Saturday, November 29, 2008

Antifa gig tonight

There an anti-fascist benefit gig tonight at the Old Buddhist Centre Squat, Carlisle Lane SE1 near Waterloo.
Bands include Suspenders (from Bilbao), S*Control (Italy), Bottle Job (London), Pozitivni Deviance (Czech) and UK anarcho-dub stalwarts Radical Dance Faction.

New Cross resumes BNP-free status?

Another twist in the BNP 'membership list' saga. As mentioned in comments on this site, the only listed member for SE14 was found to be a person who stood for the Greens in Telegraph Hill ward in 2006 council elections. Lewisham Greens put out a statement saying that he was no longer a member of their party and that "The policies of the Green Party and the BNP could not be further apart. The Green Party has long fought for equality for all and there is no room for anyone in the Green Party who holds racist views."

But in yesterday's South London Press, the man 'denied supporting the BNP despite his name appearing on the leaked membership list'. He claimed that 'There were plenty of BNP sympathisers where I once worked and they could have put me on the mailing list as a joke. I am not a member of the BNP nor am I a sympathiser of their policies. I still support the Green Party and although my membership has lapsed, I may well rejoin the party in the future.'

This is certainly plausible - I know of left wing activists who have received mail from fascist organisations because somebody mischievously sent their contact details saying they were interested in joining. I certainly hope this is true as it would mean that New Cross can join Deptford and Kennington in the South East London roll of honour of areas without a single BNP member.

In the mean time Bob from Brockley has picked up on this with a post on Fascism Watch: (South) London highlighting some of the apparent weirdoes on the BNP list and the fact that this undercuts the party's claims to be just a bunch of ordinary white folks. I agree with him about the obvious German military history obsessives, but I wouldn't make a big deal of the few self-proclaimed pagans on the list. Most pagans I know are firmly anti-racist and I have known some militantly anti-fascist witches and even odinists. Same goes for Christians on the list, hardly representative of the position of most church-goers.

At Harry's Place, contributor Brett (who obviously lives locally) bemoans the fact that he may have 'voted for a nazi by mistake' in the Telegraph Hill election. Well Brett, maybe you didn't...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Crystal Palace Fiction

The title story of Shena Mackay's new collection, The Atmospheric Railway, takes its name and some of its subject manner from a short-lived Victorian railway line in Crystal Palace (the author grew up in Blackheath and went to Kidbrooke school),

Crystal Palace magazine The Transmitter has identified a couple more novels set in that part of London. A recent one is Karen McLeod's In Search of the Missing Eyelash, set in Penge and Crystal Palace. Of greater vintage is The Young Visiters (sic) by Daisy Ashford, published in 1919 but apparently written by the author when she was 9 in 1890, a comic tale with much of the action set in Crystal Palace, or rather in the Crystal Palace.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Monty Music

Another of Kelvin's monthly 'Girls with Bikinis' events last night at The Montague Arms (not that there are ever any girls in bikinis there - I mean, in this weather?).

Brockley Ukulele Group opened with a short set culminating in a version of Kanye West's Gold Digger - well Mr West is always tirelessly looking for new musical directions so maybe after his current techno fixation he will move on to small stringed instruments of Hawaiian origin.

Next up, Shiva are still at school in New Cross but are already making a fairly awesome racket, covering Klaxons' Atlantis to Interzone and Jimi Hendryx as well as playing some of their own material.

Steve Bowditch did a comic turn in a pirate hat, singing a few seafaring songs like 'In the Navy' and the even ruder Sailor's Blues - opening line 'woke up this morning, with a penis in my hand' (not his). The Optics sang some fine songs - without the tap dancing accompaniment this month - and talented local singer songwriter/guitarist Keith Morkel also performed tracks from his new Moves on Silence cd.

Unfortunately I had to leave before Blue Heat 550, maybe next time...

