13-year old charged after Lewisham bus blaze

A 13-year-old boy has admitted setting a double-decker bus on fire in Lewisham at the weekend. No-one was harmed in the fire, but the blaze outside the Glassmill Leisure Centre destroyed the vehicle. The Standard reports:

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, from Bromley, pleaded guilty today at Bromley Youth Court to a charge of arson with intent to endanger life. He has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

Police were called to Loampit Vale in Lewisham shortly after 6pm on Friday after a fire broke out on the top deck of a number 208 bus before it later burst into flames.

Thanks to Joe for the spot.

Model Market returns for 2016

Good news everyone! Emily from Street Feast writes:

Model Market, the indoor/outdoor night market from Street Feast is back in its Lewisham home, launching Fri/Sat 15/16 April and running all summer long. Head down to SE13 for 10 fantastic micro-diners, five brilliant bars and a world-beating night out.

Alongside Lewisham locals SE Cakery, Mama’s Jerk and Mother Flipper some of our favourite traders return to the line-up including Club Mexicana, Rola Wala, Up In My Grilland Yum Bun.  Plus, three new traders make the move south east with HotBox, Sub Cult and You Doughnut joining the party.Work your way around and eat the world without leaving Zone 2.

We’ve got your sunshine drinking sorted. Take a bar safari around our five watering holes - start with a giant festival-sized cocktail at Rotary Bar, grab an Uber Melon at the Rum Shack to enjoy on the Lewisham Beach, shimmy to the Slushy Bar for a Tequila Colada, and soak up the sun on the Lewisham High Line with an icy-cold beer. Finish at Winyl for breaks, grapes and grooves until 1am.

Coming soon: The Brockley Station Energy Garden

Brockley is set to be one of the first London Overground stations to create an Energy Garden.

The Energy Garden initiative will transform up to 50 London Overground platforms and stations into gardens that will incorporate food growing plots and solar energy providing on-site renewable energy for lighting, water pumps or other small scale station amenities.

The gardens will be created over the next two years and, thanks to Brockley Station's large green areas, it will be one of the first to benefit.

The Energy Garden project is a partnership project delivered by Repowering London, Groundwork and Transport for London. If you're interested in finding out more, or even getting involved, please visit the website.

Please help find missing Brockley teenager

The News Shopper reports:

Stacey Baldwin, 15, disappeared from her home in Bartram Road. She has links to Croydon, Crawley and Brighton.

Anyone with information about Stacey’s whereabouts is asked to call Met Police on 101, quoting reference number 16MIS012760.

Crowdfund The Hatcham Kitchen

The Hatcham Kitchen is a new Crowdfunder project led by local chef Richard Pang, who wants to bring healthy dining to the denizens of New Cross.

He is seeking to raise £5,000 to open a restaurant that will specialise in superfoods. He says: "Our menu will feature breakfast and lunch classics - bacon and eggs on sourdough to avocado on rye to super food salads and smoothies. Where possible we’d like to source all our ingredients from local suppliers in the south east of London, helping the community and local businesses all around the area." 

Richard has his eye on a location on New Cross Road, near the White Hart pub, which is currently undergoing a refurbishment of its own. Click here to learn more about the project.

All New Cross & Deptford's a Screen

The New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival
April 22 - May 1 2016
The New Cross & Deptford Free Film Festival returns for 2016, celebrating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death with a Bard-themed programme of screenings.

This year's films will include Baz Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet (pictured), Ethan Hawke's Hamlet and Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead.

Beside the Shakespeare tributes, there are a range of other events, including a Summer of Sam opening night party at The Duke, Faster Pussycat Kill Kill at the Bird's Nest and a bike-powered screening of Labyrinth up on Telegraph Hill.

For full details of the festival, click here and for a behind the scenes account from a volunteer at the 2015 festival, click here.

Tony's Hawked

Tony's Plaice (259 Malpas Road), my favourite chippie, is up for sale. The Brockley Cross takeaway, is on the market, due to a planned retirement. 

A large site on a stretch of high-street that has recently found new life thanks to Masala Wala, The Brockley Deli and, potentially, the Brockley Grill, this plaice has potential.

