Lewisham is the new Hull

The Mayor of London has taken a leaf out of the national government's book, who in turn nicked the idea from the EU. Sadiq Khan is launching a search for the first ever London Borough of Culture.

This shouldn't even be a competition. Bullock must bring it home for the borough. The release says:

A huge celebration of culture across the capital was kick-started by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today as he launched the search for the first-ever London Borough of Culture.

The major new London Borough of Culture Award will see the capital’s 32 boroughs bid for more than £1million of funding to stage a programme of world-class cultural events and initiatives, and to develop a plan to make culture an integral part of the boroughs’ future1. The competition will also be supported by a grant of £300,000 from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder. The City Corporation will also explore how its cultural assets, expertise, and services can support the competition and the winning boroughs.

From today, boroughs across the capital will begin to develop their bids to be awarded this major local funding for culture. In February 2018, two winning boroughs will be named London Borough of Culture, with one taking up the title in 2019 and the other in 2020.

Inspired by the UK City and European Capital of Culture programmes, the competition fulfils one of Sadiq’s key manifesto pledges and aims to strengthen London’s reputation as an international powerhouse for culture, by highlighting the hidden cultural gems across the capital.

The winning boroughs will be chosen based on their artistic vision and ambition to deliver outstanding cultural initiatives in their local area, putting communities at the centre of the programme’s design and delivery.  The top bids will not only be expected to shine a spotlight on existing cultural treasures, but to bring new cultural opportunities to the area, encouraging their own residents to get involved as well as Londoners from across the capital, and visitors from further afield - this might include festivals, exhibitions, pop ups, and other arts activities.

A wide range of London’s leading cultural institutions will help the winning boroughs to realise their vision, including the Barbican, the Museum of London, the Roundhouse, Film London and the National Trust and others. The Heritage Lottery Fund and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation will also work with the winning boroughs to help them secure further funding for bespoke cultural projects.

In addition, £600,000 is available for to up to six boroughs which don’t win the title, but which put forward exemplary projects.

Another major element of the competition will focus on how the award can bring real change to the winning borough, delivering a lasting legacy for the area. Boroughs will be encouraged to consider how arts and culture can help them deliver their local plans, for example through training and skills development as well as regeneration projects.

Only a third of Londoners feel that they make the most of the culture on their doorstep. From the outset of his Mayoralty, Sadiq Khan has pledged to make growing the capital’s cultural industry a core priority, and today’s launch sees him delivering on a key manifesto commitment to ensure the capital’s cultural riches are celebrated through the entire city and accessible to as many Londoners as possible.

Contemporary artist Bob and Roberta Smith joined Sadiq Khan at City Hall this morning, where he unveiled an artwork created especially for the London Borough of Culture launch.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Culture is the DNA of our city. It has the power to transform communities and to bring people closer together. Now, more than ever, there is a pressing need to reach out to our neighbours and celebrate London’s unique and diverse culture. London Borough of Culture is a great way to do just that whilst showing the world that our cultural gems extend way beyond the centre of the capital to all corners of the city.

"From the outset of my Mayoralty, I pledged to make growing London’s culture a core priority and I’m proud to launch this ground-breaking new initiative, which I know will bring culture to life across the city. I can’t wait to see what inspiring ideas our boroughs have in store.”

Justine Simons OBE, Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, said: “We are so lucky to have such inspiring culture on offer every day in London. There is always something to discover, every London borough is full of talent, culture and creativity. London Borough of Culture is a chance to be ambitious, to celebrate what we love about our boroughs and to dream big!”

The closing date for boroughs to submit their bids is 1 December 2017. The London Borough of Culture Prospectus, a video featuring the Mayor of London, and guidance on the application process is available at www.london.gov.uk/boroughofculture

People's Day 2017 - July 8

Brockley Open Studios 2017

The awesome Brockley Open Studio weekend is upon us. The team writes:

This year Brockley Open Studios celebrates its 25th anniversary. Wander along the leafy streets of Brockley and Ladywell this weekend (Saturday and Sunday 2pm- 8pm and Monday 5pm-8pm), see some of the beautiful art and have a sneaky look inside some of those big houses. It's like a 3D version of Rightmove but with a cultural twist.

