Saturday, September 17, 2016

Crystal Palace Subway

As part of Open House London this weekend, the old Crystal Palace Subway is open this weekend and I went along today. The subway, which opened in 1865, once linked the High Level Station to Crystal Palace Park, passing under Crystal Palace Parade. After the Crystal Palace was burned down in 1936, the need for it declined. It was used as an air raid shelter in World War Two, but became obsolete when the High Level railway station was closed in 1954. In the 1970s it was bricked up, and although occasionally broken into for raves it has rarely been opened since.

nice touch - a list of staff known to have worked in the station refreshment rooms
The subway is open again tomorrow, Sunday 17 September 2016, 10 -  5, no need to book

The Chemical Brothers 'Setting Sun' video was filmed there in 1996

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bermondsey Folk Festival and films

Bermondsey Folk Festival concluded in the sun last Sunday 11th September with a fine music stage at the Bermondsey Summer Fete at Compass School SE16,

There was Irish dancing from Bermondsey-based Carragher Academy:

And lots of good music - I caught the Bara Bara Band (who host Tooting Folk) and  Tim Jones & The Dark Lanterns (pictured below):

Stalls included one from the Biscuit Factory Museum with tins and publications from the old Peak Freans factory. Tomorrow (Saturday 17 September, Biscuit Factory Museum founder Gary Magold is showing archive film footage of the Bermondsey area as part of the Grosvenor Film Festival at the Biscuit Factory (Building F, 100 Clements Roads SE16). The free films, showing from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm will include a 1939 May Day and a 1988 documentary on the biscuit factory as it was closing down.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

117 Lewisham Way Revisited

Ten years ago a rather grand but decaying house at 117 Lewisham Way, near to Goldsmiths College in New Cross, was demolished. The house had an interesting history, including a brief period as home for New Cross synagogue and a space for artists to live and work in. In its last days it was squatted and known as the Elephant House (see full history in previous post here).

At the nearby Lewisham ArtHouse this weeked (Friday - Sunday, 16-18 September) there's an event to celebrate the memory of 117 with films, music and a play linked to the house.

"117oneoneseven" is a devised play from Kyoto-based theatre company BRDG, based on memories of growing up in the house told by a British woman living in Japan.

"Ghost House, Gone House" is a pair of films made in the house before it was demolished, and will be shown side by side accompanied by an improvised soundtrack from the film makers and musicians David Aylward and Tom Scott (who perform as Rabbit). Tom grew up in the house, and he and David used to rehearse there. Others performing on Saturday include Nick Doyne-Ditmas (Bass/Brass) and Adam Bohman (Prepared Strings and Amplified Objects).

Thursday, September 08, 2016

A plaque for Catford's Antarctic Explorer

'On Saturday 10th September, a Lewisham Council plaque will be unveiled to mark the Catford residence of Captain William Colbeck (1871–1930).  Captain Colbeck moved to 51 Inchmery Road in 1913, following an adventurous career at sea, which included:

• being a member of the first expedition to spend a whole year on the Antarctic continent (The Southern Cross expedition, 1898–1900)
• travelling further south than anyone previously (to 78° 50’, on 17 February 1900), with the Norwegian leader of the expedition, Carsten Borchgrevink
• bringing food and fuel supplies to Captain Scott and his men on the ice-bound Discovery in 1903, and again in 1904
• helping to release the Discovery from the ice, by blasting open an 18-mile passage to the open sea.

The plaque has been funded by the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT) and the Culverley Green Residents’ Association.  It will be unveiled by Dr Kevin Fewster, Director of the National Maritime Museum.  Also present will be Camilla Nichol, Chief Executive of the UKAHT, and Heidi Alexander, MP, along with descendants of Captain Colbeck and other figures from the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration'. 

This will be the third plaque in Lewisham to an Antarctic explorer, joining Sir James Clark Ross in Blackheath and Sir Ernest Shackleton in Sydenham. The borough can thus boast a record three of the six Antarctic plaques in London.

Official unveiling:
51 Inchmery Road, Catford, SE6 2N, Saturday 10 September 2016, 11.30am-12noon


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Test Dept:Redux - Return to New Cross

Test Dept are surely one of the most influential bands to emerge from the local area, starting out in New Cross in the early 1980s (some band members lived at 8 Nettleton Road) and pioneering a politically committed industrial sound. 

In the last couple of years members of the band, who have remained active across musical and other cultural fields, have been involved in a number of events commemorating the  30th anniversary of the miners strike in which the band were very involved - during the strike they played benefits at the Albany in Deptford among other places.  I went to a great event at the Ritzy in Brixton last April which included the band presenting and discussing the film  DS30, a collage documenting that period.

This Saturday September 10th at the Amersham Arms sees a rare live performance:

'An intimate immersion into the Test Dept machine on our return to New Cross, South London with support from Feral Five and DJs providing an eclectic mix of Dub Sub Punk Noise Electro Industrial.

Test Dept:Redux
Feral Five

Elena Colombi (NTS Radio)
Amélie Ravalec and Travis Collins (Industrial Soundtrack For The Urban Decay)
Satellitic (Test Dept)
GrayC (Test Dept)

Roof Terrace BBQ Tickets £10 + booking fee available in advance from Eventbrite; £10 or £8 Concession on the door' (facebook details here)

A little while ago I played a set of music from the miners strike at am Agitdisco benefit for Housmans bookshop, and met Paul Jamrozy from Test Dept who was also playing. Here's my mix which of course includes some Test Dept.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

So many (free) films, so little time

The free film festival scene continues to grow, easy to take them for granted but seeing lots of great movies for free at interesting venues on your doorstep - how cool is that?

Peckham and Nunhead  is on right now until 11 September - full programme here. It will soon be followed locally by Forest Hill from 9 September (as well as Charlton and Woolwich starting on same day), then Catford free film festival from 16 September - opening event is The Great Gatsby at Broadway Theatre, with live music beforehand from Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir.

Friday, September 02, 2016

New Cross Party in the Park 2016

Tomorrow (Saturday 3rd September) sees the New Cross Party in the Park returning to Fordham Park, a free community festival 'for all ages, with family events, arts and crafts, stalls, spoken word, as well as local bands and acts for all tastes from disco to reggae, punk rock, soul and folk'.
The party follows on from previous events in 2013 and 2014 (see report here), and traces its origins back to the legendary Deptford Urban Free Festivals held in the park in the 1990s. Remember seeing RDF  (Radical Dance Faction) back there then and they are playing tomorrow.