Click here for the details on Rightmove. Thanks to Monkeyboy for the heads-up.

Coming soon: Conran Estates

A rendering of Conran's new office, opening in May
Simon Hughes is the founder of Conran Estates, the estate agency opening shortly at 180 Brockley Road. Demonstrating admirably good humour after BCers had fun with his firm's video guide to the area, he writes:

"We're beginning fit out of our office in April, with a view to opening on May 9th. I know there are some agent-bashers out there, but I'd really like to recruit staff and suppliers from the SE4 areas, so I'm keen for people to get in touch if they would like to apply for a role or approach me to buy their goods. You can email me here."

For what it's worth, I bought my first house in Charlton via Conran and had a good experience with them. The other commercial occupants of the ground floor will be a new Sainsbury and a firm of architects.

Bohemia Hair, under new management

Bohemia, the Westside hairdresser (1c Mantle Road), is under new management and will be going through a re-brand shortly. In the meantime, it reopens on Tuesday and will be trading six days a week, reversing the previous owner's slightly self-defeating decision not to open on Sundays.

Opening hours will be Monday 12-8 Tues-Fri, 10-6 Sat, 9.30-5.30 Sun 11-4.

Curzon Goldsmiths begins family screenings with Zootropolis

The Curzon Goldsmiths cinema has added screenings of children's movies to its roster over Easter. Goldsmiths says:

Disney’s critically-acclaimed Zootropolis will show in the afternoons at 1pm and 3.30pm. The screenings will run on weekdays and weekends until Thursday 7 April.

At just £4.50 the off-peak children’s tickets are the cheapest in south London for new films.

The cinema is in the Richard Hoggart Building on the New Cross campus of Goldsmiths, University of London.

For more details and to book tickets go to www.curzongoldsmiths.com

Comments down [UPDATED]

Currently, Disqus and Blogger seem to be having problems talking to one-another, so the comments system is not working properly. I hope it will be back up and running shortly.

UPDATE: I think I have fixed the problem and new comments will now appear, although some older comments on other threads are still missing and will hopefully be restored soon.

Noak nights

Noak, the Mantle Road bakehouse, wants you to know that they are more than just a cafe and shop by day, they are also a restaurant by night. The team says:

After a couple of months' trialing different approaches to the evening menu, Noak has settled into an evening format that includes a mixture of snacks, smaller starter-sized plates, and larger plates that you can share with your dining-mates.

Dishes proving very popular include: the padron peppers w/ spicy dip; charred broccoli w/ pumpkin puree and shaved brazil nuts; pork w/ parsnip, apples & red wine sauce; and all the fish dishes.

We serve dinner from 6pm until late on Thurs - Fri - Sat (if it's getting to 9.30pm and you'd like to come and eat, best to call ahead to see when the kitchen will be closing, but we will do our very best to accommodate you).

Dishes change from week to week, depending on what's nice at the markets this week. Follow us on Twitter or Instagram to see the latest menus.

What's So Funny About Truth, Justice & the Deptford Way?

People keep sending me this promotion that's currently running in the Standard, with the expectation that I can post it and we can all laugh about it. But I don't really see the joke.

Deptford's a great area and a weekend in a nice apartment, mooching around local bars and cafes sounds like a decent prize to me. Of course, the copy is laden with cringe-inducing buzzwords, but no more so than usual.

Once, Greater Brockley's collective grievance was that the media and the rest of the world overlooked this area, or worse, turned its nose up at what we had to offer. Now, you can't move for features about Peckham, Nunhead, Deptford, et al and we laugh at the things they celebrate, which we hurry past every day.

The prize itinerary includes Wunderlust, The Amersham Arms, The Albany and Manze's pie and mash shop. These may be pedestrian delights, but I'd take it over a VIP night out at Britain's Got Talent any day.

Major housing schemes proposed for Deptford Creek

The Deptford Dame has written about a couple more major residential proposals for Deptford Creek, which are currently working their way through the planning process. 

