Like Swamp Thing, Brockley Central sometimes wonders whether we are human at all, or a manifestation of the collective consciousness of all life in SE4. That feeling was reinforced last night as we sat down to write this piece about finding Brockley's biggest eyesores and an email from Brockley Cross Action Group member Stuart popped in to our inbox:
"I've been reflecting on the state of our 'public realm' in Brockley," it began. "For six years, the BXAG has grappled with the question of how to get resources and political priority to improve the environment in bold, imaginative and lasting ways. How to put people, pedestrians, shoppers, prams, cyclists and children ahead of cars and tarmac. It's been a real struggle with some noticeable changes, but nothing on the scale that is needed. Real change needs mass action.
"I’ve been wondering if your website could develop some sort of ‘Shame and Praise’ section. Somewhere people could put their digital images of things they think need improving, fixing, changing or praising."
Now, as it happens, Brockley Jon has already been busy with his camera, documenting some of the worst offences in the area and we would like readers of Brockley Central to help us find other examples, so we can put them to Lewisham Council (who we know are regular readers of the site anyway). If we get lots of examples, we may even have a vote, to see which we think is Brockley's biggest affront to civilisation.
An alternative Brockzilla, this project aims to capture Brockley's monstrous aspects at their most gruesome. Sort of like "Love Lewisham", only for big stuff.
There are two rules:
1. The photos must be of the public realm - no sending in pictures of people's stoneclad houses or messy front gardens please.
2. The photos must be of semi-permanent stuff, like bent railings and derelict land. Flytipping and tagging is nasty, but that's what Love Lewisham is for already.
We ask for your nominations to be sent to the usual address: email@example.com (unfortunately, we don't have any digicams to help you with your mission, but we hope you can improvise). We will feature the most heartbreaking photos over the next month.
So, here is Jon's reportage.
Meze Mangal's Container, Lewisham Way
This container-come-skip lies like a shipwreck outside an ex-café that seems to be an everlasting building site on Lewisham Way. It is unfortunately bang nextdoor to Meze Mangal, actually encroaching on their restaurant front. What are your first thoughts when you turn up for your Turkish food? "Ooh, nice skip"!
The piled up bin bags seen in the photo only add to the pleasantness that pedestrians and road users alike can appreciate every time they go past.
Eternal Jerk, Mantle Road
Was it ever open? Is it a joke? Is it an art installation? [Brockley Nick says: We politely disagree with Jon on this one - how could anyone not love a place called Eternal Jerk?]
Recycling Farm by the Post Office, Brockley Road
This bin does little to enhance the already pretty nasty post office. Alfresco diners at both Toadsmouth and Ecosium get to enjoy the sight of it, if not the smell, and the wheelie bins seem to move around on their own, as if they roam the streets, creating dark corners and conveniant places to stow rotten sofas. [Brockley Nick says: the management of commercial waste is a huge problem for Brockley and for many other parts of the borough. It's a subject that we will be dedicating some space to, very soon].