London: Land of the Rising Sun (Part 2)

One of our friends works at a major commercial art gallery in London. Like half of his colleagues, his long term ambition is to open his own gallery. A Lewisham native, we asked him whether he'd consider South East London. We weren't naive enough to think Brockley would be a goer, but Dulwich? Greenwich? Blackheath? Deptford?

"Nope. No-one will come to South East London. I could open a place in the grottiest part of Hackney or Tower Hamlets and have a chance of building a successful business. But the art-buying community won't go east of Bermondsey, south of the river. It's too cut off."

For the art world, you could substitute pretty much any other sector or industry. The nature of Brockley Central's job means that we work with virtually every type of organisation you could think of. Big companies, small ones, charities, government departments, quangoes, consultancies. Last week our diary took us to a design company in Camden, a hotel in Mayfair, a client in Chiswick and a media briefing in Kings Cross. In three and a half years of doing this job we have never been anywhere further south east than "More London Bridge" for work.

A city is the sum of its connections - the daily interactions of millions of people. Those interactions are the reason that businesses and communities cluster in certain locations. In our view, the low level of economic activity in South East London is in direct proportion to its limited connections. In part one, we wrote about the East London's economic ascendancy. But without better links, jobs and investment will remain north of the river.

The reopened East London Line and the DLR tunnel at Woolwich will undoubtedly help matters, but there are four other river crossings that are currently on the table: a pedestrian and cycle bridge to Canary Wharf from Rotherhithe, a crossing to Silvertown at Blackwall, the Thames Gateway bridge and a cable car at the Dome. All are needed. Except the cable car, but that would just be cool.

Traffic management experts make the point that if you build new capacity, it just fills up, creating more traffic. That's a key part of the argument against letting the needs of cars shape our city and one that we generally endorse. But South East London needs more cross-river journeys. It needs more business people jumping in taxis to get across the Thames. It needs more tourists strolling or catching a bus across the river from the north bank. It needs to be part of the same city as north east London. The fact that one of the key crossings is a ferry only strengthens the feeling that the two places are foreign countries to one another.

Our Green councillors oppose the Gateway Bridge but we think they're wrong. They wouldn't knock down any of the 31 London bridges west of Tower Bridge, so why do they think that one in Dartford is enough on the east side?

A few days ago, Mayor Boris announced that 50 infrastructure projects would be central to London's economic recovery plan. The details of the plan are due to be published before Christmas. He's already effectively mothballed the cross-river tram scheme that would have served Southwark but we hope that, when the list is unveiled, it includes a few more threads to stitch north and south together.

It's time to build bridges with our friends in the north.


The Cat Man said...

Interesting Article.

Not sure exactly what job you do Nick, but economically speaking there is generally 'areas' which specialise in certain industries.

I.e. Charing cross road used to be full of bookshops, tottenham court road for electrical goods and oxford street for clothes shopping.

traditionally in the city, it is obvious from the street names what industries dominated each road or street.

All areas are constantly changing - that is the dynamics of living in London so maybe that isn't particularly clear at the moment - but maybe what the South East of London lacks is any sort of 'hub' of 'industry activity.

Critical Mass I think they call it. Think of the Westfield shopping centre or insurance dominating the city of london.

fabhat said...

I'm like you Nick - travelling all over London, and beyond for meetings and in a year and a half I can count on one hand the ones that have been further South east than Bermondsey:

1: a design studio in Peckham rye

errr, that's it. I am trying to get an app with another company in Greenwich, so that will be two.

Mind you, if people want to come to me, I generally prefer to meet them in London Bridge, so perhaps I'm discouraging them for discovering the joys of Brockers.

lb said...

Beyond the area around Borough High Street, South London doesn't have the office space, that's the problem. Its infrastructure is a very different beast to the North.

fred vest said...

that's what makes it such a great place to live

fabhat said...

LB Your right, but it's also that any potential office space (seager buildings and mumford mills both moments from the dlr and various train stations) have been turned into housing. I went to Kensington Village yesterday which is a huge warehouse complex off talgarth rd at the end of a totally residential area. Instead of becoming luxury flats, it's a hub of creative businesses which (must) buoy up the local economy as well as providing some local job opportunities.

Brockley Nick said...

@lb - yes, but it's a bit of a vicious circle isn't it. No-one's going to build speculative office space if links are bad. Greenwich Peninsula is the one exception to the rule, where they are at last starting to build some office space, but that followed the Jubilee extension.

@Fred - I agree up to a point. I love South East London and I wouldn't want it to become like any other part of London. But as people like LB have argued persuasively in the past, the "dormitory borough" model is flawed. Without local jobs, it's very hard for local retail and leisure businesses to flourish - they don't have any customers during the day. It also makes it harder for older people and those on low incomes, for whom commuting in to London is difficult and / or prohibitively expensive.

Brockley Nick said...

Sorry, Greenwich peninsula is not the one exception to the rule, it's the one exception to the lack of large scale office development in SEL.

fred vest said...

nick i agree to an extent as well, however the increase in the costs of living (plus the various other kinds of non monetary dislocation) that would be brought about by any kind of radical transformation of the area would hit those older people and those on low incomes the hardest, with the potential knock on consequence of forcing them to live even further away and be left sadled with the expensive/difficult commute that you referred to as something which could be solved as a result of this

Brockley Nick said...

