Friday, February 25, 2011

Elle fashion shoot in Rivoli Ballroon

This month's Elle magazine (March 2011) includes a fashion shoot from the Rivoli Ballroon in Crofton Park, highlighting it's red velvet splendour as many have before. The shot below was taken in the fabuolus train carriage style bar on one side of the dancefloor (where Rihanna once sat)

See also: Night of a Thousand Stars; various other Rivoli stories

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Telegraph Hill 100 years ago

Courtesy of Lewisham Heritage, here's some old picutres of Telegraph Hill Park in around 1910 (top) and 1905 (bottom) -click to enlarge. The views are both of the bottom park, with the bandstand where the football cage currently stands. Interesting that even then nobody could quite agree where it was (Brockley? Hatcham? - Lewisham has filed the pictures under 'New Cross').
(From the same collection, Brockley Central has highlighted a picture of haymaking in Crofton Park)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Anna Calvi- from Goldsmiths Tavern to the world?

Anna Calvi has been generating a lot of press on the back of her recent debut album release (e.g. this piece in the Guardian on the 'gothically inclined singer songwriter').

Quite liking this, so naturally would like to be able claim her for the Great Work that is South East London music making. Not entirely sure what the connection is yet, but Ceri James recalls her hanging round the old Goldsmiths Tavern in New Cross as a teenager, and she seems to have played some early gigs locally, including at at the Montague Arms in 2008. Anyone know any more?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lewisham Carnival Against Cuts

Despite the cold and the rain, between 700 and 1000 people took part in yesterday's Carnival Against Cuts in Lewisham. Protests outside local services affected by cuts, such as libraries and one o'clock clubs, were followed by a march from Catford to Lewisham town centre (by the library). It wasn't exactly Rio or Trinidad weather, but there was a samba band and jugglers.

Sue Luxton has a report and more photos at Green Ladywell (from where the photo above was sourced) and there's also a decent report at the Newsshopper (see also this film clip). There's also been a debate raging at Brockley Central where I have stuck my oar in.

Here's a short report by Camila Luise Hemmestad for EastLondonLines:

Elsewhere in South London, there were a number of actions at local Barclays Bank branches as part of the UK Uncut protests including on Walworth Road (pictured) where occupiers gathered round their 'Make the banks pay for their crisis' for an impromptu read-in.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Deptford Community Forum AGM

Bit of a head of steam building up to reinvigorate Deptford community politics in the face of big changes on the horizon such as the massive planned Convoys Wharf development. Come along to the Deptford Community Forum AGM on Tuesday 22 February at the Laban centre for wine, cheese, and a discussion of what's going down in SE8.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

David Katz & Suburban Pirate

A feature of the recent protests against Lewisham library closures was the presence of Suburban Pirate with Sly and Reggie touring the threatened libraries with their self-proclaimed Middle Class Sound System - a mobile dub broadcasting sound system on the back of a black Morris Minor (see picture at Blackheath Bugle). They've even recorded a We Love Libraries track.

Tomorrow night (Friday 18th Februay), Sly and Reggie will be doing a live set at the Old Nun's Head in Nunhead, as part of a night put on by reggae writer and DJ David Katz. David hosts the regular night Dub Me Always at The Ritzy, Brixton and is the author of two major reggae books: People Funny Boy: The Genius of Lee "Scratch" Perry and Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae.

Friday from 9pm-1am, admission free.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

New South London Pubs

Bucking the trend of London pub closures, at least four new pubs are due to be opened by the summer by Antic, who currently run Jam Circus (Brockley) and the Royal Albert (Deptford) among others.

In Sydenham, they are planning to re-open the Greyhound, a pub that has been closed for several years. The story is reported in Friday's South London Press, but it is apparently not true as mentioned there that the pub will be renamed the Ravensbourne Arms. The latter is the name of another pub that Antic are reopening at 323 Lewisham High Street- formerly known as the Coach and Horses.

