Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Planet of the Rabbits

Coming up next month at BEARSPACE (152 Deptford High Street) is "Planet of Rabbits," the first UK solo exhibition of works by Japanese artist Toshie Takeuchi, a series of digital montages featuring elements from horror and fairy tales - and of course rabbits.

The exhibition runs from 7 March to 5 April, open Wednesday to Saturday, 12:30 to 5:00 pm. Admission free and I would also recommend a tea or coffee in the cafe.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Madonna in Peckham

Madonna has recently directed a short film , Filth and Wisdom and according to one of the actors involved, some of it was filmed in Peckham.

Tim Wallers plays a sex worker catering to the horse fetish of an MP. The set for the brothel was 'a grim 1930s semi in Peckham, south London... It was M’s first day of directing and the tension was palpable. As I was yanked into my gimp mask, a bucket of feed was placed at my feet. “I want you to plunge your head in the bucket and come up with the feed all over your face,” M instructed. She assured me Mr Frisk would find this utterly orgasmic' (more here).

It seems that the house in question is on Peckham Park Road.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Transpontine TV: Broadcast Two

I'm going on holiday so no more posts for a week or two. To keep you entertained here's another collection of musical South Londonism (if these don't all show on the screen above, go to the Transpontine Two playlist on Youtube to watch the whole lot).

1. Blak Twang - Thumbz Up - phew some decent UK Hip Hop from Deptford-raised rapper 'you say you a gangsta but your shirt is from ASDA'.

2. Mica Paris - You're my one temptation - from 1988, the Brockley soul diva's finest moment.

3. Gabrielle - Rise - the other great Brockley soul singer sings over a Dylan sample.

4. Shampoo - Trouble - straight outta Plumstead, they started off putting out a Manic Street Preachers fanzine and ended up big in Japan.

5. Jah Shaka at Arklow Road Deptford 18th July 1986 - Shaka ran an Arts and Craft Culture Shop in New Cross in the 1980s - anyone know where it was?

6. Papa Levi - Mi God Mi King - more sound system action from 1984 with South East London favourites Saxon Sound System featuring Papa Levi.

7. Blade - Reflection - born in Iran, he moved to New Cross in 1986 and quickly became a UK hip hop artist - 'when he visited Cavern Records in Lewisham he discovered that the owners were keen to start their own label, and wanted to use the single to kick start it. Blade agreed, and Lyrical Maniac eventually came out on Raw Bass records in 1989' (more here).

8. Klaxons - Golden Skans - the biggest thing to come out of New Cross in years need no introduction.

9. Mad Professor - Kunta Kinter dub '91 - very busy video for a great track. The Mad Professor had his Ariwa studios in Gautrey Rd SE15 from 1982 to 1986.

10. Shortwave Set - Repeat to Fade - great band from Deptford with new album out soon.

Always happy to hear any more South East Londonist information about the above - what school did they go to? where did they used to live? etc.

Daniel Day-Lewis: South East London boy done good

Daniel Day Lewis won a BAFTA award for Leading Actor in There Will be Blood earlier this week. In his speech he talked about his SE London childhood: 'Invicta Infants School, Sherrington Primary School in Charlton, Greenwich Park, Blackheath, the streets of Deptford, Lewisham and New Cross, the bomb sites on the Isle of Dogs, the wharves and shadowy laneways of the South East London docks, the terraces of Millwall football ground, those were the playgrounds of my early life'. (thanks to John Eden for tipping me off about this)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

South London Casuals 1983

From time to time I am forced to stand in line at a shop called White Hall Clothiers in Camberwell Road buying school uniforms for which they are the monopoly supplier. But once upon a time it was different - in the early 1980s casual boom, it was the centre of the South London label cult according to this article in The Face in July 1983:

Forget Kensington Market and the Kings Road, this is street fashion. Style is almost an irrelevance: the label is what matters.

The story of White Hall Clothiers, 77 Camberwell Road, London SE5 is typical. A couple of years ago it was a school uniform shop: blazers, badges, ties, a bit of sportswear. Now what little is left of the uniforms is shoved to the back, soon to be gone for good. The rest is tocked to the hilt with expensive brand-name sports and casual gear - Lacoste, Fila, Diadora, Pringle, Fiorucci. What's more, business is booming.

The staff are amused when someone who knows the shop as it used to be wanders in, looks around at the unfamiliar range, the young customers milling about, the assistant holding that Fila tracksuit top up for inspection for the tenth time in half an hour, the ten-year-old in the Pierre Cardin T-shirt covetously eyeing the Lacoste range, the mum being nagged by her 14-year-old son to fork out upwards of £30 for a pair of Diadora green flash kangaroo-skin train­ers when those much-cheaper Adidas ones would do just as well ... looks around at all this and mutters: "What's happened?"

What has happened? Specifically, 18 months ago White Hall Clothiers noticed that certain lines of sports gear were outselling everything else, so they stocked up. The grey flannel Farah
trousers they got in sold out immediately. So did the Lacoste tennis shirts, and the Pringle diamond pullovers, and one thing led to another.

Generally? Brand-names are back. And with a vengeance. The standard outfit down the Wal­worth Road goes something like this. From the top:

• Wedge or wetlook hair; highlights are in, deerstalkers (popular until recently) now out. Lacoste, Fila or Ellesse tennis shirts. Gabicci are definitely wrong, Cardin are acceptable but passe, Lacoste are getting that way. Girls also like Benetton rugby shirts.
• Pringle (squares or stripes, not diamonds, plain for school only). Lyle & Scott and some­times Benetton pullovers and cardigans. Lacoste and Cardin again popular but fading, Bannatyne cashmere or Armaini arriving.
• Fila or Sergio Tacchini tracksuit tops (some­times whole thing) for boys, Club Sport for girls. Lacoste: same story. Burberry jackets.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Ethel MacDonald film at Cafe Crema

With Cafe Crema in New Cross due to close in the next month, this week may see one of your last chances to watch a film there. South London Solidariy Federation presents 'Ethel MacDonald- an anarchist's story', a drama-documentary telling the story of this remarkable woman who travelled to Spain during the civil war where she reported on Barcelona's widely-heard anarchist radio station. In the crackdown following the events of May 1937 she also helped libertarians wanted by the Stalinist secret police escape and smuggled letters and food into prison. Through her activities in helping anarchists escape Spain, she became renowned in the British press as the 'Scots Scarlet Pimpernel'.

The film is on Wednesday 20th February 2008 at 7.30 food, 8.00pm for film. Only £4 including veggie food at Café Crema 306 New Cross Rd SE14.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Kraftwerk in Peckham?

Intriguing gig coming up on March 1st at the Wishing Well Inn in Peckham (Choumert Road) featuring a Kraftwerk tribute band. Inevitably they are called Man Machine. I was lucky enough to see Kraftwerk live at the Lyceum in London many years ago, when I was still at school in fact. It was one of my most memorable gigs. I am sure this won't compare, but it must be worth checking out.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Goldsmiths sets date for New Cross eviction

From last week's Mercury, 30 January 2008 (buy the hard copy if you can, it has got a two page colour spread of photos of the shops and the people):

'University Landlords call time on charming shopping parade

An iconic parade of shops looks set to be consigned to the history books. Rubbish and Nasty,Café Crema and Prangsta occupy the run-down shops at 302-314 New Cross Road.
Parade landlord Goldsmiths College, part of the University of London, has told disappointed business owners to leave by March 7.

Rubbish and Nasty, an emblem of this part of Lewisham's recent fashion and music revival, is run by Sophie Soni and Ian McQuaid. The shop operates as a working installation for the pair's creative work and also sells music and second-hand clothes. Sophie said she would now quit New Cross, hoping to find a studio space in Deptford.

At the other end of the parade is specialist "costumiers" Prangsta whose selection of vintage clothing for hire attracts people from across London. Owner Melanie Wilson has been running the shop for 10 years and said she was sad to leave.She also plans to move to a Deptford studio.
She said: "The building does need attention and repairs, so we can understand that the businesses will have to move out. But it's going to be very sad for the area. I have had a lucky time here, but I think that perhaps the university wants to make it part of the campus."

