Stay Tuned at The Ravensbourne Arms

General Manager at the Ravensbourne, Lee Gentry, writes: "We have the first of our new DJ nights starting on Friday 2nd May. 'Stay Tuned' is a first Friday of the month fixture with a handful of local DJs spinning original vinyl in the form of funk and disco. It's free entry, runs from 9pm-1am and hosted by Dr UM. As it's our first event we have a vinyl giveaway for the first 30 people to quote "stay tuned" at the bar after 9pm."

The Grapes of Wrath 75th Anniversary Party

Grr, fascists... Chris from Cafe Crema writes:

Friday 2nd May at Cafe Crema: we're celebrating the 75th birthday of the good book - and also supporting Hope not Hate's campaign against UKIP and the BNP - with a gig and piano jam hoedown. 

From 8 'til late. £3. Please bring tapping toes and antifascist sentiments. 

Cafe Crema 306 New Cross Road. Text 07905 961 876 to book.

Ken Loach, The Spirit of '45, April 30th

Celebrated film director Ken Loach (supporter of new political movement Left Unity) and Bill Kerry (Co-founder the Equality Trust) discuss equality in the UK prior to screening of Loach's film The Spirit of ’45 for New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival 2014.

The screening will take place at New Cross Learning (formerly known as the New Cross People’s Library), 283-285 New Cross Road SE14 6AS. New Cross Learning is a wholly volunteer-run community space offering a library service, a bookshop and a range of learning activities.

Equality Trust talk 7.00pm. Discussion 7.30. Film 8.00pm

Faux Detective

We have a Sky-shaped blind spot in our pop-culture radar, so we don't really know what Alexandra means when she writes:

I spotted these 'tree decorations' in Hilly Fields this morning. I think that someone has been inspired by True Detective. Maybe McConaughey and Harrelson will turn up somewhere!

Ladywell businesses protest pavement ban

Ladywell shop owners have been ordered by the Council to stop putting advertising boards, planters or tables outside their premises, in order that the newly-enlarged pavement can serve as a cycle lane. They're not happy. They write:

Ladywell businesses have been battling to survive the disruption caused by more than 13 months of streetworks. Thankfully these now appear to be coming to an end. But throughout this difficult time local traders fought hard to sustain viable businesses as fooftall fell sharply. At least two shopowners pulled out of the high street because of the difficulties they experienced. 

But it now comes as something of a shock to find that the council can now turn round and show complete indifference to the plight of local businesses. Business conditions remain tight and competition between Lewisham's smaller "town centres" intense. Advertising displays, planters with flowers, and tables outside the cafes remain, even in the age of Twitter and Facebook, essential tools in the promotion of small businesses. They also help make the high street a more interesting and welcoming destination in the neighbourhood. 

To deny small businesses recourse to this simple promotional tool in a far from benign business environment appears to us heavy handed. It suggests the council is out of touch and lacks an understanding of the difficulties facing small businesses like ours. 

Ladywell's small businesses are the lifeblood of the high street and provide important local employment. We urge the Mayor and his councillors  to consult with local businesses and rethink this blanket ban on A-boards and planters. 

If the measures hurt a fragile local business ecosystem, they should be reconsidered. There's no reason why cyclists should get priority over shoppers through the middle of this little town centre. The mayor and deputy mayor have agreed to come to Ladywell on Friday to discuss the issue.

Yellow Borough

Jerry: Like Bizarro Superman. Superman's exact opposite, who lives in the backwards bizarro world. Up is Down. Down is Up. He says "Hello" when he leaves, "Good bye" when he arrives. 
Elaine: Shouldn't he say "Bad bye"? Isn't that the, opposite of "Good bye"? 
Jerry: No. It's still a goodbye. 
Elaine: Uh. Does he live underwater? 
Jerry: No. 
Elaine: Is he black.. 
Jerry: Look. Just, forget it.
- Seinfeld, The Bizarro Jerry


Whitbread seems to be having an inter-departmental competition to see whether Costa Coffee or Premier Inn can knock out most new premises fastest (poor old Brewer's Fayre - no-one talks to those losers at the Christmas Party)... and Lewisham is in their sights. A new Premier Inn is planned for Lewisham town centre, replacing a car lot next to Plough Bridge, near Lewisham Station.
Part of the deal put together to secure planning for the 60-room hotel is that a new piece of public art will be created under the bridge, to jolly it up. And the proposed work is mahsiweL, by Henry Stringer Duval - a bright yellow LED lightbox with Bizarro spelling meant to reflect the diversity of the languages spoken in the borough.
mahsiweL inverts not only the spelling of our fair borough, but also its colour scheme, demoting the over-exposed royal blue to give priority to our glorious canary yellow. There's not enough primary colour in the public realm and the Blue Borough really needed to rethink its palette, so this gets the BC blessing. 

If you want your say, fill out this survey by May 5th. Work is due to start on the hotel itself shortly.