Sun Wharf would add 268 new homes, while the Copperas Street scheme being developed by Kitewood would deliver an as-yet-undisclosed number of units.
Sun Wharf

Copperas Street
With construction at neighbouring Kent Wharf already under way, this will become a densely-populated part of Deptford, linking the recently built Creekside East with the soon-to-be-redeveloped Faircharm Quarter

Coulgate Street improvement works begin

With the finishing touches being put on the mixed use development at 180 Brockley Road, work has now begun to improve Coulgate Street, part-pedestrianising it and creating a more pleasant easterly gateway to Brockley.

Click here to see what improvements will be made.

The Fruitful Earth - Drummer & Bass Player Needed

The Fruitful Earth play in Deptford
Local musician Sarah writes:

I'm a singer-songwriter with a band called The Fruitful Earth. Album number 3 is almost written and summer festival bookings are coming in. I'm looking for very versatile players who are into 60's/70's rock, sing backing vocals, are easy going & have lots of experience recording and playing live.

The drummer would need to be happy using brushes and hotrods. I'm looking for a 4 string bass player.

We've put out 2 albums with phenomenal press in Mojo, The Observer, Q Magazine & Clash. Radio play on BBC Introducing London, Dermott O'Leary (radio 2) & Frank Skinner (Absolute Radio). You need a car and a flexible life style to accommodate gigs in and out of London.

We're based in South East London. If you love the music & want to have fun as part of a project that's got huge potential get in touch with me at: thefruitfulearth@gmail.com

Anti-gentrifiers scorn social housing

Too good for the likes of us - Protesters don't want any of that sort of thing round here
The laser-guided missiles of the anti-gentrifiers have struck again - this time targeting the Yuppie scum who will be living the temporary social housing and enterprise hub that Lewisham Council has erected on the site of the former Ladywell pool.

That'll teach the Council to try and inject any colour or whimsy into emergency housing - or to encourage local employment in the borough.

A reminder, here's what the Council hopes this development will provide: "24 homes for local people in housing need, as well as eight ground-floor non-residential units for community and/or business use. All units exceed the current space standard requirements by 10%, helping the Council to meet an existing shortfall in both high quality temporary and two-bed accommodation whilst it develops new build and estate regeneration programmes for the Ladywell site and others."

Wait till the mob gets wind of the quislings trying to build their own homes along communitarian lines just up the road.

Thanks to Ed for the photo.

Brockley GLA Member Darren Johnson retires

Darren Johnson (centre)
Darren Johnson, who has served Brockley as a local Councillor and as a Member of the Greater London Assembly, will be retiring from politics in May ahead of the Mayoral election.

He celebrated his departure from politics at a party with fellow Green-retiree, Jenny Jones, this week. Both had served in the London Assembly for 16 years.

He will also be leaving London, having bought a place in Hastings with partner and former Brockley Councillor Dean Walton.

Darren was one of the good guys - someone who blended ideological principle with pragmatism and a willingness to reflect others' viewpoints. He is a loss to local politics. He says:

"It was an honour and a privilege representing the people of Brockley all those years as a local councillor, as it has been representing the people of London at City Hall."

New deal for East London Line promises later trains

TfL has appointed train operator Arriva to run the entire London Overground network and has promised that as a result,  East London Line trains will run later into the night.

No details of the extended service have yet been provided. Arriva's contract starts in November.

Gareth Powell, TfL's chief operating officer, London Rail, said: “We have worked hard to deliver major improvements for our customers, taking a neglected part of the transport network and transforming it to support new homes, jobs and economic growth across the capital. Arriva will build on this by extending operating hours, improving frequencies and introducing new trains.”

Arlo & Moe & Olly & Olly's Mum - Turkish pop-up dining

Olly's Turkish returns for a pop-up season at Crofton Park cafe Arlo & Moe this summer. Olly says:

We are currently running a weekly supperclub at the new Arlo & Moe branch in Hither Green and we thought it would be great to do something in Brockley as well.

So from June, 'Olly & Olly's Mum will bring you 'Authentic Turkish Home Cooking' based on flavours from the Black Sea region, family recipes from 3 generations. A weekly supperclub on Thursday's at Arlo & Moe in Brockley. 20 spaces each evening.
All info from dates to the menu are available at this link.

