The Likes of Us

We’re not so different, you and I.
- Dr Evil


‘To say that Muslims carried out 7/7 - those three guys from Leeds and one from Aylesbury - to say they did it is racist, Jon. It's racist. You're being racist against Muslims.’
There was a short silence.
‘Oh, fuck off,’ I said.
- Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test

Class tensions have been an ever-present in the life of this site. The fear of gentrification is not a new subject for BC debate, but it reached absurd new heights yesterday when our autobiographical reference to eating big macs on buses was interpreted as ‘casual class contempt.’

This thread is an attempt to focus the class debate, so we may be permitted to discuss issues like a new local pizza restaurant in peace.

We are something of a middle class stereotype ourselves – the son of two leftish London academics, we grew up reading the Guardian and going on camping holidays in France.

But perhaps because – unlike some of the class-warriors who frequent this site – we actually went to a local comprehensive and grew up among the south east London working classes, we haven’t developed middle-class man’s burden and we don’t regard working class people as an alien species. Love see no colour.

They, like we, eat Big Macs from time to time. Like BC, they sometimes use the bus. Our understanding of their culture is that they quite like clean streets, green spaces and to be able to cross the road safely. These are not the quaint concerns of the effete middle classes, they are universal aspirations and challenges that we all share. We have not yet become the Morlocks and Eloi.

In fact, it is the better off among us (who can afford to travel more and choose the area in which they live) who are least reliant on our local environment. The rich of Brockley can hide themselves away from van-choked pavements in their large houses and gardens and jump in the car to escape the squalor of the high street. It’s the less well-off who depend most on the social services paid for with the business rates and Council Tax of new shops and residential developments.

Making Brockley nicer – not more deli-laden, just nicer – is not a class issue.

If you disagree, please make your case here. But please, argue with what is said, not with the secret dog-whistle code you think is hidden between the lines.

81 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes clean streets and buses that don't smell of burgers and chips
is something most want, it is not
a middle class thang!

Simmo said...

What about the council's agenda of moving all the problem hostels into Brockley, mate!

Headhunter said...

This looks weird now because it's in response to the final comment on the other thread but....

"We should probably move this to the other thread, but I'd just like to point out I don't think that the working class has disappeared, I was simply looking for clarity as to what anon, who declared he/she was working class and proud, was actually proud of... What actually defines the "working class" in 21st century Britain? What makes him/her proud?

If you think it's simply down to working in some kind of office cleaning job that requires you to get up at 3am or whenever, then OK, I take your definition onboard... Personally I think it should be a bit more than this and am still not sure that defines a so called "class"..."

Anonymous said...

"They...we; they...we." A secret dog-whistle code hidden between the lines if I've ever heard one. Clever pseudo-irony inclusive.

mb said...

Class, demographic, category, call it what you like. There are a range of needs, wages, education etc that form a 'class'. There will be some people who don't fit into any comfortably but they are useful in planning and understanding how we live. Don't get too hung up on them. What I don't want, and I don't think is desirable, are ghetos. Mixed communities do it for me, they will change over time of course but as Nick says, there are some common themes running through. A diverse, interesting high steet, clean streets, well maintained public spaces (without an entrace fee please!) some dignity and help for those stuggling. Even those in 'problem' hostels, help them to stop having problems. It's either that or dump them on the street where (I'm guessing) the problems will be worse.

Rogue Trooper said...

What I don't get is this site's image of itself as a force for change in Brockley.

You don't effect change by chattering about class distinctions and who eats burgers on buses.

It would be more honest to acknowledge that Brockley Central is a vehicle for Nick's career progression (which is fine) and yet another place for idle banter during office hours (also fine).

We, they or I. Depends on the context. said...

So you contend that there are absolutly no significant differences in the population of the borough, so 'we' and 'they' is not helpful?

I'd say there is, I don't use meals on wheels or require help for school meals. So if I used the term 'we' in relation to that it would be misleading. It's just English.

Headhunter said...

"It would be more honest to acknowledge that Brockley Central is a vehicle for Nick's career progression (which is fine) and yet another place for idle banter during office hours (also fine)."