There's more bluesy action at the Montague tomorrow night - Thursday 27th November - when The Little Devils, Teenage Men and I Scream - U Scream are playing. 8:30 start, £3 in.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Music at Cafe Crema

Some good Saturday night music sessions happening at Cafe Crema in New Cross Road. Last weekend, Tragic Roundabout from Brighton played. Kind of folk-ska-ragtime stomp with accordion, banjo, clarinet, guitar, bass and drums. It all got so lively that the tables got pushed aside for some serious dancing. Highlights included versions of 'Five Foot Two, Eyes of Blue', the great Sheffield folk song 'Don't you want me baby' and 'Una Paloma Blanca' - revised with the lyrics 'you are a Northern wanker' - which I guess covers most of the country for a Brighton-based band. There was a 'win-a-CD-dancing-competition' won by a girl with an elephant puppet on her hand - personally I thought using props was cheating, but hey...

The weekend before there was a New Orleans, New Cross 'Acoustic Honky-Tonk jam' (pictured), basically a gathering of passing musicians around the piano (plus guitar, sax, banjo, ukulele and my contribution, the mandolin) working through songs by Johnny Cash (Folsom Prison Blues, Ring of Fire), Hank Williams (So Lonesome I could Cry, Lost Highway) and The Clash (Bankrobber, I Fought the Law). All this plus Train to Skaville. Put me in mind of Bob from Brockley's recent comment (after Jools Holland) about South London as Britain's Mississippi Delta).

Anyway more to come at Cafe Crema over the next few weeks:

- November 29th - Bobby Valentino: 'Hot Club de Paris-style playing Bobby has played with many, many bands, including the Alabama 3 and Billy Bragg. That's his fiddle on the Bluebells Young at Heart' (as established in a famous court case; he was also in 1970s Deptford new wave outfit The Fabulous Poodles). Not to be confused with US R&B singer who has tried to nick his name - cheeky bastard (though maybe unintentionally, your honour)! £6.

- December 6th: another New Orleans, New Cross jam - all welcome, bring your instruments. Free.

- December 11th - The Woodsmen - country-noir-hillbilly blues. £6,

-December 16h - The Delegators - jumping rocksteady/ska. £6.

It's all occurring at 306 New Cross Road in case you haven't been there before.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

It was a dark and stormy night...

Spooky stories in East Dulwich next week:

Terrify evenings of chilling ghost stories, in the safety of the fireside at the Crystal Palace Tavern. We are gathering together our favourite scary stories, and our favourite scary people to tell them - it's Jackanory with a nightmarish twist. Less of a performance, more of a night in the pub the way it should be on a dark Autumn evening. With the haunted tones of Paul Arendt, Chas. Early, Zoe Gardner, Frog Stone, Cicely Giddings, Faultless or Torrance, and others. Warmth, candlelight, dutch courage and the shivers. Join us.

FREE (a hat will be passed around), 8pm - 9.30pm, Thursday 27th November (then 4th &11th December) at Crystal Palace Tavern, Crystal Palace Road. Further details:

Friday, November 21, 2008

French Radical Choirs in Brockley

Local socialist choir The Strawberry Thieves are hosting ‘Entente Chorale’ a gathering of radical choirs from London and France next month. As well as The Strawberry Thieves, London choirs will include Raised Voices and Red & Green, while from France there will be Les Joyeux Mutins (from Lille), La Bande a Rose (Amiens), Les Josettes Rouges (Le Havre) and Choralternative (Rouen).

There will be a free public concert on Saturday 6th December (8 pm) at Myatt Garden School, Rokeby Road, SE4 and open air singing the next day along the south bank of the Thames from 11 am to 1 pm at various points including Tate Modern and City Hall (call them on 07940 539 393 on the day to find where they are).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BNP in South East London Update

Last night's post about the BNP membership list underestimated the number of members across South East London - the original version of the list was in lots of different sections and I missed some. Various other versions are out there now which are easier to search.