The Great Brockley Raffle for GOSH

Carinya writes:

My sister Becca Sharples is running the Brighton Marathon next month for Great Ormond Street Hospital, which basically saved my life when I was a baby. She lives in Brockley and has contacted lots of local businesses and got some amazing raffle prizes. Including:

  • £40 voucher for The Orchard
  • 2 x tickets for the London Eye
  • £30 voucher for Wunderlust in Deptford
  • Full body massage from Urban Massage (home visit service)
  • Voucher for meal for two with bottle of wine at The White Hart in Crystal Palace
  • £57 voucher for a haircut at Blue tit hairdressers in Brockley
  • Meal for two with a bottle of wine at The Woodhouse pub in Sydenham Hill
  • Voucher for full body massage worth £40 from Geddes in Ladywell
  • 3-hour recording session
  • £35 voucher for Babur in Honor Oak
Would Brockley Central readers like to donate? Each £1 donated gets one raffle ticket. People just need to put their email address in the message box when they donate via JustGiving.

There will be a video draw on Friday 15th April.

The thin blue line between love and hate

Alan: "Yeah. I think the Irish are going through a major image change. I mean, the old image of Leprechauns, shamrocks, Guinness, horses running through council estates, toothless simpletons, people with eyebrows on their cheeks, badly tarmacked drives in this country, men in platform shoes being arrested for bombings, lots of rocks, and Beamish."
- I'm Alan Partridge

Lewisham Police have provoked their very own Twitter storm with this celebration of Irish culture for St Patrick's Day. The Indy has a selection of the most irate responses. Lewisham Police have apologised and deleted the tweet.

Thanks to Joe for the spot.

The world's most frequently uncovered hidden gem

With uncanny timing lands the Evening Standard's spotlight on Brockley in their Homes & Property section - complete with our trademark "hidden gem" suffix and a reference to gentrification. It's much as you'd expect, with choice quotes including:

Caught between Camberwell College of Arts and Goldsmiths, University of London in New Cross, Brockley has a well-deserved arty reputation, and many people who rent in the area as students like it enough to stay on and settle.

A local treasure is the Rivoli, a rare surviving example of an intact Fifties ballroom. Its kitsch red interior brings high-profile acts and their fans to this south-east London neighbourhood. The Rivoli is where English indie rock band Florence + The Machine launched their debut album, Lungs, in 2009, while The White Stripes, Damon Albarn and Noel Gallagher have also played there in recent years...

Estate agent Simon Smith from the local branch of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward says the step up from a two-bedroom flat in Brockley to a house could be as much as £200,000 — it’s a lot to pay and forces many families out of the area, even though they increasingly want to stay.

Smith goes on: “It’s still a bit rough around the edges. We have a lot of newcomers from Clapham, Balham, Earlsfield, Southfields, even north London, and they like it that way. Nobody wants Brockley to become gentrified like East Dulwich.”

Click here for the feature.

But is it smart?

Has Greater Brockley reached Peak Iconic Cat?

Demonstrating that there is life in the old media dog yet, The Guardian, The Standard and ITV News have all uncovered a hidden meaning in the sand cat sculpture that appeared this weekend on Coulgate Street. While we were all purring over the cat's artisanal curves, its creator, Zara Gaze, was making a point about gentrification consuming SE4. The Guardian reports:

Gaze, 38 and a single mother of one, used a spade and plasterer’s trowels to shape 40 tonnes of sand into a “fat cat” eating broccoli as a gesture of protest at soaring rents and the lack of affordable housing.

“The place used to be an old garage and somebody had daubed graffiti – ‘enjoy your quinoa’,” Gaze told the Guardian. “I think it’s going to become flats that cost a ridiculous amount of money. I was on my way to a friend’s house and thought it too good an opportunity to miss.”

After seeing the pile of sand on Saturday afternoon, Gaze returned to work on it from 10.30pm that night until 3.30am, when a foreman and security guard turned up. Questioned, Gaze said she had merely rearranged the sand that was already there. They let her take photos of her guerrilla art before she “toddled off” into the night.

“It was great vibes, people were coming out of the pub offering me rollies. They really did get it. It’s a stupid pun,” said Gaze who moved to the area about 15 years ago.

There are two points to be made:

Firstly, never underestimate the importance of "stupid puns". The media and PR industry that employs half the Greater Brockley population is at least 90% pun-based.