Fair point - I don't have in mind a radical transformation of SEL, just enough major employers locally - enough to encourage more SMEs to the area. All of this is very long-term stuff in any case - new links would take 5-10 years, office developments probably 5 more years.

patrick1971 said...

I agree up to a point with the article, but I think there is also an element of "build it and they will come" that needs to be discussed. As others have said, SE London is very residential and doesn't have much office space. But that's pretty much true for much of north London as well; how many times have you been to meetings in Finchley or Walthamstow or Queensbury?

I think the "build it and they will come" argument is especially strong in the case of the arty types - I would say the person in the article is being a little defeatist. Fifteen years ago there was no art scene in Shoreditch. White Cube and various others opened there with a good enough drawcard, and people travelled to it. Ditto Tate Modern. Even Saatchi can be bothered to come to New Cross to source new art!

There are some areas of suburban London where there is a large amount of office space (Ealing, Chiswick) but generally I don't think it's a north/south problem as much as an inner/outer issue. Camden/Shoreditch are to the north what London Bridge/E&C/Vauxhall are to the south.

Anonymous said...

I went to Walthamstowe to put some cash on the dogs once.

Anonymous said...

Also Croydon - a city in itself. But who in their right mind would want to work or have a meeting there?

Monkeyboy said...

Gosh this thread is remarkably civil. The one thing that this part of London has is Goldsmith's, I really think that Lewisham is missing a trick in not encouraging more ex grads to stick around and work here. Some might not see these as real jobs but I'm sure lots of small bussinesses will welcome their clients money.

Brockley Nick said...

Patrick, it's a north-east / south-east problem.

To the north east in zone two you have city fringe developments, Hackney and Canary Wharf and related developments.

On the opposite side, you have Bermondsey, Surrey Quays, New Cross, Deptford, etc

Walthamstow is in zone 3, Queensbury and Finchley zone 4. Walthamstow is going to be pretty close to the massive office development at Stratford, not to mention the wider Olympic development...

The Cat Man said...

We need an industry hub - think of a brand and stick to it.

I don't really want any large businesses here to be honest, I quite like it the way it is.

And there is no direct link from large companies encouraging smaller SME's to the area, in fact, the opposite could easily happen.

osh said...

No link Cat Man? I won't spoil the civilised tone of this thread, but that's obviously not true. Firstly, there are lots of suppliers that cluster around bigger companies - not just in manufacturing but in lots of other sectors - from financial services to media and entertainment to technology.

Then there are the services for workers. Cafes, restaurants, shops, pubs, etc

Tressillian James said...

Canary Wharf was a case of build it and they will come. There are now plans to extend Canry Wharf - and also plans to develop offices around the Dome.

This is all great - and I see the potential of being opposite the Isle of Dogs to create similar (albeit) low level offices along the Thames on the South East side.

The question is how to link the two? - even the Dome office project looks dodgy when you think that traffic will have to go through the Blackwall Tunnel to get there. Another link across the Thames down in the South East would alleviate the pressure at the Blackwall Tunnel - making a connection from North Greenwich or Deptford into Canary Wharf and City Airport realtively quick.

Headhunter said...

I can't understand the reluctance to consider SEL as a location for a gallery, I thought Peckham and possibly New Cross were the new cutting edge art spots? I suppose certain areas of NE London benefit from proximity to places like Shoreditch, but once they re-open the ELL, we'll have a direct link there too.

One problem may be that art in SEL does not get much exposure in the press across London and is not often organised or co ordinated. In Brockley we have Open Studios, but I don't think it's publicised much outside the local area.

When I lived in Islington, local artists from Islington across Hackney out to Broadway Market clubbed together to publicise themselves in December for Christmas shopping. They put out flyers highlighting their locations and suggesting pleasant walks passing by their studios.

Artists across SEL don't seem to do this sort of thing. Most of the atist studios I visited in these events were basically people's flats, garages, sheds etc, just like Open Studios, rather than converted warehouse style "spaces"

Hugh said...

Poor areas serve a purpose and tend to stay poor unless the Gherkin is built next door. I've made this point before. It's not a question of mentioning the unmentionable, just recognising that a high level of welfare staters and low-income residents keeps it real and unchanging.

Anonymous said...

They should bally well get jobs.

Brockley Nick said...

Notting Hill, Islington, Hackney and indeed Brockley and almost all areas of London have rich and poor people living side by side in slightly greater or lesser concentrations. I don't really understand your point Hugh?

The article wasn't arguing that we could or should radically re-write the wealth map of London, only that we can encourage economic growth and opportunity in South East London by building new infrastructure. Not only that, but it can be a shag trying to get from north to south - it's a quality of life issue as much as an economic one. Brockley is relatively lucky being so close to the Rotherhithe , tunnel and the DLR and benefiting from the East London Line crossing in about 18 months. But go a bit further east and you are completely cut off.