It now seems that there are 102 BNP members in the SE postcodes areas, a worrying number but my earlier point about their lack of significant presence in London remains. Yes Deptford is a BNP free zone, and there is only 1 each in New Cross and Walworth. Further out there are larger clusters though - particularly in Eltham. Complete breakdown is as folows:

SE1 (Bermondsey) - 5
SE2 (Abbey Wood) – 1
SE3 (Blackheath) - 6
SE4 (Brockley) -4
SE5 (Camberwell) – 6
SE6 (Catford) - 3
SE7 (Charlton) -2
SE8 (Deptford) – 0
SE9 (Eltham) – 17
SE10 (Greenwich) - 2
SE11 (Kennington) – 0
SE12 (Lee) – 1
SE13 (Lewisham) – 2
SE14 (New Cross) -1
SE15 (Peckham) – 5
SE16 (Rotherhithe) - 5
SE17 (Walworth) -1
SE18 (Woolwich/Plumstead) - 7
SE19 (Upper Norwood/Crystal Palace) - 4
SE20 (Anerley/Penge) - 6
SE21 (Dulwich) – 1
SE22 (East Dulwich) -2
SE23 (Forest Hill) – 6
SE24 (Herne Hill) – 3
SE25 (South Norwood) -5
SE26 (Sydenham) – 3
SE27 (West Norwood) -1
SE28 (Thamesmead) - 4
Not a lot of interesting detail in the list of local members, other than the fact that one SE18 member is Sean Pearson, who stood for the Conservatives in a 2006 local election in Greenwich Glyndon Ward and was until last year chair of the Swinton Circle - a group on the far right of the Tory Party (Malcolm Redfellow has more on this as well as some hilarious extracts from the list).

Some interesting as well as dubious comments to earlier post and also over at Brockley Central. One suggestion is that after the initial turmoil, the BNP might benefit from the fuss if they can present themselves as victims - there was a member on the news complaining about living in a 'fascist state' (oh my aching sides - read some history) - never mind the fact that it seems likely that the list was originally published by one of their own in a faction fight between wannabe fuhrers. The BNP are also getting lots of publicity, and will try and use the stories about teachers, police officers etc. to show that they are full of upright members of the community (actually there are only a handful of members named for any particular job).

There is some risk of this, and we certainly can't rely on the BNP continually shooting themselves in the foot. Still at least their opponents now know where to look out for them.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

BNP-free zone

No doubt there is consternation in the ranks of the far-right tonight as somebody has published what purports to be the entire membership list of the British National Party on a blog (they weren't so concerned when Redwatch was posting pictures and personal details of anti-racists). Naturally I was curious to see if any of my neighbours are card-carrying racists so did a search under postcodes. Good news is that the whole of New Cross/SE14, Deptford/SE8, and Brockley/SE4 seems to be a BNP-free zone as far as members are concerned. Other areas have only one (Bermondsey/SE1, Catford/SE3) or two (Peckham/SE15). In fact out of around 10,000 paid up members there's only about 26 across the whole SE London postcode area. No room for complacency mind, activists might be few and far between but that doesn't mean there isn't a reservoir (or possibly cess-pit) of support out there.

See also BNP in South East London Update.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Angel of the Thames Hoax & The Brockley Connection

We have mentioned here before the 'phenomenon' of the 'Angel of the Thames' - the supposed sightings of an Angel on the river, particularly from the South Bank. In our earlier post and subsequent comments we cast doubt on the story, but were unclear about the balance between credulity, confusion and deliberate hoaxing.

It now seems pretty clear that the whole thing was a planned hoax, part of an attempted 'viral marketing' campaign for a charity event last year. In fact the basic story was largely debunked on a sceptical forum in November 2006, which demonstrated that:
- an alleged Slovakian TV interview with TV presenter David Grant about a supposed angel sighting was false - the STV logo was incorrect, the reporter had a made up name and the title picture was actually of St. Basils in Moscow, not a site in Slovakia.

- every website associated with this was registered in the second half of 2006, with no prior references existing outside of these 5 or 6 new sites to previous sightings (and from my perspective as a local historian with an interest in folklore, I would be very surprized that neither I nor other people I know researching this kind of stuff had ever heard of the so-called Thames Angel before).