Antic are also preparing to open the former Post Office in Forest Hill as The Sylvan Post (24 Dartmouth Road,SE23), as well as opening a former shop in Norwood as Knowles of Norwood (13 Knights Hill, SE27).

Monday, February 14, 2011

Paul Astles & Bobby Valentino - Realist and Poodle

Paul Astles and Bobby Valentino are playing at The Wickham Arms, Brockley, SE4 on Thursday, February 17th at 8.30 pm (admission free). The pair have been making music locally for many years - both were in the Electric Bluebirds. Before that Paul was in The Realists, a Deptford band who had a single on Stiff Records in 1978, I've Got a Heart.

Bobby was in The Fabulous Poodles , playing violin and fiddle. They came from Deptford and had some success in the USA in the late 1970s. Lead singer Tony deMeur is now comedian Ronnie Golden.

Apparently Paul and Bobby are working on an album called Friendly Street.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Music at the Old Nun's Head

I enjoyed last month's Nigel of Bermondsey and Friends night at the Old Nun's Head.

- Stuart Forester played a couple of songs on the Appalachian dulcimer, including a lovely version of the Lakes of Ponchartrain. He will be playing a full set next time, so make sure you get along. Here he is at an earlier Old Nun's Head gig:

- Paul Garside had some nice indie-poppish songs, including one called Utopian Idealists inspired by this picture from the recent student protests (it shows media savvy students from Dunraven school in Streatham surrounding a damaged police van which they believed would be used to discredit their protest).

- John Crow performed songs from his new album Goose & Crow: Spirit Songs

- Simon Bromide coped admirably from some inebriated interruptions, and sang a song about getting to like Sonic Youth.

- Karla sang some synth-accompanied numbers, joined by Nigel with some Peter Hook-style basslines.

The next session is on Friday 25th February, according to Nigel:

'Headlining this months is the wonderful Bromide: indie hailing from the distant Woolywood hills (Plumstead). Marvel at the shambolic majesty of this combo. You will ask yourself 'How do they do it.

Stewart Forester is a troubador from the plains of Mitcham who will delight with his command of the DADGAD and the dulcimer. His folk crusade is gathering momentum; see him now before he is on the telly..... I'll play an early set too....'

And it's free, so there's really no excuse for not going - check out Facebook event.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Woolwich anti-cuts demo (& Charlton win)

A guest post from Simon Pirani reports on today's anti-cuts demonstration in Woolwich and from the same end of town, on Charlton's home win:

About 150 people – mainly council workers, anti-cuts campaigners and political activists – marched through Woolwich today chanting “stop the cuts”, to the sound of drums and whistles. Leaflets were handed out to shoppers.

It was the first labour movement demonstration in Woolwich for years – 17 years after the last really big one, a march from Plumstead Common demanding the closure of the BNP headquarters at Welling.

The march was an attempt by union activists on the council to broaden their campaign against £65 million worth of cuts by Greenwich council, which for decades has been run by the Labour Party like a one-party state. The first £27 million of cuts have been identified, including:

- 240 job losses in areas including Older Peoples Services, Childrens Services and Services for the disabled. The standard of service will be wrecked, with waiting times increasing dramatically for services such as Occupational Therapy.

- There will be cuts to posts in day centres and care staff working with the elderly. The Play and Youth Service will disappear; mother-and-toddler groups will go. Charges will rise for council services such as Homecare, Day Centres and Allotments.

- There’s a threat to close the wonderful animal park at Maryon Wilson Park in Charlton, a key part of the education of generations of schoolchildren in the borough. And it will become expensive for local families to use the Boating Centre at Southmere.

- There are proposals to transfer libraries to a trust, or to have them run by volunteers.

The leadership of the union representing council workers, Unison, “prepared” (ha!) for the cuts onslaught by victimising the secretary of the local union branch, Onay “Kaz” Kasab, and then putting the branch under “regional supervision”, i.e. effectively winding it up.

