Brockley: A conspiracy of silence

The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
- The Usual Suspects

We have a friend staying with us at BCHQ, who opted to take the bus to Lewisham the other morning. Getting there was a simple matter of pointing her in the right direction on Lewisham Way and telling her to hail a bus. But getting back, she got a bit confused about which bus to take and which direction to head - no doubt, her head was still spinning from opening the box of delights that is Lewisham Shopping Centre.

She asked 6 different groups of people walking through the town centre how to get to Brockley. On a weekday morning in Lewisham, it's unlikely that any were tourists, but none of them knew where Brockley was, let alone how to get there. Defeated, she had to call us for help.

This is a conspiracy of silence that goes back generations, as Transpontine has shown. His site has evidence from the Pathe news archive, in which a 1917 film set in the heavily-built-up streets of Brockley, SE4 is attributed to Brockley, Suffolk (a tiny village, even to this day). In 1931, a "folding car" struggling up towards Telegraph Hill is attributed to Brockley, Somerset.

It's clear that by promoting Brockley, BC is messing with powers that it does not understand. We just have to figure out how all of this ties to the Knights Templar.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think that the people in the shopping centre have the same concern for Brockley as many residents of Brockley have for the shopping centre.

This will speak volumes.

(Incidentally, as the brockley nick residence is described as 'BCHQ' does that mean the residences of B Kate and B Jon, and they themselves, are of lesser value?)

Brockley Nick said...

The people of Brockley know where Lewisham is.

re BCHQ: We operate a cellular structure - mobile, agile. BCHQ is wherever Kate, Jon and I blog from.

Anonymous said...

"shopping centre"

Brockley is in Lewisham, so doubt of that would be worrying.


and 'nimble' would be a nice word, I can feel your resistance to using it.

Richard Elliot said...

Have the Google Ads pulled in enough money for a few posters yet?

Perhaps we could hire a few billboards do some advertising?

Brockley Kate said...

BCHQ is actually a bunker under Hilly Fields, where Nick, Jon and I live in communal luxury. Shagpile carpets, missile defence system - everything a Bond villain could want ...

Anonymous said...

That's funny, as the Brockley Dogging Society is actually a bunk-up on top of Hilly Fields...

Anonymous said...

No it's more to do with not talking to stangers....trying asking people in Brockley were the boiler is...and see the negative unhelpful response that's forthcoming.

ladywell pedant said...

Hilly Fields is in Ladywell.

Brockley Nick said...

oh no, not again.

Brockley Nick said...

@Ladywell Pedant

http://bit.ly/11KXWa

Pete said...

There is one (and only one) good thing about the shopping center in Lewisham and that is the proper french bread in Sainsburys. The best french bread I have ever had outside France.

They actually have it made in France and shipped here.

Anonymous said...

It also provides easy access to shops like Next without having to go to Oxford St or Bluewater, I quite like it for that.

Brockley Jon said...

I must confess to finding TK Maxx somewhat useful. Oh, and Millets.

Tressillian James said...

I like it for the parking - so I can nip into Gennaros

Pete said...

Shops like Next? I wouldn't shop there even if it was free.

TKMaxx can be useful, sometimes but I can't cope with the people you get in Lewisham town centre, it always feels like there could be a fight at any moment.

I've not been down there for months.

Headhunter said...

I only ever go to Lewisham ctre for Argos but I've recently discovered Agros Extra on OKR, so I'll give the Lewisham one a miss from now on. Other than that the shopping centre is a no go zone.

I love Lewisham Market on Sat morning though - soooo cheap! Definitely recommended.

Anonymous said...

Nick, the Brockley conservation area straddles both Brockley and Ladywell. Hilly Fields may be in the conservation area but it is in Ladywell Ward.

Headhunter said...

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we've had this argument time and time again and the whole ward boundary thing has been brought up many times before... Let's move on shall we?

Anonymous said...

don't let me distract you from your 'handbags' argument with that moonbows geezer HH

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, some of these attitudes towards Lewisham are a little bit overly high and mighty. We only live in Brockley - sorry to disappoint you but it's not Kensington! Some of you seem to think you're too good for Lewisham and wouldn't ever deign to shop there. Actually, it's a totally typical local shopping centre. Yes, it's a bit scuzzy round the edges but there are some good shops there and in fact, believe it or not, many people from Brockley do shop in Lewisham. Why would you snub local access to useful shops? OK, so maybe a few of you like to think you only frequent one-off boutiques, but most people find shops like M&S, Argos, Sainsbury's, Next, Mothercare etc very useful at some point in their lives, especially if they have kids and don't want to schlep into the centre of London. It is actually quite a decent shopping centre, and the old Woolworths is about to become an H&M, which is another bonus.

Headhunter said...

1st Anon - Don't worry, despite being male, I can multi task and take part in more than one discussion at once!

2nd Anon - I wouldn't snub Lewisham shopping centre if it had something I needed there but I don't have frequent need for chain departments stores, chain clothes shops like Next, Mothercare or "sports" apparel shops. I think that just about covers everything in Lewisham shopping centre apart from Sainsbury's and I shop at Tesco or Asda so I have no genuine need to go there.

