Monthly Archives: July 2013

CCS Goldsmiths: LISTEN/WATCH

LISTEN/WATCH – recent Centre for Cultural Studies’ events:

canallondres.tv Report on May 22 Brazil Workshop at CCS (mostly in Portuguese language)
In conjunction with Mute: Slave to the Algorithm - including CCS PhD candidates Inigo Wilkins and Bogdan Dragos
The Matter of Contradiction Conference - Josie Berry Slater, Process Processed
At the ICA
 
 – John Hutnyk in conversation with Anthony Gormley and Hugh Brody
At Tate Modern – John Hutnyk on the theme of new cultural cartographies
Goldsmiths: ‘Double Evil’ - a talk with Matthew Fuller, Andrew Goffey and Eyal Weizman
Goldsmiths: Sylvia Federici public lecture
Goldsmiths: George Caffentzis’ public lecture
On BBC Radio 3: The Essay Scott Lash on ‘Liquid Modernity’

cut

More sentences that did not make the cut (from chapter two of Panto Terror):

The insurrection in the suburbs is not directed against the theoretical posturing of the self-regarding masters, but where the street demands something more than theory, bad theory is tolerated only so long as it does not succeed. Unfulfilled as yet, there is a threatening promise here. A lumpen justice storms the stage. Critics superfluous, Adorno applauds.

These might be reflections and critiques of the more or less prejudicial ways codes are filtered and sequenced in the psychological structures of the authoritarian personality today There is always the possibility of extending the study to account for historical differences in the way authoritarianism takes differing forms in different periods. Exactly that missing theory of mediation for which Adorno berated Benjamin’s Arcades assemblage might also displace the tendency to think in terms of vision not sound, and to accept the old methods forever, the old masters, and new – as if the once radical theorists retain critical intensity for all times.

There is a battle for attention and the production of images on all sides is just a part of the workings of an ‘attention economy’ or an ‘attention theory of value’ (Beller 2006:201). I want this value to illustrate and be illustrated in the workings of this writing, the ways writing works…

This is an old story – music and politics back in the day: in the 1970s a band called ‘The Lumpen’ were a cultural offshoot from the Black Panthers: “comrades who liked to harmonize while working Distribution night in San Francisco to ‘help the work go easier’ (another tradition). We had all sung in groups in the past, Calhoun having performed professionally in Las Vegas, and it just came naturally. I don’t remember just how it came about, but Emory Douglas, Minister of Culture, suggested that this could be formed into a musical cadre. Elaine Brown had already recorded an album of revolutionary songs (‘Seize the Time’) in a folk singing style, and this quartet singing in an R&B or ‘Soul’ form could be a useful political tool. Some folks don’t read, but everybody listens to music”

More recent work on Chinese urban street culture continues in a similar manner. Michael Dutton’s great book Streetlife China applauds the organised creativity of lumpen criminal subcultures struggling to survive in the informal and black economy as China advances its new capitalist regime, with deformed Deng-ist characteristics (Dutton 1999).

Back to Paris in 1848 then. In his book on that city, economist geographer David Harvey spends very little time with Marx on the streets, and rarely mentions the Eighteenth Brumaire, perhaps reluctant to draw anything but the most general macro conclusions. Conversely, but similar, his critique of readings of Benjamin cannot relate fragments of the Arcades project to the whole – echoes of Adorno but without the close comradely involvement or ‘Arcades orthodoxy’ (Adorno to Benjamin 10 November 1938, Benjamin/Adorno 1994/1999: 284). Nevertheless, Harvey shows that after the revolutionary disturbances of 1848 came Baron Haussmann and his wider streets project, which has to be understood as the policy response of the ruling class (Harvey 2003:3). Of course this was not simply straightforward – even if the roads, the new boulevards cutting through working class areas, were. In a somewhat hyperbolic mode, Harvey writes of 1848: ‘Before, there was an urban vision that at best could only tinker with the problems of a medieval urban infrastructure; then came Haussmann, who bludgeoned the city into modernity’ (Harvey 2003:3). This for Harvey: ‘Tradition has to be overthrown, violence is necessary, in order to grapple with the present and create the future’ (Harvey 2003:15).

Harvey points to a ‘greater degree of spatial segregation, much of it based on class distinctions’ in the wake of Haussman’s remodelling of the city (Harvey 2003:239).