There is also a group show at St Peter's Church Wickham Road. Come along tomorrow evening for the launch party (Thursday 29th June 6pm-9pm). All welcome and refreshments provided.

Click here for full details

Rad Bikes, 148 Lewisham Way

Rad Bikes, the bespoke bike build specialist, has opened on Lewisham Way.

The great and the good of South East London cycling turned out to celebrate this evening and here is a badly-taken photograph to prove it.

Click here for their website.

Wight jazz at Brickfields

Brocktail bar Brickfields has got lovely new windows that open out on to Brockley Road, just in time for the summer. 

On Sunday nights, the breezy mood is matched by live jazz performances from 6-9.30pm. They've already staged two jazz nights and due to their popularity, plan more throughout the summer.

The Marquis of Carabas

In July, local art collective Artmongers will complete the visual transformation of New Cross pub The Marquis of Granby, creating a mountainscape in the middle of the one-way system.

Jonathan Coe in Sydenham

Jonathan Jo Has a mouth like an "O,"
But this is what makes him so funny:
If you give him a smile, Only once in a while,
Then he never expects any money!
- AA Milne

The author of The Rotters Club and What a Carve Up is coming to Sydenham. The Kirkdale Bookshop team write:

On Friday 30th June, to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week, Spontaneous Productions in association with Kirkdale Bookshop is hosting Jonathan Coe in conversation with Matthew Sweet at 8pm, upstairs at Sydenham Centre, 44a Sydenham Rd SE26 5QX.
Tickets: £8 full price, £6 concessions.

Book online at spontaneousproductions.co.uk/jonathan-coe/
Box office at Kirkdale Bookshop, 272, Kirkdale SE26 4RS.

Footloose, July 8

Brockley Social Club's retro stylings might be better suited to a screening of Rita, Sue and Bob Too, but Hatty is giving it a Footloose makeover. She writes:

We are screening the brilliant dance movie, Footloose, followed by an 80's disco featuring all of your favourite 80's pop tunes.

Join us at The Brockley Social Club on Saturday 8th July - please do dress up in 80s gear if you like - as an incentive, we will award prizes to the best dressed!

For early birds who arrive between 7.30 and 8.00 on the night, we will have Pop Up Make Up and Hair Crimping in the snug (for a 'pay what you like' donation). Guaranteed 80's look in minutes. Ellnet, rollers and peach eye shadow included!

After the film, we bring you the very best of the 80's. Enjoy the tunes you can't believe you still know the words to. Depeche Mode, Spandau Ballet, A-ha, Japan, Yazoo, we aim to play something for (almost) everyone.  Power ballads also available!

Tickets available here.

Coming soon: Another Elephant

I saw a little elephant standing in my garden,
I said 'You don't belong in here', he said 'I beg you pardon?'
- Spike Milligan

Another local store opening to share...

Helen from Brockley children's store (and Brockley Central award winner) Gently Elephant writes: "We have collected the keys for the old Swintons shop in Crofton Park (between Aqua and Rosie's the florist) and we will be opening a new uptown store with an unexpected twist!"

More news soon.

Coming soon: Rad Bikes

Rad Bikes is a new independent bike shop, opening on June 26th at 148 Lewisham Way, between Upper Brockley and Rokeby Roads. Founders Ben and Tom explain:

"Maintenance is key but we will have accessories, locks, pumps and helmets. We also make wheels.

"We also hope to secure genesis bikes. But also will be doing other bikes. We have worked closely with Brother Cycles in the past. But everything can be ordered and we can advise on that."

Longplayer Day, June 21

James Bulley from Goldsmiths writes:

I'm curating a 12 hour event (with Jem Finer and Helen Frosi) next Wednesday 21 June on Summer Solstice called Longplayer Day.

Events will stretch from the Great Hall at Goldsmiths, across New Cross, Deptford, Greenwich, underneath the river, and then along the shoreline of the North bank to Trinity Buoy Wharf.

This will be the inaugural Longplayer Day, and the programming of the event explores time, duration and environmental thinking. This first edition marks a celebration of a recent partnership between Jem Finer's Longplayer and Goldsmiths, University of London.

