Monday, October 30, 2023

Music Monday: Laura Misch 'Sample the Sky'

East Dulwich-raised Laura Misch has been marking the release of her new album, Sample the Sky, with some interesting local events in the last few weeks. There was a sound walk in Sydenham Woods, an event in the Brockwell Park greenhouses and, on 21 October 2023, a 'cloud bath' in the old waiting room above Peckham Rye station.  The latter featured an improvised set with Laura's saxophone accompanied by Slow Moon on guitar. People were invited to bring cushions so they could relax on the floor while artists Holobiont projected cloud imagery. Lots of lush reverb drenched tones approaching a spiritual jazz vibe, it was a lovely event.

There's an interesting interview with Laura at The Line of Best Fit where she talks about her musical and woodland inspirations.

The album is more song based, including the previous single Portals -  the video of which, I am reliably informed, was styled with the help of Bleak House Flowers in Brockley Cross

Thursday, October 26, 2023

The Tidal Year


Freya Bromley's 'The Tidal Year: a memoir on grief, swimming and sisterhood' sees the author travelling around Britain's tidal pools in the aftermath of her brother's untimely death. Along the way she visits some of my favourite swimming spots including Walpole Bay in Margate, Clevedon Marine Lake (on the Severn Estuary) and Dancing Ledge in Dorset.

But her home turf swimming spot is Brockwell Park Lido, even through the swimming there does not always come easy: 'Getting in the lido felt like a punishment, which something inside me needed. Getting out felt like a rebirth, which everything inside me needed. I took short, sharp breaths as the water burned my ankles, thighs, stomach, then chest. Crying happens on an inhale, and swimming gives me that same breathless sensation. I swam three laps, then at the deep end screamed underwater. When I emerged, I couldn't stop crying. Witnessing someone having a breakdown in a public pool must be a good way to see British manners'.

Along the way friendships and romance play out against a backdrop of familiar South London landmarks. East Dulwich Picturehouse, the Prince of Wales in Brixton, Myatts Fields, Herne Hill market, the Camberwell Arms and the Silk Road restaurant (also in Camberwell) all feature, not to mention a first date checking out the Lime Kiln in Burgess Park.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Cider with Joyce

Delighted to have the first pint to be served of the new 'Joy is an Orchard' cider at Joyce in Brockley tonight, blended by them at Ross on Wye cider.


Friday, October 13, 2023

Peckham Taser Death Protest

A demonstration took place on Saturday 30th September to protest against the death of Zodoq Obatolah, a 52 year old man who died after being tasered by police in Peckham earlier this year. People marched from the Rye Hill Estate, where the man died in April apparently after falling from a balcony following being tasered. The protest ended in a rally at Peckham police station where people sat in the road to hear speeches from the United Friends and Families Campaign, which brings together people affected by the deaths at the hands of the police.  Speakers included Marcia Rigg, whose brother Sean Rigg died in Brixton police station in 2008, and Germaine Phillips whose son Adrian McDonald died after being tasered by police in Staffordshire in 2014.

Sunday, October 01, 2023

La Discotheque/Bouncing Ball/Kisses/Chicago's in Peckham

La Discotheque in Soho's Wardour Street  opened in around 1961 and was perhaps the first place to use 'discotheque' as the name for a club in the English speaking world (there had been clubs of that name in Paris since the 1940s). The Soho club earned some notoriety as the 'Soho nerve centre' of 'the purple heart racket' (Times 10 June 1964) but that didn't stop it expanding with other branches opening up in  Oxford Street, Streatham High Road and Peckham High Street. 

Not sure of the source of the advert below promising 'The West End comes to Peckham' with 'the accent on Rhythm and Blues, and Twist' to 'Hi Fi Stereo featuring the famous Nite-Sounds':

This advert from Streatham News suggests that the Peckham club ('London's most fabulous dancing club') opened in June 1963 and was open every night until 2 am:

I found a memory of the club on Facebook: 'Went a fair bit when around 15... can remember Frankie Fraser selling purple hearts and black bombers from his car parked outside. Probably around 1964'.

Location is given as 'facing the Oodeon cinema' which was where the Job Centre now stands. I assume the club was in the same location as the later Bouncing Ball/Mr B's/Kisses/Chicago - 43 Peckham High Street. Originally built in 1890s as the Central Hall, it was know for a while in the 1960s as the Maverick club then Mr Bee's/The Bouncing Ball.

Think this Bouncing Ball flyer is from 1979, mostly reggae including Delroy Wilson and lovers rock girl group Brown Sugar (with young Caron Wheeler later of Soul II Soul). Bob Marley and the Wailers are believed to have played there in 1973 though there is a story that the band refused to play on one occasion. Don Letts took Joe Strummer from The Clash to the club.

Although best remembered as a reggae club, the Bouncing Ball also hosted a regular heavy metal Monday night in the early 1980s with resident DJs The Bailey Bros - two black former Yorkshire miners (flyer below from December 1981):

Known as Kisses in the mid 1980s, regular DJs there George Power and Gordon Mac (McNamee) named their new London dance music pirate radio station after it - Kiss FM. In that period the club was closely linked to the pirate radio/soul scene - Solar Radio put on events there and LWR (London Weekend Radio) did a a live broadcast from there in 1986, shortly before the club changed ownership and was renamed La Plaza. This prompted 'Blues & Soul' (25/2/86) to  note that  "Kisses, that long time funk oasis in the hinterlands of Peckham, is no more." 

Later it became Chicago's, there's a short Channel 4 drama from 1992 called 'We the Ragamuffin'  (directed by Julian Henriques) that was filmed there and on the now demolished North Peckham Estate. For a while in the early 1990s there was a Vaders club night, featuring DJ Seduction and Grooverider among others.

The building today: