deptford it is interesting that somebody commenting at Greenwich Phantom took great umbrage at the suggestion that Millennium Quay wasn't in Greenwich - this development is in the London Borough of Greenwich, as are many other parts of South East London that nobody would call Greenwich, but is most definitely on the Deptford side of Deptford Creek, whatever estate agents might say.

Some fundamental questions in this debate about regeneration, gentrification and public space that I shall return to when I have the time to collect my thoughts.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Deptford Arms

A new, free weekly Sunday night acoustic session starts at the Deptford Arms starts tomorrow, 23rd September. The opening night features The Redgress Collective, Hand Hat and Juke Joint Jones.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Essential Music

Last Bus Home has alerted us to the closure of Essential Music, the bargain CD shop in Greenwich market. I am sad when music or book shops close, to me they are more than just places which sell commodities since what they sell can open up windows into other worlds. More specifically they often function as places to come across like minded people and to circulate information about interesting things going on locally - so at Essential there were always flyers about local gigs and clubs as well as a great selection of music (especially indieish stuff). The late lamented Homeview video in Brockley had a similar vibe, in fact I think there was at least one person who worked in both - I always assumed that she must be one of the coolest people in South East London as a result.

More worrying still, Neil from Essential suggests that the demise of the shop is a foretaste of the further redevelopment and gentrification of Greenwich:

'Greenwich is run by Greenwich Hospital [ Basically the Government] which is supposed to be a charity for Royal Navy casualties - That is where the money is supposed to go. Oh, all of a sudden it doesn`t make enough profit despite having sold off the Royal Naval College to create Greenwich `University` [Basically pay-as-you-go]. So, Greenwich must now become a theme-brothel for stylish sophisticates [They wish] and New City overspill. No singing, no dancing, no playing of instruments, no gladrags. [Can I just mention the ONLY place I have EVER been refused entry to is the Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen-decorated INC Bar, although I guess a somewhat worse for wear Jamie Reynolds didn`t help - I expect they`ll let him in now].
We`re out of there. Mass exodus. Start barricading Deptford'.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lewisham Bankrobber

The video for Bankrobber, one of The Clash's best songs, incudes a 'bank robbery' in Lewisham Town Centre - watch out for the clocktower.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Migrating University

The Migrating University is an initiative started by some people around Goldsmiths in New Cross, but aiming to involve the wider community in free, non-institutional and critical thinking and doing. Specifically the aim is to link in with the forthcoming No Borders camp against the building of a new detention centre at Gatwick airport - so the theme of the Migrating University this weekend at Goldsmiths is 'No Detention, No Deportation, No Borders in Education: Freedom of Movement for All'.

The event starts on Friday 14th September 10.30 and continues with two days of workshops, films and discussions, ending up with joining the Lewisham 77 walk on Saturday 15th September at 3 pm (by New Cross Inn). The aim is to reconvene the Migrating University at the No Borders camp near Gatwick next week. For details of the programme see John Hutnyck's blog, Trinketization.

Nunhead Arts Week

It's Nunhead Arts Week coming up (14-23 September), some interesting stuff including a local history walk, a folk night at the Old Nun's Head and an Irish folk night at Page 2.

Richard Cabut (known to some of you I'm sure as Richard North) has written a short story, How It Ends, for the festival which will be available in Nunhead Library during the Arts Week - or you can email for a PDF version. More details at the Nunhead Arts blog.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Stones & Bones of London

Interesting talk coming up next week at South East London Folklore Society, with Rob Stephenson on 'Stones & Bones of London' - the stories of strange stones and unusual bones in London. Rob is the convener of London Earth Mysteries Circle, so really knows his stuff.

Thursday, September 13, 2007 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.Talks start at 8.00pm £2.50 / £1.50 concessions. All Welcome.