Secondly, if we must keep using the term gentrification to describe what is happening in Brockley, then at some point we need to define terms.

There are plenty of people, for example, who would consider artists as being at the vanguard of gentrification, and pop-up street art as being a contemptible obsession of the bourgeois. Simultaneously, there are people (artists, mostly), who think that artists departing an area is the unacceptable face of gentrification.

Name anything ever done by people and I will tell you how it's gentrification.

People offering you rollies? Students and hipsters. Gentrification.
People not offering you rollies? Nutribullet-obsessive health freaks. Gentrification.
Houses turned into flats? DINKIES and young professionals. Gentrification.
Flats being turned into houses. Yummy mummies and their nauseating offspring. Gentrification.
Supermarket replacing independent shops? Big business takeover. Gentrification.
Independent shops replacing supermarket? Quinoa-pushing vanity projects. Gentrification.

And so on.

The term gentrification has lost all coherence. Its only meaning is as code for "change brought about by people who are uncomfortably like me, with minor variations in tastes and preferences." The narcissism of small differences at best. Bigotry at worst.

It was a beautiful cat though.

People all over Crofton Park, join a bike train

You don't have to be fed up with trains to want to cycle to work, you just need a shower in your workplace and a bike. But if you are fed up with the Crofton Park-Blackfriars service (a circuitous trundle through South London, even at the best of times) then a new "bike train" group ride is for you. The LewiCyclists say:

Are you fed up with unreliability of the trains that run from Sevenoaks through Catford and Crofton Park to Blackfriars? 

If so, and you can ride a bike, there is a reliable and cheaper alternative. Cycle commuting. If you have never felt confident to attempt this alone, a group of experienced London cyclists from Lewisham and Southwark Cyclists have set up Bike Train. 

We will sort the route for you, lead you up to Blackfriars and help negotiate the motor traffic. The first one is on Wednesday 30th March. Meeting between Catford and Catford Bridge stations on Adenmore Rd at 7.40 to ride to Crofton Park. Pick up in Crofton Park at the crossroads of Buckthorne Rd and Eddystone Rd just a few yards south of the station at 7.55am. 

Then riding on to join Southwark Cyclists behind Rye Lane Station at 8.10 before riding up to Blackfriars where we expect to arrive at 8.45am.

For more details, click here.

Coming soon: Brockley Grill

The Caribbean cafe currently being refubished in Brockley Cross has revealed itself as Brockley Grill.

Eschewing the eccentricity of its jerk bagel predecessor Tickle Me, and jettisoning its temporary name Sy's Kitchen it's another local that's bagged a Brockley prefix.

Thanks to Monkeyboy for the photo.

What next for Loampit "pop up"?

The Loampit pop-up as-was.
BCer Louis asks what I had been wondering about the "pop up furniture shop" which was actually a glorified lock-up:

The ever intriguing site on the corner of Tyrwhitt Road and Loampit Vale - home to the pop up that wasn't a pop up- seems to be having another make over. 

I know there's a huge amount if interest in what's going on though can't seem to find out anything about it. Any ideas? Will we have a coffee shop at this end of Brockley at last? Does anyone have any good news to share?!

Lewisham launches rate relief for Living Wage employers

Lewisham Council writes:

Lewisham employers, the Living Wage Foundation and the Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock, came together this week to launch a discount offer for businesses who sign up to become London Living Wage employers.

Lewisham Council is offering all local business rate payers a discount worth up to £5,000 on their business rates if they become accredited London Living Wage employers in the upcoming financial year.

The London Living Wag​e is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK and currently stands at £9.40 per hour. Employers choose to pay the living wage on a voluntary basis and the independently set rate ensures that employees can earn an ethical wage that covers the costs of living in London. Lewisham Council became one of the first councils to pay the London Living Wage in 2012 and has since worked to encourage other Lewisham-based employers to become accredited London Living Wage employer​​s too.

The event saw Sir Steve Bullock present Stella Brown, from local crisis intervention centre Deptford Reach, with a Mayor of Lewisham business award for the centre’s commitment to paying the London Living Wage to their staff.

Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham, said: ‘Out of all the schemes that exist in London to support employees the London Living Wage has got to be one of the best of them. As a council we pay the London Living Wage because we believe that it is the right thing to do morally. I’d like to congratulate Deptford Reach on their commitment to the living wage scheme and hope that our business rates discount encourages even more Lewisham employers to follow suit.’

To find out more about the London Living Wage and the business rates discount offer for Lewisham business rate payers visit www.lewisham.gov.uk/LLW

Brockley Sand Cat

Having conquered two dimensions, Brockley's street artists have set their sights on a third. Zara Gaze built this cat eating broccoli from construction site sand on Coulgate Street.

The cat has sadly now gone. It vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest of it had gone.

Lewisham consults on gypsy site

Lewisham Council has to provide a site for traveller communities and has launched a consultation about where they should locate it. The Council says:

We are currently preparing a single-issue Local Plan with the aim of allocating a site or sites to help meet the accommodation needs of Gypsy & Traveller communities within Lewisham.

Local Plans must be prepared in accordance with the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012. Regulation 18 specifies actions in relation to the preparation of a local plan. The Council has identified the issues the Gypsy and Traveller Site Local Plan (GTSLP) is likely to include and would like to hear your views regarding the scope, search parameters and selection criteria.

Consultation on the Regulation 18 document will run from Thursday 3rd March to Friday 22nd April 2006.

The Housing Act 2004 requires authorities to assess the need for Gypsy and Traveller accommodation in their areas when they assess their overall housing requirements. In accordance with the Housing Act authorities must then develop a strategy which addresses the need arising from the accommodation assessment, through public or private provision.

Click here to take part in the consultation.

Sy Ops

"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction."
- Bill Gates

Work is now underway
For months, Sy's Kitchen has been promising to reopen the takeaway formerly known as Tickle Me, in Brockley Cross. 

Now, work has begun to renovate the unit and the builders have confirmed that they are gutting and reconfiguring the space, to create a dining experience, based around an open grill. Sy's is also applying for a licence.

If Sy's Kitchen can do for Caribbean food what Masala Wala has done for Indian and Pakistani cuisine next door, then Brockley Cross will become a legitimate foodie destination. Something that would have been unimaginable a few years ago.

The Dark Lady, Catford-Upon-Avon

The Dark Lady is being staged at the Broadway Theatre as part of the excellently-named Catford-Upon-Avon Festival, which is produced by the Action to the Word company. A moment of rare cool. Thanks to Peter for the suggestion.

A good jumble is hard to find

Men's sales activist Mark writes:

Good Jumble has been running in the South East for a couple of years and has a good following now, but they do not cater for men. I have a large selection of clothes that are in good condition but do not fit any more due to weight loss. I contacted the lady running Good Jumble and asked about the next one in April at St Hilda's and was told 'sorry no men'. 

A neighbour who was at the last Good Jumble said that one lady had half a table of men's clothes and these were the first things to go. 

I was wondering if you could ask the fellow Brockley residents if this is something that think would be good to set up to cater for the men. It would run on the same principles as Good Jumble, good quality brands, no Primark. 

Please can I get people's feedback on this thread.

Lewisham is a bellwether for Brexit vote

YouGov's heat map of Europhobia in London. Redder areas are more Europhobe
As Lewisham goes, so goes the nation.

A YouGov map of the country based on survey data from 80,000 people ranks each local authority by the tendency of its voters to be Europhile or Europhobe. Lewisham is the 116th most Europhobic part of the country out of 188 areas included in the study, which puts it close to the median for the whole of the UK.

London is relatively Europhile, but becomes increasingly Europhobe as you move east or west away from the middle. YouGov says:

Taking the net support for leaving the EU in each region and ranking these from most to least eurosceptic, we've grouped the top ten most eurosceptic and europhile, the next 20 and then 40 on either side and the 48 which fall in the median range.

The euroscepticism of various areas partly correlates with lower income (we see this effect in our national polling where higher social grades are more clearly in favour of remaining in the EU), but euroscepticism also has strongholds in the more wealthy, Tory shires. 