Introducing: The Brockley Brewhouse Bar

After throwing a successful birthday party at their place, The Brockley Brewery has decided to open the Brockley Brewhouse Bar inside their brewery (31 Harcourt Road). They say:

Due to popular demand we’re opening up a bar at the Brewery! Initially this will be for one night only to see how it goes, on Friday 9 May 6pm -10.30pm.

We’ll be looking to open again and more regularly over the summer months. Please drop by for freshly squeezed ales, one for every mood - Red, Pale, Golden or the seriously Noir Porter.

With two other Brockley bars on the way shortly, the prospect of a decent Brockley bar-crawl becomes more realistic / frightening by the day.

Yapa Kitto

Jazz-World Night at the Hill Station (Kitto Road) on Friday May 2nd will feature Yapa, an acclaimed French quartet (3 guitars and percussions). Their music is a mix of traditional influences from Europe, Africa and India. Salwa Azar will open the night with her ukulele and voice. Entry is free.

Friday May 2nd, doors 6pm, music 8pm. With thanks to organiser Giom for the info.

Lewisham Chicken Sauna

Street Feast's brave #Newisham has not yet eclipsed good old #Lewishambles. Popbitch reports:

Canny visitors to saunas in public baths have frequently smuggled in bags of ice to wrap around the thermostat and thus raise the temperature to proper Scandinavian levels. This was recently brought to the attention of the staff at a leisure centre in Lewisham. When they investigated however, they found two men doing something a little bit unexpected. Namely, cooking chicken breasts on the sauna's heater.

With thanks to Kenny Tinsel for the tip-off.

Brockley Barwatch [UPDATED]

Lots is happening at the moment.

Little Nan's Bar is still being coy about the location of its new Brockley bar, but we do have an opening date - May 23rd for a soft launch, with the proper launch a week later.

Late Knights, who, true to their name, are taking their sweet time about opening their bar next to Mr Lawrence, have revealed the excellent name of their Crofton Park boozer: The London Beer Dispensary.  It also now has its own Twitter feed - last tweet said the builders were "building hard". That was on March 10th. So god knows what they are building. But opening must be imminent.

UPDATE - Last night, The LDB tweeted last night to say that they are hoping to be open by May 21st/22nd.

Maddy's Fish Bar. Not a drinks venue, not Brockley, but still exciting. The New Cross posh fish-and-chippery has confirmed its formal opening date of April 29th.

cueB becomes the Buddha Bar

'One As All' by John Duckworth
cueB gallery (aka the back of the Brockley Mess cafe) is hosting an exhibition of the work of US artist John Duckworth (May 2 - June 1). ‘This is the Tunes and Whispered’ will feature seven large format paintings that 'explore a dialogue between Eastern Buddhism and Western consumerism.'

During the opening on May 2nd at 7:00 pm, the artist will perform as part of the video installation AWAKE in conjunction with the exhibition. Details of upcoming events at cueB here.

Summer Term at Happy Mondays

Happy Mondays - the Amersham Arms comedy club - have announced their summer season, which includes Edinburgh previews from the likes of:

12th May - Mark Watson & Holly Walsh
26th May - Cardinal Burns & Angela Barnes
9th June - Richard Herring & Josh Howie
23rd June - Tony Law & Pippa Evans
7th July - Bridget Christie & Sarah Kendall
21st July - Al Murray & Joe Lycett

It's still stupidly good value - £5 in advance (£6 on the door). Check the site for details.

Street Feast Lewisham: #ModelMarket

Street Feast is the company that runs Brockley Market-esque nighttime events at Dalston Yard and its just announced its first expansion will be to... Lewisham. They say:

#ModelMarket is an abandoned 1950s indoor and outdoor market just off Lewisham High Street and we’ll be breathing new life, light and vibes into the space with everything you’d expect - fantastic street food, cracking drinks, great music and our usual wonderful crowd.

We’ve not done anything like #ModelMarket before – where the best bits of #DalstonYard meet the vibe of #HawkerHouse – and we’re really looking forward to bringing our thing to Lewisham. We’re running for 15 weekends from mid-June on Fridays and Saturdays from 6pm alongside #DalstonYard (which re-opens just a few weekends before on 16/17 May).

At #ModelMarket, you will find Breddos, Rola Wala, SmokeStak, Yum Bun and many more of your favourite and soon-to-be favourite street food traders in their own, undercover micro-diners. Eat-in or eat-out in the open air yard. There’ll also be a wood panelled shack lined with rum, shandies poured from a former hair salon, slow smoked barbecue in an old record shop and a (not-so) secret rooftop suntrap. The original calypso paintjob stays.

#ModelMarket is fitted with a great sound system for our DJs. There are also five brilliant bars - Rotary Cocktail Bar, Shandy Salon, Rum Shack, Wine Bar and Slushy Bar.

