Big Yellow - An Apology

That’s it, turn the music down! You can stop smoking your drugs, I’m making tea and toast for Sophie and I’m putting on Radio 4 – everything’s normal! I’m not really high on drugs, so you can stop talking your nonsense on my time.
- Mark, Peep Show

Big Yellow, pre-opening

A couple of weekends back we staggered out of a Myatt Garden School Disco hopped up on fizzy drinks and the adrenaline of being made to do a dad dance with 50 other parents. As we walked down Rokeby Road towards Lewisham Way, we were overcome by the beauty of Brockley’s new Big Yellow.

It glowed like ET’s spaceship – each of its illuminated doors hiding a mystery. It was an almost spiritual presence on otherwise dark streetscape.

In the past, Brockley Central argued against Big Yellow being given permission to develop that site – not because of its design – but because of its function. We said that it would be a large and impersonal feature on what we should be striving to turn in to a busy high street. We said it would encourage heavy car use at a spot where pedestrians should be. Looking at it that night and again the next day we think we were entirely wrong. It will add a little bit of life, as well as beauty.  It’s not designed as a drive-in, it looks like a walk-in. It could be a capsule hotel or a live-work office development. It brings utility and activity. It gives so much and asks so little.

Big Yellow – we’re sorry. Welcome.

160 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow - is this the first case of a "YIMBY" on BC?

Anonymous said...

do they really have to keep the lights on 24 hours though? it's VERY bright!

Brockley Nick said...

Anon1114 - have you read this blog before? My default setting is pro-development, unless I believe there are good arguments against. I have come out in favour of probably 80 per cent of all the developments I've written about.

Anonymous said...

Big Yello Taxi for Brockley Nick!

Tamsin said...

And, bless 'em, they've not insisted on the yellow - and don't look that big either.

Anonymous said...

My only complaint is that I can't stop singing Big Yellow Taxi every time I walk past it .... more of a problem for the neighbours than anything else really

Anonymous said...

yes, noticed their ads in your side bar from time to time as well . . .

Anonymous said...

1. It is really yellow - all the doors are yellow and the outside is glass so it feels very, errr, yellow
2. I like the fact that it is all shiny and clean, but not the fact they keep the lights on all night
3. I have had joni mitchel in my head for a month, thanks for identifying the source of my ear-worm!
4. I think the ads on the side are linked to your own browsing history or something like that?

Lou Baker said...

Organisations that keep lights on at night should be fined.

Everyone should have smart electricity meters fitted and the cost of electricity overnight should be increased 10 fold. Firms would quickly turn off their un-used lights and machines.

The council should turn off half the street lights and invest in dimmer solar battery powered ones instead which would be cheaper in the long run. Traffic lights should largely be switched off at night as well. We should be able to see the stars again and live in a nice dark city.

Bambi said...

Its a really great thing for me to stare at everyday at the bus stop. Way to go Big Yellow. Just what the neighborhood needed.

Anonymous said...

But many firms work only at night, or work just as hard at night as they do in the day. Aren't lights FOR nighttime? Are you suggesting lights should be cheaper if used in the day? Talk about waste...

I've noticed something.

Lou phrases his paragraphs like he's a writer for The Sun.

It's a very odd way of structuring text.

I don't like it.

NAT said...

'If this is paradise
I wish I had a lawnmower'

Anonymeeze 11.35 and 11.40, Talking Heads '(Nothing But) Flowers', is the usually recommended antidote to the earworm that is 'Big Yellow Taxi'

biffabacon said...

To be fair anything new on that road would make it look better.

Anonymous said...

it's because Lou likes to state bald assertions with no justification.

He likes to state it in a manner that closes down any argument.

It also reveals that he's not thought of implications or interdependancies.

He's some times almost right but that is often luck rather than any particular skill.

He's a troll.

D said...

I largely agree with Lou - it's 2012, by now it shouldn't be an option to have any lights on in an empty room. Not so keen on his death-trap vision of a dark, traffic-light free city at night though.

st doughnut said...

My flat backs on to Goldsmiths new building which is lit up like a Christmas tree all night. As far as I'm aware it's empty out of hours. It's boiler also runs all night, it's as if a large ocean liner has permanently moored at the bottom of my garden!

This sort of light pollution is unnecessary and a waste of energy. Penalising legitimate  night time businesses however  is of coarse unfair. Turning of traffic lights is completely crazy in my view.

The primary school I teach in on a Tuesday has automatic room lighting which apparently saves them thousands annually.

Vesta Curry said...

I don't know - Nick seems off his head in this post ... perhaps he's no stranger to tryptamines ;-)

st doughnut said...

As for traffic lights, of far greater concern to the environment is the fact that most run on a 'clockwork' timed rotation.
In particular at night, how often are you sat at a red light with no other traffic using the intersection, burning fuel.
Like a previous contributes noted, it's 2012 for crying out loud! As a race we have autonomous machines exploring other planets but still use clockwork traffic lights.
Douglas Adams put it best whm describing humans as being so primitive that they still think digital watches are a neat idea.

D said...

Totally agree - Traffic lights should be able to identify and assess the volume of cars to see which directions are busy and which ones arent, so they can adjust their phasing accordingly to minimise everyone's waiting times.

King Midas the Great said...

It recently featured in an Olly Murs video. I say featured, it was in it for a brief moment, just after Murs invites his token friend to hop into the back of his artfully distressed classic car. He then drives to Putney Bridge, confusingly.

NAT said...

This would involve using some sort of sensor which could also, presumably, switch the unit off until approached by a vehcle.

NAT said...

That to follow D's point.

Brockley Nick said...

@Anon1137 - yes, those ads are placed completely automatically by Google and it's irrelevant whether the article is praising them or slagging them off and has a lot to do with your behaviour online as to whether they appear.

But well done for creating one of the more hopeless BC conspiracy theories and for suggesting that we'd sell our soul for five pence.

Brockley Nick said...

Agree with the point about light pollution after a certain time of night. But at 9pm on a Friday it sure did look purdy.

Lou Baker said...

For years people and company's have been
encouraged to turn off unused lights and machines at night. Most have not done so.