The whole day is free, and we​'d like to invite everyone in the locality to come along at any point they wish - we're linking together lots of art communities with this and its been a really wonderful process, bringing together people side by side for years that have never actually met!

For up to date listings, please see our website and Facebook page.

Our Air, Your Health - June 19

The Deptford Lounge

Poor air quality is killing many of us and costing those who survive a fortune in EU fines. The government's reticence properly to tax or to replace London's diesel vehicles means we're waiting for the electric vehicle revolution to save us. Fortunately, Liz is on the case. She writes:

I am helping to organise an event in Deptford on 19 June and am just trying to spread the word locally.

I work with a group of scientists at King’s College London and Imperial College London, we belong to the Centre for Environment and Health, which does research into the health effects of environmental pollutants.

We do a lot of research into the health effects of air pollution (as well as other pollutants), and our Centre members at King’s run the London Air Quality Network and the LondonAir website. One of our Centre funders, MRC, organises a week-long festival of public engagement events and as part of that we are organising an evening of interactive activities and short talks based on our research into air quality and related issues – basically a small science fair type event with several short talks throughout the evening.

We have chosen Deptford as we are keen to move away from our university campuses a bit, and as well we have some links with Lewisham Council.

Full details of the event are available here.

Summer Solstice on Telegraph Hill

Virtue signalling

Not only does this new sign, created by Lionel Stanhope as part of the Street Art Festival, brighten this Brockley Road bridge, but it succinctly captures the truth of Greater Brockley: Brockley to the left, Brockley to the right. Whichever way you turn, there you are.

Labour Lewisham landslide

This morning, Vicky Foxcroft was returned as Lewisham Deptford's MP with an incredible vote tally of 42,461, leaving Tory candidate Melanie McLean trailing in second place with 7,562 votes. The turnout was a healthy 70.5%.

In Lewisham East and Lewisham West, the picture was the same. Heidi Alexander and Ellie Reeves each won for Labour, earning huge majorities over second-placed Tory candidates, with desultory showings from the Lib Dems in third.

The votes in full, via the Lewisham Council website, were:

Lewisham Deptford

John Coughlin, Green Party - 1,640
Bobby Dean, Liberal Democrats - 2,911
Vicky Foxcroft, Labour - 42,461
Jane Lawrence, Realists - 61
Malcolm Martin, Christian Peoples Alliance - 252
Laura McAnea, Animal Welfare Party - 225
Melanie McLean, Conservative - 7,562
​Total rejected votes - 208

Turnout: 70.5%

Lewisham East

Heidi Alexander, Labour - 32,072
Keith Forster, UKIP - 798
Peter Fortune, Conservative 10,859
Emily Frith, Liberal Democrats - 2,086
Maureen Martin, Christian Peoples Alliance - 228
Storm Poorun, Green Party - 803
Willow Winston, Independent - 355
Total rejected votes - 111

Turnout: 69.5%

Lewisham West & Penge

Shaun Bailey, Conservative - 12,249
Hoong-Wai Cheah, UKIP - 700
Katherine Hortense, Christian Peoples Alliance 325
Ellie Reeves, Labour - 35,411
John Russell, Lib Dems - 3,317
Karen Wheller, Green Party - 1,144
Russell White, Populist - 50
Total rejected votes: 156

Turnout: 73.19%

Pink House creator passes away

Mr Pink outside his unique house in 2002
Mr Brenton Pink, the creator of the legendary Pink House on Loampit Hill, has reportedly passed away. On Facebook, a family friend reported the news, adding:

"Mr Pink was a very well known man to anyone who grew up in Lewisham, you would often see him outside his house talking and seeing to his plants, he would always talk to anyone who wanted to talk to him. He left behind his wife, children and grandchildren who I know will miss him terribly."

He also leaves behind a unique legacy in the shape of his eccentrically-decorated home, which combines Victorian architecture with Caribbean-rococo styling.

With thanks to CamberwickKid for the news.

Lewisham Elects

It may, in many ways, have been a depressing election campaign, consisting of car crash interviews, uncosted promises, reductionist slogans and unprecedented U-turns, with a long shadow cast by the horror of Islamic terrorism.

