Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Strike against job cuts at Goldsmiths

A good turn out at Goldsmiths College in New Cross today at a rally to mark the start of a three week strike by members of the University and College Union against threatened job cuts.

Goldsmiths UCU say: 'Goldsmiths Senior Management Team (SMT) is planning mass staff redundancies across departments this term, as part of a wider scheme of redundancies to be rolled out over two years. Management has informed us that it plans to cut 52 jobs this year: 20 academics in English & Creative Writing and History, and 32 professional services staff. The survival of courses in the departments of History and English and Creative Writing are in serious jeopardy, and the professional services cuts (to staff in timetabling, student support and other areas) risk causing chaos and harming student experience. 

This is part of what SMT terms ‘The Recovery Plan’: an attempt to use job cuts to improve the College’s finances. Goldsmiths UCU (GUCU) argues this is a bad plan, both in terms of the financial impacts and the injustice of the proposed job cuts themselves. Senior management also claims these cuts are required by the banks due to a deal that was struck with Lloyds Bank and Natwest bank, negotiated by the consultancy firm KPMG, committing to £4million of staff cuts this year followed by £2million next year'.

The strike will continue until December 13th 2021, with daily pickets and teach-out sessions (details here)

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

'Close to Me' - Christopher Eccleston and Connie Nielsen in the Rivoli

Channel 4 drama 'Close to Me' is the latest to make use of the Rivoli Ballroom as a location. In the story a fundraising event for refugees in Hastings actually takes place in Brockley Road SE4.  Sometime Dr Who Christopher Eccleston and Danish actor Connie Nielsen - sometime Queen Hipployta in the DC universe - tread the boards and wander through the side bars alongside the dancefloor.

See previous posts about the Rivoli - featuring Kylie, Lana del Ray and many more

Monday, November 15, 2021

Joy Crookes - South London Songs

Joy Crookes at Queens Road, Peckham

Singer Joy Crookes has a new album out, Skin,  and very good it is too. She's been compared to Amy Winehouse, but she has a great voice of her own and her songs are rooted firmly in 2020s London. Joy grew up at Elephant and Castle and her songs reference various South London locations, notably the Elephant itself on the track '19th floor' which bemoans the changes there: 'Lost the tower where my heart is,  Cinema skylines that I don't recognise, Strip the life out of these streets,  It's a daylight robbery'. The song mentions 'Bopping down Walworth Road'

'When you were mine', a single from the album, has a Brixton setting - 'Hand in hand, Coldharbour Lane... Smile with a Brixton shine'.  The Ritzy cinema and Electric Avenue are namechecked and the video is filmed around Brixton market particularly the area near Brixton Rec.


Joy explored these streets on some of her earlier songs. London Mine (2019) is a kind of hymn to multicultural London with a video shot on Walworth Road featuring local faces including tailor George Dyer.  Lyrics include 'Lovers walk Old Kent Road' and Kennington Road is also mentioned.


There are kids playing football at Peckham Town's ground...

...and dancing in the now vanished Elephant and Castle shopping centre.

Another 2019 track, 'Two Nights' sings of 'runnin' through East Street with emotional baggage', and much of the video is shot in East Street market as well as at the Michael Faraday steel box memorial at the Elephant (erroneously believed by some to have once belonged to Richard James/Aphex Twin!)