There are Amazonian villages that feel less remote than Thamesmead.

Richard Elliot said...

I'm all for the Canary Wharf to Rotherhith cycle / foot bridge!

Anonymous said...

damn the north london snobs, they think they is it, sum aint neva crossed the river, big up 2 sarf london innit
- downunder brockley society

lb said...

The problem with the model that Patrick suggests of trying to attract 'creative' industries is that it's incredibly difficult to legislate for. The areas in London that have become 'regenerated' through this route - Hoxton, Shoreditch (shudder), Bethnal Green, parts of Hackney and Whitechapel even - all went this way not because the local authorities started encouraging galleries to open, but by being a) dirt-cheap, and therefore affordable to non-commercial, 'edgy' artists, and to students, and b) pretty central - close to the City, and therefore close to the money and the people who really earn it (the same pattern's been seen in parts of New York). South London mostly lacks that particular combination of extreme cheapness and an inner-city location. I mean, the areas I mentioned aren't cheap now, but they were once, and that was what provided the kick.

All in all, I wouldn't hope for too much salvation from the art world. I think that trying to entice small professional businesses down here would work best, but for that the local authority needs to stop thinking of the borough as a dormitory, as Nick said.

Anonymous said...

Effing easy... two.

fred vest said...

who else other than a tiny slither of frankly ridicolous looking, agonisingly cool narcisstic vacant ultra individualist arseholes and their sycophant lackys, would seriously want any part of lewisham to end up like hoxton, shoreditch or even brixton - they are a parasite on any community they attach themselves to bringing with them an associated increase in drugs and drug related crime that further rip apart any semblence of community that hasn't previously been blown away

Headhunter said...

What a load of poppycock. I love 'em in their skinny jeans, dodgy make up and louche attitudes. Better than boring office workers moving in in droves. Bring 'em on. Let's have more pubs like the Amersham Arms!

fred vest said...

and the more substantive (and less subjective) part of my post which raised the problems of the increase in drug activity & drug related crime doesn't concern you? or i suppose that's all part of the buzz of living in an 'edgy' area, of course as long as all that side of things doesn't actually come too close and it can be admired/observed from a safe distance as its effects are played out on others less able to insulate themselves from the consequences of it

still as long as the blow in's with the money are being entertained by it all, that's what it's all about. isn't it. sod the actual community.

Anonymous said...

Refering to Cat Mans original post:

"maybe what the South East of London lacks is any sort of 'hub' of 'industry activity. "

Actually, Deptford was designated a Creative Hub by the LDA years ago, so you are mistaken there.

Tressillian James said...

Lb is right - but I'm afraid as LB points out, the local councils are not interested in attracting or keeping local businesses.

My brother runs a successful medium business that employs 50+ people in Greenwich. His premises are in North Greenwich up along the Thames. This used to be a stretch of local light industry and businesses - but a few years ago no leases were renewed as the land has been sold for development for homes. That development is now in full swing.

Where there used to be perhaps, 500+ local jobs, often for unskilled workers or craftsmen, there are now none.

My brother has had to move his business, at considerable cost, along the Thames to Plumstead. Most of his local workers don't want to follow - as part of their criteria for work is to be in walking distance or short bus ride from home.

So in summary - I think LB is spot-on. We can hope for business creation but don't expect our local councils to agree - who see greater income in council tax revenues and associated spend from blocks of apartments

lb said...

Vest's right again, these people are parasites for the most part. They bring very little to any area, other than a greater degree of prominence in Time Out.

Most of the Amersham Arms' patrons are students and, I guess, harmless enough in their way, but the assortment of cheap drug-peddlers and other bozos who associate with student comnmunities aren't something you really want to be bringing into an area.

Skinny jeans went 'out' about five months ago, incidentally, so expect a crash in skinny-jean stocks any time soon.

Headhunter said...

Well drug culture would concern me, but I hardly think that if the "arty students" moved out we would suddenly have zero drug crime. I'm afraid SEL has long been a bastion of drugs and will always remain so, whether or not a few student arrive and depart smoking a bit of weed.

And I'm not exactly a "blow in with money" either. I've lived in SEL (with a gap in the middle in Islington for a coule of years) since 1999. I've seen things come and go and consider myself part of the "actual community".

Brockley Nick said...

That's a gross generalisation. Who are you actually talking about? All students? All designers? All people who wear a certain type of clothes. If the Daily Mail was trying to make similar claims about any other social group, you'd be rightly outraged.

Spare us the Nathan Barley-esque stereotypes please.

Baggy trousers said...

Hey Fred, generalise much? Lewisham is of course completely drug free at the moment, right?
Nice 'edgy' name you have there by the way...

Headhunter said...

I agree Nick, LB and Fred are doing their bit for the Daily Mail/Evening Standard! Of course, all students and artists are drug addicts and need a constant stream of drug peddlars to keep them going. Isn't that right Max? You must know about that - you're an artist!

jon s said...

What this post shows is that it is more than build it and they will come. It is about a "penetration strategy" that creates a critical mass. Off the top of my head, A simple model that would work is:

1. Buying a single light industry building near the station and turning it into "serviced offices" and leasing the offices to the correct new businesses for little rent and a share of their profits.