I agree. At least with the latter. If it's fine then so what? This site helps to highlight people's concerns, desires, needs etc no matter what their background and may sometimes motivate people to take part in community activities. But if it doesn't and it just ends up as idle chatter, then so what? No one gets hurt along the way....

mb said...

I've used several local tradesmen, heard about shops and met people I wouldn't have done otherwise. It's made a difference and some locals have earnt a few quid out of me. Has anyone claimed that the blog is anything other than one of several ways of exchanging ideas? Whats your point, other than a cynical snipe from the sidelines?

Brockley Nick said...

@Rogue - my career? I thought this was supposed to be about my house price?

How do you effect change?

Headhunter said...

"What I don't want, and I don't think is desirable, are ghetos. Mixed communities do it for me"

London has that in spades, unlike cities like Paris where immigrants and the poor are restricted to huge ghettos of HLM/social housing in the outer arrondissments. In just about every London borough social housing and shabby areas sit shoulder to shoulder with exclusive spots. I went to an arty farty gallery event in Notting Hill last week on Portobello Rd. I very rarely go out west and was expecting it to be all la di da but in fact the stretch of street it was on was very similar to what you might find in New Cross or Shoreditch, however literally down the road, the streets were lined with immaculate stuccoed Victorian villas with large gates...

Anonymous said...

I thought the point was that the working class and the stuck down middles enjoy a big mac on the bus and therefore contribute to the smell. The stuck up middles only like the bus to smell of burger if the bus is a burger restaurant.

Tyrwhitt Michael said...

Nice to hear the voice of reason aka MB on the blog. I think I agree with everthing he says above.

Right that's a pint you owe me next time you're in the Talbot ;o)

Rogue Trooper said...

Sorry Nick, I only read my own posts. The rest take too long to make a point.

mb said...

Thanks TM, I'm a well known genius and social commentator. Unlike them, they're stupid.

Brockley Nick said...

@Rogue - no worries, perhaps you can let me know how I can use this site to further my career. I would be very grateful.

Pseudonym said...

"How do you effect change?"

Basically if I don't like it I just blog and hope like minded souls call the council.

I also like to try and draw clear lines through communities by blogging about divisive, shallow and flippant Nimby nonsense. It's what generates traffic and my advertising space increases in value.

Now and Then said...

Does the ghost of Fred Vest walk amongst us?

mb said...

Or you can ask nick to run a story to encourage others to call the council.... like nick has done on several occasions. Or did i imagine that? How will you encorage others? do you spend a lot of time leafletiing or knocking on doors? equally valid but actually not so different. Have you actually read the post? its suggesting there are common things people want, and guess what... some people want specific things.

Now and Then said...

Let's see. M.B. I think you should explain to TM, that genius and social commentator tho you are, you are foremost a man of the people and so could not take up his kind offer at a posh pub like 'The Talbot'

TM said...

It was my intention to receive rather than offer...

This is of course intended to be in complete contravention of the new Bribery Act........I think.

Size of a cow. said...

The difference is the the middle class pay £8 for a burger at Meateasy and the working class pay £2 for a burger at McDonalds.

Now and Then said...

Note to younger readers. Fred Vest. Last post 8/8/09 Polemicist, man of the people. His 'The Talbot, gentrification and alienation' (on this site) is still admired in some quarters

Hoxton Nick said...

I saw Brockley Nick on the nightbus just last night, munching noisily on olives and playing Mumford and Sons on his mobile.

He was so, like, slumming it, you know?

genuinely intrigued said...

Was that before or after you started licking the back window?

Tim said...

Reading this, I feel like I'm in a time warp. Why is Brockley Central always discussing class and "Guardian readers", "mung", and "city types". It's boring. People are what they are and like to live life different ways. Why bang on about it?

Anonymous said...

I think it's because when nick publishes ANYTHING some people suggest it's a precursor to some kind of economic or social cleansing excercise.

drakefell debaser said...

My take on this is that there is one or two people that resent the popularity of this blog, resent Nick for whatever reason and only care about disrupting any discussion on a daily basis. Envious trolls.