- the Angel of the Thames site gives prominence to an 1865 etching of the construction of the Thames Embankment apparently showing a sighting of an Angel by construction workers. This picture is clearly and crudely faked - the same picture without the photoshop angel is on the Thames Embankment page at Wikipedia:


So who was behind this hoax? A comment to our earlier post has pointed us in the direction of a children's charity called 'Global Angels' - the suggestion seems to be that the idea was part of a marketing exercise for a music event the charity planned last year at the London Eye - close to the supposed sightings - called '360 degree revolution in Kindness'. I am not sure whether this ever actually took place - I can't find any reference to it other than as a planned event (e.g, in this article from 2006).

If you go into the Angel of the Thames website and view the source code (in Internet Explorer go to 'view' and then select 'source') you will be able to see the following in the keywords section: 'globalangels, 360, apparition, spooky, sightings, sighting, london eye, revolution in kindness, angel on the thames'. David Grant, who supposedly saw something while filming, is a sponsor of the charity, hosting its launch at the private bank Coutts & Co.

So, case closed? I think so, but it's not necessarily the end of the story. Thanks to some uncritical reports in the press, the story of the Thames Angel is now out there, perhaps being passed on as folklore by people unaware of its dubious provenance. Perhaps too, the tale will shape people's perceptions so that they interpret unusual experiences/hallucinations by the Thames as sightings of an Angel. So don't be surprized if future sightings crop up and the story develops a life of its own.

What about the ethics? The charity appears to be raising money for some worthy causes and I guess a prank is relatively harmless. On the other hand putting deliberate lies into the public sphere should not be taken lightly - I think when people do stunts like this the least they should do is hold up their hands and publicly acknowledge what they have done to prevent these lies becoming a matter of record. So come on Global Angels, come clean!

Oh yes and the Brockley connection... Global Angels was founded in 2003 by Molly Bedingfield, with her offspring Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield on the board. The family used to live in Manor Avenue, Brockley, indeed it was here that Daniel recorded his best selling debut album. More intriguingly the Bedingfields seem to have been members of the Pentecostalist Hillside Church - perhaps not averse to encouraging a literal belief in the tangible existence of Angels!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Rough Pub Guide

The Rough Pub Guide by Paul Moody and Robin Turner is 'a celebration of the Great British Boozer' featuring fifty examples of pubs that 'boast a maverick energy or independent spirit lacking in these days of homogenised chain pubs and gastro-makeovers'. At least one of the authors lives locally, with Paul Moody apparently a regular at the Asylum Tavern, SE15.

Most noteworthy for Transpontine the pub identified as the Number One is of course The Montague Arms, SE15. There are some good photos of the interior, including the penny farthing bike and various stuffed animal heads. Peter Coyle has been landlord since 1967, as well as drummer in house band 'The Two Petes'. He recalls that Paul McCartney once visited in the 1980s: 'He'd met Jim Davidson on the plane and, after Jim had told him about the pub, he insisted they come straight from the airport. Paul got up and played loads of hits'. Wow so now we know that an ex-Beatle, Mark E. Smith, Nick Cave, Shane MacGowan, the Gang of Four and... er... myself have all been on that stage.

The other South London pub included is the Charlie Chaplin at Elephant and Castle. I went there once for a drink on my way to the Ministry of Sound - not one of my top pubs but undoubtedly in the rough category! In that immediate locale I prefer The Rockingham Arms, a Wetherspoon's pub where only this week I sampled a range of cheap Polish beers.