So let's start penalising them. Massive fines for bad behaviour and rewards for good behaviour are the way forward in many walks of life. Wasted electricity is one.

Most traffic lights and street lights are simply not needed at night. Switch them off, save money.

It's truly sad that we can not enjoy the beautiful night sky because of all the unnecessary light pollution. Make the polluters pay.

Anonymous said...

five pence! that much?

Anonymous said...

See!

He's doing it again.

Is somebody trying to line themselves up for a job for The Sun...

On Sunday?

Dooby said...

Hopped up on fizzy drinks and adrenaline... Sounds like you were high as a kite.

Lady in the Well said...

are Lou's assersions bald?

Anonymous said...

conspiracy theories? who mentioned conspiracy theories? Looked like a simple comment about google ads to me


hmm, uncontrollable advertising . . . way to go

FrFintonStack said...

@LouBaker "Everyone should have smart electricity meters fitted and the cost of electricity overnight should be increased 10 fold. Firms would quickly turn off their un-used lights and machines."

There's little enough demand for electricity at night as it is, and power stations need to continute generating a baseload. So, basically, you're proposing to massively up the cost of electricity at precisely the time when supply is necessarily massively outstripping demand anyway. Has it never occurred to you why Economy 7 exists?

As an aside, it's an interesting form of libertarianism that would reject all local planning regulations and refuse to supply affordable housing, but would of course jump right in with its truncheon and steel toecapped boots to protect Lou's view of his precious night sky, and anyone who needs to work nights or walk the now-unlit streets be damned. Quick question: how come the market's not fixing this already Lou, eh? According to your reasoning, if it isn't, the existing situation's what everyone wants. It's a form of democracy. Or something. Er...

mintness said...

For all something beautiful and non-corporate would be just lovely, the road in question is the busy A20 from London to Dover, after all, and the Big Yellow is still a decided improvement on what was there before (plus it's a seamless architectural fit for the residential building on the site of the former Elephant House, which says everything you need to know about the latter property).

And as their sign cheerfully states, "We sell boxes", which will be worth remembering the next time we have a thread about people being priced out of the area...

Ossified Reader said...

or indeed anyone moaning about the area being gentrified, mungified, yummy-mummified etc.

Tamsin said...

What bugs me on the streets after dark are the headlights. In most built up areas all that a car needs in order to be seen is the sidelights. With people's increasingly powerful headlights switched on drivers coming the other way are blinded, especially if on a roller-coster road with speedhumps, and all you often see of pedestrians or cyclists (most of whom seem to wear dark clothes deliberately) are a moving shadow against bright lights and only just in time.

Anonymous said...

I use headlights so that other people/cars/cats can see me... take no chances.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - that is dangerous nonsense. Always use proper headlights.

Tamsin said...

@ Anon. - so it's OK if you can be seen by people, cats and cars - never mind that your lights (and they have been getting brighter over the decades) - so dazzle other drivers that they can't see the cats or people.

Brockley Nick said...

@Tamsin - where do you get your data on the relative safety of driving in the dark with and without lights?

There is strong evidence to suggest we should drive with our lights on even during the day. To drive without headlights on at night is the surest recipe for carnage.

Tamsin said...

Not data as such but experience of driving for over 35 years. Observing the car headlights getting brighter over that period, and less well maintained - very often you have a cyclops effect as one side is blown and the other is burning brighter than usual. A couple of occasions when in brightly lit central London streets I have inadvertently driven for a little distance without lights at all and been perfectly able to see - acknowledge that without side-lights I could not be seen.

And numerous occasions when all you see of pedestrians (who no longer seem to learn to "wear white at night") or illegal cyclists is a moving shadow against oncoming dazzle.

Brockley Nick said...

"Not data as such but experience of driving for over 35 years."

Thanks, but I'd prefer not to advise drivers to drive without headlights in the dark on that basis.

"Observing the car headlights getting brighter over that period, and less well maintained"

Less well maintained? Better in the old days when lights broke more easily? Unlikely.

"A couple of occasions when in brightly lit central London streets I have inadvertently driven for a little distance without lights at all and been perfectly able to see"

That's like someone swearing blind that they can drive fine with a few pints inside them. Nonsense.

"acknowledge that without side-lights I could not be seen."

Quite a serious caveat, don't you think.

"And numerous occasions when all you see of pedestrians (who no longer seem to learn to "wear white at night") or illegal cyclists is a moving shadow against oncoming dazzle."

You know that pedestrians wear less white at night than they used to? More bright clothing 35 years ago was there? Hmmm...

Sorry Tamsin, but this is the most frightful bollocks. I would let it pass, but it's dangerous as well as daft.

Tamsin said...

But the dazzle remains dangerous - just googled around and found a forum discussion on the matter on the Advanced Driving UK site -
http://www.advanced-driving.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2046
Some clearly agree with me about dazzle - but I must clearly update my views from those of the 1960s.

Interesting entry on the Halfords site as well - that many people are adding the new EU required daytime lights "because they are stylish". Boys with toys...

I totally acknowledge that it is dangerous to drive without lights at all - I just cited that because it shows how brightly lit many streets are - that you can drive of in "the dark" without lights and not notice that you've done so.

Tamsin said...

The "wear white at night" was a road safety slogan. Pushed to school children and others before there were so many HVJs and flourescent strips available.

Most cyclists are now seem much more aware of the importance of being visible and reflective - and have more kit to help them. Which makes the few who whizz around the streets unlit that much more dangerous, primarily to themselves but also to others.

Robert said...

I guess beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. But whether you think it looks neat or not is beside the point really.

That stretch of road on Lewisham Way used to be a bustling shopping district. An area of real activity and community value. This was not that long ago either - within many people's living memory.

Now we have a reasonably tidy, but culturally vacuous lump of nothing. Its only purpose lies in advertising itself, and providing a cavity for extraneous clutter.

It is not unreasonable to have hoped for more on this site. A building that is active, rather than passive.

Buildings of this type should not be on major thoroughfares, but tucked away where they don't sap the potential away from the high street.

Shame said...