“Kaz” is a member of the Socialist Party. Together with three other members who held official positions in Unison, Glenn Kelly (Bromley), Suzanne Muna (Housing Association) and Brian Debus (Hackney), he has been banned from holding office in the union. The four were witch-hunted on bizarre, trumped-up charges of racism. Their real crime was politically disagreeing with the bureaucrats now running Unison. Details of their lengthy legal case against Unison, which recently resulted in an Employment Tribunal finding in their favour, are here:

In Greenwich, the Unison bureaucrats’ desperate actions – against an activist who has a reputation for encouraging workplace organisation and capably representing individual council employees in disputes with the employer – have led to council employees (dozens at least, maybe a couple of hundred) moving over to join the Unite union.

The march was largely council workers and labour movement activists. But it was a start, in a borough where community organisation has been patchy over the years.

Charlton 3 Peterborough 2

For football supporters in the borough (including your correspondent), the day got even better in the afternoon, when Charlton Athletic beat Peterborough 3-2 in a thrilling game at the Valley. Peterborough were 1-0 up at half time, but two Charlton goals in the 57th and 59th minute turned the tables. There was another goal apiece in the last 15 minutes. This keeps up Charlton’s hopes of promotion from “league one” (the third division to you and me) to “the championship” (the second division).

The mood at the Valley has improved in recent weeks. New owners have taken over the club; Phil Parkinson (nice but not effective) was replaced as manager by Chris Powell (incredibly popular as a player at Charlton, and, taking up his first job as a manager, becomes one of the few black managers in league football). They are selling tickets for the game next Saturday (19 February), against Exeter, for a fiver, in a drive to get fans back in bigger numbers to live games.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Immigration raids in South London

Catford Central picked up late last year on the story of the immigration raid on McDonald's in Catford. In November, the UK Border Agency raided the place and 'After checking the immigration status of staff, officers found that three people were working illegally – a woman from Cameroon and a man and woman from Turkey. The Cameroonian woman and the Turkish man have been detained pending their removal. The Turkish woman has been released on immigration bail and must report regularly to the agency while steps are taken to remove her from the UK'.

There was the usual triumphalist press release from the UKBA - 'Simon Shutte, who heads up the UK Border Agency’s Lewisham and Bromley local immigration team, said:
"Any employer who takes on a foreign national without permission to work in the UK is undermining law-abiding businesses and faces a big fine. This successful operation shows that our officers will find immigration offenders wherever they are in the Lewisham and Bromley area"'.

I don't see how anyone can take such pleasure in rounding up people just trying to make a living. Behind the rhetoric about fighting crime is the reality of people going out to work in the morning, leaving behind friends and loved ones, and then ending the day in a detention centre or on a forced flight out of the country. The fact that McDonalds was involved in this case just highlights another contradiction of the age of globalisation - capital can go where it likes, but labour can't. Or as the asylum-seeker narrator puts it in Chris Cleave's fine novel 'The Other Hand': 'Most days I wish I was a British pound coin instead of an African girl... A pound is free to travel to safety and we are free to watch it go. This is the human triumph. This is called, globalisation. A girl likes me gets stopped at immigration, but a pound can leap the turnstiles, and dodge the tackles of those big men with their uniform caps, and jump straight into a waiting airport taxi'.

Another series of raids have occurred recently at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals in South London. Campaigners have issued the following statement:

'Where are the St Thomas’ disappeared? Where are our workmates?

Last month 72 workers disappeared from Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals. They were part of the hospitals’ ancillary staff. They are migrants. Where did they disappear to? The economic crisis means their cheap labour is not as useful anymore – at least for the moment. So the UK Border Agency was called in to get rid of them. The NHS trust complied. The workers were either arrested or deported.

The workers who clean the hospital and feed the patients earn around the minimum wage. And due to the UKBA the workers are not even always paid for their hard work. Isn’t this slavery?

As hospital users, workers, trade unionists, migrants’ rights activists we cannot stay silent in the face of this brutality. Exactly when cuts and privatisation are threatening our public health service the exploitation of migrant labour increases. This is an attack on all workers.