The Model Market, on Lewisham High Street, was closed a few years ago and had been targeted for demolition by its owners, but the Council refused permission. This is a fantastic bit of opportunism - a victory of imagination over the high street's dowdy reputation.
It also signals a major change. Until now, most of the new businesses in the area have been opened by South East London natives. Following on the heels of Sodo's Honor Oak venture, it seems that this borough is now on the radar of East London entrepreneurs. The demographics are similar, the connections are decent, thanks to the East London Line and the DLR and there are plenty of empty or underused premises crying out for something to fill them.

As we've said many times before, the supply of good quality eating and drinking destinations in this part of London has not kept pace with demand. There is a growing population of young people with money to spend doing stuff and who want to be able to do it locally. Every good business in Brockley, from The Orchard and The Gantry to Brockley Market and Meze Mangal, has thrived, while New Cross and Deptford are building critical mass.

It was only a matter of time before the rest of London woke up to the opportunity.

10,000 Hands chosen to run Ladywell Fields Cafe

Robert Sheppard, Secretary of the Ladywell Fields User Group writes:

Glendale has announced today that, following a bidding process, 10,000 Hands (the Jimmy Mizen Foundation) has been chosen to run the Ladywell Fields cafe and undertake its refurbishment. The JMF already run the Cafe of Good Hope on Hither Green Lane.

Building works to improve the cafe facility will begin this Summer. Further information (e.g. plans and service commitments provided) will be posted on the Ladywell Fields Facebook page as soon as they're made available.

Glen, the existing cafe operator, has been notified and thanked for his loyal service to the Park - which I know will be echoed by all who've come to know him over the years.

#Lewisham2014

Zod: I win. I always win... Is there no-one on this planet to even challenge me?
- Superman II

The Council elections are coming up on May 22nd, which means that Brockley Central and a host of other local bloggers will be covering the various local election races, which Labour will invariably win.

To try to help people keep track of the discussion and debate, some of us will be using #Lewisham2014 to tag our articles and commentary on Twitter. Please feel free to do the same.

Woolly bollards on Brockley Mews

New Cross + Deptford Free Film Festival 2014

The Festival starts this Friday. Highlights include:

O Brother, Where Art Thou? in the cells of The Old Police Station (114 Amersham Vale), on Friday May 2nd, with 'Deptford's answer to the Soggy Bottom Boys... Danny & The Moonlighters and The Hellfire Orchestra at 7.15pm followed by the film screening at 8pm.'

- A bike-powered, sing-along screening of Grease, presented by Electric Pedals at Telegraph Hill Upper Park, Kitto Road Se14 5TY on Saturday 3 May, 8pm.

- The Harder They Come at Honey’s (87 Deptford High Street) on Saturday 26 April, 7.30pm. "Part neo-realist, part blaxploitation, part spaghetti western" starring Jimmy Cliff.

- South East London classic Attack the Block will be shown on Saturday, April 26th in Fordham Park - DJ from 7pm, film from around 8.30pm. Bring warm clothes, otherwise the youths dem a get so cold.

Download the programme here.

Trees: Re-use of the Fallen

October's storm left some spectacular tree wreckage on Hilly Fields, and the fallen giants now serve as makeshift climbing frames and Mecano sets

On the north side of the hill (left), the jagged stumps have been painted neon, while on the south side (right), someone has used broken branches to build tipis from that would shame the Wicker Man.

Thanks to Transpontine, who did this first.

Albertines spring clean

The pub currently living with the working title "The Lewisham Coffee Co", briefly known as the Malt & Hops and once known as Albertines is getting work done. 

This photo, taken through glass in this morning's drizzle, doesn't really do it justice but thanks to a lick of paint, some sanding and a de-clutter, it's already looking nice. 

Whether it heralds a re-opening or is just evidence that the owners are finally putting some effort in to shifting it remains to be seen, but this pub has great potential in an area that still has too few good pubs to choose from.

The Artist Village FleaMarket

To celebrate the opening of the Artist Village at 1 Dragonfly Place, the team behind the project is hosting an 'Artist FleaMarket', on May 31st and June 1st. They explain:

We have room for 100 participants. Each person or group gets their own space as marked by the studio build plans... sharing open plan spaces as yet unbuilt. You can leave your setup overnight safely on the Saturday evening. Set up Sat 10am. De-install for 6pm Sunday. Provide your own display system, or show on the floor or use the walls. We hope to have food stands from Brockley Market and from Deptford. 

Cost: £10 per space. Deadline to apply: 24th April. Payments and Final Artist List deadline 1st May.

Full details of how to apply here.

The Garden of Earthly Delights

From sudden cracks and fissures the sidewalks begin to bleed emerald, moss dribbles up the sheer sides of glass towers and the ghettoes are burning with orchids... The children are the first to embrace the jungle, shrieking in the low branches, with juice on their chins. After them come the derelicts, the criminals, the lovers. By dusk, deep in the October cold, the first few converts remove their clothing and go naked among the hanging gardens of Gotham.
- Swamp Thing

Kent AC / BC

Richard wants you all to know about the magnificent Kent Athletics Club that sits on your doorsteps. He writes:

Kent AC, based at the Ladywell Arena, had a fantastic performance in this year's London Marathon.