Yesterday’s piece on the pizza place was just that, a casual discussion about pizza and food until suddenly burgers and night busses are class orientated pursuits.

Now all those posters from yesterday have a thread to go for it and flesh out their concerns about class but so far it is just more of the same, sniping and general nastiness.

It is tedious beyond belief.

SIMMO said...

headhunter:
"London has that in spades, unlike cities like Paris where immigrants and the poor are restricted to huge ghettos of HLM/social housing in the outer arrondissments. In just about every London borough social housing and shabby areas sit shoulder to shoulder with exclusive spots."

Do you really want that new hostel the council has been planning to open in your street, by stealth?

I don't want ghettoes either: a Brockley full of secret hostels is one.

Brockley Nick said...

@Simmo - I plan to run an article about the case you are talking about.

Ian on the hill. said...

Nicks main point for me is spot on - the desire to live in a pleasant and safe environment is classless.

Worth looking at the real assumptions that somehow criticising graffiti and feral youths and, basically, pissing all over everybody else who shares you environment is an attack on the working class.

What that are really saying is that they think that behaviour that's selfish, anti-social and pig-ignorant is definitively working class.

Brockley Nick said...

Nicely put Ian. That's what I was trying to get across.

Ladywell Borders said...

Thanks for posting this Nick...I heartily agree!

The importance of being Earnest said...

"The boy with the thorn in his side
Behind the hatred there lies
A murderous desire for love
How can they look into my eyes
And still they don't believe me ?"

Headhunter said...

"Fred Vest. Last post 8/8/09 Polemicist, man of the people. "

He had a different name before he became Fred Vest... What was it again...? He probably still makes comments here...

Headhunter said...

SIMMO - Is that definitely some kind of hostel? I thouht it was a rumour, something that the council were unwilling to discuss...

pip said...

Excellent point, Ian on the hill!

Pseudonym, that was a bit below the belt. I do sometimes feel the content here is a bit NIMBY-ish, with the back yard in question being located on Manor Avenue or wherever it is that Nick lives, but he wouldn't be human if it were otherwise, and this blog is by far and away the best source of local news and information. Would you rather it didn't exist? If you think it should be different, feel free to create an alternative blog yourself, and if the quality is as high as it is here, people will follow. But could you be sure you wouldn't fall into the trap of covering issues that affect you personally just a little bit more frequently than you cover those that don't?

As for being divisive, the blog may flush out and air such divisions, but that's not the same as creating them.

Brockley Nick said...

@Pip - I don't live on Manor Avenue and I rarely if ever write about stuff that directly affects my house. I live fairly close to Brockley Cross and in that case I am very much an IMBY. I massively welcome development of that area, even if it means it will be harder to park my car, etc.

So I strongly reject the charge of NIMBY. In fact, I often challenge NIMBYism in the articles on this site.

Danja said...

As this is your virtual backyard, that makes you a NIMBY^2

pip said...

@Nick - fair enough. I was thinking primarily about the preoccupation with parking by D&M and others, which seems to come up a lot - not without justification, I dare say, but it seems like a particular bugbear. I'm a big fan of the blog so don't take it to heart.

Brockley Nick said...

@pip - it is a particular bugbear, but I don't live near Coulgate Street (or at least no nearer than many BC readers), I just happen to think it's disgraceful behaviour that damages this area. It should not be tolerated here or anywhere. That makes me a Not In Anyone's Back Yard (NIABY).

Anonymous said...

Lets not forget that Nick is more than happy to post stories from others (as long as they are not mental, have some kind of point and not deliberatly provocative for the sake of it) Furthermore the comment section is unmoderated unless it becomes libelous, etc... so those who attack the blog and complain that their voice isn't heard do so....by commenting. Ironic.

Am I right?

Brockley Nick said...

You are right :)

However, I was rather hoping we might have an actual discussion of the topic of class relations, rather than the pros and cons of this blog?

Anyone got a coherent critique of the actual article? This is your chance!

Danja said...

I might be able to do an incoherent critique of it later.

Anonymous said...

When will there be an article about honest fare?