Seem to remember the plans showing a white facade - clever of them to put in glass and paint the doors yellow creating a....big yellow. Ingenious way to get around planners.

I cant welcome this, jobs in the area were lost and businesses had to relocate for a business that creates one or two low paid positions at best

Tim said...

One of the problems with this country is that we look down on "low paid positions", as if they are somehow bad. What they are is a necessity in any successful economy and a step on the ladder for people without jobs.
If we as a country are going to get unemployment down, people are going to have to be realistic about "low paid positions" and realise that they are better than nothing. Unfortunately the culture in this country is that many people prefer nothing.

Robert said...

Tim.
I think the point is - the buildings that were there before provided more jobs, whether they are low paid or not, than the one that replace it.

And the potential for job creation this site could have had was even greater.

Tim said...

Well, it is self evident that you are wrong. If there was a successful business there before, providing great jobs, then the owners of the site wouldn't have shut it and sold up to Big Yellow.

Robert said...

Tim.
The owners of the site were not the one's that were providing the jobs. The businesses that were had a tenancy agreement that ran out. Big Yellow stepped in, purchased the site - and their business model does not really require much in the way of staff on the ground to maximise profits.

So in this case, the an untempered free market has pleased no one but the owners of Big Yellow, and the lawyers they employed to get the proposals past the Planning Inspectorate.

NAT said...

Quite true Robert. In previous threads were people not bemoaning the lack of work and office space in the Brocley area.
Here was that space, which went instead to something one normslly associates with low rent, out of town, sprawl, or inner city areas without much else going for them.

Shame said...

Tim - i would respond, but Robert has expressed my own point of view more eloquently than i could have.

Anonymous said...

@Tim - it is never nothing here thanks to the benefits it is more rewarding remaining at home.

I think benefit should be given only those who work, even if work is simply unpaid for a charity!!

Tim said...

Robert, you have to let capitalism and the free market run its course. Clearly Big Yellow will please a lot of people, otherwise it wouldn't be a successful business. Central planning (which I think is what you want) doesn't work on a macro level.

WC Hilly Fields said...

"That stretch of road on Lewisham Way used to be a bustling shopping district. An area of real activity and community value. This was not that long ago either - within many people's living memory."

Utterly nostalgic nonsense. And lets face it the businesses that used to be on the site relocated to more affortable premises with a new lease. Robert you are suffering from an advanced case of the English disease, myopia, nostalgia, backward looking. Thank God the victorians weren't like you. The world wasn't better when you were young, just different, get over it.

NAT said...

Tim. Sorry to step in, I know you're addressing Robert, but we're not considering a 'macro' issue here. Check the name of the blogsite.

And to borrow a phrase from the old soviet union what else could you describe this situation as but 'decadent capitalism' where people are paying to store the (probably) foreign produced excesses they can't fit in their houses in an area where there is a shortage of space for enterprise.

If you wanted to look at 'the macro', that is.

Tim said...

To change the subject slightly, I'd love to have a nose round some of these storage rooms in a Through the Keyhole style way, and see what people leave in them. I suspect there's an awful lot of furniture, an awful lot of illegal contraband and some other very interesting stuff.

NAT said...

Mmmm.

@WCHFI

What is this 'Enlish Disease' of which you make so much mention?

That's twice its come up now in consecutive posts.

Treatable on the NHS is it?

Your initial post reminded me of the Betjeman poem 'The Planster's Vision'

You'll know the one.

Tamsin said...

I do seem to recall such a programme once - a documentary about storage companies. One chap had a huge collection of darleks that his wife wouldn't let him keep in the house - or was it motobikes? Can't remember... But an enjoyable documentary in a mildly voyeuristic sort of way.

Anonymous said...

"Utterly nostalgic nonsense",...I remember that stretch of road when it was more bustling. A biggish Barclays, a small department store, an auctioneers and so on.

Robert said...

WC.
Is it backward looking to have supported a function for this site that engages and responds to the area in which it sits? This new building, because of its use, adds nothing to the diversity and value of the area.

In our area, there will not be too many chances to unlock the potential of development sites of this scale and prominence. This was a missed opportunity. If many more sites that come up go the same way, then our main roads may become bland and useless.

I am not a great supporter of central planning. I believe in the potential that local free markets have to create the diversity that our part of the city needs to thrive. What helps, though, is a planning system that Is able to adequately champion and nurture this. The failure that occurred here was due to central planning. The site had been designated commercial use in the local authority control plan, when really it should have been allowed to become mixed use - commercial, retail and residential. That would have unlocked the value of the land, and perhaps attracted an investor with a greater vision.

Brockley Nick said...

Robert, I share(d) your concerns about the impact this would have on Lewisham Way's long-term future. What I'm saying is that I don't believe this prevents the wider regeneration of the street (which is a long-term prospect anyway). It didn't displace a lively frontage, it displaced some warehousing. It fits in to the streetscape just fine and on balance, it makes the street slightly nicer to walk along. There is nothing about this development which prevents the return of a department store, et al (although commercial reality prevents that).

Opposing this development does nothing to encourage regeneration. Supporting this development does not hamper regeneration.

As for its function, it's easy to airily dismiss storage, but one could be equally high handed about just about any other building if one was so minded: "a department store? Just floor upon floor of tat sold to mindless consumers, etc, etc"

It's a useful service that people need. It means some footfall to this site. It also facilitates higher density living, for people who are less likely to sit at home (because their homes are smaller) and more likely to be out and about, eating, drinking and socialising in local venues.

The net loss of jobs from the demolition of the former site is a different matter and I agree that it would be a pity if those jobs were lost to the borough. It that the case though? Do we know where those businesses went? Often, when businesses are said to be lost to an area, it turns out they relocated very close by. I would need to know that was not the case in this instance before I started mourning.

Anonymous said...

I have a collection of car headlights, i wonder if I could store them there, along with the evidence of course

Mb said...

I know where I'll be storing MY corpses!

Anonymous said...

It is curious the way some TV programmes feature 'hoarders'for our entertainment. And these storage facilities are spring-up everywhere for hoarders that can afford to use them.

MJ said...

Lewisham way is a ghetto.

Lou Baker said...