John Gilbert was 16th overall, running an amazing 2hrs 16mins. John has been selected to represent Great Britain at the European Championships in August due to his amazing result.

Among a lot of other strong performances, Chris Greenwood was the first man over the line in the Forty plus category and Amy Clements dipped under three hours to lead the women's team home.

Kent won the English Athletics Team Competition for the second year in a row, which takes the cumulative time of the first three runners across the line from each club.

Kent AC train at the Ladywell Arena every Tuesday night, are a very friendly club and have training groups to suit all levels.

Artist Village Brockley

Artist Village, Brockley is a new studio in Brockley Cross, created as part of the Dragonfly Place development. The Artist Village team has the use of most of the first floor of the whole site for nearly two years, allowing them to create 32 brand new studios ranging from 120 sq feet to 400 sq feet.

The team explains:

Artist Village, Brockley is a concept by Anthony Gross as part of Artist Urban Action.The site will be remodelled for residential use after artist occupation by the developers. Some sites, like Enclave, are nurturing and permanent, others, like this, are shorter term opportunities. The units are priced at £15/sqft/yr inclusive of all rates and utilities. There are no other costs. Non-commercial applicants only.

We are creating one social area with kitchen, sofas and fibre-speed wi-fi and the rest is all studios with no gallery or public space. There are 9 'units' over three buildings along a wavy courtyard, and each unit has about 4 studios. Each studio is fully private, has its own window, partitions to the ceiling, its own door. We will try and put people together in units with compatible practices hence an application process. We are looking for respectful artists who just want a nice space to work. 

To apply email studio@tempcontemp.co.uk, subject head "Artist Village - Artist Application", and describe your practice within the email in no more than 100 words. Do not send any images or other information or documents. Please describe the materials and processes in your work. We just want to make sure you are not making anything that will cause others any problems and we want to put compatible practices together. We will send you plans, sizes and prices.

Thanks to Transpontine for the heads-up.

The LP Bar - First Flight

The LP Bar opens tonight at 401 New Cross Road. The bar, brought to you by the team behind The London Particular, is inspired by the golden age of air travel and has been counting down to launch  for the last few days, hiding a few Easter Eggs in its Twitter contrail. Here's their latest Tweet:

Coming soon: The Job Centre Deptford

The name sounds like the Glasgow Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony team dreamed it up, but The Job Centre Deptford is an exciting prospect.

The Antic team (behind many of South East London's top pubs) are converting the former site of Utrophia on Deptford High Street into a new bar. Before Utrophia, it was the local job centre.

According to their Facebook updates, "The squatters have finally found a new home and building working is well underway to transfer this once 1970's Job Centre into Deptford's newest saloon bar. It also has fantastic potential roof top garden - licensing permitting. Fingers crossed!"

Check the construction photos here if you like shots of planks.

Coming soon [sic]: Lewisham Gateway

The first phase of Lewisham Gateway will include two new blocks and a new public space "Confluence Place"
The first phase of Lewisham Gateway (née Lewisham 2000) is really happening. It's only taken the most buoyant property market in history for this development to finally get off the ground, but the hoardings started to go up yesterday. The official website (with its entertainingly truncated timeline) says:

From Monday 14 April we will start putting up hoardings around the site of our first phase of works. The road network and public transport will not be affected and Station Road will remain open. See this online map showing the location of the hoardings. Initially the hoardings will include posters with information about what is happening. At a later date they will be fully clad with visuals, information on Lewisham Gateway and signage. In the coming weeks we plan to close the section of Station Road between the DLR and Lewisham Road.

Lewisham Gateway will slow traffic through the centre of Lewisham, by removing the roundabout that cuts the station off from the shopping centre and forcing cars to take a more convoluted route through town. But by doing so, it will create a more pedestrian-friendly environment, as well as creating more homes, shops and public space. The first phase will replace the bus stand.

Together with Renaissance (which is entering its final phase) and the Thurston Road buildings, which are now flying up, the impact of the Gateway on Lewisham will be dramatic and, while it will mean more frustrating travel, the net effect should be positive.

BC's colleagues work for Barratt on Renaissance, so feel free to dismiss this comment, but the Glassmill leisure centre has already been transformative and the skyline has quickly absorbed the towers, which were once the subject of so much apprehension by so many. If all this new development helps bring Lewisham to life at night, it will be a massive improvement.

Lewisham blogger Paul has done a sterling job of charting the Gateway's "progress", here.

Brockley Box Art

After the micro library, another of Brockley's red phone boxes has been put to good use.

The South East London Arts Network is using the box at the corner of Wickham Road and Lewisham Way to display pictures by some of the 200 people who took part in a World Mental Health Day workshop at Tate Modern.