Lady GaGa said...

Firstly Nick runs an informative, entertaining blog in his own time and for no profit for which he should be applauded.
As for class, as some people have tried to say, why does where you live, what you eat, whether you drive or cycle, care about issues local to you etc etc have to make you any kind of class ? Does it really matter? I don't think it makes you middle or working class but it makes you a snob if you judge folk on such shallow matters.I wouldn't define myself as either class as I have the best and worst habits/traits of both!

Pseudonym said...

Sorry, perhaps a little below. I understand some folk want specifics, they could post their own issues on a forum but that is not the case. To the topic in hand, this blog is really pretty stuck up. I understand if you would prefer the more positive IMBY- but the hostility towards parked vans, Duke convenience, the second hand guy, chicken shop and now AA Bill is pretty NI in my book. It's the tone, and the willingness to post this "news".It encourages a division between members of the community which means instead of talking to neighbours, you take photos of their cars and start confrontations.
All because some people feel that "nicer Brockley" is in the dictionary, well it's not and some of us like it round here because it's not East Dulwich, yet.

Anonymous said...

It is hoped that one day, Brockley Nick, Headhunter and Patrick1971 could sit down with real Brockley and eat fried chicken.

If Gerry Adams and Iain Paisley are now the best of chums couldn't we, too, get on?

Brockley Nick said...

@Pseudonym - thanks for posting that more moderate critique and some details that we can actually address.

So to go through your post's specifics:

"they could post their own issues on a forum but that is not the case."

Not quite sure what you mean here, but we do have a forum which anyone can post anything on - click on the South East Central logo on the right hand side of the page.


"To the topic in hand, this blog is really pretty stuck up."

Do you mean me? Or some readers, because BC is a collective experience and the site's diversity is its strength. For example, I suppose you don't consider yourself stuck up, but you are part of the site.

"but the hostility towards parked vans"

I don't see how this is a class issue and I have tried to explain how I think that it is an issue that affects us all. Please explain how this is a "stuck up" matter?

"Duke convenience"

I have never written about Duke other than a brief article many years ago about the surreal experience of actually trying to buy anything there. Occasionally people mention it, but not often and not usually to complain about anything.

"the second hand guy"

I guess you mean the shop on the corner of Cranfield? I have never said anything about it, although if you want my personal opinion, I think it's a big of a shame to install nice big new shop windows and then pile them high with junk and plaster them with posters so you can't see in. A few people have mentioned it, but again, not many.

"chicken shop"

Again, don't think I've ever singled out any chicken shops, or ever complained about them. I don't care, although I do care about the disgusting mess some customers make of the pavement with chicken bones - this is a common complaint amongst readers and I guess no-one, rich or poor, likes wading through chicken carcass.

"now AA Bill"

That was a guest article, to which I added no comment. I think it raises some interesting issues and potentially that action is against the law. As the article mentions, BC readers are not the only ones to have complained about this. Other forums have also discussed the problem. Again, why is that a class issue?

"It's the tone, and the willingness to post this "news"."

I post all sorts of things as news. Many things I write about I have no personal interest in, but I recognise that others do. As I always say, if you think some news is not being reported, please let me know and I'll probably run it. I ran an article about bonfires, even though the person's viewpoint on the topic contrasted with my own - because it's an important debate to have. It's not "news" but I learned a lot.

"It encourages a division between members of the community"

So you say. What evidence for this is there? Should we not debate matters that are important to people in case someone, somewhere might get offended? I think not.

"which means instead of talking to neighbours, you take photos of their cars and start confrontations."

I'm not aware of any confrontations caused by this blog - please can you give me some examples? I tried to avoid causing offence. I also doubt that AA Bill, for example, is actually based in this community, but I'd be happy to be corrected?

"All because some people feel that "nicer Brockley" is in the dictionary, well it's not and some of us like it round here because it's not East Dulwich, yet."

What would a "nicer" Brockley look like to you then? Let's have that debate. Like I say, cleaner, safer streets seem like universal goods to me, but I'm happy to hear otherwise.

Lou Baker said...