Brockley Kate said...

I've become quite fond of Lewisham town centre, actually. And the H&M news is great. That and Gennaro's will eat up my spare cash easily ...

Anonymous said...

Where do you buy your clothes from then, Headhunter?

Vyvyan West would've said...

Eee, I remember when no Saturday were complete wi'out a ride on t'number 21 bus with mates from New Eltham/Sidcup to Lewisham centre to go shopping for clothes. (Bought my first leather bomber jacket from there thirty years ago, and its now back in fashion!)

Headhunter said...

I went to see a friend in Houston, Texas a couple of years ago. I turned up with a massive empty suitcase and shopped til I dropped in the Jan sales when the Dollar was 2 to 1 Pound. I bought some really good clothing and haven't really had the need to go since, apart from occasionally getting a new M&S work shirt or underwear or something and I usually buy those near work. For bike and running gear I use the internet - way cheaper than the shops.

Vyvyan W aka Graeme said...

Interesting Pete - In that time (30ish years), I've never once felt a threatening atmosphere in Lewisham. I find places like Bromley far worse (especially on a weekend evening - not that I'd choose to go there at that time).

PS I always assumed that Saino's just buy in the dough from Delice de France (or another large bakery) and bake on site.

Headhunter said...

"Vyvyan W"? Is that what you call yourself at weekends, Graeme?!

Anonymous said...

Did you get plenty of those huge 'plaid' shorts that americans seem to wear all the time HH?

Pete said...

It isn't that I particularly think that Ladywell (or Brockley) are much nicer than central lewisham (you can't compare them as they're different), I just can't stand the crowds down there on the weekend (which is the only time I ever go down to Lewisham). For similar reasons I hate going to Oxford Street on the weekend.

I don't buy many clothes and have bought things in the Tkmaxx and also in the M&S. There's nothing really wrong with Next I just think their clothes are really very boring.

Now that I have a car if I need to buy lots of clothes I will drive to Bluewater as I find it much less stressful. Of course this probably makes me evil in the eyes of many on here who would argue that I should be walking/cycling/taking public transport everywhere.

As for Sainsburys they definitely have proper french bread in their taste the difference range that is from France. I guess they must only have it in stores in the SE as it would be a bit impractical elsewhere.

Pete said...

I should add that this is my personal opinion. Others are free to disagree, I won't mind.

Headhunter said...

No I left the huge plaid shorts in Texas but you make a good point popular styles and clothing cuts in Texas are not the same as those in London, so again, the sort of things I like were on sale cheap. Also, I'm tall and quite skinny, so nothing like the same shape as the average Texan, consequently a lot of the stuff that fit me was in the bargain bucket.

I bought the usual fare - Levis and Lucky brand jeans, shirts, shoes, underwear, T shirts, jackets and jumpers. Got a good pair of Lacoste jeans for the equivalent of about £20, which would have cost more like £70-80 in the UK.

Hating middle class snobbery said...

Anon at 16.06

"Did you get plenty of those huge 'plaid' shorts that americans seem to wear all the time HH?"

DO they? Really?

Or are you indulging in a spot of English middle class America bashing. It's quite the sport to sneer at supposed lack of taste, or crassness by our Atlantic cousins.

Anonymous said...

Yes, they wear them all the time...

I believe the 'roast weenies' as well, which has a different meaning from what goes on on Hilly Fields (Ladywell) after dark.

Perhaps a surfeit of the weenies leads to a spreading of the backside

errr

well, I have to give Monkeyboy a chance to give us a joke from his Bob Hope anthology.

Anonymous said...

What Brockley needs is a set of "community leaders", like the ones you see speaking to the press whenever there's a riot up north.

eddie said...

like a mullah?

Tamsin said...

There's a space under the Telegraph Hill Centre that was used as a double for Hitler's Bunker in a relatively recent docu-drama about his death...

Lewisham Shopping Centre sadly lacks a decent book-shop (and the Waterstone's hidden in Goldsmiths is almost impossible to find) but there are amazing book and artists' materials bargains to be had in The Works (I think it's called) down towards the south end. And for fabrics and haberdashery Rolls and Rems is more than worth the journey.

drakefell debaser said...

Waterstone's hidden in Goldsmiths

I never knew, does it have similar opening hours as the ones on the high street?

Graeme said...

If 'The Works' is that publishers' off-load emporium, then I agree. An ace shop for random finds

BrockleyBiker said...

Lewisham is good for Gennaro's. Bad for trying to park a motorbike though.

Graeme said...

Brockley Biker. You can stick your bike in the car park behind the Library. Tons of m/bike space in the corner and it's free. (For ten years, I'd wedged mine in the bicycle racks outside the library/outside Barclays, until Lewisham council realised they were missing a trick, and so started issuing tickets). What infuriated me was that the only dedicated m/bike bay in Lewisham (by Citibank) was removed - to be replaced (ironically?) by two car parking spaces for employess of the parking fines shop.

patrick1971 said...