SELAN is an organisation for people with severe and enduring mental health needs.

Follow the group on Facebook here.

Colonial Telegraph Hill

Tristan from Little Nan's Bar writes: Before our Brockley launch we are co-hosting a Supper Club with Bajan Chefs In a Pikkle at the Hill Station, where our guests will be spoilt with 6 courses and unlimited Cocktails!

The event is on the 17th May as if it goes well we hope to make it a regular and for people to look forward to. Full details can be found on the FB page.

Volunteer co-ordinator needed for the Brockley Max

The Brockley Max arts festival returns this summer and the team is looking for a volunteer co-ordinator to help run the show. Full details of the role and requirements on the Brockley forum.

UPDATE: El alerts us to the fact that it's the last call for artists to take part in this year's festival:

Brockley Max has always been a festival by the community for the community so if you've always wanted to perform music or poetry, show your art, act, sing or dance, now's your chance to do it! 

All you have to do is go to http://brockleymax.co.uk/2014/04/take-part-in-brockley-max/ for an application form, decide on the venue (there's a whole list of them on the form), agree a date and time with the venue and then write a pithy few lines promoting your event. You have until 14th April to get your completed form in, so what are you waiting for?

The Larder, 71 Ladywell Road

The Larder is new deli opening in Ladywell (71 Ladywell Road, the former location of El's Kitchen) at 9am on Wednesday 16th April. The new owners, Cynthia and Katherine, write:

Food is our passion. Our aim is to provide customers with fantastic tasting fresh food, sourced as locally as possible. We're interested in the way food tastes, what's in it and how it's produced.

We'll be stocking bread from Coopers Bakehouse, beers from Brockley Brewery, sausages from Peter James (and his successor, Ollie) as well as a range of British and European cheeses (including Blackwoods), wine, charcuterie, store cupboard essentials and many other yummy things. Where we can't source British, we will source the best!

We look forward to welcoming the lovely folk of Ladywell, Brockley and beyond to The Larder: There is plenty to choose from and plenty to taste, so please pop in!

Regular Opening Hours:

Tues, Weds  8am - 6pm
Thurs, Fri  8am - 8pm
Sat  9am - 5pm
Sun  10am - 4pm

Avengers: Age of Brockley

Alexander Pierce: Captain, to build a better world, sometimes means tearing the old one down... And that makes enemies.
- Captain America 2

Age of Ultron is the story of a monomaniacal intelligence that lives through the Internet

Gone are the days when BC had to come up with spurious excuses to include the Avengers in article headlines - Avengers: Age of Ultron is filming at The Rivoli Ballroom today and Captain America (Chris Evans) has just been spotted crossing Brockley Road. It is currently filming at Shepperton Studios and using the codename After Party.

Full disclosure: The agency BC works for has Disney for a client, which is the parent company of Marvel. Still, makes a nice change from having to disclose Sainsbury's. Thanks to Kevin for the heads-up.

London: Bubbles vs Spikes

When someone says "it's different this time" it's time to run for the hills. So, there is every chance that another property bubble could be inflating at the moment. But the existence of bubbles doesn't mean there are not long-term trends at work, and the London property market looks more like Google than Clickmango.

London property prices have less to do with interest rates and buy-to-let speculators than they do London's emergence as the world's leading city.

Thomas Friedman argued that the world is flat, with technology and freedom movement of capital and labour levelling out the differences between countries. Richard Florida pointed out that the world is spiky, with clusters of talent forming in the world's greatest urban centres, encouraged by economies of scale and the network effect of the interactions which drive the service sector, innovation and culture. Pick any measure of economic activity - wealth creation, innovation, job creation - major cities are responsible for a rapidly increasing share. Jones Lang LaSalle reports that 50% of all the world's commercial real estate investment now goes into just 30 locations (cities). The spikes are getting bigger and bigger and London is the spikiest of them all, the city best-placed to capitalise on the emergence of BRICS, MINTs and all the other beneficiaries of Friedman's flat world.

If you're worried about "London vs the rest of the UK" then here are some terrifying figures, reported in the Standard last week:

Two in five of the 250 largest companies in the world with a main or European headquarters have it in London, according to a study by Deloitte seen exclusively by the London Evening Standard. That is five times as many as pick Paris, the second-most popular city in Europe...


The study shows that London also come out the winner as a destination for top talent; nearly half of all high-skilled workers in the top five European business cities are employed here. Paris again comes second, with 19%, followed by Berlin (13.7%), Milan (11%) and Frankfurt (9.8%).


London's not-only pulling away from the rest of the UK, it's pulling away from the rest of Europe, becoming even more dominant in this continent than New York City is in the US. London's economy is increasingly diversified, managing to hang on to the international top spots (alongside NYC) in banking, insurance and professional services, whilst employing more people in the tech sector than anywhere else in Europe - approximately twice as many as New York. Combined with media and telecoms, London's tech scene is worth 8% of the UK's GDP, reckons Deloitte. The life sciences, design, marketing, fashion, tourism, architecture, engineering consultancy, education - pick a growth industry in the service sector and London is fast-growing or already pre-eminent, while the fact that London is still not even in the EIU's top ten most expensive cities in the world list suggests the capital is a long way from overheating.

This isn't just BC trying desperately to reassure ourselves that we didn't take out a reckless mortgage, this is to say that London's emerging housing crisis is not going away any time soon. In the next few years, London's population is due to grow to 10 million. The city will be teeming with talented, ambitious and in many cases wealthy new people. The jobs will be there for them, but they will all need somewhere to live, essential services and a means of getting about. Lewisham is swelling with people fleeing from more expensive parts of London's inner core, pushing up house prices faster than most other parts of the capital. Again, this is a long-term shift, not a short-term correction.

These are the big challenges that the upcoming Council elections will need to address. Lewisham Labour's manifesto pledges to build 500 new Council homes and "deliver" 2,000 new "affordable" homes and new primary school places, though there is no detail behind these commitments. More on all the party manifestos coming as part of our election coverage.

In the mean time, if you own a home in zone 2, consider yourself very lucky.

Bespoke Brockley

An example of Malcom's work - the company will unveil their secret designs this weekend
The Brockley bike scene will be represented at Bespoked, the UK Handmade Bicycles Show, this weekend in Lee Valley. Ashley Malcom, the Head Technician at Brockley Bikes will be officially launching his new handmade bike venture Malcom Custom Bicycles at the industry show and unveiling their new steel frame models.

Bespoked is a showcase for the burgeoning UK handmade scene and Ashley says:

Bespoked is for us to officially launch the product to the public. Our aim is to wow everyone enough for us to win the new builder award and create enough interest to move to full production. 

We are building two bikes for the show and we are thinking about making one a tribute bike to Ron Cooper. Ron had a shop for a long time on the Honor Oak strip. He passed away in December 2012, still building frames into his eighties. He helped me out with getting the skills required to be a top frame builder. There's a big cycling scene in Brockley so please come and find us at the show.

Sow and Grow workshops, April 12th


Lewisham earns a third in media study

Jez: It's not that easy Mark, there's just not that many jobs in the media. That's the reality. 
Mark: Do something else. Get on your bike. 
Jez: I can't believe you're making me get a job not in the media. You're such a bastard.
- Peep Show


Lewisham is not just the seventh-fastest-selling borough, it's the third-coolest.

Where Savills leads with one of its maps of London, the Economist invariably follows and eventually BC picks up on it. This time, the estate agents have mined the census data between 2001 and 2011 to chart each borough's change in the number of residents who work in the culture, media or sports industries, which we are all agreed is the definition of cool. Lewisham enjoyed a 30% increase in such types, the third fastest rise, behind Hackney (natch - see any Guardian article, where, if something is happening in Hackney, the author assumes it must also be true of the rest of London) and Tower Hamlets.

The East London Line corridor from New Cross to Forest Hill must account for most of this growth and the trend seems to have continued in the three years since the data was captured. If a dirty bomb went off in Brockley it would be the most devastating thing to happen to the newspaper industry since the Internet.

As The Economist points out, the creative sector tends to pay poorly compared to finance and professional services, while people in these industries tend to attach greater value to the ability to access central London culture and nightlife, so this shift represents a flight to the last affordable parts of inner London.

With thanks to Richard for the link.

Brockley Bumps

Julie writes:

On Sunday 13th April 10.30-12 and every 2nd Sunday of the month at the Sunflower Centre (81 Tressilian Rd), Baby Bumps offers a chance for expectant and new parents to get together, share ideas and ask questions about pregnancy, birth and parenthood.

There is always lots of tea and cake and friendly support and advice from Ella (pregnancy acupuncturist) Suzy (hypnobirthing practitioner) and Julie (Neighbourhood Midwife).

https://www.facebook.com/Brockleybumps

Lewisham homes selling at 7th-fastest rate in the country

The Telegraph reports that Lewisham homes are the seventh-fastest-selling in the country.

In total, 63.97% of Lewisham homes advertised on search engines are already under offer or sold subject to completion - the seventh highest proportion out of the 99 most-populated parts of the country, according to an index by eMoov. The paper says:

The top 10 is dominated by the capital’s outlying suburbs and up-and-coming London boroughs, such as Haringey and Hackney, but southern cities such as Bristol, ranked sixth, and Brighton and Hove, 12th, also scored highly on the index. “Central London areas have overheated so much that people are sidestepping into the next area,” said Mr Quirk [from eMoov]. “Ten years ago no one wanted to move to Hackney, and now it’s the next best thing. There is no question that London has now overheated.”

Apart from the most-fancifully-valued properties at the top end of the market, Brockley's houses and flats are tending to go within days or weeks of being put on the market - despite some eye-watering valuations - as buyers prioritise London's inner boroughs.