Class is a fake distinction. This is about decency.

There are decent, honest, hard-working members of the 'working class' and of the 'middle class' and of the 'upper class.'

There are also ignorant, anti-social schmucks among all those classes too.

There are decent, honest, hard-working poor people and decent hard-working rich ones. And, no, not all the poor are benefits scroungers and not all the rich are tax avoiding bankers.

If you're honest, neighbourly, considerate and interested in making your community, your environment, your country - and even your planet - a better place then that is all that matters.

That means observing societal niceties, wanting to make things better for everybody and refusing to accept the status quo just because it's politically correct to do so.

Not Nick's Mum said...

Well said Nick an excellent and reasoned rebuttal.
To all those that complain about what material Nick posts or accuse him of a vested interest or of personal vendettas the simple answer is - don't continue to read this blog if you don't like how it's managed or it's content.

Michael Collins said...

I wonder if the moaners have spotted the meaning in the headline: http://bit.ly/jgY8KA

An article with Austin Powers, Jon Ronson, The Farm and probably a few other references I have missed. Not bad!

Anonymous said...

Well, let's see now, there was the Manor Avenue Miltia, Ross of Catford, the View Hilly Fields, the catman - neighbour against neighbour I'm sure, and to which you 'innocently' subscribe. That kind of manipulative behaviour has a use by date.

With you pseudonym!

Anonymous said...

The only people i know who live in brockley are public schoolies who cant let up they were at public school decades ago and always bang on about it. They bought flats/houses in the area in the hope house prices go up so they can be smug about that too.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon 1747

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of argument on the site, of course. I am not aware of any arguments on the site that have boiled over in to the physical world, although there are plenty of physical world hostlities that have boiled over in to the BC debates...

I don't know what you mean by "innocently subscribe"

Anonymous said...

You only know public school boys? Well perhaps you ought to widen your social circle, or possibly your talking nonsense because look out the window, read almost any source of data you like. Lewisham and brockley is not an island of affluence.

Brockley Dogging Society - Social Mobility Unit said...

We're all the same when we're just wearing a smile, that what my mum always said.

Foxberry Mike said...

I agree with the points in Nick's article and worryingly also agree with Lou's comments @17.37!
In the overall scheme of things, van hire firms or cars-as-adverts clogging up the limited parking spaces, etc are not that important but equally they are small scale nuisances that are easily caused by anti-social people or firms and equally easily solved by community action (via the Council perhaps).
I don't see why wanting to improve the local area or stop it deteriorating is seen by some as just something the middle classes are concerned with and posts that suggest this just seem very patronising to anyone who considers themselves working class.

mb said...

The blog is largley written by a middle class chap so will tend to find a middle class slant. Not sure why that is an issue and as has been said, lots of issues are actually fairly neutral. If nick started writing about school life he'd be investigated, if he started writing about the urban music scene he'd be laughed at, if he started pretending to be a middle eatern lesbian he'd be a fraud (or get a pullitzer if not discovered) Doesn't mean there is any malice toward different lives. Some of the commentators however....well there we see some craziness but they are challenged. So save your ire and aim it at the anons who stick the knife in and who do sometimes say some VERY nasty things toward others.

Westsider said...

I've read through all the comments on this thread and the moaners literally have nothing useful or sensible to say. Just unpleasant.

I think case closed. Dodgy van parking is not a class issue.

Fizzy said...

In fact, it is the better off among us (who can afford to travel more and choose the area in which they live) who are least reliant on our local environment.

Amongst us? Your cover is blown.

Now and Then said...

@HH 13.21 and 10.27'Mixed communities do it for me' Me too. A good post and a point well made. The difference between London and Paris in that respect is revealing. Vive La Difference my A''e.

I bring up 'Fred Vest' as he's the undisputed all time champ of articulate indignous working class concerns. The frankly sorry contributions of others don't cut it.

This thread is supposed to give a ring for the great Brockley class debate, but takers have been few. No doubt when we come to look at oh ..I don't know...
the prospects of the stag beetle at Hilly Fields ,someone will post a comment to set the ball arolling again

Of the three on offer I'd have to say that none fit my absoloute requirements but that the aristocracy has some limited appeal, although I'd have to put up with that dreadful 'Country House Rescue' woman. 'Have you fired the housemaid as I told you' Pah.