But on the other hand, this is the first election in generations where the public has been offered a real battle of ideas. There are stakes beyond which colour rosette you prefer. There is choice.

The Conservatives may have moved to the left economically - with the promise of a new wealth tax, more Keynesian stimulus by pushing back their deadline to achieve a balanced budget, and state aid to reduce regional disparities - but Labour has embraced socialism red in tooth and claw, with nationalisation, a tax take that would be the UK's highest since World War II and £250 billion of further stimulus over ten years. The Tories would end the Pensions Triple Lock. Labour would scrap University tuition fees and reintroduce maintenance grants. Five years ago, it was thought impossible that these kinds of policies could come back on to the electoral table.

The reemergence of choice between the main parties has also reversed a trend that seemed irreversible - the decline of the two-party system and the rise of smaller players. In London, Labour seems likely to wipe the floor with all comers, increasing its support in stronghold areas like Lewisham by peeling off votes from the Greens and LibDems and returning a strong crop of MPs in the form of Alexander, Foxcroft and Reeves.

So nationally, there is a real choice, but locally, it is likely that we will make only one choice. The real question is which parties will emerge as the primary challengers to Labour in Lewisham.

Full details of who to vote for and how to vote can be found here on the Lewisham Council website. How will you cast your vote?

Thunder and Lightning and Beer

Revolt! Art Show: June 9-10

"The sweetness of glory is so great that, join it to what we will, even to death, we love it."
- Blaise Pascal

If you've not had enough of deadly violence motivated by totalitarian ideology recently, then this weekend at 17 Harts Lane (New Cross Gate, SE14 5UP), art event Revolt! will bring you a grab bag of talks about communism, armed struggle and revolution.

The organisers promise a 'celebration of the centenary of the 1917 Russian Revolution and the revolutionary women of the women of the world, with beautiful images from the Soviet Union to photos and films of local resistance and current international struggles.'

FRIDAY 09 June 2017 | 6-9pm | Opening night | Free entry

Work on display from all supporting artists (including Chan Maroon, Andrew Cooper, Leah Jai Persad, James Waters and Roisin Anderson.

Short films | Low-price bar (donations) | Banner painting | Books, bags, posters for sale | Raffle

SATURDAY 10 June 2017 | 12-7pm

All day films, talks and exhibition.

1PM | Women’s Defence Units (YPJ): women at the heart of the Kurdish struggle
Film and discussion about Rojava, resistance, self-determination and the women leading the struggle.

2.30PM | Radical self-defence class run by Solstar Sports Association
Led by women trainers. All welcome, no experience necessary. ‘Training together for the struggle’.

4PM | Sylvia Pankhurst: art, working class women and the Hands Off Russia campaigns

5PM | Women in Cuba: the revolution within the revolution. Talk and discussion about the ongoing role women play in building socialism

All talks and films followed by open discussion.

Parlez betting on Scandi chic for Coulgate Street

You've seen the outside, behold the inside. This is how Parlez, the new restaurant coming to Coulgate Street this summer, will look when it opens. The team behind the project describe their influences as Scandi chic and French bistro.
The team they've put in place for opening day will be led by head chef Michal Zajac from the Groucho Club.
Where once, Brockley businesses complained that there were not enough daytime customers to sustain them, Parlez aims to be an all-day experience, with brunch, lunch and dinner menus.

The team are now hoping to be ready to open in late July, though the usual caveats about how long building work can take apply.

Diamonds for Sierra Leone

Roma writes:

I’m a local Brockley resident. Last Sunday I ran the Sierra Leone marathon (a brutally undulating course in 35 degrees with some gastro intestinal challenges!) to raise funds for the charity 'Street Child’ whose core focus is to provide educational facilities and support in some of the most deprived parts of Sierra Leone in order to give young boys and girls the best start in life as is possible.

As part of my fundraising efforts I’m taking over the pub quiz at the Orchard this Sunday - 11th June 2017. All of the proceeds will go to Street Child.

I would love to see you there! The evening starts at 7pm, but do arrive earlier to secure a table and it’s £3 p/p to enter. It’s a great opportunity to get the local community together, I hope you can make it.

Shade, the changing plan

The Key to Brockley, one of SE4's longest-surviving pieces of street art, has been given a 2017 makeover as part of this year's Street Art Festival, enabling the key to cast a long shadow.

