Jericho

We go to Malmo for two days and Armageddon is visited upon London...

From our gloomy hotel room, with only CNN for company, we learned that 'the great London earthquake of 2008' had struck, unleashing hell on an unsuspecting population. Their round-the-clock coverage of this apocalypse was accompanied by footage of a man sweeping up some roof tiles in Lincolnshire.

As we raced back to Heathrow, wondering whether anything was salvageable of SE4, we were able to read the increasingly angry exchanges taking place on Brockley Central. Symbols of authority like Lewisham Council, the World Trade Organisation and even the Police were under attack. Corporate Lawyers were using gratuitous swear words. Clearly, society was breaking down in some sort of Lord of the Flies scenario.

So it came as some relief to get off the train and find people casually perusing the Broca and Dandelion Blue, rather than looting.

But for a moment, we were able to fantasise about which bit of Brockley we'd most like to be levelled by an earthquake (without casualties, obviously). Our vote goes to the MOT garage at the junction of Brockley Road and Coulgate Street. There were a few other strong candidates...

Anyway, it's good to be back. Malmo is added to the list of places that are not as good as Brockley.

39 comments:

Bea said...

I'd like to see the post office sorting office go. It may prove a useful service but it is plumb ugly. A nice green park instead would be fantastic with room for a Saturday market – blooming unlikely though. If it ever gets demolished there’s bound to be new flats instead.

Monkeyboy said...

The MOT garage is not the most attractive site I admit but I've always had good, reliable service from them - including some over the phone advice when my old fiat died on me.

...and yes, that post office. Grand Designs it ain't.

Anonymous said...

fine then - keep the MOT garage at coulgate/brockley road, but please, please take out the used car lot at maplas/geoffrey rd -- the one with the sagging yellow plastic signage ("B & N Motors" or some such). Every day I see it and get depressed.

ElijahBailey said...

I have said it before and I will say it again: Leave that MOT garage alone. I can see the objection to random car lots but that place does regular and good business. Which is surely a good thing?

When I finally get a car I want to know that their is a easily accessible garage with a good rep and that is exactly what that one is.

Anonymous said...

I'd level all the buildings from the Chinese takeaway to the the railway bridge on the west side of the tracks.

Tamsin said...

It was a fun earthquake, though, wasn't it? Strange side to side shaking for about three seconds. Not the normal 343 bus trundling over the speed humps that makes the whole house vibrate (I live on Jerningham Road) and totally different to the Canary Wharf bomb which rattled the back windows and then the front as the blast travelled through the house at the speed of sound.

spincat said...

i can't bear it - surely you don't mean the lovely MOT centre that has provided us with those nice murals and are so good and effiecient? And the sorting office!! How will be get our mail? We need services, not just coffee shops and delis, nice as those may be.
Please - I grew up in a town that once had a butcher, a baker, welsh dairy, a greengrocer and a small nice garage amongst a whole range of
not- particularly-aesthetic-but-quite-useful-services and now everything consists of useless shops selling twee and useless things or nasty milky coffee. (All of which go out of business after 5 minutes to replaced by more of same).

Monkeyboy said...

....and it's an independent business that presumably provides decent skilled jobs for locals.

Nick, how about an interview with the owner about his views on the area? I'd be genuinely interested on what an established local business makes of the olive oil pedlars.

Never know, he may even be persuaded to try and smarten up the frontage in some way? Although perhaps the opportunities are limited.

Anonymous said...

Nick,

I find it hard to digest that

A)Swedish talent is no better than local one(no disrespect to anybody)

B)Malmo Bridge is a fantastic piece of modern infrastucture as opposed to the Brockley Bridge I have to cross every morning

Brockley Nick said...

@Mb, Spincat, Elijah

Well let me put it another way, if you were given a blank piece of paper (mb I bet you have played Sim City more than once...) and were asked to draw your dream town centre (for that is what that area is), would you dump a great big car lot right in the middle of it? No, you wouldn't, you'd find somewhere more sensitive to put it. Instead, you might put a little park or a playground or a theatre or some shops or some cafes or a library, etc. I didn't say it would have to be an olive oil vendor.

I'm sure the guys who run it do a great job. I'm also sure that if an earthquake levelled their place, they could find an alternative location. And while they were making a tidy profit on their earthquake insurance payout, I'm sure Elihjah could take his non-existent car to one of the other two perfectly good MOT garages within a short distance.

However, the point about the murals is well-made and I switch my nomination to the sorting office. We don't need a massive sorting office (and another large car park) to collect our post, there is a sub post office a few doors down. Or it could form another revenue stream for Jon S' multi-purpose business.