Pseudonym said...

Nick, I was not laying all the specifics at your door, more a kind of you know who you are.

My forum point was; there is a resource available for anyone out there to post their petty issues about a car or a bonfire. I think that articles/news (Nicks blogs)should be owned- if you write it, own it. Seems a little wormy to pass the buck onto 'bc resident x' gives quite a large voice to some little people, fine if the subject has weight.
It's fighting the good fight- as long as you're from the right side of the tracks.
Hence the stuck up tag, I know most of the regulars think this is moaning but that is just deflection, add the sum of the subject matter to the tone of the regulars and you have a journal which speaks to a certain demographic and culture, as other point out.

Vans are not a class issue, if however the presence of a local business owners legally parked van annoys you, consider yourself stuck up.
I drive a van, it's parked outside, seems normal.
Test1;
You walk past a community members vehicle and notice it is out of tax.
Do you?
a) Knock on and tell em their tax has run out.
b) Gleefully post about the outrage and stupidity on the web.

That is what I mean by "this blog is stuck up" it's a general disdain for folk going about their business unless it ticks a certain box. Bench graffiti for example, fine if the punctuation and M- factor are of the required standard.

A nicer Brockley for me is one where neighbours actually engage with each other, proximity based rather than clubbing together in micro communituies made up of similar individuals.
There are many business owners out there struggling to make ends meet, some are forced to operate at the margins. Some feel unsafe to operate without a portcullis in the shop. Get rid of them and all we have is Hertz and Tesco, nothing wrong with raising issue with these people, just be so much nicer if we all had the stones to start doing it to their faces.
Salem. Brockley village green is basically a bad roundabout, post depot, Wetherspoons and a big garage. This will change, not fast. So the petty council calling and brow beating about individuals existing in Brockley Past and Present is irksome and playground.
Not really talking about class but this is why it always comes up, you(BC, not Nick) wind people up. Not everyone, but many.

Brockley Nick said...

"I think that articles/news (Nicks blogs)should be owned- if you write it, own it. Seems a little wormy to pass the buck onto 'bc resident x' gives quite a large voice to some little people, fine if the subject has weight."

All articles are owned in the sense that I take ultimate responsibility for them being reasonable. But if this blog only promoted my views and opinions it would be a lot less interesting. There are no "little people" only people, whose views and concerns are entitled to be heard, surely?

"It's fighting the good fight- as long as you're from the right side of the tracks."

This is such a frustrating line of argument - you don't say what issues are not being aired - please give some examples. Or write an article for me to run.

"Vans are not a class issue, if however the presence of a local business owners legally parked van annoys you, consider yourself stuck up."

But as has been said countless times, legally parked vans are not the issue. Illegally parked vans run from illegal offices are. There are hundreds of vans in Brockley. No one complains about the legal ones.

"Bench graffiti for example, fine if the punctuation and M- factor are of the required standard."

It was a nice sentiment about Brockley that sums up people's affection for the area - are you really complaining about that? Does this blog campaign against other graffiti? No.

"A nicer Brockley for me is one where neighbours actually engage with each other, proximity based rather than clubbing together in micro communituies made up of similar individuals."

Which is why it's great to have a widely read site with lots of different opinions and precisely why I publish articles I don't agree with and have a very lax moderation policy. As for people meeting up in real life, this blog does a lot to encourage that.

"There are many business owners out there struggling to make ends meet, some are forced to operate at the margins."

I'd say that's probably true of every independent business in the area. That's why we do our best to promote them, so long as they're legal and responsible.

"Some feel unsafe to operate without a portcullis in the shop."

Come on. Do me a favour. I'm not going to make any comment on the business you're referring to, but that's one business in the whole area and there are particular reasons why it has that portcullis. Do people complain about it? no.

"Brockley village green is basically a bad roundabout, post depot, Wetherspoons and a big garage. This will change, not fast. So the petty council calling and brow beating about individuals existing in Brockley Past and Present is irksome and playground."