Some people are so pretentious.

"Mixed use developments" yawn.

"Site that engages the area" yawn.

"An untempered free market has pleased no one" extra big yawn.

You'd think they live in a nice area - but no. They're from Lewisham - the arsehole of London. The borough slogan should be "80% crap, and rising."

mb said...

Lou, you live in lewisham. actually 'we' live in lewisham but the use of 'we' does suggest the concept of community and belonging, not soemthing you subscribe too.

Anonymous said...

Lou LIVES the motto "80% crap, and rising".

With any luck he'll drown himself in it soon.

NAT said...

Sometimes I wake in the night and worry there really isn't a Lou;

Nobody to tell it like it is,
to put us right,
to set the record straight.

Maybe we are alone in a meaningless Louless universe.

Robert said...

Lou.
I'm sorry that you find the way that I communicate pretentious. I have always found your particular style to be obnoxious. We all have our weeknesses. I work in architecture, so perhaps I forget that some phrases that are common and ordinary in my line of business are like klaxon sirens to those that do not. I agree with you. I will try and speak more plainly in future, for your benefit, as much as anyone elses.

Yes. I think my area is nice - that is why I live here. I do so through choice. But we live in a city economy with a lot of commercial interests vying for space. Some of these enterprises will benefit our area more than others. It is not unreasonable for us to apply what pressure we can to try and ensure that we end up with some semblance of an interesting, useful and varied local economy and culture. Isn't that the point of living in the city? Without this, we might as well be living in the subburbs.

Lou Baker said...

@robert

Obnoxious? Moi?

Seriously. Architects, designers, planners and planning rules have given us a mess of a city. A complete mess.

Not just varied and interesting but dysfunctional streets, no sense of community, a lack of facilities. This is what years and years of the status quo have inflicted on us.

You say 'mixed use development.' That means a pokey flat above a shop. Not a desirable place to live. People want space - they want gardens. Shops need space too - and they get dysfunctional design. Planners and architects are responsible for much of this mess. They do not design things that are sensible to use.

Let me give you an example. The newly laid out redesigned roads around New Cross. Brilliantly designed to attract shoppers to the mix of stores there. Except ...... there is nowhere to park. Okay I hear you cry we don't want people to drive to local shops. Indeed. So I went there yesterday on my bike. And there is not one single bike rack in the area. Not one. And you can't even lock your bike to any railings because they've all gone too. Designed by a numpty.

Southwark, on the other hand, has bike racks outside all its parades of shops. Lewisham run by numpties for numpties.

And I stand by my claim that this borough is 80% crap. Yes we have the lovely Hilly Fields. Telegraph Hill - my area - is ace. So is much of Blackheath and parts of Brockley and Forest Hill.

But for each of those pockets of niceness you have shitholes like New Cross, Deptford, Lewisham itself, Lee, Bellingham, Downham and the shithole jewel in the crown, Catford. Anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

The scale of the task needed to remove the scummy bits - and scummy people - from this borough is immense.

Shane said...

We stored the Armenian money train cash there until Lem burnt it!

Robert said...

Lou.
At last, we are in firm agreement, that many acts of town planning as implimented by local and central authorities have not created the sort of areas in the city where people want to live.

But then you go on to recognise that some areas of London have been well planned, and you cite a neighbouring borough as an example.

So it is not planning and architecture that is to blame, but bad planning and architecture?

Again, we are in complete agreement. This is a real milestone in our relationship.

Tamsin said...

Not only no-where to park, some of the red-route short-stay parking that was at the bottom of Pepys Road was removed - even though that removal was never in the published plans. Apparently a mis-communication but never rectified. Locals objected as soon as they saw what was happening but nothing to be done about it.

BenH said...

Most of Lewisham is rubbish. You are very lucky (and very rich if buying a house now) if you can afford to live in one of the nice bits.

The only saving grace is that the commute into central isn't so bad.

I am not sure why BC was so aghast at plans to build a storage building in one of the crappest bits of this crap borough. Lewisham Way has been awful for as long as I can remember so I guess the land is cheap and perfect for mass storage.

fong said...

I live on Lewisham Way and think it's pretty nice

D said...

Nick - I'm a bit off the pace I know, but wanted to spring (belatedly!) to Tamsin's defense on the headlights front. She's absolutely spot on that there is a danger from ever-brightening headlights, that is somehow being ignored by society. I'd say that your insistence that there isn't a problem is far more dangerous than her suggestion that there is. I definitely wouldn't go as far as to drive on just sidelights, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that I am a safer driver when I'm not facing down the barrel of a Chelsea tractor with it's insane HID lights at my eye level, leaving me to guess where the road is.
She's right about the cyclists in dark clothing too, at least down my road. High-vis jackets and lights are outnumbered 3-1 by idiots in black clothes with no lights at all. (I know that things I've seen with my eyes wont satisy you as a scientific study and as such will be ignored, but it's good enough for me)

mb said...

"The scale of the task needed to remove the scummy bits - and scummy people - from this borough is immense."

unpleasent sentiment by an unpleasent person.

Brockley Nick said...

One of these days I will do a tribute to the beauty of Lewisham Way, which boasts along its route many absolutely beautiful buildings, gardens, trees, an arts venue and some decent shops.

People said Lewisham Way was "too ugly" to make Brockley Market a success, but it successfully occupies one of the area's most lovely spots.

What Lewisham Way lacks is street life. What people who say Lewisham Way is irredeemably rubbish lack is imagination. And eyes.

Anonymous said...

Lou Rocks!!!

...and says it how it is

mb said...

yes, that same bovine grunt is often emited to those who find Clarkson HILARIOUS!

Lou Baker said...

@mb

I love Clarkson. I disagree with almost everything he says but respect the guts he has for saying it.

Why are you so pro-scummy people? Seriously the world would be a better place if everyone washed, behaved nicely, didn't throw their litter on the floor, cleaned up after their dog, didn't toot their car horn, parked only in designated areas, kept their property clean and tidy, did not vomit or urinate in the street, didn't argue at full volume with their girlfriend late at night, didn't wear shell suits, medallions, have tattoos, smoke or listen to loud music on the train. Wouldn't even you find a world like this better?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone ever use that art venue??

Anonymous said...

Is there anywhere (that isn't Catford or Lee) affordable left to buy a period house in Lewisham?

Aged 29 so totally missed the glorious property wave that hit Brockley 10 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Lou is right. Lewisham is full of disrespectful scrubbers.

mb said...

*rolls eyes*

I dislike dislikable people. I also dislike obnoxious, boreish windbags who have nothing new or interesting to say.

I'm fairly liberal with my disapproval.

I don't think some kind of fachistic cleansing process you advocate is great. Sorry.

DJ said...

Yes, that brave Jeremy Clarkson - saying the unsayable against all the odds in his national newspaper columns, weekly car programme and several bestselling books.
He's the Aung San Suu Kyi of over-opinionated arseholes.

MJ said...

"I don't think some kind of fachistic cleansing process you advocate is great"

Why not?

Would be worth it just to get rid of street chicken bones or listen to other people's music on the bus.

Anonymous said...

@MB - I find reading Lou's posts in the voice of Alan Partridge makes them far more enjoyable (and less vile).

mb said...

@anon, I don't know who you are but you've just read my mind.

Lou Baker said...

Vile?

I suggest that people should be expected to adhere to social norms and you consider that vile?

Or to put it another way: you think it's okay for people to piss in the street? Or throw up at the station? Or dump their take-away left overs on the pavement? Or let their dog crap on a pathway and not clear it up? Or abuse their girlfriend? Or to wake up the neighbourhood by needlessly and inconsiderately tooting their car horn in the early hours? Or by parking in areas designed for the disabled or families?

Seriously. This is what is wrong with society. No one stands up against the scummy people who flout societal norms.

Tamsin said...

@Anon 14.26 Yes, a lot of people - courses, workshops, open-days if you look out for them. And artists there whose work I would like to buy if I was a corporation with corporate space - lovely lady who does huge canvasses with thick layers of paint, ending with black, then creates swirling patterns by cutting out little roundels to a different depth. She then a a by-product has bucketfuls of these little cut outs - for someone else to use for mosaics.

Unfortunately another gallery beat them to the domain name "Arthouse" but their website is < here>.

(and, D, thanks. Hadn't heard the term "Chelsea Tractor" before, love it.)

Tamsin said...

Trying to be too clever by half. The website again http://www.lewishamarthouse.org.uk/Arthouse/workshops2.html

And I will have another attempt at a link.

mb said...

of course everyone who disagrees with your windbaggery advocates shiting in the street. Immaculate logic from the master of street philosophy.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Lou Partridge - obviously I think all those things are just fine.
Don't be an idiot (I know it comes naturally to you).
How do you suggest 'removing' all the people that do them then?

Mike said...

Lou uses toddler logic.

Anonymous said...

How exactly do you stand up to the 'scummy people' Lou?
Does it mainly involve ranting impotently on a local blog?
Bless.

Lou Partridge said...

I just hate the general public.
Scum, subhuman scum.

Lou Baker said...

@mike

Thank you. Kids see things more clearly than most.

@anon

It is very clear that you have to have proper punishments for people who break the rules. Not prison - but a clear deterrent. So, for example, if you throw up on a train - your punishment will be to spend a week clearing up vomit from trains. If you leave dog mess on the street, you spend a week cleaning up dog mess. You do this wearing bright pink clothing - so society can see who you are. And you are named and shamed on the Internet, to your work colleagues and to your neighbours. If you don't want to be humiliated don't break the rules.

Brockley Nick said...

@LouP - thank you for that. Very funny.

Anonymous said...

And how do you find the owner of the dog? Or the vomit? Or the car that hoots at 3am? How exactly will you make people wash or stop getting tattoos?

Nobody likes antisocial behaviour but those of us with half a braincell realise ending it is just not as simple as that.

Saying 'remove the scummy people' is the working out of a moron.

Tamsin said...

Is anyone watching the series on the underground? I so felt for that lovely lady from Russia - came over to England for a better life and has ended up cleaning vomit from the trains.

NAT said...

Lou is an 'ideas guy' Anon.

He's not the 'do' guy.

Anonymous said...

Ha! He's not the 'pay for it' guy either from what I've seen of his other posts.
So basically as long as it involves the aforementioned 'ranting impotently on a local blog' he's all over it.

Mike said...

I think the main thing is that he's a figure of fun for all.

alex said...

I'm sorry, Tamsin and other safety experts, but as a regular cyclist I do not subscribe to the necessity for high visibility clothing. Good lights, absolutely, but your position on the road is far more important than what you are wearing. After all most roads in London are well lit, albeit not if Lou Baker was in charge. And that will never happen.

As for wearing white at night if you are a pedestrian. Why should it be the responsibility of the person taking a walk to make sure he is visible to you in your car? I drive a car too by the way.

Lou Baker said...

It's really sad that you all not only seem to tolerate anti-social behaviour but that you almost welcome it too.
No wonder Socialists do so well in elections here. They're all apologists for scummyness.

Deeply depressing.

I should move to the Shires.

Anonymous said...

What are you doing about it Lou? Serious question.

Mb said...

No. I don't tolerate those who post nasty posts about cleansing areas of its residents, labelling whole areas as full of scumbags. It's rhetoric of the cheapest kind, not useful and dangerous if only you were a more credible figure. I can only assume that you are being disingenuous in not seeing the difference, that or not especially bright.

As for moving to the shires, that is something we can at least agree on.

Danja said...

I should move to the Shires

Singapore might suit you better.

Mb said...

Singapore? it is very clean and I believe there are fines for not flushing the loo. Would suit the obsession with bodily excreta. Nice suggestion comrad.

Lou Baker said...

Seriously.

Do you all like walking along litter infested streets - which stink of urine at frequently intervals and are regularly adorned with dog's mess? You think the people responsible for all this have some sort of high-standing? Really. You need to get your thoughts in order.

Monkeyboy at least has an excuse. Railways are a magnet for human detritus - so a lifetime working on them is bound to have an impact

@anon

What do I do about it? If I see someone littering I tell them they've left something behind. If I see someone let their dog foul I tell them to pick it up. They always have. If they didn't I would follow them home and later deposit the offending item on their doorstep. That'd learn them. If I see someone peeing on the street I shout at them. People get away with stuff like this because not enough law abiding folk like me challenge them. Am I scared? I've been attacked before but I think we should all strive for an end to scummy ness and for a return to decent society.

Robert said...

OK.
So a conversation about a building has degenerated into a muse on social convention and punishment. This is where I check out.

Anonymous said...

Very good - I approve and I (try) to do those things too. Now do you see why reasoned, measured comment gets you further than knee-jerk 'string 'em all up' rhetoric?
You have learned well today Lou. Keep it up.

Anonymous said...

That's Lou's 'special' gift Robert.

Mb said...

Lou has just jumped the shark.

tits out said...

I'm a scrubber Lou, fancy a shag?

Anonymous said...

I'll watch out for you Lou. I haven't seen any one in the past 30 years upbraid someone for so-called misdemeanours, apart from the Brockley Society! I'm sure it would be a much better place for your endeavours.

NAT said...

Brocsoc and Baker shouldn't really be mentioned in the same paragraph.

Without the early efforts of The Brockley Society, much of what is enjoyable in the conservation area, might have been lost; and that is true whether someone approves of their recent campaigning or no.

Lou has shouted at some people peeing in public and asked people to clean up their dog mess.

Back on thread. Robert. Couldn't have (as I've said) agreed more.

Crofton Jon said...

Brockley Nick - Due to this article, I was thinking of how much potential sway Brockley Central has in getting the local community to back or come out against developments or other issues happening in Brockley, and it lead me to thinking about how this website is run.

I noticed you work for a PR company Edelman UK (found through the "Brockley Nick" link) and went to their website (www.edelman.co.uk). At the bottom of the website, Brockley Central is listed, among others, as an "Edelman Blog", suggesting that it is owned by Edelman.

I cannot find an "About" page anywhere on Brockley Central telling us who runs the website and how it is paid for.

I hope you would see a potential conflict of interest arising here. I have no idea if your PR company has ever had any involvement with prospective developers etc in Brockley, but without knowing how this webpage is paid for and how it is run, it seems there is the potential for foul play. Could you confirm that this website is not run by the Edelman PR company, and get its listing removed from the Edelman site? Or confirm that it is, so that we may be aware of this when reading your future posts for or against developments?

Please note that I think Brockley Central is a great website for the community. I just want to make sure it's above board and not being used for private, or corporate, gain. I also understand that your personal views on the issues happening in your local community are valid, so long as they are personal, and not on behalf of an undisclosed corporate entity.

Cheers.

Brockley Nick said...

@Crofton Jon

"I noticed you work for a PR company Edelman UK (found through the "Brockley Nick" link)"

Yes, although this is a personal blog, I do like to make both my identity and that of my employer clear. It is also declared on my Twitter feed.

"and went to their website (www.edelman.co.uk). At the bottom of the website, Brockley Central is listed, among others, as an "Edelman Blog", suggesting that it is owned by Edelman."

Edelman likes to show off that it has a diverse group of people engaged with lots of different topics, so we aggregate the blogs of some of our employees, eg: Stefan Stern, Richard Sambrook, etc. It is not meant to imply "ownership" by the agency. This is my blog, not theirs.

"I cannot find an "About" page anywhere on Brockley Central"

The Suggest a Topic page is meant to fill this function. Perhaps I will create an "about" page for the hotlinks.

"telling us who runs the website"

Me and Brockley Jon. Two local residents.

"and how it is paid for."

It isn't paid for. It costs nothing to run, other than our time and we are volunteers.

"I hope you would see a potential conflict of interest arising here."

Yes, a small one. And whenever I write about something that touches on a client or their business, I declare an interest. For example, I work for The Economist, and any time I mention an article of theirs I mention my link. I should say, I am not paid by them to promote their editorial content, but nonetheless, it's an "interest" I declare.

"I have no idea if your PR company has ever had any involvement with prospective developers etc in Brockley,"

No.

"but without knowing how this webpage is paid for and how it is run,"

I have clarified this issue many times over the life of the blog. I hope I have now answered your questions satisfactorily.

"it seems there is the potential for foul play."

I think you exaggerate the potential for foul play. I mean, take the Big Yellow example which prompted your investigations. I was mildy anti this development while it was seeking permission and have now changed my mind. My support for it is irrelevant now, it exists.

"Could you confirm that this website is not run by the Edelman PR company,"

Yes, I can confirm that it is not.

"and get its listing removed from the Edelman site?"

No. I have explained why it is listed on the site and I am happy for it to be so. If it wasn't mentioned, I dare say that would also be reason for someone to smell a rat.

"Or confirm that it is, so that we may be aware of this when reading your future posts for or against developments?"

It isn't.

"Please note that I think Brockley Central is a great website for the community. I just want to make sure it's above board and not being used for private, or corporate, gain. I also understand that your personal views on the issues happening in your local community are valid, so long as they are personal, and not on behalf of an undisclosed corporate entity."

Good. Hope this clears everything up.

Brockley Nick said...

Ps - I don't mean to be rude, but if my job was to do local PR for storage companies that wanted to get planning permission, I would quit and go and live in a barrel in a forest.

an intrigued pedant said...

why in a barrel?

Anonymous said...

i think the way Nick flags potential conflicts of interest on this site is very encouraging. it inspires confidence and, providing of course that it all true, he should be applauded for it. he is a dedicated volunteer.

Brockley Nick said...

@intrigued pedant - like Diogenes (and his search for "an honest man").

Crofton Jon said...

@Brockley Nick
Thanks for getting back to me and making clear the basis of the involvement of Edelman in Brockley Central. A bit more digging in the archives also shed more light.

I do think the addition of an "about" page would be useful. I would also note that all the other Blogs listed on the Edelman Site have either the Edelman Logo displayed, or specifically state that the website owner is employed by Edelman. I do think it's listing implies ownership, or at least official involvement, by your agency, especially as it is on the home page.

But yes, things are clearer.

Cheers.

PS, your job does cover national brands including Microsoft, Tesco's Sainsbury's and TfL, all of which you have commented on on the website at sometime. And against all of those posts you did feel it necessary to state this.

Brockley Nick said...

@Crofton Jon

"all the other Blogs listed on the Edelman Site have either the Edelman Logo displayed, or specifically state that the website owner is employed by Edelman."

The ones that have the Edelman logo on them were set up and hosted on the Edelman website and are directly related to something relevant to Edelman's work. Stefan, for example, blogs about management issues. Brockley Central is an odd one out. But I am always up for a traffic driving link!

"I do think it's listing implies ownership, or at least official involvement, by your agency, especially as it is on the home page."

I understand why you might think that, but it doesn't.

"your job does cover national brands"

Yes - I don't do local PR.

"including Microsoft,"

Not me, but yes, my firm works for them.

"Tesco's"

Nope. This would be a conflict with...

"Sainsbury's"

Yes. We help to write their CSR report.

"and TfL"

Nope. Once, we did something to do with their roadworks planning. No idea what it was and it was many years ago.

"all of which you have commented on on the website at sometime."

Precisely, but none of Edelman's clients (not even Sainsbury's) have ever been involved in a development in Brockley. As I have already explained, I mention client links even when they are tangential, like the Microsoft one (I can't even remember what that was in relation to).

"And against all of those posts you did feel it necessary to state this."

Yes, that's precisely what I said in my first answer to you - not clear what point you are trying to make here.

Pedant Overlord said...

I may condescend some time to thank you for being teacher to the underlings. In time, they will march to the Edelman tune as we all do.

Crofton Jon said...

@Nick
You're right I didn't think that argument through.

I guess I should go find myself a barrel, like the others who read your blog but are not fortunate enough to be MDs for multinational companies.

Brockley Nick said...

@crofton jon - that's uncalled for. I answered your questions to the best of my abilities - despite the fact that you were questioning my integrity (twice). You wanted transparency, I gave it to you, now you're sniping at my personal life.

Disappointing reward for providing what you said was a "great website".

hey ho.

Diogenes said...

Screw the search for an honest man; why can't I get an honest meal in Brockley?

Umbongo said...

Before the advent of large out of town centre supermarkets the high street was a bustling centre of diversity.

Now that is all gone and the best we can hope for is a few delis and boutique childrens shops.

Great.

mb said...

"Now that is all gone and the best we can hope for is a few delis and boutique childrens shops"

So you don't want small high street shops?

(Brockley has one proper deli, a small one and will soon have one independant childrens cloths store. Presumably a Mothercare would be acceptable? *confused face*)

Tressilliana said...

'Bustling centre of diversity'? In autumn 1985 when we first had a look round Crofton Park/Brockley prior to buying a house in SE4, there were a lot of small food shops on Brockley Road, very few of which are still there. There are two main reasons for that:

1. Tesco opened up in Lewisham, closely followed by Sainsbury's at Dog Kennel Hill and then New Cross.

2. Most of the small shops were not very good. They weren't just outdone on price and convenience by the supermarkets - what they were selling was often less attractive.

There was a very good traditional greengrocer in Crofton Park. There was a delicatessen opposite the upholsterer's, which was useful if you checked the use by dates. There was a secondhand bookshop that also sold bric a brac at Brockley Cross. The butcher that is now Peter James, the chemists in CP and by St Andrew's, Sounds Around and Turner's Hardware have been here since the year dot and have always been really useful. Other than that, I'm afraid I wouldn't say that the 'diverse' range of shops in Brockley was much cop in the old days.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I too can see Crofton Jon's concerns. But is Edelman inferring by these links that it in some way owns Brockley Central etc - and therefor has an 'in' with the little people? Doesn't this make it attractive to clients and local governments, such as Lewisham Council? Has for instance BC ever been in receipt of any funding whatsoever from Edelman or Lewisham Council, or Edelman or its subsidiaries - of which there are many, no? - from Lewisham or London Councils?

Time too is money.

Anonymous said...

this ad kinda proves the BigY dont waste a trick...

Are you a PR student? Do you fancy a paid internship at Big Yellow Self Storage? Then read on…

With the economic crisis, getting a job in PR is harder than ever…

Big Yellow Self Storage are currently running an exciting campaign to find the next Rising Star of Social Media. They are offering a month’s paid internship to the lucky winner; and trust me, a paid internship client-side is very rare opportunity indeed. Nowadays it is imperative for graduates to have plenty of experience in the PR industry.

I just thought I would also point out that Big Yellow Self Storage was recently listed in the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to work for.

As Sir Alan Sugar would say, this is no ordinary job application. Candidates ready to rise to the challenge need to speed over to 12seconds.tv and upload their video interview in four easy steps:

1. Register an account on 12seconds.tv/campaign/bigyellowselfstorage

2. Link your Twitter and Facebook account to your 12 seconds.tv account

3. Record your video 12 second video on a mobile phone, video camera or webcam and upload your video at 12seconds.tv/campaign/bigyellowselfstorage

4. Fill in the ‘submit my CV’ from and attach a recent copy of your CV

Feel free to leave me a comment with a link to your 12seconds.tv video!

Lou Baker said...

I'll stick up for Nick.

There is clearly no conflict of interest and - even if there was - so what? This site is not profit making. If you don't like it go and set up your own forum for insufferable pinko windbags - there are clearly plenty around.

I disagree with many people who post on this site. But I respect their right to be ignorant, foolish and wrong - and don't doubt that, in most cases, they're just naive and a bit thick rather than dishonest.

You imply Nick is somehow dishonest - which he is clearly not. An occasionally misguided victim of the relentless onslaught of sandal-clad beardies - perhaps - dishonest, no.

Brockley Nick said...

"But is Edelman inferring by these links that it in some way owns Brockley Central etc - and therefor has an 'in' with the little people?"

I thought the concern was that somehow my employment by Edelman was influencing what I write? What has this to do with it? What concern is of yours how Edelman presents itself?

"Has for instance BC ever been in receipt of any funding whatsoever from Edelman or Lewisham Council, or Edelman or its subsidiaries - of which there are many, no? - from Lewisham or London Councils?"

No. I don't know how many times I have to answer this question. I don't work for any Councils. I have never worked for any Councils. I have no interest in working for any Councils. That is not the kind of work I do, nor the kind of work I want to do. Nor do Councils tend to have very much money to pay large PR agencies for unspecified services.

BUT, if any of that were ever to change and by some terrible stroke of bad luck I ended up doing PR for Lewisham Council, BC readers will be the first to hear about it.

I am always perfectly happy to declare interests. One of these days I will get to say:

"HERE IS A MASSIVE GREAT CONFLICT OF INTEREST"

Until then, give it a rest please.

Danja said...

But you do admit to eating babies, right?

Lou Partridge said...

Nick, would you like me to lapdance for you?

Brockley Nick said...

I want full disclosure from Anons. How do I know I am not wasting time arguing with a bot programmed by Bell Pottinger? That is the kind of thing those guys would do, after all.

bella pottinger said...

nick my disclosure is that where there appears to be a conflict of interest and lack of disclosure i reserve the right to mention it without the usual doglegs away from those concerns by the usual bc brigade. i do not see your name listed on any objection against big yellow. i have copies of all objections. why if you did say you were intitially against it did you not at the time write in against it. also, i have read the thread on it and i cannot see your objection there either. if i've missed it let me know.

Lou Baker said...

@lou partridge

You're a funny guy. If I had a sense of humour like yours, well, I'd jump in front of a train. Not that I'd have much luck finding one on the Overground, but still.

An interesting point here is the value of PR agencies. I'd argue their value is basically nil. PR is largely a profession for failed journalists. Yeah they earn more for doing less - but we all know it is mainly our least talented colleagues who make the switch.

I'm sure there are some exceptions. As PR firms go, Nick's may be more useful than most. But it's still like being forced to pick your favourite Steps song. They're basically all bad - though some are marginally less bad than others.

Lou Partridge said...

I wish all you people would just get in a bus and just drive over a cliff. I'd happily be the driver!

Brockley Nick said...

@bella

"there appears to be a conflict of interest"

What conflict of interest?

"and lack of disclosure"

What lack of disclosure?

"i do not see your name listed on any objection against big yellow."

Correct, I did not register an objection with the Council.

"why if you did say you were intitially against it did you not at the time write in against it."

Life's too short. I am not very organised. I felt like I'd said my piece here. I wasn't violently opposed to it. I don't live close by. A combination of all of those things. Not that it's any of your business.

"also, i have read the thread on it and i cannot see your objection there either."

Click on the link in the article linked to from here. I said at the time:

"BC's view is that the appeal deserves to fail, not because of the quality of the design (which is still an improvement over what's currently there) but because Lewisham Way is - along with Brockley Road - our main high street. A facility like this would attract more cars and cause more congestion and harm the area's long-term prosepcts. Storage centres work best in commercial or industrial estates of the type that South East London is overly blessed with. High streets are for people."

"If i've missed it let me know."

There you go.

Anonymous said...

"I'd jump in front of a train. Not that I'd have much luck finding one on the Overground, but still."

Proof that Lou clearly has absolutely no sense of humour whatsoever. Painful stuff.

Brockley Nick said...

@Lou

"PR is largely a profession for failed journalists. Yeah they earn more for doing less - but we all know it is mainly our least talented colleagues who make the switch."

I thought you'd said you weren't a journalist?! I knew you were.

Anyway, it's certainly true that many journalists struggle if they move to work in PR. That's because they have to suppress their egos, learn to work as part of a team, be entrepreneurial and commercially aware and strategic, not tactical. Unless they go in house of course, then they can just pay an agency to do all that irksome stuff and let their egos run riot ;)

NAT said...

'it is mainly our least talented coleagues....'

He does write those hectoring editorials.

Monkeyboy said...

This is better than watching Watergate. I expect a cut to a scene showing a telex anouncing the resignation of Nick and him waving defiantly as he climbs into a helicopter leaving the roof of BC towers, his lizardy tounge flicking in and out.

(that's about 50 words, at the usual rate of 20p per word. Tranfer as per normal)

Danja said...

Fact: Brockley Nick did not deny eating babies when confronted.

Carn-e-vore said...

I regularly eat babies - mainly baby chickens sheep pigs and cows oh and sometimes ducks.

Brockley Nick said...

I only eat honest babies, kept in barrels.

NAT said...

FURY as Nick finally admits 'I....eat....babies'

Brockley Nick said...

Classic dogleg, thanks stooges.

D said...

I think the main difference is that PR Agencies have to make companies look good, which is massively more difficult than a Journalist's job of making them look bad.

bella pottinger said...

nick, the only thing that it does display is that you show yourself to be against online only, so it is my business, or i choose to make it so. either you are not as interested as you appear or believe the below on your blog alone may suffice, which is ok. better to write in though and have your vote counted or at least welcome questions in that regard if you constantly do not, and without the insults.

"BC's view is that the appeal deserves to fail, not because of the quality of the design (which is still an improvement over what's currently there) but because Lewisham Way is - along with Brockley Road - our main high street. A facility like this would attract more cars and cause more congestion and harm the area's long-term prosepcts. Storage centres work best in commercial or industrial estates of the type that South East London is overly blessed with. High streets are for people."

Brockley Nick said...

@Bella - if you'd just said "i hope you and everyone on BC will register their opposition via formal channels as well as just expressing their opinions here." Then I would agree with you 100% and there would be nothing more to be said. It's the insinuation that something underhand is going on that is so offensive (and completely false).

Hopefully, in future, we can just make our points to one another without accusing anyone of anything.

Anonymous said...

. . . work in PR. That's because they have to suppress their egos . . .

how do you manage that Nick?

Brockley Nick said...

BC is a coping mechanism.

NAT said...

Nick has achieved The Seventh Degree of Concentration.

How about you Anon, how comes you've got enough ego to post but not enough self esteem to give yourself a name?

NAT said...

But then on rereading that maybe your question wasn't a snarky one, in which case, Anon, let me withdraw my sarky question to you and bid you a good evening.

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