Along the way the authors also reflect on themes including the joys of the jukebox, pubs in the movies and the 'pre-emptive death-knell' for the pub. Yes, pubs are closing at an alarming rate, but 'there's still plenty of places out there that defy the prevailing 'anti-pub' forces - all you have to do is look for them and then cherish them'. Locally its not too late yet for the White Hart and the Walpole Arms - threatened with being replaced by a private members strip club and a hotel respectively, but in New Cross and Deptford we have lost the Arrows (Pomeroy Street), the Royal Archer (Egmont Street), the Dewdrop Inn (Clifton Rise) and the Duke of Albany (Monson Road). The sharp-eyed reader will notice a photo in the book of another local casualty, the recently closed London and Brighton in Queens Road.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Put your hands up for Detroit

Detroit techno pioneers Juan Atkins and Underground Resistance are touching down in South London at the Coronet at Elephant and Castle on 21st November. I don't very often get to weave in Detroit techno into the South London Transpontine narrative so indulge with me while I point in you in the direction of the marvellous UR track Jupiter Jazz (1993):

Chai's Garden

New Cross's newest blog comes courtesy of my favourite local Thai Restaurant - Chai's Garden on the corner of Kitto Road/Gellatly Road. The restaurant is behind Skehans Free House, but this is no 'Thai food in a pub outfit'- the restaurant is in its own space in a converted coach house behind the pub. If you haven't got time to sit in, they also have a good takeaway menu (now with a 10% reduction). There's not too much at the blog as yet, but it includes the menu, directions, photos and the intriguing story that the noodle dish Pad Thai was actively promoted by the government in the 1930s as part of a Thai nationalist effort to steer people away from Chinese culinary influence.

Walpole Arms to be demolished?

An application has been made to Lewisham Planning for permission to knock down the Walpole Arms in New Cross Road and replace it with a new hotel. The 60-bedroomed five-storey hotel would replace 403 to 407 New Cross Road – including the pub (photo of pub below by Ewan M at Flickr).The full application is on the Lewisham Planning website. It is intended that there would be a restaurant on the ground floor. There is also some more detail on the architects’ site, Kennedy Twaddle -their impression of what it would look like is show below:

Consultation is now open, with a planned decision date of the 6th February 2008.If you would like to comment on this application please send an email to planning@lewisham, including the Application Number (DC/08/70131/X), your name, address, comment and reason for interest.
The Walpole dates back to at least 1881 and seems to have originally been known as the South Eastern Distillery (until around 1915). The pub featured in a case at the Old Bailey in 1884 when a man was convicted of using dodgy counterfeit coins at the Centurion, the South Eastern Distillery and the Royal Albert. There is still some nice Victorian tiling inside. As well as food and drink, the pub has hosted music sessions and at one time a Polish night.
It might not be my own favourite New Cross pub, but the thought of another pub disappearing from the area makes the heart sink.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Frightful Hobgoblin stalks throughout Europe

Peter Linebaugh, my favourite radical historian, gave a talk last night at Goldsmiths on 'The Invisibility of the Commons'. Linebaugh's best known books - The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century and The Many-Headed Hydra: the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (which he wrote with Marcus Rediker) - are essential background reading for understanding the history of Deptford as a key point on the Atlantic network of ships, sailors and slaves. Paul Gilroy - whose excellent Black Atlantic is also a key text in this respect - was in the audience and contributed to the discussion.

Linebaugh's current concern, as outlined in his new book The Magna Carta Manifesto, is with the history of the commons, and the ongoing struggle to defend and even extend collective access to the means of susbsistence, production and reproduction against enclosure and privatisation.

I liked the way Linebaugh - an American in London for a short visit - managed to weave two New Cross places into his talk. He mentioned the Hobgoblin pub, noting that in the first English version of the Communist Manifesto the opening lines were translated by Helen Macfarlane as "A frightful hobgoblin stalks throughout Europe. We are haunted by a ghost. The ghost of Communism" (later translated as "A spectre is haunting Europe. The spectre of Communism"). Incidentally Helen Macfarlane's 1850 translation appeared in the journal The Red Republican, edited by the Deptford-born radical Chartist George Julian Harney.