2. As above but use it as a micro westfield with creative types on 5 year leases, target graduates from the art colleges.

3. As well as 1 or 2, rent a couple of restaurants/bars and do them up to appeal to the customers and workers in the offices or creative village.

It's not a daft as it sounds, as you buy the building and lease for 15 years for a fixed price to a separate company which subleases each serviced office. As you have a fixed tennant you can then get better finance for the building and the buildings value increases as the quality of tennants do. Once established, sell the freehold to a pension fund for a large profit.

lb said...

I said it myself: "associate with student communities". Trust me, I have rather more experience of this than most people.

If you want to check the figures, you'll find that most studies suggest that drug use is rather higher amongst students than in the general population or amongst 16-24 year olds in general. I'm not going to comment on the morality of this - indeed I have no opinion on it - but I think it's also a reasonable observation that the presence of students also results in the presence of a certain amout of people who view them as a ready market for drugs. Nothing Daily Mail about that, I assure you.

lb said...

The first paragraph was a response to the "who [am I] actually talking about" question.

max said...

No this has got nothing to do with the Daily Mail.

The solution to the problem of drug abuse in Lewisham? Easy, shut down Goldsmith!
And what about musicians? They too notoriously do drugs. Get them all and drive them out of town!
And dancers? What about dancers? I mean you know what they're up to.
The Laban centre is riddled with sodomy!
All out! Together with the funnymen like that Jonathan Ross.
As Richard Littlejohn rightly says, we don't have to put up with this anymore.

lb said...

Sheesh, all I was doing was making the not-exactly-controversial point that dealers tend to hang around places frequented by students. There's an obvious downside to 'edginess'.

Anonymous said...

Lb - I understand the point you were trying to make, but when you say stuff like

"these people are parasites for the most part. They bring very little to any area, other than a greater degree of prominence in Time Out."

You deserve to be picked up on it. It was fred who was the worst offender.

Anonymous said...

My room was a constant haze of green smoke during uni and it never did me any harm.

lb said...

Anon - what, and dealers aren't parasites? Fred's comment was about "drug activity and drug related crime". Sorry, not sure what you think, but in my opinion people making money off this are pretty much parasitic.

Anonymous said...

"they are a parasite on any community they attach themselves to bringing with them an associated increase in drugs and drug related crime that further rip apart any semblence of community that hasn't previously been blown away"

Who are 'they' exactly? Artists? Musicians? Students? Or just people who dress differently from you?
Drug addicts - the lot of 'em!
I'll be sure to pass on you comments to anyone I know who is thinking of relocating to Brockley - I'm sure they'll be heartened by your welcoming sense of 'community'.
Everyone's welcome - as long as they are the 'right' kind of people eh?
Sounds like you're the vacant arsehole...

Anonymous said...

You didn't make clear who "these people" were - you were agreeing with fred, whose rant encompassed seemingly everyone who works with an apple mac or anyone white who has the nerve to live in Brixton.

Yes students take more drugs than average. If that's your point, you should make it more clearly.

So do teenagers - shall we slag off families too?

max said...

Since you mention it there often are edgy guys having a spliff at the bus stop in Catford. They probably take the 136 to go Goldsmiths to service the student forces.
They too are unaware victims of higher education. Sadly they don't enter the statistics of Fred Vest and LB. Not trendy enough.

fred vest said...

@ baggy trosuers

"Hey Fred, generalise much? Lewisham is of course completely drug free at the moment, right?"

where did i say it was?

clearly you can't see the difference between not wanting an existintg problem to be made even worse/added to and claiming there isn't an existing problem

it's like saying that there would be no harm in lowering the age of consent to 12 because paedos exist anyway or no harm in making murder legal as sometimes people murder other people anyway, no harm in making an already congested road near a new development even more congested because it's already congested

nice line of thinking their baggy trousers

lb said...

[Anon] Actually Fred himself stated he was talking about a "tiny slither" of people. That seems to me to imply a fairly limited number. I'm not sure whether or not that encompasses anyone who works with an Apple Mac, though it clearly does in your head.

Max, did I at any point state that getting rid of students would also get rid of the drug problem in Lewisham? Frankly that's so idiotic I'd have to have to have ingested a ton of ketamine myself in order to write it. My argument, as I suspect you actually realise (being someone sensitive enough to appreciate Rollins and Coltrane, looking at your profile) is that every silver lining has an attendant cloud. Yeah, lots of student barsd can be great fun, I'm sure. They also tend to attract dealers like flies to shite. You do realise this?

lb said...

NB. that's "bars", not "barsd".

jon s said...

The local drug dealers up the food chain are brilliant businessmen who achieved in the school of hard knocks. Far from being parasites they are the key, get them to run successful legal businesses, look at Jay-Z and Marlo.

lb said...

Incidentally, jon s, your point 1. above is exactly what the Council should be thinking in terms of doing.

fred vest said...