The point is not to perfect a history of 1848 or 1871, but to explore ways in which the events of that time might help us think differently about our own. I am thinking then of the boulevard as ramparts, and the way this offers a perspective marked by class and militarism. What is it to look along the vista of the new Paris in the 1860s? Just as today the view of New York has been remodelled in significant ways, as Joel McKim argues in his studies of memorial and architectural competition over the Twin Towers site (McKim 2008:83). Indeed, what was it to look up at the planes as they hurtled into the twin towers, or, equally, as they fly far above, the planes that drop what Habermas calls ‘electronically controlled clusters of elegant and versatile missiles’ (in Borradori 2008:28). To get New Yorkers to stop and stare was significant, but it is also a privilege compared to those who do not have the time to do anything but run for cover.

The intellectuals, sociologists and commentators want a more inclusive France. The meaning of the former is secured by the latter – the secret dependence of democratic politics upon nationalist enjoyment takes varied forms, whether it be the novelty of the ‘third way’ politics, the love-thy-neighbour posturing of multicultural tolerance, or ‘radical’ reforms – drop the debt campaigns perhaps – even ‘Struggles for cultural recognition … [are] secretly supported … by compliance in deed, if not in words, with nationalistic rituals’ (Boucher 2004:160). The best these modes of ‘politics’ can claim is to be the human face of the obscene enjoyment generated by the capitalism-nationalism nexus. Žižek points to the need to break from these supplements to destroy the logic of their excessive unconscious attachments – discursive unity is secretly supported by venal enjoyment (Žižek 2004b:164) and he would have done with this kind of ‘rainbow coalition’ against populist fundamentalism in order rather to ‘aggravate’ class difference into class antagonism (Žižek 2004b:186).

In 1972 Eldrige Cleaver wrote:

“The real revolutionary element of our era is the Lumpen, understood in its broader sense. What is lacking is a Lumpen consciousness, consciousness of the basic condition of oppression being the Lumpen condition and not the proletarian condition. In order for the revolutionary movement to progress, the Lumpen must become conscious of themselves as the vast majority, and the false proletarian, working class consciousness must be negated.” (Cleaver 1972)

Anti-Monarchy Playlist (hat-tip/crown tip Morgan)

click the screenshot to be taken to spotify

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 11.48.34

See also these promises, duck, coutts, speeches, FTJ and Radio Fascism

Meanwhile, across the river… The End of the World Cinema is Nigh… in E2 9QG

The first End of the World Cinema double feature kicks off this Sunday, 7pm at The Common House.

The films are Schwarzenegger’s The Running Man (1987) and The Hunger Games (2011), two necrotic reality TV shows set into the not too distant future. Door’s open at 6:30pm, with The Running Man starting at 7pm. See you there!

The End of the World Cinema
The end of the world will come, no doubt, with a whimper and not a bang. But the disappointing reality of catastrophe, its everyday-ness, it’s lack of entertainment value, leaves us cold. Which is why in place of the slow violence of the end, The End of the World Cinema presents a monthly double feature of some of the best (and worst) apocalyptic films to ensure your final days are nothing less than spectacular.

Apocalypse, the end of humanity and the world, disaster, catastrophe, and popcorn.

Film Schedule
July 28th: Running Man vs The Hunger Games
August 25th: Mad Max 2 vs The Quiet Earth
September 29th: I am Legend vs Monsters
October 20th: Soylent Green vs Delicatessen

Where: The Common House, Unit E, 5 Pundersons Gardens, E2 9QG

Boucher writes

‘If materialism means anything, it is that concepts cannot grasp material particulars, qualitative differences and the embodied experience of the individual’

and

it is not ‘just a matter of coloring-in with different crayons’

Geoff Boucher 2013 Adorno Reframed p59.

The Resistance of Others

Some films just need to be made. You may want to support this project is to complete the edit of a cinematic feature documentary on the struggles for justice by families of those who have died in state custody in the UK.
Migrant Media is a group of radical film-makers with a focus on work about resistance, race and class. We function as a creative collective and have been visually documenting experiences in various communities since 1989 in television and cinema production. We have a strong community grounding with an international reputation for challenging and innovative work. Our prize-winning films have been recognised by many national and international awards at major film festivals. We produced ‘Injustice’a feature length documentary about deaths in state custody that we spent seven years making and the past ten years screening across the world. A recent article by Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian is here. ‘Injustice’ directly challenged the those responsible for these deaths and helped to force reform of the Police Complaints Authority and the review of the Crown Prosecution Service. We also recently produced ‘Who Polices The Police’ .
The time has come to complete ‘The Resistance of Others’. Since records began in 1969, there have been over 2000 police custody deaths. The film will be a creative exploration of why there has never been a successful prosecution of police officers and why these human rights abuses continue despite overwhelming evidence. ‘The Resistance of Others’ will include updates on the cases featured in ‘Injustice’ and will also cover strategic new cases and current developments. It will use narrative poetry and intimate cinema verite filmed over the past decade to make a moving and compelling film.
Current status: ‘Injustice’ took 7 years to make ‘The Resistance of Others’ has also taken 7 years. Research and production of the film began in 2005 and was funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, the Churches Commission for Racial Justice, the Lipman Miliband Trust and private donations. The film has now been shot and is in need of post-production finance. Completion date will be September 2013.
Budget: Funds are required to complete post-production on the film and initial distribution. Migrant Media is run on a non-profit basis and does not receive any form of regular funding. All our work is supported through appeals and project specific grants allowing us to retain a high level of creative and cultural independence.
What people said about ‘Injustice':
“One of the most powerful films ever made” The Guardian
“Moving and militant” The Gleaner
“A rousing hymn to united struggle” Time Out – Critic’s Choice
Donate right now here:

Sharpies (Melbourne Sharps)

a little bit of nostalgia – what was in when I started secondary school. Holidays in Frankston (!). Suzi Quatro was compulsory listening on a portable cassette player. A connie was a kind of cropped woollen cardi. Staggers were madly wide jeans (wide from the thighs down), bought from Epsteins. The knuckles game shown here towards the end… and the elbows… the dancing… indicate a little of the undercurrent of anger… Remember Lobby Lloyd, but also Hush…

Screen shot 2013-07-15 at 12.20.52

More background = http://www.furious.com/perfect/sharpies.html

It was all downhill after this. traded in the treads (woven sandals with car-tyre soles) and Skyhooks took over, and AC/DC (originals – Bon Scott era), and then later on The Radiators through to Loaded Dice at the Sarah Sands.

Miller and ‘The Reason of Metaphor’

john hutnyk:

Claire aka reader aka Londoner, who may or may not live in ellowen-deeoen, now reads the preface to The Reason of Metaphor, which is the guide book that taught us where to go.

Originally posted on Into Ruins:

10.07.13

Which voice today, Reader, my apologies, which voice am I on?

The Reason of Metaphor: A study in Politics by Donald F Miller. What’s here?

“To him, the play of liminalities always retains the capacity, not merely to decompose a sterile world by decomposing its central metaphors, but also to generate new sets of metaphors that hold the promise of defining a new world.” This from the foreword by Ashis Nandy, p.9.

What a claim! But wait. This is not a claim about what Miller or his book has done, it’s a claim about what Nandy finds Miller to see in ‘the play of liminalities’. I’m pretty much against this phrase entirely, and spellcheck doesn’t like liminalities either, not that I’m siding with spellcheck from now on. Is this what Miller sees there? Is this what I see there? This ‘merely’, as though it would be something mere…

View original 746 more words

Diological highlights from Sweet Smell of Success

the good folk at IMDB typed up the best bits (erm Spoiler Alert, sort of – the plot is jumbled here, but you wanna see the movie first anyways):

 

J.J. Hunsecker: Mr. Falco, let it be said at once, is a man of 40 faces, not one – none too pretty, and all deceptive. You see that grin? That’s the, eh, that’s the Charming Street Urchin face. It’s part of his helpless act: he throws himself upon your mercy. He’s got a half-dozen faces for the ladies. But the one I like, the really cute one, is the quick, dependable chap. Nothing he won’t do for you in a pinch – so he says. Mr. Falco, whom I did not invite to sit at this table tonight, is a hungry press agent, and fully up to all the tricks of his very slimy trade.
[Pulls out an unlit cigarette and faces Falco]
J.J. Hunsecker: Match me, Sidney.
Sidney Falco: Not right this minute, J.J.

Lt. Harry Kello: Come back, Sidney… I wanna chastise you…

J.J. Hunsecker: What’s this boy got that Susie likes?
Sidney Falco: Integrity – acute, like indigestion.
J.J. Hunsecker: What does that mean – integrity?
Sidney Falco: A pocket fulla firecrackers – looking for a match!
[grinning]
Sidney Falco: It’s a new wrinkle, to tell the truth… I never thought I’d make a killing on some guy’s “integrity.”

Sidney Falco: Watch me run a 50-yard dash with my legs cut off!

Sally: But Sidney, you make a living. Where do you want to get?
Sidney Falco: Way up high, Sam, where it’s always balmy. Where no one snaps his fingers and says, “Hey, Shrimp, rack the balls!” Or, “Hey, mouse, mouse, go out and buy me a pack of butts.” I don’t want tips from the kitty. I’m in the big game with the big players. My experience I can give you in a nutshell, and I didn’t dream it in a dream, either – dog eat dog. In brief, from now on, the best of everything is good enough for me.