The Hill Station Edinburgh Preview Season

The Hill Station in Telegraph Hill (Kitto Road) is hosting a series of Edinburgh Festival preview nights, every Tuesday in May.

7pm Doors, 8pm Start
£3 entry 
Email tommy_toal@hotmail.co.uk to reserve tickets

6TH MAY
Joe Wells - "Night of the Living Tories"
"A star of the future... some of the most surprising and thought-provoking material coming from any comedian in his early 20s" The Guardian

Fin Taylor - "Real Talk"
Russell Howard Tour Support

13TH MAY
Tom Toal - "Prequel"
Eye Spy (Channel Four)

Joel Dommett - 'Finding Emo'
Impractical Jokers, MTV

20TH MAY
Angela Barnes - "You can't take it with you"
Stand up for the week (Channel Four)

Nish Kumar
'Consistently thoughtful and skilfully delivered… tells great stories.’ ★★★★ Evening Standard

27TH MAY
Ian Smith - "Flappable"
Popatron (BBC)

Rhys James - "Rhys James Begins"
Writer for Russell Howard's Good News

The Spirit of the People: An Analysis of the Brockley Mind

Joey: That's right I stepped up! ... And if I had to, I'd pee on any one of you! 
- Friends

Channel 5's "Law and Disorder: Catching Criminals" is a documentary series which decided to test Britons' willingness to intervene to prevent street crime. Though some may question the scientific integrity of the experiment, none can deny that it revealed an underlying truth - Brockley people have an indomitable spirit.

Brockley's David Seal was the have-a-go hero of the hour
In this case, Brockley Dave showed Britain how it's done. The Daily Mail reports:

This is the moment a woman was violently mugged in a busy street in broad daylight, as scores of people simply stared.

Unbeknown to them, the victim and mugger were actors, planted by makers of a documentary. They acted out the dramatic bag snatching on a busy south London street to see what members of the public would do when faced with a street mugging.

But of around 40 witnesses to the crime, just one man rushed to intervene. David Seal, 40, from Brockley, was out shopping on Bromley on Thursday when the experiment was filmed. He was the only person to physically intervene.

The Ladywell Supper Club

Elen writes:

I have decided to set up a Supper Club in Ladywell once every few months - sometimes more - celebrating seasonal foods in an intimate setting.

For the first LSC I am offering 14 seats at the table, over three consecutive nights.

Dates are 24th-26th April. Four courses celebrating seasonal foods at a secret venue. Places are £25.

You can buy tickets here.

The Blythe Hill Festival, July 5th 2014 - get involved

We ran out of "blythe" puns in 2011

Peter James: long live the new flesh

BCer Holly reports that Peter James, the legendary Ewhurst Road butcher, is retiring to a farm in Somerset.

The good news is that a buyer from Peckham is taking over and continuing to operate the shop as a butcher, with Peter retaining a share in the business and lending a hand in the early stages to ensure a smooth transition.

Brockley: The New Blxck

What will Brockley's rap scene do when / if the MOT garage mural gets bulldozed? THE NEW BLXCK is another local hip hop outfit that uses the street art in its video, but this time, they've accompanied it with good music. Roofless is languorous, old skool and smart.

Little Nan's Bar to open in Brockley

Little Nan's in Deptford
Deptford cocktail bar Little Nan's is coming to Brockley. We need more local options to drink and it's great to see an experienced team take a chance on Brockley. They say:

More soon.

Sad sack story

Sarah writes:

My friend's lost a dark green, khaki army style rucksack in New Cross around midnight Monday night, and have exhausted all efforts to try and physically find it so we now turn to the web. Inside was a Macbook Pro, and Toshiba 1TB external hard drive. 

We're all convinced it's probably been stolen by now but there's 2 years worth of Design coursework for uni on that hard drive. Simply hoping if you could pop a post/tweet up asking for people to keep an eye out for it or if they hear that anyone's trying to sell it! All we want back is the hard drive and the work on it. The rest can be sold on to whoever the hell wants it.

Email her here if you know anything about it.

The Rivoli Ballroom up for sale (again)

The Rivoli Ballroom is up for sale for £7.5 million.

Its current owners put it on the market for £10 million back in 2007. That move triggered a campaign to protect it from being turned into flats or a supermarket and it was given Grade II listed status as a result. This planning restriction gave the sellers cause to reconsider and in the years that followed, the Rivoli's fame has grown, as a location for film, television and music, as well as dance, cabaret and parties.

The new, lower price-tag presumably reflects the fact that it will be harder to bulldoze and turn into something more lucrative.

Despite the fact that it can be maddeningly hard to book and its calendar of events is erratic, the Rivoli is nonetheless Brockley's greatest man-made treasure and its owners have been loving custodians. The relatively few public events it holds have helped to preserve its features, while the eccentric booking process means that some gloriously unusual events take place there.