The Festival currently only has 760 followers on Instagram, which is a travesty, given how many great images they post. Follow them here.

A post shared by Brockley Street Art Festival (@brockleystreetartfestival) on

The Brockley Street Art Festival 2017

The Brockley Street Art Festival is underway. Works are taking shape across the area.

A post shared by Brockley Street Art Festival (@brockleystreetartfestival) on
A post shared by Brockley Street Art Festival (@brockleystreetartfestival) on

Healthy eating on a budget - free classes

Naomi from Pulse writes:

We are running a course of Free Cookery classes for Brockley residents on Wednesdays in June, funded by Lewisham NHS Trust. The course aims to teach people about healthy eating on a budget, and they culminate in a shared meal.

We have a few places left on 7, 14 , 21 and 28 June at 11.00 to 1.30pm. The sessions take place at St Andrews Church Hall, (285 Brockley Road). In these sessions we:

· explore ideas as to what makes a healthy diet
· learn to source good value food locally  and prepare a series of simple enjoyable dishes and meals
· compile a folder of peoples favourite recipes from their past
· all sit down together to share a meal.

Booking is essential. For further info please contact Naomi on 07714770522 or call in at the Pinnacle Housing Office at Ground Floor, 111 Endwell Road.

The Laugh Train Home from Honor Oak

Tiff Stevenson will perform on the opening night
Another new local comedy night is coming to Greater Brockley. Local comic Robyn Perkins writes:

After running a successful comedy night (Laugh Train Home) in SW11 for over 3 years, I am starting a new weekly night at The Honor Oak Pub on June 13th.

The Laugh Train Home host will welcome Edinburgh preview shows from TV credited acts including John Robins (Mock the Week, Radio X), Ivo Graham (Live at the Apollo), Dane Baptiste (Hither Green superstar, writer of BBC sitcom Sunny D, Live at the Apollo & more), Sarah Kendall (two time Edinburgh Award nominee), Tom Deacon (Capital FM Breakfast Show host), and Ellie Taylor (Live at the Apollo).

Previews will be running until the Fringe starts from 8-10PM at the pub; tickets are £5 in advance / £7 at the door.  Starting September 5th, Laugh Train Home's pro comedy nights will commence and will run weekly; tickets will be £6 in advance / £8 at the door.

Time: 8:00-10:00PM


June 13th: Tiff Stevenson (Mock The Week, Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Drunk History, People Just Do Nothing) with Darius Davies and MC Robyn Perkins

June 20th: Ellie Taylor (Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week, The John Bishop Show, The Now Show) with Anna Morris and MC Robyn Perkins

June 27th: John Robins (Russell Howard's Good News, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Radio X, Stand Up Central, Live at the Comedy Store, Drunk History) with Alastair Williams and MC Jason Patterson

July 4th: Ivo Graham (Live at the Apollo, Mock The Week, Alan Davies: As Yet Untitled, Comedy Central at the Comedy Store, Live From the BBC),  John Hastings (Seann Walsh's Late Night Comedy on BBC) and MC Jason Patterson

July 11th: Sarah Kendall (2-time Best Show in Edinburgh nominee, Russell Howard's Good News) and Tom Deacon (Capital FM Breakfast Show Host, Dave's One Night Stand, The Rob Brydon Show, Fake Reaction, Comic Releif) and MC Jason Patterson

July 18th: Dane Baptiste (Live at the Apollo, Tonight at the London Palladium, Mock the Week, Live from the BBC, 8 out of 10 Cats, and his own BBC sitcom Sunny D) with Tez Ilyaz and MC Robyn Perkins

July 25th: Ed Gamble (Mock the Week, Russell Howard’s Good News, Dave’s One Night Stand, Drunk History, Virtually Famous, Sweat the Small Stuff) and Robyn Perkins preview their Edinburgh shows

Hustings tonight

People Before Profit may not be a party political force anymore, but their activists are still involved in local politics and have organised this hustings event tonight. The confirmed list of participating candidates is currently a little thin:

Green - John Coughlin
Lib-Dem - Bobby Dean
Christian Peoples Alliance - Malcolm Martin