Anyway, the article wasn't meant to be taken entirely literally.

@mb - yes maybe one day I will do an interview with them, if they like. But it will have to wait at least until we've answered Dixie's question, otherwise (s)he will go in to meltdown.

Anonymous said...

Just for the record, both sets of murals were provided by artists as part of the Brockley Max festival. The MOT garage were very kind in giving me permission to use the walls.
Moira

Richard Elliot said...

I went to Malmo a couple of years ago for a friends wedding and have to say I rather liked it.

I mean where else has the head quarters of Tetrapak on its outskirts?

Anonymous said...

...the portraits are really quite remarkable. The garage must feel quite honoured to host such fine examples of modern art. They compliment the MOT garage rather well. If only we could persuade the owners of some of the other blank walls to be similarly generous. Perhaps we could have portraits of some of the notable figures that have made Brockley what it is today.

Lets see...the V1 doodlebug and V2 ballistic missile. Then a series of portraits of Lewisham mayors, not forgetting Ken, our dear GLC leader and current London mayor.

Murals in London were once quite the thing, they are a neglected artform.

spincat said...

sorry, I'm not very good at this - wasn't being all that serious, Nick. (Though I still don't see how a post is going to get sorted witout a sorting office - did you never do the xmas post round as a kid? you need a big warehousey type place.)

jon s said...

I'd level both the sorting office and the MOT Garage, they aren't exactly masterpieces by lord Foster. I'm sure they can relocate somewhere, and Elijah can get his future car serviced.

A sub post office (along with dry cleaning, key cutting and a cobbler), would be better as one of the revenue streams that was part of a supermarket of some sort, rather than a cafe/bar/gallery. Looking back whistfully to an era with high streets of single shops is strange...... society has got more efficient, and improved standards of living in the process.

Anyway, I'm in Helsinki at the moment which also isn't as nice as Brockers!

Monkeyboy said...

What we need is a Giant Lizzard that eats buildings. I'm thinking Godzilla.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

monkeyboy, have you been taking drugs again?

Pete said...

I would hope for the road to subside into a tunnel which could then become permanent allowing for the area above to be pedestrianised.

ElijahBailey said...

On the subject of rockets here is more detail:

http://www.flyingbombsandrockets.com/V1_summary_se4.html

nicola name said...

what about that sea container outside Meze Mangal? surely a front runner....

Pete said...

Keep up Nicola, we've had it confirmed that they're getting rid of the sea container when they open the new Turkish pattiserie.

JPM said...

The murals don't do it for me... I've always found 'street art' a sop to the graffiti tagger. (I don't know if the artists who did these psychoramas are such as I have no knowledge of their prior efforts. It has been shown that graffiti can be contained on a designated spot, which is good.)

The Sorting Office will go quite soon. The PO knows it is sitting on a goldmine and it would be crazy not to exploit. This kind of service, as with car show 'yards' etc, will eventually move.

Some Brockley property barons must be very old now, and as such are concerned about Inheritance Tax. I suspect the intention for these land 'bankers' (call it what it is) is to pass on a seemingly low rental commodity (artificially so) in order to avoid IHT. (The supermarkets are now having to stop land banking.)

But you can't blame the land barons for keeping an area down...

If I owned the site of the woodyard at the cross (if only) land banking for my progeny would be the perfect way to avoid IHT on 'hard-earned' wealth.

How do I set about making a gift to my heirs, and in the process avoid much of the IHT?

By land banking. Once I'm gone my old spoilt (imaginery) brats would develop the site, increase the rents and land value, then be free to shove coke up their noses and live off the rent to the end of their days. (When they too would follow the same process set by old Grandfather JPM.)

Once I kicked the bucket (which I surely will unless Danja convices me I truly am the Messiah) my imagined ownership would be valued at £1 say, rather than the £20 if developed as a mixed use precinct under lease to Bratz Inc, which it will be later.

I think this may actually happen before the current lease runs out on the business sited there. (I have no knowledge of the current owner's position, just a suspicion. If this is the case then I don't blame the current landlord, but I do think that the needs of many outweigh the needs of the few, and the Council should move to CPO some (underdeveloped)private holdings that defeat the interests of the public.)

(I also wish there was spellcheck on this site.)

Monkeyboy said...

I still prefer the Godzilla solution personally.

andy pandy pudding & pie said...

The wood yard is only operated on a lease, which is unlikely to be renewed by the landlord (it expires in about 4 yrs so not immement) - according to the company rep.