We call for solidarity with the disappeared, with all migrants, with all workers, on Friday 18th February 5pm to 7pm outside St Thomas main entrance (Westminster Bridge Road London SE1 7EH). Called by the Cleaners Defence Committee, No One Is Illegal, Hands off my Workmate, Latin American Workers’ Association.

E-mail or call 07971719797 for details'.

Three of those arrested were jailed for obtaining money by fraud on the day after the raids took place in January 2011 - it's hardly fraud/theft to work and get paid for it. And what kind of legal representation did they have in this show trial - arrested one day, jailed the next?

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Welcome to SE13ure

It you follow the blog roll in the right hand bar of Transpontine you'll know that there's an incredible range of local news and comment to be had in the South East London blogosphere. New on the block is SE13ure (if you see it with the right font it's a pun on Seizure). Paul used to do the Bexley blog Bexcentric, but has now moved to leafy Lewisham. We met briefly at the weekend in the occupation of New Cross Library, about which he posted some great detailed reports along with a review of a night out at the Amersham Arms for comedy night Happy Mondays.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Lucky Soul on Hilly Fields

Lucky Soul are SE London's finest purveyors of indie-pop-soul, and their new single honours the green heights of Ladywell - Upon Hilly Fields.

Following the earlier post on the closure of the Ivy House (SE15), Darryl at 853 has reminded me that Lucky Soul's 2007 video for 'Add your light to mine, Baby' was filmed in that very pub, and even features a shot of Darryl's arm.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Chris Wood - Hollow Point

At tonight's Radio 2 Folk Awards, the best song award was given to Chris Wood for 'Hollow Point', a sad song about the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes by police at Stockwell underground station in 2005. The song mentions his last fateful journey from Tulse Hill and on through Brixton to his death in the tube station.

Pubs closing and opening

More bad news (and a little bit of good) on the SE London pub front.

Southwark - one of the areas worst hit by pub closures in recent years - has suffered some more losses. On the Walworth Road both the Beaten Path (formerly Prince Alfred) and the Temple Bar have closed recently. The latter was one of the pubs where the artist Austin Osman Spare exhibited his work in the 1940s.

In Nunhead (Lausanne Road), the Swiss Tavern is seemingly being converted to flats. Until the death of its landlady Miss P (Patricia Walters) last year this was a popular African Caribbean pub. So many people turned up there when Miss P died that the police had to close Lausanne Road.

Up on Stuart Road SE15, the famous Ivy House has closed with its future uncertain. This is an iconic venue with a long musical history, including in its previous incarnation as the Newlands Tavern. The most recent managers pursued a policy of discouraging the previous locals with the aim of making it more of an event venue pulling in people from further afield. Some of the events have been very successful, such as comedy nights and the Brockley Jack Film Club Piccadilly showing. But I imagine that the pub's location, a long way from the nearest rail or tube station, makes it hard to keep it really busy like that on a regular basis.

In Brixton, popular pub/music venue Rest is Noise is closing (maybe already has) - a busy place so doesn't look like revenue was the major issue. For discussion of possible reasons to do with the building's landlord see Urban75.

Better news from the Old Kent Road, where the even more iconic Thomas a Becket looks set to reopen as a cafe/bar soon after being closed for a few years (other than being partially used as an art gallery). Not sure if they will keep the name, I would like them to because of the whole link to the Kent Road pilgrimage route. The pub stands on the site of St Thomas a Watering, mentioned in the Canterbury Tales as the place where the pilgrims stopped for refreshment on the road to Becket's shrine in Canterbury Cathedral. But if they do go for a name change can I propose Ziggy's or Stardust?

The relaunch of the Goldsmiths Tavern as the New Cross House is on track - new owners Captial Pub Company took possession today (see more about their plans at Food Stories). And Brockley Central reports a new bar may be opening soon in New Cross - but nobody seems to know where or when?

(any other news, updates or corrections, please comment)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Library Protests

Good support in South London for the national 'read in' protest against library closures yesterday.