He also mentioned the Viva Zapata cafe on Lewisham Way, referring to Zapata's role in the 1910 Mexican revolution - one result of which was Article 27 of the Mexican constitution which provided for ejidos or common land and water. This right was taken away shortly before the 1994 introduction of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the USA, Canada and Mexico - which in turn sparked the 1994 Zapatista uprising.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Dark Man to Bring them Luck (Greenwich 1938)

A late contribution to Black history month, this story comes from the Mercury in the summer of 1938 (sorry I didn't write down exact reference, it was in July or August):

Sister Brides Carried from Church: a 'Dark' man to bring them luck

'Three months ago, whilst visiting a public-house in Greenwich, Mr Charles Lawrie of 8 St Alfege Road, Charlton, became friendly with a man of colour who played the piano and sang in the saloon bar. Bearing in mind his marriage in the near future to Miss Annie Leach of 12 Finch House, Church Street, Deptford, whose sister, Miss Caroline, was also being married at the same church, and at the same time, to Mr Thomas Wentworth, of 100 Warwick Street, Deptford, Mr Lawrie cultivated his friendship with the musician, Mr George Williams, and asked him if he would play at the double wedding reception. This he agreed to do, and suggested, too, that as a token of 'good luck' he should carry the bride from the church to the waiting car.

And so, on Saturday, when the double wedding took place at St Alfege's Church, Greenwich, he fulfilled his promise, carrying the brides across a pavement crowded with cheering people...

Mr George Williams appeared in the recetn Drury Lane production of 'The Sun Never Sets'.

Interesting story, suggests a number of things - a superstition about 'dark' men bringing good luck (I have heard of this in relation to New Year's Eve, but not in relation to weddings); black people in South London being treated as something of an exotic novelty (otherwise why report this in the local paper?); an example of a local black musician making a living in the 1930s from a mixture of West End shows and playing in the pub (would love to know what pub, but the story doesn;t say). The original story does include a photograph, but my copy is too poor to reproduce.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Walking New Cross (11): New Cross Road (from start to Kender St/Avonley Rd)

Heading south-east, the A2 changes its name from the Old Kent Road to New Cross Road just after the junction with Ilderton Road. On the north side, the the change is marked by the entrance to Deptford Ambulance station (no.1 New Cross Road). This occupies part of the site of the old New Cross Hospital. It was opened by the Metropolitan Asylums Board as Deptford Hospital on 17 March 1877 for pauper patients with smallpox. By 1881, the epidemic was over, but it remained a fever hospital up until 1941. It was renamed the South Eastern Fever Hospital in 1885, New Cross General Hospital in 1949, and then New Cross Hospital from the mid-1960s. It closed in 1991, but as well as the ambulance station there are a number of NHS buildings still on site.

Grace Pailthorpe (1883-1971) worked at the hospital as a medical officer in 1917. She later became a psychoanalyst and a member of the British Surrealist Group with a particular interest in the unconscious and automatic writing. Her work in the 1936 International Surrealist Exhibition in London was praised by Andre Breton; image below is entitled 'March 7 1937- 4 (Sandbumptious)'.

Next door to the ambulance station at no. 1a is a tattoo parlour – Tribalize – run by Andi Bone.

Then there are some quite fine Victorian terraced houses - numbers 3 to 41 were originally known as St James Place and like other lovely buildings on this road are somewhat overshadowed by the sheer weight of traffic passing by. St James Cottage at no.41 dates from 1827, these houses at the western end of this row(numbers 7 & 9) were built in 1842:

On the opposite side of the road, the petrol station is at the start of New Cross Road, followed by the magnificent Carlton Cottages:

These white painted houses date from 1829 and have classical columns with seashell detail - or to be precise they are decorated with an 'Ammonite order'. According to this site ‘The Ammonite Order was originated by George Dance, who used it first on Boydell's Gallery (Shakespeare's Gallery) in Pall Mall (1789). The Order comprises fluted pilasters, the volutes in the capitals of which are in the form of ammonites, geological fossils consisting of whorled chambered shells resembling the horn of Jupiter (Amon) in shape’.
Somebody who lived at no.8 a couple of years ago did a whole Carlton Cottages myspace site of photos of their life there – looked like they had quite a party!