In terms of local property barons, i was informed that the ultimate controlling party of speedycars actually has a number of properties around the station. An office at brockley business centre, something to do with the properties occupied by the Broca & Etc and obviously the one which is soon to be developed into flats at no 16. coulgate st.

The 'battleship block' on mantle road apparently was underfunded by the developers and had to do some costly remedial work, which they wanted to sell on to a new developer - speedicars man showed an interest - apparently.

Headhunter said...

Ugly as it is, it'll be sad to see the PO in Brockley go. Whenever the postman leaves 1 of those "sorry I missed you" cards when he comes round with a parcel I jutst nip round the corner to get it on the way to work. When t closes apparently I'll haveto head all the way to Catford which is completely the opposite direction...

Headhunter said...

I was going to ask - did anyone actually feel the "earthquake" in Brockers? If so I must've slept right through it

Anonymous said...

Agreed about the post office - where would you go Bea to collect your outsize mail? Without a car, Catford is inconvenient from Brockley - but as we are talking about a Utopia, let's move the sorting office into one of the sub post offices.

I'm going to vote for the "Cheques chashed here, money shop". Let's wipe it from the face of Brockley.

As for the quake - yup felt it, and told my partner to stop moving around in bed.

Bea said...

Anon - as you say it is "Utopia" in which case my vote goes for the tunnel under the street, the sorting office, the money lending shop and possibly the used car lot too retaining the colourful wall only.

However, thank goodness the earthquake wasn't an 8 and we can only dream on.

No, I didn't feel the earthquake. I used to live in Japan and felt much stronger ones all the time - so I guess the fact that I was nicely tucked up in bed and fast asleep meant I was sublimely unaware.

Would have freaked me out if I had though since I know that all my furniture is currently a major earthquake hazard i.e. noting bolted against the walls, nick knacks on all the surfaces, tall boy directly opposite the bed ready to crush me, no spare water in the house, no slippers next to the bed in case of broken glass ... etc etc

Hugh - Earthquake Veteran and Survivor said...

I felt it. Was in bed at 1am but, unusually, woke up around then. Felt the bed shaking and thought, yup, earthquake.

Had forgotten about it the next day till I saw the news when I got to the office.

spincat said...

Yes, how i agree with anonymous - the Money Shop : source of much misery and a real sign of the tiems - that should go.

JPM said...

I was watching the Michael Portillo programme on the Tory Party. I was up late because I'm still on Canadian time, which is five hours behind. Just before the programme finished I heard the windows rattle upstairs, then a thud. I thought my daughter had fallen out of bed. Of course when I investigated she was fast asleep.

Kate said...

Your Spanish correspondent can confirm that Granada also isn't as good as Brockley ...

(It would be great if Brockley had an Alhambra, though ...)

JPM said...

Speedicars monopoly set to tumble...

A new sign is going up over the internet cafe at the end of Manor Avenue on the Lewisham Way. Apparently it is also offering a cab and courier service.

I used Speedicars the other day from Heathrow... it cost £56. Any competition is welcome.

Anonymous said...

£56 is really good from Heathrow. Addison Lee is about £70.

JPM said...

Isn't that a Hackney Cab firm?

Speedicars is very good and it runs a really professional service, it was just the disparity in the quoted price that bothered. (That and the ten pound tip to the driver on top.)

Do you work for Speedi? If so, I wouldn't mind a response to the investigation that you said you would conduct. (The price quoted was £48, which we paid going there. We left a £20 deposit for the return journey, which was also quoted at that same price, £48.)

Anonymous said...

No I don't work for Speedi Cars - I'm still laughing at that - Addison Lee is London's Largest taxi service, they're not Hackney carriages but they are an excellent service - I usually use them for longer journeys like airports and stuff. Quite surprised Speedi was 56 - I go to heathrow quite a bit.

nicola name said...

I once had an LHR taxidriver who went on so much about sending money home and his beautiful little baby girl (photo provided) stuck back in Algeria with his mother and grandma that I doubled the fare.

later, I realised he looked about 18 and a rascal.

Anonymous said...

Had many issues with Speedicabs over the years (including a driver that turned up at my house, knocking on the door, the day after he had taken me to Heathrow - my partner was there). I use Flightlink International all the time now - they always send a chauffeur driven merc or other quality, clean car and to Heathrow it costs about £55-59 from Tressillian Road

Anonymous said...

Handicars in Lee high road are very professional. Speedicars are often a joke, should be called Slowercabs. 5 to 10 minutes, but in which universe?

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