"The local drug dealers up the food chain are brilliant businessmen who achieved in the school of hard knocks. Far from being parasites"

blimey so crime bosses who flood our communities with class A drugs aren't parasites? they aren't profiting on the misery of others?

you've clearly managed to watch all 5 seasons of the wire and still not actually make that connection

Anonymous said...

No LB, Fred said only a tiny slither [sic] would want Brockley to become like Hoxton, etc.

He then went on about how everyone in those places was nothing more than a parasite with a wedge haircut.

Fred Vest said...

everyone here (apart from the ever sensible lb) seems to be following the line that just because a problem already existed there would be no harm in adding to it

fair enough if you all want parasitic drug activity & related crime on your doorsteps then knock yourself out on it, just don't complain when it occasionally bites you on your arse

and to clarify to the terminally stupid this doesn't mean that i think things are perfect at the moment, far from it - the direction to be taken from here is our point of departure

max said...

Has anybody mentioned culture in this thread?

Baggy trousers said...

@Fred. Your original point singled out "frankly ridicolous (sic) looking, agonisingly cool narcisstic (sic) vacant ultra individualist arseholes and their sycophant lackys (sic)" for being parasites and increasing drug crime in an area - not drug dealers. That's the bigotry I take issue with. Nice attempt at moving the goalposts though.

fred vest said...

i notice you missed of what i prefixed it with, i.e. 'a tiny slither of...'

nice distortion there

(and you know what they say about those who are reduced to pointing out spelling mistakes of their adversaries)

Headhunter said...

If, as you say, Fred, that only a "tiny slither" (I assume you mean sliver?) of artists/students (oe whoever it is you insinuate is the source of drug crime across the borough) are taking drugs, then surely they're only responsible for a tiny "slither"/sliver of drug dealers in the area?

Basic economics dictates demand and supply need to balance, why would there suddenly be a rush of drug dealers and drug related crime following the addition of a few students and artists to the area? Defintely still reeks of the Daily Mail I'm afraid....

fred vest said...

and like my reply to headhunter i admitted that the subsequent point i made about the drug related crime that goes with it was the more substantive and less subjective part

again you focus on what you feel comfortable on responding to and don't worry about the massive elephant sitting next to you

max said...

Fred, it's not the spelling the problem, it's that you've singled out students, you don't like them because they're trendy (God forbid you did it because they're young) and you accused them of being a magnet for drug dealers. That's nonsense of colossal proportions.

Brockley Nick said...

OK - so we can agree that drug dealing is in general a bad thing for the fabric of the community and we should be considerate of that issue in wider discussions.

We can also agree that people who wear skinny jeans are not all bad people and that Fred's criticisms of them were purely subjective opinion, which LB was not actually agreeing with.

fred vest said...

"then surely they're only responsible for a tiny "slither"/sliver of drug dealers in the area?"

when a butterfly flaps it's wings

your point is a poor one though as you assume proportionality, lb's already pointed out the stats so you can't assume a symetrical type relation - and to be fair i've never mentioned anything about students at all, my point was an observation about what's happened in places like hoxton/shoreditch/brixton where a minority of the population there probably accounts for a huge percentage of the actual drug trade, but that's fine though and anyone who doesn't want all that crap on their doorstep is 'daily mail' - nice two dimensional approach to problems being shown by most here

osh said...

Fred - you think it's students and designers who are responsible for most of the drug trade in Brixton, hoxton and shoreditch?

Evidence please.

fred vest said...

@ max

"Fred, it's not the spelling the problem, it's that you've singled out students"

max can you point to where i singled out students and attributed all these problems to them?

use the search festure on your browser to make it easier for you

fred vest said...

"Fred - you think it's students and designers who are responsible for most of the drug trade in Brixton, hoxton and shoreditch?"

point me to where i said that?

the transormation of these areas has brought with it a very unfortunate side effect (one of many in my opinion) of increased drug activity and drug related crime, all i'm doing is pointing out this fact and saying i would not wish it to happen in lewisham - that apparently makes me slightly to the right of hitler amongst some bleeding heart liberals on here

The Cat Man said...

And what is wrong with the Daily Mail?

Why are people so against it, does everyone in lewisham wear knitted cardigans, drink organic fair trade mung bean tea and read the guardian?

How about getting some grip of 'balance' on the issues. Honestly, out of all the areas I have lived in, this is a really particular unusually out-of-kilt area.

Maybe its the water

Baggy trousers said...

I don't actually. Perhaps you could enlighten all the 'terminally stupid' on this board in your usual condescending manner?

And why does it matter exactly how many 'frankly ridiculous looking...etc" people you are besmirching? You are still accusing them of being parasites and attracting drug crime because you don't like the way they look/act.
That's bigotry, pure and simple.

lb said...

I'm going to separate my argument from Vest's at this point, so anyone feeling that students are unfairly maligned can direct their comments to me - it was me who mentioned students, specifically.

Anyone arguing that student gathering places do not attract drug dealers has either never been to a student party, never been a student, never spoken to student welfare organisations, or never spoken to people responsible for attempting to keep drugs out of venues frequented by students. Or, for that matter, never heard a dealer's opinion on the subject. Students are a ready, easily-targeted market; they have some disposable income. It is a problem, one that university authorities have had to acknowledge.

osh said...