Kiri Lewin and Chris Boddington have run Café Crema since 2004, becoming popular with students and lecturers with their vegetarian home cooked food, coffees and film nights.
While Sophie and Melanie will be able to move out and continue their work, Café Crema faces a tougher future. It is most closely tied to the university community and most reluctant to leave.
Kiri said: "We are emotionally attached to the area and don't want to see all our hard work go down the drain - especially if the shop just ends up being boarded up. We'd really like to be involved in plans for the future."

A spokesman for Goldsmiths said notice on the shops had been served following a fire enforcement notice. He said: "The college has been seeking an inclusive approach to the problem. In autumn 2007, we invited all of the businesses to send representatives to attend discussion meetings. We are currently looking at a number of options for addressing the building issues. We are committed to ongoing dialogue with the businesses when these have become clearer"'.

Transpontine comment: Nobody is denying that work is needed on these buildings - Cafe Crema aren't arguing that they shouldn't move out while work is carried out, they just want the option of moving back when it is completed. What is clear from this story is that Goldsmiths have no clear plans or timescale for carrying out the works, or for what they will do afterwards. I understand that there are two options being considered - one to turn the parade into student accommodation, the other to have flats upstairs but to have some kind of 'market place' downstairs, possibly with stalls selliing student work, shops and a cafe. It would certainly be another nail in the coffin of any idea of New Cross 'town centre' if Goldsmiths gets away with the former, taking a whole stretch of street frontage on the high street out of public circulation.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Beckenham Suffragists

This advert from the Beckenham Journal, 1 May 1882, testifies to an early meeting in support of the campaign for women's suffrage, held at Christ Church Lecture Hall, Beckenham. The advert mentions the existence of a 'Local Executive Women's Suffrage Committee', with supporters evidently including Miss Eliza Orme, Mrs. C. McLaren, Mrs Harvey (address given as 8 Bromley Grove, Shortlands) and Mrs Isabel Willis. Rev. Charles Green, Vicar of New Beckenham chaired the meeting.

A report of the meeting in the following edition of the Journal (1 June 1882) records that it passed a resolution asking that 'Parliamentary suffrage be extended to women on the same conditions as it is, or may be, granted to men'.

According to The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928 by Elizabeth Crawford (2001): ‘Bromley, Beckenham and Shortlands Suffrage Society’ was ‘formed in 1882, as a branch committee of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. Mrs Daniel Harrison, who was a sister of Mary Howitt, had been a member of the London National Society in 1867, and was a founding member of the Bromley Society.. The society was still active in 1907 (when Miss Heppel, headmistreess of Bromley High School was present at a meeting) but appears to have disappeared before 1913’.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Catford Soul

Some classy soul nights coming up at The Broadway Theatre in Catford in the next month. Next Friday (the 8th) they've got Alexander O'Neal, followed a week later by The Drifters. Then on March 1st, there's a show with Eddie Floyd, Geno Washington and Pauline Black. Details here.

Friday, February 01, 2008

More Tales from The City

Martin at Swedish Nurse has put together an overview/appreciation of The Band of Holy Joy (who we have discussed here several times): 'BOHJ were generally described as 'folky' and therefore always compared to THE POGUES, but they really did a kind of end-of-the-pier cabaret, as imagined by squatters living in South London in the 80's'. Martin also notes their early industrial sound, perhaps not surprizing as they shared rehearsal space with Test Department. Incidentally, Martin is not as far as I can tell a Scandinavian health worker - Swedish Nurse is the name of a fanzine he used to do in Belfast, for which he once interviewed BOHJ.

One thing that he doesn't mention is that in 1987, when BOHJ released their More Tales from the City album, Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City series were required reading amongst lefty/alternative/liberal types in London, a gay friendly soap opera in a time of anti-gay Tories in power (don't forget people - the leopard can't change its spots). The second volume was More Tales of the City - his version set in San Francisco, BOHJ's in London - but hey, New Cross and San Francisco both have a Telegraph Hill.