Apart from in Scotland (all europhile and one mixed), parts of Wales and London many of the europhile areas are university towns with lower median ages – Liverpool, Manchester, York and Bristol. And support for remaining in the EU almost always is concentrated in geographically smaller, urban areas.

Pretty, pretty good

Khoa writes:

"We are a newish Nail and Beauty Bar in New Cross. With Five Bells opening on this end of New Cross Road, the area is looking prosperous and we thought it would be good to let readers know we exist.

"We specialise in Nails enhancement, Facial and eyebrow waxing, and eyelash extension treatment  ensuring our clients stay well groomed and always leave feeling pretty. Our salon is professional, friendly, and caring. We offer quality services for an affordable price."

Click here for their website.

Brockley Front Garden Sale, April 9-10

The Brockley Front Garden sale is an area-wide weekend of jumble. It is free to join in and the more sellers involved, the more buyers it will attract, so the organisers are recruiting now.

To get added to the list of participating houses please email your address and dates you'd like to join to this address.

The Art of the Deal - Conran's Guide to Brockley

Conran Estates are moving into the area when their office at 180 Brockley Road opens shortly. To celebrate, they have produced this area guide video, which undoes eight years of my work in four and a half short minutes. Each shot is more bewildering than the last.

Thanks to Monkeyboy.

Be part of Brockley Open Studios 2016

Ashlin, from the Brockley Open Studio art event writes:

This year's Brockley Open Studios is happening Friday 2 - Monday 4 July, with a private view on Wednesday 29 June. Applications are available on our website until 18 March.

The second annual group show and private view portion is being hosted by St Peter's Church on Wickham Road, which is an excellent means to view work from all participating artists under one roof and meet more members of the community.

A change in the application process last year led to a small drop in participants, so the organisers are keen to involve as many artists as possible this year.

Deptford campaigner launches bid to throw off Lewisham anchor

Hugh: You know, I've attempted to enjoy your family on a personal level, on an ironic level, as a novelty, as camp, as kitsch, as cautionary example...nothing works.
- The Simpsons

A month early, dilettante campaigner, broadcaster and author Ray Woolford has announced that, after the triumph of his Estate Agent Cafe and Deptford Heritage Festival, his next trick will be to rope off Deptford as an independent Parish Council and create his own kingdom. His blog reveals:

"Delighted to be leading the campaign to re-launch Deptford Parish Council after 50 years that will restore Deptford’s Heritage. Identity, and sense of community whilst restoring legal powers on planning, licensing. By-Laws and we trust built greater community cohesion , as Deptford will be the first South London area to bring back its Parish Council and first London Parish Council to be restored.

"The Queens Park Council will be a brand new Parish, we are seeking to restore what we had in 1965 at the time, the most popular Parish Council in London which  the media early news reports confirm. With local residents constantly feeling imposed upon and what seems to be no accountably or real community advantage on Planning. Development and Licensing, a Parish Council will allow residents a real voice with powers to change and to help maintain Deptford’s Pride. Identity and restore its heritage and importance in global history."

This is a map of his realm:

To decide the boundaries, he ordered nine turtles to swim to his stone
And, using these turtles, he built a new throne.
He made each turtle stand on another one's back
And he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.
And then Woolford climbed up.  He sat down on the pile.
What a wonderful view! He could see 'most a mile!

As a writer, Woolford makes Harry Knowles look like Percy Shelley. As a performance artist, he is unsurpassed. Thanks to Clare for the hat tip.

New homes to replace Brockley Road car lot

Brockley was once one large dumping ground for cars, pockmarked with hardscrabble scraps of land that served as car dealerships, garages or impromptu van hire car parks. Gradually, through better enforcement, new road layouts and developers' thirst for places to build housing, these spots are disappearing. That is good, but what follows is not always.

The car lot at 196 Brockley Road has recently been cleared and it appears this is what is to replace it: A four storey building comprising six flats.

It is fair to say that Brockley does not do corner sites well. It may have lost something in the artist's translation but this is pig ugly. Aesthetics are somewhat subjective, but not *that* subjective.

Once, the developer wanted to build a restaurant at this location, which would have had the effect of stretching the high street, but Lewisham Council said that they didn't think it was a suitable location. So now we have this. Thanks Lewisham.

With thanks to Paul for the spot.