Fred, I honestly don't want to wind you up but I think the problem is you expressed yourself very badly on this issue.

You started off with loads of insulting generalisations and the points you were actually trying to make were really hard to follow.

Nick's tried to clear it up - no one is disagreeing with you that drug dealing is a bad thing. No one's disagreeing that drug use is probably a bit higher among students than among some other groups (but there are plenty of other minority groups about who you might say the same thing) and that drug dealers follow users.

If you were a bit less angry all the time, you might be more intelligible.

lb said...

Cat Man: There's nothing wrong with the Mail; it's remarkably soft, absorbent, and doesn't clog up the u-bend too badly.

max said...

lb, it's young people, not students that experiment with drugs.
Only that at a students' party you're unlikely to meet apprentice plumbers on crack.

Anonymous said...

The Mail has a particularly noticeable bias in its reporting that even right-wingers pick up on : opinion and outrage first, story and facts later on page 34.

I'm sure even the Cat's had his fair share of poppers.

fred vest said...

i agree with you also LB, although even though i was careful not to mention students (as i don't think students are a homogenous lump all doing the same things) it seems that was not enough to escape the wrath of the precious liberals here

as for the rest of you, you have your view on things and i have mine, most of you have missed the point by a country mile and that's possibly because i linked a subjective commment with an objective one and there's either an inability to, or no desire to, separate the points out and deal with them one by one (as nick actually did ealier)

so we'll agree to disagree and i'll leave it at that and for anyone who finds it hard to follow my argument should listen to LB who seems to have no problem identifying what the key issue is here

(and apologies for the spelling mistakes, mild dyslexia is the main reason for that, but those who want to score cheap points on it go knock yourself our on it)

jon s said...

Fred, if you offered some evidence instead of insults........

1. Is drug dealing bad? yup.
2. Is drug dealing linked to local, national and organised crime? yup.
3. Do students (and the upper middle classes) take above average ammounts of drugs? yup.

Is the solution to label them "parasites" like the Daily Mail? No.

They exist because of demand, and attract talented individuals from the underclass due to lack of other opportunites. Take out the "parasites" and new ones will emerge unless you attack the root cause.

The Cat Man said...

Ok, has anyone taken drugs?

I have never done anything outside of class c, and I will not confirm if I have done anything in class C. :o)

max said...

I have a daily intake of caffeine that is so high that I'm amazed it's legal.
Off shopping now. I'm going to buy artistic tools in trendy Angel.

fred vest said...

yes copious amounts when i was younger and as a result got involved in types of activity (both on the demand and supply side) that i see now as being thoroughly detrimental to, and parasitic on, the local community - the amount of crime that is linked to drugs in one way or another is astonishing and whether it's achingly cool students, coked up middle class dinner party attendees, heroin junkeys in squats or whatever, it all feeds in to the continuation of the ills that stem from it

(alcohol is off course similar in regard to this the difference in my mind between the two is that alcohol is well and truly already out the bag and can't be contained, drugs havn't quite reached that point but are clearly going in that direction, so i have no desire to see things made even worse by the onward march of the acceptability of the whole thing - i.e. the glamorisation of drugs in the media/by celebrities etc..

if that makes me daily mail on this issue then i'm daily mail on this issue

Anonymous said...

Classes A-Z, never had any worries. But know plenty who do.

Anon with an opinion said...

Sorry I don't want a bunch of Amy Winehouse and Pete Doherty's round here. These people may see cool but they are so self absorbed. They will add very little to the area.

I live and chose to live in South East London because I specifically wanted out of that pretention. I like people that talk with genuine accents.

I like people that get things done, that are socially conscious, that like to have good time. We have that here. It's just going to take time to get things organised.

Anonymous said...

back to the original topic...

hopefully if locals support the art/cultural developments that there are (e.g. the new tealeaf arts gallery) then the scene will develop

also there are attempts to provide more space for local small businesses - there is a planning application in at the moment for the site by the brockley cross business centre which proposes space for quite a few small businesses (as well as some housing development)

Baggy trousers said...

Hahaha - talking of scoring cheap points: "I'm dyslexic"!
What's your excuse for the bile you spout - mild ignorance?

patrick1971 said...

The whole drug/student issue aside, I have a real problem with this concept of a "real accent" or the "real community". How is an RP accent less "real" than a Cockney one? Equally, why is someone who's lived in Brockley for four months less a part of the community than someone who's lived there for forty years?

Both statements are the worst type of inverted snobbery.

Anonymous said...

Do you really want mockneys running around the place?

fred vest said...

@ baggy trousers/shaky argument

^^ an example of the englightened values that one would never be able to find in the daily mail - 'up the liberals'

(nice avoidance of the substantive points once again though baggy trousers/shaky argument)

anyway, i've no desire to derail this further so go off and boast to your mates that you pulled someone up for a spelling mistake today, hotshot.

fred vest said...

"I have a real problem with this concept of a "real accent"

i agree with you as to the point you are making, however i thouhgt the point that was being made was about people who put on fake accents or accentuate elements of the way they speak that isn't really their accent at all - you hear it a lot in cool bars and student unions and the like

Anonymous said...