Between these houses and the Kender Street junction, it is mostly Lewisham council blocks – Hutchinson House and Romney Close. Confusingly, Lewisham doesn't start at the beginning of New Cross Road, but at the Pomeroy Street junction, so numbers 1 to 15 New Cross Road are presumably in the London Borough of Southwark.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

South London Film Locations

The London Film Location Guide by Simon R.H. James (London: Batsford, 2007) features hundreds of locations in exhaustive detail – he has obviously spent years tracking down not just particular streets but exact house numbers.

In terms of our core area of New Cross, Deptford and Brockley there’s not much to report, with the films included mostly mentioned on Transpontine before, including Shaun of the Dead, Spider, Once a Jolly Swagman and Intimacy. In relation to the latter though, James has identified no.2 Alpha Road as the house used for a great deal of sex. The only film he mentions that I wasn’t aware of is Five Seconds to Spare (1999), where Ray Winstone has a recording studio in APT arts on Deptford Creekside – and ends up dead in the Creek.

Unsurprizingly there are numerous film locations listed for Greenwich, the area around the South Bank, Bankside and Borough Market (including all those Bridget Jones scenes).

I watched Mona Lisa (1986) recently so knew some of it was filmed in East Dulwich , but the author has done the legwork and notes that Bob Hoskins buys flowers at 286 Crystal Palace Road (on the corner of Goodrich Road) and then tries to visit his daughter at 16 Darrell Road. I wasn’t aware that in Last Orders (2001), the exterior of the pub is The Wishing Well Inn in Bellenden Road (the interior is the Larkhall Tavern in Clapham – now converted to flats), while Michael Caine’s butcher shop is 194 Bellenden Road – now Lucius and Richards.

I must rewatch the Children of the Damned (1964) now that I know it features the Bermondsey Street tunnel. And I was delighted to discover that in the original Italian Job (1966), Michael Caine delivers the famous line 'You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off' in Crystal Palace park (you can see the TV transmitter behind him).

But things are never as they seem in the movies. A car chase in ‘Lewisham’ in I Believe in You (1952) was actually filmed in Latchmere Road in Battersea, while in Janice Beard 45 wpm (1998) a ‘Rotherhithe’ scene is actually Pensbury Place in Vauxhall.

Equally South London locations can double up for other places. The back streets of ‘Soho’ in an An American Werewolf in London (1981) are actually around Clink Street, SE1 (the scene where Jenny Agutter pushes through the police cordon is on the corner of Clink Street and Stoney Street). Passport to Pimlico was not filmed in Pimlico, but in a street built for the purpose on a bombsite in north Lambeth –where Copeland House and Ferrybridge House estates now stand. Most far fetched, at least in terms of geographical distance, Reese Witherspoon’s ‘Harvard’ speech in Legally Blonde was actually filmed in the Great Hall of Dulwich College! Oh and the door to The Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is under the railway bridge at 7 Stoney Street, SE1.

Then there are the continuity distortions, where areas several miles apart are made to look adjacent. The book gives many examples, including The Sandwich Man (1966) with Michael Bentine, where Dulwich Park SE21 is apparently sandwiched between SW1 and Green Park, W1.

No book of this kind can ever be really comprehensive. In terms of New Cross and Deptford for instance, he hasn’t picked up on some locations featured previously at Transpontine, such as Interview with a Vampire and the Quatermass Xperiment. He documents the Thamesmead locations for A Clockwork Orange and the concrete subway at Wandsworth gyratory, SW18, where a tramp gets beaten up in the same film. But he doesn’t include Nettlefold Hall in West Norwood, also used in the film.

Still there’s more than enough here to fuel a thousand conversations in the pub or round the water cooler.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Coronary Crumpage/Tweet Tweet!

Coronary Crumpage at the Montague Arms tomorrow night (Thursday 6 november) featuring 'the magical sounds of Olivia Chaney', Anna Calvi ('beautiful songs, guitar, drums AND harmonium= stuff of dreams') and Limn representing south east.