What I find frustrating about the shops in the Lewisham Centre are the ones that I would normally use to buy clothes, Next and M&S, have such a poor selection of men's clothing. As such, I'll go to Next or M&S near my work in Covent Garden. The Next men's clothing selection in Lewisham is particularly poor; half of the tiny upstairs floor, and it's always a mess, with clothes strewn everywhere.

That said, the shopping centre itself, although a product of the 1970s, actually isn't too bad architecturally in terms of invasiveness on the high street.

tyrwhitt ali said...

Ok, I'm obviously missing something with Gennaro's. Where is it? Have I just been spectacularly blind?

Mezzer said...

Gennaro's is at 23 Lewis Grove (just behind Rolls and Reams):

http://www.italianfoodexpress.co.uk/index.asp?textpage=home

Graeme said...

*blog goes quiet for half an hour while deliterati check out Gennaro's stock*

Headhunter said...

Graeme - I have to say, as a cyclist I expected more from you! There's nothing worse for cyclists to find that some tw@t has wedged their motorbike or moped into a bike rack taking up space for 3 or more bicycles leaving no space. I applaud Lewisham BC for tackling this. Take yer bloody motorbike somewhere else!

Live and let live said...

Not everyone has your honed physique Headhunter. Let them have their motorbikes, whilst you get the pleasure of a good arse and supreme fitness.

fred vest said...

'whilst you get the pleasure of a good arse'

snigger, etc...

Headhunter said...

No specific prob with motorbikes and mopeds, it's just annoying when they're wedged into a BICYCLE rack.

Thanks for bigging up my honed physique and ass though, I can crack nuts between my butt cheeks. But how do you know?

Graeme said...

I was sooo waiting for that one Headhunter! This might surprise you, but I can use a m/bike and consider cyclists at the same time. The library has around 6 cycle stands, so room for at least 12 velos, but I don't think I've ever seen more than 4 chained up there. Similarly with the Barclays rank. (M/bike usually just left for 15 mins while I rushed into the bank or a shop.) If I plan to be in Lewisham any longer, then I'll use the car park, or walk. (TBH I don't feel comfortable leaving even my fixed gear/pub push-bike chained up around Lewisham for too long. Even that has too many nice bits on it that can be unscrewed in a jiffy.)

You don't really think that the reason Lewisham suddenly started ticketing dodgily parked m/bikes was down to some altruistic, cyling-friendly policy?

Headhunter said...

I suppose space on bike racks is less of a problem in Lewisham but it's bloody annoying in central London.

No, I certainly don't believe that ticketing motorbikes is any more than a revenue generation exercise.

Hugh said...

HH, do you commute in team kit?

Headhunter said...

Nah, I tend to commute in black lycra shorts with baggy, MTB overshorts on top and a sleeveless cotton T shirt thing. I don't go for the full lycra on the commute because I often go to the gym on the way home and feel a bit stupid doing weights dressed up in full team replica lycra kit! I imagine you go for the full co ordinated lycra look?

Hugh said...

Ah, you're a willy hider. My modesty doesn't extend to overshorts although I don't do the team kit thing either. Just lycra bib shorts and a t-shirt.

When the Talbot re-opens I'll look for the bloke standing at the bar talking about calf waxing.

Headhunter said...

Well yes, there's a certain amount of hiding going on. It's one thing whisking through the city or countryside leaving little to the imagination but another going to the gym with every detail defined...

So I may finally meet you at the Talbot! I don't wax though, I have a full leg of hair. Can barely be bothered to shave my face for work, let alone my legs. If you wax/shave your legs one thing has always perplexed me, how far up do you go?

Tamsin said...

Aren't there dedicated motorbike spaces also in the Molesworth Street car park behind the Lewisham Centre?

Pete said...

I commute in team kit but I don't have shaved legs.

Graeme said...

There probably are Tamsin, but for some reason I've never bothered to find out. All that rampage makes it look such a faff. And the car park is pretty big, so I'd probably forget where I parked it - like when it took me three days to find my motorbike at Glastonbury one year. But that's another story.

Headhunter said...

I never see you on my commute, Pete. Do you go along OKR? BTW have you been out with DP recently? Let me know if you're about...

Graeme said...

I think shaved legs should be reserved for when one is road-racing. It looks a bit pretentious otherwise: and positively odd at any time if you're on a mountain bike.

Live and let live said...

Nut cracking, stretch lycra, sleeveless tees, and gratious outlining of genitalia...my god, how gay is cycling? I never realised that a commute to work could be so sexual orientation defining.

C'mon on out Hugh...

Hugh said...

Shaved legs look pretentious even in road-racing.

Imagine waxing your sack.

Headhunter said...

Yes, I'd probably stop short of the full Brazilian experience but then you'd just look plain weird in the nude...

Pete said...

I've not been out with Dulwich for ages due to other commitments. Not going this weekend either as I'm away but will definitely go out the following weekend.

Headhunter said...

Don't think I'll be around the following weekend, got weddings n stuff to attend. See you another time then!

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