Fred Vest, I recall that you had the hide to call someone else up on their sentence structure once. No one likes hypocrites dude.

fred vest said...

did i really, well blow me

i may well have done but i agree it's a lousy retort and usually shows you've lost the argument (which i may well have done)

Anonymous said...

Fred - when you were doing your coke and pills, should we have rounded up a mob to drive you out of town?

And does a man who affects to name himself after a serial killer and strive to be a self-righteous class warrior really have any right to criticise others for their affectations?

Baggy trousers said...

@Fred Vest
How is my argument 'shaky' exactly?
You accused a percentage of people you don't like the look of of being parasitic and attracting criminal behaviour - I called you a bigot.
Seems solid enough to me.

Must go - got to score...

Anonymous said...

South East London? Not Pretentious? Have you SEEN the coffee shops and delis?

fred vest said...

"Fred - when you were doing your coke and pills, should we have rounded up a mob to drive you out of town?"

i don't see why the majority of a community should be made to suffer as a result of the actions of a minority so yes what you suggest, while being at the extreme end of measures that could be attempted by the local community to try and rebalance the situation is something that i would not rule out if certain elements were making life unbearable for the magority of people living within it

however i would add that you should not look to members of this site to form such a vigalante group, most seem more keen on inviting such elements in and some (jon s) even want them running their communities.

as to the collection of letters that my posts go under, you're right that typing a certain permuation of letters into a computer is just as bad, if not worse, than the real damage that is being done to communities up & down the country by the drug trade and it's associated crime, so yep, you've got me bang to rights on that one - you're a clever boy/girl aren't you

fred vest said...

@ shakin stevins

i accused people who are parasites and people who attract drug activity/drug related crime to the area of being parasites and attracting drug activity/drug related crime to the area

you imputed the rest

we may well disagree on which elements contribute the most to this, but whoever they are they are the ones whom i direct my indignation towards and if they happen to be skinny jean wearing cool students or middle aged middle class dinner party coke snorters, or schemie jakies living in squats, then it makes no difference to me, they are the people who are part of the problem , not part of the solution as some on here seem to be suggesting

Monkeyboy said...

Christ you're REALLY angry. Have you ever seen Taxi Driver??

"All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets." (Travis Bickle)

Actually, that could almost be a Daily Mail editorial.

Or perhaps we should spray some yellow "no skinny jeans" signs on the pavements?

Baggy trousers said...


"Shakin Stevens'!! I see what you did there. Brilliant!

I still don't understand why you consider all trendies/arty types from Hoxton/Shoreditch etc parasites and druggies but I'm sure you have your warped little reasons so I'm happy to let you fume away in your world of bigotry and hatred.
Have fun!

lb said...

I can't help wondering where all these anti-generalisation crusaders when people were making generalisations about "chavs", eh?

Actually, that's a purely rhetorical question.

fred vest said...

@ monkeyboy

i guess our own lived experiences of certain things shape our outlook on them

i see though you've clearly picked up on the point that i was at pains to make that i think that skinny jeans and the people who inhabit them are at the source of all the problems in the world today, well done on that one a lesser man than you might have missed it

Anonymous said...

Misfiring rhetoric. There are plenty of people on this blog who complain about lazy generalisations about minority groups. Including you.

Inverted snobbery's fine by you is it?

lb said...

Why, exactly?

It's my opinion that turning somewhere into Hoxton, or Shoreditch, brings its own new problems, whatever the problems that existed before. Do tell me where I made a lazy generalisation about anyone, unless you feel it's lazy to class dealers as parasitical, or that it's lazy to state the students (who surveys have shown tend to use drugs more thaan the average population) tend to use drugs more than the average population.

lb said...

"The students" = "that students", incidentally.

Anonymous said...

Lb - you keep on defending yourself, when people are actually arguing with Fred.

fred vest said...

"I can't help wondering where all these anti-generalisation crusaders when people were making generalisations about "chavs", eh?"

or patrons of sauted poultry trattoria's and turf accountants

i also like the way i was jumped upon for making generalisations about students when i had never even mentioned them as a group, let alone made any generalisations about them

someone less cyncical than myself might ponder as to whether the connection was made by the people doing the accusing's own minds between students and the parasites I was talking about - what a delicious irony that would be if it were true

lb said...

Someone said "misfiring rhetoric", which I assumed was in response to my "rhetorical question". Is anyone actually arguing with me? God knows, feels like they are.

osh said...

LB - stop changing the subject. Do you think Fred's characterisation of hoxtonites and the like was fair?

If not, then stop having a go at people who are challenging him on it.

You often make good points, but you are a bloody-minded pedant who rivals the Cat Man for being able to tie simple arguments in knots.

fred vest said...

"Lb - you keep on defending yourself, when people are actually arguing with Fred."

well they are arguing against me (for some unknown reason) about something LB said, not me, so maybe that's got something to do with it

lb said...