Montague Arms, 289 Queens RdLondon SE15 2P. £6/£4 with flyer, doors 8pm.

The following night (Friday 7th) there's Tweet Tweet! at The Bunker Club, 46 Deptford Broadway - evidently an indie/old skool hip hop/everything else request night.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Swedish indie-pop in Brixton

Fantastic-sounding night of indie-pop coming up at The Windmill in Brixton Hill (Blenheim Gardens) this Thursday night.

How Does it Feel presents: Pelle Carlberg - formerly of Swedish indie popsters Edson and the singer of "Clever Girls Like Clever Boys Much More Than Clever Boys Like Clever Girls". With support The School, Arctic Circle and The Noughts And Crosses Band - the latter promising 'a sugarsweet whirl of perfect pop with melodicas, recorders, brass, ukulele, marching drums, and vocal harmonies'. Sounds good, wish I could make it but otherwise engaged...

Monday, November 03, 2008

Sonic Border/Sonic Diaspora/Beyond Text

Sonic Border/Sonic Diaspora/Beyond Text is a week of interesting talks, discussions and other events happening this week at Goldsmiths in New Cross (organised by the Centre for Cultural Studies). All events are free and open to anybody, whether or not they have any connection with the college. The full programme is at John Hutnyk's Trinketization site.

You've already missed today, but don't worry there's plenty more to come. I'm particularly interested in some of the music related stuff - tomorrow from 4 pm to 6 pm these include:

- Marc Teare. ‘The Secret History of a Musick Yet To Be.’
- Carla Mueller-Schulzke. ‘Transcultural Soundscapes: Creative Musical Practice and the Politics of Sound.’
- Kiwi Menrath. ‘Sounds Aquatic: From Oceans and Flows to Muddy Waters.’
- Rico Reyes ‘Echolocating: Barrionics, Colonial Melancholia, and Technological Euphoria'.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Black History Films /What will New Cross be?

There's lots of interesting (and indeed free) stuff happening in New Cross this week, not sure I can keep up with it all. To start with on Wednesday 5th September there's an event - or rather couple of linked events - at Deptford Town Hall, New Cross Road, London SE14 6AF.

From 4.30-5.15pm, there's 'Deptford.TV Premieres: Black History Month' - four short films made by Goldsmiths MA Screen Documentary students for Deptford.TV on Deptford’s black history. They look at the story of reggae sound systems in the area, the growth of the black community here, and the racist violence of the 1970s and 1980s, including the New Cross Fire.

Then in the same venue from 5.30-8.00pm it's 'Talkoake on se14 6af: What will New Cross be?': 'Goldsmiths, University of London is located in the heart of the dynamic and diverse neighbourhood of New Cross. The area is home to emerging creative businesses, deprived council estates and large numbers of students. How do these different communities interact? What is the future of New Cross? What will happen to the creative culture that has thrived in the area? On the 5th of November, you are invited to Deptford Town Hall to air your views and envision possible futures at a public Talkaoke, an interactive audience-led talk show on the future of the area'.

Talkaoke by The People Speak, supported by The Centre for the study of Global Media and Democracy, and The Centre for Urban and Community Research.

Back at the Monty

Last Tuesday at The Montague Arms in New Cross had a bit of a pre-Halloween feel. Brockley Ukulele Group did a set of seasonal songs, including Werewolves of London, the Time Warp (from Rocky Horror) and Corrosion by The Sisters of Mercy - plus a monster mash up of the Monster Mash, Scooby Doo and several other songs.

I've reviewed The Faction and Cordelia Fellowes & Co. last month, so won't repeat myself here. Still think that we'll soon be saying 'I remember Cordelia Fellowes used to play in New Cross', she has great presence (even in a Halloween outfit) and I've already found myself singing her songs -especially 'You're the best thing that ever happened to me'.

Also playing were The Optics, basically an acoustic guitar wielding singer - he did a good version of Wreckless Eric's The Whole Wide World- accompanied by Katy the tap dancer providing percussive accomponiment. Sounds odd but it worked.