I agree that many of the problems with the town centre won't change fast. But that doesn't mean that we should discuss the issues or pursue incremental change. There have been lots of positive changes over the lifetime of this blog and we do whatever we can to encourage them, in whatever small way possible. I try to take a positive and constructive approach to the Council because I believe that most people are good people trying to do a good job and that constructive engagement is usually the most effective approach. Compare the tone of most debate about the Council here to almost anywhere else online or in the real world and it is far more positive than most. Certainly the Council value BC's role. I don't understand the point about "past and present".

"this is why it always comes up, you(BC, not Nick) wind people up. Not everyone, but many."

Can't please all the people, all the time. Especially those people who masquerade as pillars of tolerance, while being incredibly intolerant of opinions they don't think are sound.

AVENGER said...

Just because a van is 'lawfully parked' does not mean that it's thoughtfully parked. Why should this one business be allowed to destroy all the visual works to the station that has taken place through the hard work of Brockly X Action Group? Why should his vans block wheelchair ramps? Why should they be butted together so residents cannot pass safely? Why should they be lodged in front of people's houses, or businesses? Lawful or not, thoughtful; is best. Why does he not take his vans and park them in the area where he lives? These are the questions that you Pseudonym should be asking. Extremely disappointed at your posts.

Mb said...

So somehow engaging with other residents through a blog is not valid? I live in a city because I prefer it to living in a small village. I speak to my neighbours and others Ive met through this. Obviously people who have similar interests tend to engage more, not sure that's a 21st century thing. Cities, especially London, constantly have the criticism levelled at them that they are impersonal. This blog breaks that down a little. Sure some are terribly pleased at being in a particular demographic and pour scorn on others who are not - whether it's laughing at people who pay a lot for cheese or deriding those who drink cheap larger. Hardly a new phenomena.

On balance, this blog is a positive, or do you disagree? A blog that was simply a bland listing with a strictly controlled comment section would die a death. You make some valid points, hundreds may read it and some may change their view, I actually agree that there is a whiff of snobery and contempt certainly in the comments, but it's fairly evenly weighted. Not sure what BC can do to persuade users to knock on their neighbours door like in the olden days (!?) publicising fayres, festivals, community groups etc buys some community brownie points. Not sure I'd have heard of them otherwise, leaflets tend to go in the bin with the junk mail

Mb said...

I should have waited for nick to make the same point better.

What this does perhaps show that perhaps the "classless society" is not as prevalent as we think. Were arguing like mad things but I suspect that those in the comment section are actually much more similar than they would like to admit. There are thousands. In Lewisham who are REALLY living a different existence, and not a great one. If this blog is not speaking for them it's perhaps because we can't possibly imagine living on peanuts and having all motivation and pride stripped away while you were still a child, you can only write interestingly about things you know and experience. The blog is what it is, it's not a mirror for lewisham.

Anyway, off to els for said cheese and a dollop of middle class guilt.

SIMMO said...

@Headhunter.
It is very shocking that few of you seem to know what is going on with the attempt to introduce this hostel AT 114-116 Manor Avenue where it meets Geoffrey Road.

The former care home residence of Avalon House were shunted out after the housing association tried to up their rent. They were shipped off to Forest Hill and split up! These are people who had happily been living together in your road for decades. Some residents were quick to challenge the move for all that is said about them on this site. They have managed to halt the plan until planning permission is given, which is likely.

It was then discovered that L&Q, which rents the two houses from Lewisham Council for £12 a year - yep! - was moving in twelve individuals via a north london company called Brent Housing Trust.

What's all that about? Why move out vulnerable tenants who have been no trouble for an unknown lot who might?

There is some concern that this is just another bail hostel.

Like the one at 66 Wickham Road. Walked past there yesterday and saw two zombies stumble over to a car down a side road that was openly dealing them drugs! They then returned to the bail hostel, after their curfew!

Brockley's a freak show! Freakin council!

Just watch the burglary rate go up and up!

Welcome to 2011 said...