Well, I took Fred's comment to refer to a section of people who are hangers-on of the bar / club culture of Hoxditch and support themselves by dealing drugs, dabbling on their fringes, are in some way involved with the distribution of drugs, or connive at the dealing of them for some related benefit: and yeah, I agree with that, entirely. What did you think it said, Osh? "All graphic designers take drugs", or something?

osh said...

LB - that's not what he meant and everyone else could see that he was making a much more sweeping statement about the whole Hoxton culture, which was a wallyish charicature.

It's cos you enjoy a good scrap and work with students that you decided to ignore his wider point and focus on drug dealers who hang around students, which was nothing to do with his original point, which is what everyone was arguing with.

For the record, I'm a PC, not a Mac.

Anon with an opinion said...

Oh please, give me a break about generalisations and whining about inverted snobbery.

We are ALL snobs. There's some types of people we don't get on with and rather not spend time with and people with that 'Shoreditch tw*t' attitude are amongst my personal bugbears. I have a full right to express that. I am tribist!

lb said...

Actually, I first got on to the subject of students because someone mentioned the Amersham Arms. Which I characterised as a student pub, making the connection that, yeah, students also attract dealers. Which they do, but i'm not going to labour the point any more.

Anonymous said...

Anon with an opinion - well I don't like saddos who are so simple-minded and ignorant as to think that everyone who works in places Hoxton is an Amy Winehouse wannabe.

How's that for a tribal opinion?

Anon with an opinion said...

You sound really intelligent and brave too.

fred vest said...

"that's not what he meant"

i hope i'm not the only person to enjoy the irony of being finger wagged at for misrepresenting people by people who at the same time tell me & others what i actually think/meant

"you decided to ignore his wider point and focus on drug dealers "

my wider point was the drug problem you muppet, and that drug problem includes all elements of it (demand and supply). and if you've read anything i've written in any of the posts above you would see that's the main point i'm making

The Cat Man said...

Theres nothing wrong with being pedantic, I see it like a hobby.

Anonymous said...

Tamsin said...

To drag this back on topic - what's happening, o ward councillors, with that very promising mixed-use development between Drakefell Road and the railway line? Things seem very quiet.
And what can be positively done by the Council to encourage local industry. It's a crying shame that the biggest employer in the borough is the Council itself, but positive incentives for small business would help.

lb said...

As I think I said earlier, Jon S has already described such an initiative which would be easy to implement further up this thread. I've no idea why the Council wouldn't want to try and encourage this type of development, but I strongly suspect that they really see development solely in terms of housing and possibly retail (in Lewisham itself). Admittedly, this isn't a great time to encourage small businesses to move anywhere, but why not in a few years?

Brockley Nick said...

Tamsin, I've got a semi-update about that development, which I will try and post soon.

Anonymous said...

The main local industry seems to be breakers yards, take the train and admirer the view.

These and other local industries are being 'moved on' by developments, for example 2 breakers yards and an entire industrial estate from the centre of Lewisham.

As for office space,despite a member of Citibank being on the regeneration board for Lewisham Gateway their tower block is currently empty and likely only to be used in an emergency.

How is that a sign of a thriving town, a place to hold meeting?

Over the past few weeks Lewisham has been mentioned almost on a daily basis by comedians/panelists on various national TV and radio programmes.

The majority of the comments are affectionate. For whatever reason the area represents something to those people.

One impression I get is 'we don't like strangers in these parts with their fancy north london ways.'

What assets does the area have? Is there a 'gap' in the market that Lewisham could fill?

I'd say Goldsmiths, Laban, the Conservetoire, Lewisham College, wide tree lined roads, buildings in Deptford are all plus points.

Apart from the fireworks display, which is Blackheath rather than Lewisham, is there an event Lewisham could hold that could have London or national importance?

How about turning Lewisham Market on Sunday's into a specialist market than attracts interest from far and wide.

Off the top of my head a book market.

To me New Cross and Lewisham Way are a lost opportunity, that bloody sea container sums up what's wrong.

Anonymous said...

On a daily basis you can see the mindset of the council with regard to attracting trade and people to our fair borough.

What official thinks it's attractive to plonk a bleedin' great big smelly waste crushing unit by the main entrance to the towns shopping centre!

It's right by children's roundabout and in view of those eating at the fish restraunt.

How many years has it taken the council not to move it to a more appropriate location or disguise in some way.

The Cat Man said...

A book market - great idea! I'm not aware of anything similar in London other than the smallish one that was on the southbank.

I think it would be good, where could it be held? Hillyfields is too far away from the train station to get a crticial mass of people. The logical area would be coulgate street and on the soon-to-be-built brockley common.

Does anyone know what is happening to the brockley common by the way? estimated start dates etc??

patrick1971 said...

Re the Citibank Tower in Lewisham: a friend of mine who used to work at Citibank told me that it's full of asbestos, and thus is actually cheaper for Citibank to keep it empty than to pull it down or refurbish it. Those newer buildings opposite the shopping centre on Molesworth Street are also Citibank, but they're in active use.

Anonymous said...

Asbestos or not having a 17 storey empty 'landmark' building in the middle isn't exactly a good advert.

Lewisham --- that bloody round-about, Europe's largest police station, 17 storey's of unused office space, oh and no cinema.

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