At Blackheath Library authors giving readings and speeches included Blake Morrison, Lucy Mangan and local historian Neil Rhind (see report at Blackheath Bugle).

At Crofton Park Library there was a good crowd, with crime writer Lindsey Davis amongst those giving readings (see report at Brockley Central).

At New Cross Library, the read-in developed into an overnight occupation. I joined them this morning when there were about 20 people present. It was all very friendly - I even spotted a (non-Lewisham) librarian doing a bit of shelving! The last hour before the planned noon departure featured some silliness with the police blocking the entrance to stop anybody else coming in and ordering the security guard to lock the toilet (though he couldn't find the key). Actually the police seemed very embarrassed to be acting as messengers and security guards for the Council's Chief Excutive's office and were clear that as no laws were being broken it wasn't really a policing matter (see more reports at Lewisham Anti-Cuts Alliance and SE13ure).

The selection of messages left by library users makes it clear that New Cross, like the other libraries, is highly valued.

It isn't just about the books - libraries are one of the few public spaces on our high streets where people can wander in to a warm, safe place without any pressure to spend money, maybe just to browse or read the paper.

Nor are libraries just some 'middle class leisure' pursuit, as some have disparaged them. I first moved to South London to work in libraries (including one now apparently on Lambeth's possible closure list), and then as now libraries attracted childminders, pensioners, students, stressed parents taking their kids out on rainy days, autodidacts and aspiring writers from all walks of life.

I would also urge people to remember that libraries are not just about books and buildings, but about the staff who work there. Good libraries have passionate, informed staff who know where to find information, and how to respond to the needs of a variety of users . The various 'Big Society' options being floated to transfer libraries to the 'community' (actually usually to self-appointed and unaccountable organisations who nobody asked to speak for them) don't seem to recognise this dimension at all. One of the bids put forward to take over four of Lewisham's libraries (by people associated with the Pepys Resource Centre) apparently envisages running them with one paid member of staff each and volunteers doing the rest. How is the one worker going to keep the library open while doing all the other essential tasks of running a decent library - selecting and ordering stock, chasing up inter-library loans for books not in stock, running reading groups etc.? Quite apart from the lone working health and safety aspects of this, I can't really see this being a real library service at all.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Convention of Hysteria (1985)

February 1985 and a pretty radical weekend of music at the Albany Empire in Deptford - The Convention of Hysteria with New Cross's own Band of Holy Joy and Test Department joined by Diamanda Galas, Evan Parker and others. Somewhere out there there's a bootleg of this gig, of which Galas has recalled:

'Well, the Convention of Hysteria was me solo one night. Me with Test Dept the next, Evan Parker -who I had played with once in San Diego - and ... I don't really know who else was on it. Probably one or two other Some Bizarre artists. The performance with Test Dept was alright. I can't criticize them if the electronics broke down.

FE: Was that a written piece?
Diamanda: No. I structured a piece for all of us. So we did something and in certain ways it was pretty interesting. It received a very horrified response because the vocal levels were already incinerating the place, then Test Dept came out with these gigantic, I mean GIGANTIC, steel things, with no shirts, sweating and playing these things that were put through processing by my engineer. So it was even more monstrous. Then I was on the top, so it was some sort of weird S&M ritual. It was fun. I liked it and they're good guys.
"Diamanda Galas: Tura Satana Without Cleavage", Interview in Forced Exposure #15 (Summer 1989)
Anyone out there remember this? Doesn't sound like you'd have forgotten it if you were there.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Metros - Talk About It (Another Peckham Video)

The Metros were hotly-tipped indie hopefuls a couple of years ago, with three singles under their belt in 2008. The following year though the band split up. The Metros lived in Peckham with members meeting each other at Dog Kennel Hill Primary School and the Charter School in East Dulwich (Southwark Weekender, June 2008).

The video for their final single, Talk About It, was filmed in Peckham, featuring among other locations Rye Lane, Peckham Library and the multi-storey car park (also used by Roll Deep last year).


There's actually another film documenting how this video was made with even more Peckhamness if you're interested.