Pseudonym, I have two questions please:

1. Who are you to decide that bonfires are not an important issue? If it had been presented as a debate about air pollution and waste management, would that have been OK? Seems like a pretty big issue to me. If people want to discuss it, why to shut them up?

2. Would you take such a laissez faire attitude towards the vans if they were owned by Tesco? If not, why not?

kolp said...

Psuedonym well done for speaking up, you're certainly speaking for me when you make the point that good people make an area 'nice' just as much as architecture and shops.

There's just so much moaning about many things that aren't worth moaning. If a neighbour is having a putrid bonfire every week fair enough, but if it's once in a blue moon, just go deal with it go out. It's not like home is premanantely damaged. Just live and let live, living in a city with the population growing means that we're all going to have to cut each other some slack.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with the above!

And if your neighbour has a sky dish, don't get all Mary Whitehouse about it... just go and do something else with your time.

*Headhunter spits out his mung soup*

Brockley Ben said...

Remind me: who mentioned Sky dishes?

Anonymous said...

I'm not making it up. There are people around here who have problems with houses with sky dishes on them and write to the brockley society and lewisham council about it.

These letters keep getting lost in the post for some reason...

Brockley Ben said...

So are you criticising Brockley Central and/or Headhunter because some people write letters to the council and Brockley Society?

Gil said...

It's the conservation area where people have a problem with satellite dishes - on the fronts of s/east facing buildings. The council, and brockley society, think that is where they should not be, and will allow them on rooftops and the ende flank of a terrace or semi. If you don't like it don't like it, vote with your feet, don't buy or rent in the consrvation area. Simple innit!

SIMMO said...

@Brockley Nick... when are you writing the article, as this is a pressing and very important issue?

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to:

Fred Vest aka Catford Ross
Andy Pandy aka catman

Stroppy Brockley Anons said...

You never talk about what I want to talk about. It s always OLIVES blah, blah, and CHEESE blah blah. It's not fair! You're the WORST moderators in the world! I hate you, I hate you, I HATE YOU!

*storms off to room, slams door.....masturbates furiously*

Anonymous said...

Got a bit bored trying to wade through all the comments on this, so someone may already have brought it up, but here's my twopenneth anyway.

The class system doesn't really work in modern day society - it's very outdated. What exactly are the criteria for membership of each of these classes of which we speak?

I work, therefore am I not working class, irrelevant of what job I do?

To me, it appears you are all talking about 'wealth' and/or 'lifestyle choice' snobbery. Google the British class system and it becomes quite obvious what a waste of time this argument is. But if you have nothing better to do with your time (therefore, obviously not 'working' class), carry on...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps time for some new categories

Poverty line
Student
Low income
Middle income
High income professional
Mungerati
Small company CEO
Large company CEO
Royalty?

b. said...

@mrsburdy told me about this post yesterday and my first thought was 'that's going to descend into complete unrelated and dispicable chaos'. Turns out (besides a few long standing exceptions) I am always right.

Since moving leaving public school* and finishing a fine arts degree at Cambridge*, we moved to Brockley. The day we viewed our massive* flat in comerford road we looked up 'Brockley' on google and came across BC.

Without a doubt it was one of the biggest influences for us choosing the flat (besides desperation) and moving to the area. That was 4 years ago and this blog is still going strong with more readers / contributions than ever. This was inspiring then and is even more so now.

Have a look across the web for the 'hyperlocal' london blog. You will find few; and probably none with the level of activity and the amount and quality of content produced by Nick (and crew).

This to me is something that seems to be missed by most commenters in these threads. Over the years the comments have become more and more irrelevant, vindictive and borderline insane. Very quickly people jump all over Nick (which he likes) and criticise the blog as whole rather than debate a point in an article. If you really feel the blog does not represent you / what you want for the area then you have 2 choices
a) start your own
b) dont read this one
These are not mutually exclusive.

There is one more, preferred, option I could give you all but I'm afraid it may not pass Nick's 'relaxed' moderation policy.

You guys are right, this is defintely something to do when you don't feel like working.

Now piss off, I'm thirsty.

*could be a lie

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