Steve: The next time you want information, don’t scratch for it like a dog, ask for it like a man!

Sidney Falco: He thinks J.J.’s some kind of a monster…
Susan Hunsecker: Don’t you?
Sidney Falco: Susie, J.J. happens to be one of my very best friends!
Susan Hunsecker: I know. But someday I’d like to look into your clever little mind and see what you really think of him.
Sidney Falco: Where do you come off, making a remark like that?
Susan Hunsecker: Who could love a man who makes you jump through burning hoops like a trained poodle?

Jimmy Weldon: It’s a dirty job, but I pay clean money for it.

J.J. Hunsecker: You’re dead, son. Get yourself buried.

J.J. Hunsecker: Everybody knows Manny Davis – except Mrs. Manny Davis.

J.J. Hunsecker: President? My big toe would make a better President!

Sidney Falco: If I’m gonna go out on a limb for you, you gotta know what’s involved!
J.J. Hunsecker: My right hand hasn’t seen my left hand in thirty years.

Rita: What am I, a bowl of fruit? A tangerine that peels in a minute?

Rita: Here’s mud in your column!

J.J. Hunsecker: I love this dirty town.

Steve: Mr. Hunsecker, you’ve got more twists than a barrel of pretzels!

J.J. Hunsecker: Son, I don’t relish shooting a mosquito with an elephant gun, so why don’t you just shuffle along?

Sidney Falco: Maybe I left my sense of humor in my other suit.

Steve: That’s fish four days old. I won’t buy it!

Sidney Falco: The cat’s in a bag and the bag’s in a rive

J.J. Hunsecker: I’d hate to take a bite outta you. You’re a cookie full of arsenic

J.J. Hunsecker: Well son, it looks like we have to call this game on account of darkness.

J.J. Hunsecker: Don’t remove the gangplank, Sidney – you may wanna get back onboard.

Rita: It was Palm Springs. Two years ago. Don’t tell Sidney.

Sidney Falco: Sure, the columnists can’t do without us, except our good and great friend J.J. forgets to mention that. You see, we furnish him with items.
J.J. Hunsecker: What, some cheap, gruesome gags?
Sidney Falco: You print ‘em, don’t ya?
J.J. Hunsecker: Yes, with your clients’ names attached. That’s the only reason the poor slobs pay you – to see their names in my column all over the world. Now, I make it out, you’re doing *me* a favor?… The day I can’t get along without a press agents’ handouts, I’ll close up shop and move to Alaska, lock, stock, and barrel.

Sidney Falco: Every dog will have his day.

Sidney Falco: Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do! That gives you a lot of leeway…

Mary: You’re an amusing boy, but you haven’t got a drop of respect for anything in human life.

Sidney Falco: A press agent eats a columnist’s dirt and is expected to call it manna.

Leo Bartha: [to Sidney, of J.J] Tell him that like yourself, he’s got the scruples of a guinea pig and the morals of a gangster.

Loretta Bartha: What you do now, Mr. Falco, is crow like a hen. You have just laid an egg.

Otis Elwell: I can’t think of a good reason why I should print anything you give me. I can’t even think of a *bad* reason.
Sidney Falco: [eyeing a pin-up] Suppose I introduce you to a… a lovely reason… who’s both good *and* bad… and available?
Otis Elwell: [pauses] I’m not an unreasonable man.

Mary: If it’s true, J.J.’s gonna hit the ceiling.
Sidney Falco: Can it be news to you that J.J.’s ceiling needs a new plaster job every six weeks?

Steve: [to Hunsecker, of his flunky] Tell me sir, when he dies, do you think he’ll go to the dog and cat heaven

J.J. Hunsecker: Sidney, this syrup you’re giving out with… you pour over waffles, not J.J. Hunsecker.

Sidney Falco: [to Susan] Start thinking with your head instead of your hips.
[pause]
Sidney Falco: Uh – by the way, I got nothing against women thinking with their hips. That’s their nature. Just like it’s a *man’s* nature to go out and hustle and get the things he wants.