If and when the Rivoli is sold, we have to hope that the new owners take as much care with it. If they have to recoup £7.5m from it, that will be a tricky balancing act to get right.

Ladywell Village Improvement Group AGM, 7.30pm, April 9th

LVIG are holding their public meeting and AGM at the St Mary’s Centre, Ladywell from 7.30pm on 9th April. They say:

We have lots of ideas for events, activities and campaigns for the year(s) ahead and we’d love you be part of bringing them into life with a view to improving our quality of life in Ladywell. We’d really like to hear your great ideas and throw them into the mix too! 

For the group to make these happen we need to elect a committee for 2014/15 and that’s where LVIG needs some help from you! For LVIG to continue to exist it needs members of the local community to represent it and become the public face for it. As a committee member your contribution does not need to be time consuming or onerous – your level of input is your choice, but it will involve attending a few meetings a year and doing a bit of admin as a minimum – anything more you can do will, of course, be very much appreciated. 

If you are interested in joining the committee then go to the LVIG blog http://ladywell.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/lvig-public-meeting-agm-now-on-9th.html where you will find out more information about the roles and how to apply. Applications need to be returned by Saturday 5th April. We hope to see you there!

The Cross Wires Festival, 3 May 2014

Decoded: Cicada 3301 has nothing on this
They say if you could read the poster for the Cross Wires Festival, you weren't really there. Open call for participants in this nascent Deptford / New Cross festival. Via the South East London forum.

Horniman Walrus loses tusk as April Fool’s stunt goes wrong

The Horniman Walrus in happier times
It turns out that the police helicopter sounds so many BCers were tweeting about last night were due to a large-scale walrus hunt.

The Horniman Museum’s iconic mammal had been temporarily removed last night for routine cleaning and it seems that someone thought it would make a great April Fool’s joke to park it in the middle of Kings College Sports Ground on Brockley Rise. The walrus was discovered there, swaddled in loo roll, at around 2am, according to SNT Sergeant Jane Bidwell.

Unfortunately, the animal lost a tusk in the process and the museum now faces a race against time to have the creature ready for the Easter onslaught of expectant families.

Despite the helicopters, no one has been arrested in relation to the theft, but It is not thought that New Cross hellraiser Shia LaBeouf was in the country at the time. Presumably, more details are to come.

Greens launch war against the machines

Sarah: How are you supposed to know? Fucking men like you built the hydrogen bomb. Men like you thought it up. You think you're so creative. You don't know what it's like to really create something; to create a life; to feel it growing inside you. All you know how to create is death... 
John: Mom. 
Sarah: ...and destruction... 
John: Mom! We need to be a little more constructive here, okay?
- Terminator 2

With the Council elections less than two months away, the Greens have chosen to draw first blood by launching a campaign against self-service checkouts.

They were angry about ATMs, bitter about barcodes and sour about sushi conveyor belts. But by god, the Lewisham Green Party won't stand for self-service checkouts in supermarkets. A line has been drawn. The fightback begins here and Brockley's prospective councillor is leading the charge. The News Shopper reports:

The Lewisham Green Party is calling on Sainsbury's customers to contact [Sainsbury's] and request an end to their push for more people to use self-service machines.

It comes after they spotted a sign at the Lewisham branch showing a target for 59 per cent of customers to use the self-service tills.

The Greens' Brockley election candidate Violeta Vadja said: "The savings from replacing staff with self-service tills aren't being passed on to customers and clearly aren't being passed on to staff.

Given that supermarkets are currently engaged in a cut-throat battle against the growing threat of deep-discounting stores, which is forecast to contribute to falling inflation, this is an airy reading of the economics but never mind - Ladywell's Green candidate, Andrea Carey-Fuller was happy to kick the rhetoric it up a notch, likening the infernal contraptions to the Spinning Jenny, saying: "We are returning to the days of the industrial revolution where mechanisation increased profits at the expense of jobs and wages [sic]."

Lest you think this was just a journalist latching on to trivial quotes to fill a page on a slow day, they actually organised a protest about this issue in Lewisham Shopping Centre at the weekend.

Brockley Central bows to no blog in its dislike of self-service checkouts, but with Council budgets being squeezed to an unprecedented degree, a housing situation approaching crisis and even (whisper it) environmental issues like air pollution to deal with, you might hope that they had something better to worry about than which type of aisle supermarket customers are being encouraged to use. If they want to worry about the rise of the machines, they'd be better off contemplating the likely impact of pattern recognition software or what happens when you put a taser on a drone.

The Green Party was once a credible force in Lewisham politics, with a practical, sensible team in Sue Luxton and Dean Walton and a political heavyweight in Darren Johnson. This stuff is hopeless. Once were eco-warriors.

Full disclosure: The particular checkouts in question are at Sainsbury's, which is a client of my employer. But the checkouts might have been anywhere since every supermarket and many other types of shop are using them. This protest is embarrassing, whichever way you look at it.

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