The Hill Station - Inception

Jebediah Springfield: People, our search is over! On this site we shall build a new town where we can worship freely, govern justly, and grow vast fields of hemp for making rope and blankets.
Shelbyville Manhattan: Yes! And marry our cousins.
JS: I was- wha... what are you talking about, Shelbyville? Why would we want to marry our cousins?
SM: Because they're so attractive. I... I thought that was the whole point of this journey.
JS: Absolutely not!
SM: I tell you, I won't live in a town that robs men of the right to marry their cousins!
- The Simpsons , Lemon of Troy

We once went skiing in Livigno, a duty-free resort in the Italian Alps. During the transfer, the guide told us that its remoteness and inaccessibility during the winter meant that the town’s population enjoyed a disproportionately high number of genetic mutations, due to inbreeding.

We’re not suggesting for one moment that everyone in Telegraph Hill is related, but a trek up to the top can feel like a visit to The Lost World. An idyll untouched by the concerns of outsiders and a place so altitudinous, that even the TV signal struggles with the climb, forcing people to make their own programmes. Residents of The Hill are fiercely tribal, quicker to slap us down if we suggest it’s basically Brockley than RMT members are when we call the ELL a tube line.

If you lived in one of the streets surrounding the Telegraph Hill parks, there are very few reasons why you’d need to come down. Green space, great views, excellent schools, a decent pub, your own festivals - The Hill has it all. One of the few remaining ties they had to the wider world was the need to climb down the hill to go to a cafe. But no more.

The Hill Station cafe formally opened on Sunday as part of the Big Lunch street party on Kitto Road. It’s the result of hard work by local people, who’ve taken over an unpromising site, underneath the former Cafe Orange and turned it in to something wonderful.More communal living room than cafe, it feels like a lighter, roomier version of former Brockley favourite Moonbow Jakes.

Food and drink were served from a barbecue and tables outside, so it’s too early to comment on what it will be like to order on a normal day. What we can say is that it’s very jolly – sliding wooden doors which open out towards the park, touches of humour in the furnishing and decoration and lots of light and space, which will lend itself to community activities, rather than just eating and drinking.

The event drew hundreds of people and the sense of pride in what the community had achieved was palpable.

As we walked around the dream world populated by 1950s bunting, mass participation clay sculptures and bring-and-buy stalls run by young children, we felt like Leonardo DiCaprio wrestling with the unreal in Inception. Like him, and like the people of Telegraph Hill, we had to ask ourselves; does it matter if the top stops spinning?