J.J. Hunsecker: Look, Manny, you rode in here on the Senator’s shirt tails, so shut your mouth!
Sen. Harvey Walker: Now, come, J.J., that’s a little too harsh. Anyone seems fair game for you tonight.
J.J. Hunsecker: This man is not for you, Harvey, and you shouldn’t be seen with him in public. Because that’s another part of a press agent’s life – he digs up scandal among prominent men and shovels it thin among columnists who give him space.
Sen. Harvey Walker: There is some allusion here that escapes me…
J.J. Hunsecker: We’re friends, Harvey – we go as far back as when you were a fresh kid Congressman, don’t we?
Sen. Harvey Walker: Why does everything you say sound like a threat?
J.J. Hunsecker: Maybe it’s a mannerism – because I don’t threaten friends, Harvey. But why furnish your enemies with ammunition? You’re a family man. Someday, with God willing, you may wanna be President. Now here you are, Harvey, out in the open where any hep person knows that this one…
[points at Manny Davis]
J.J. Hunsecker: [points at Linda James] … is toting THAT one…
J.J. Hunsecker: [points at Senator] around for you.

J.J. Hunsecker: Manny, what exactly are the UNSEEN gifts of this lovely young thing that you manage?
Manny Davis: Well, she sings a little… you know, sings…
Linda James: Manny’s faith in me is simply awe-inspiring, Mr. Hunsecker. Actually, I’m still studying, but…
J.J. Hunsecker: What subject?
Linda James: Singing, of course… straight concert and…
J.J. Hunsecker: [glance flicks between the Girl and the Senator] Why “of course”? It might, for instance, be politics…
Linda James: Me? I mean “I”? Are you kidding, Mr. Hunsecker? With my Jersey City brains?
J.J. Hunsecker: The brains may be Jersey City, but the clothes are Traina-Norell.

Sidney Falco: Do you believe in capital punishment, Senator?
Sen. Harvey Walker: [amused] Why?
Sidney Falco: [pointing to the phone] A man has just been sentenced to death.

J.J. Hunsecker: Harvey, I often wish I were dead and wore a hearing aid. With a simple flick of a switch, I could shut out the greedy murmur of little men.

Rita: [to Sidney] Don’t you get messages, Eyelashes? I called you twice.

Sidney Falco: Kill me, push me through a window somewhere! I walked into this hallowed ground without knocking!

J.J. Hunsecker: Sidney, conjugate me a verb. For instance, “to promise.”

J.J. Hunsecker: How do you spell Picasso, the French painter?
[Taps out three letters on his manual typewriter upon hearing Sidney's response]
J.J. Hunsecker: It’s an item – I hear he goes out with three-eyed girls.

J.J. Hunsecker: Here’s your head; what’s your hurry?

Sidney Falco: I am tasting my favorite new perfume – success!

J.J. Hunsecker: Yes, Sidney. You sound happy, Sidney. Why should you be happy when I’m not? How do you spell Picasso, the painter? One S or two?
Sidney Falco: Two.

Sally: Where do you want to get?
Sidney Falco: Way up high, Sal, where the air is balmy.

Sidney Falco: You’re walking around blind, Frank, without a cane.

J.J. Hunsecker: Now don’t kid a kidder.

Susan Hunsecker: Who could love a man who makes you jump into hoops like a trained poodle?

J.J. Hunsecker: I like Harry, but I can’t deny he sweats a little.

Sidney Falco: Dallas, your mouth is as big as a basket and twice as empty!

Sidney Falco: If you’re funny, Walter, I’m a pretzel! Drop dead!

Mary: [Sidney Falco is at her desk] Have you seen this? Otis Elwell’s column today?
Mary: [Falco feigns disinterest; Mary reads the piece from Elwell's gossip column aloud] “The dreamy marijuana smoke of a lad who had the high-brow jazz quintet, is giving an inelegant odor to that elegant East Side club where he works. That’s no way for a card-holding Party member to act. Moscow won’t like it, you naughty boy.”

Lewisham and Southwark College

Save floristry and science at LeSoCo
Support our strike for jobs
The Floristry and Science departments at LeSoCo (Lewisham and Southwark College) are at risk of closure. These departments have provided our community with excellent services for many, many years. What’s more the college is facing 28 full-time job cuts across the college.
Access provision is also under threat and our Learner Services department is now facing a restructure. We are opposed to all compulsory redundancies. Following large-scale support for strike action (86%) and action short of a strike (96%) at LeSoCo, we are taking an hour’s strike action next Weds 17th July over the continuing threat of compulsory redundancies.
Strike and rally 12.45 – 2.45, Wednesday 17th July, Lewisham Way, SE4 1UT. Please come and bring banners.
Please sign our petition to save jobs and courses for future generations https://www.ucu.org.uk/lesocopetition
Check out our campaign blog at http://cargocollective.com/UCU-Campaigns-LeSoCo
where details of future actions will be posted

billion dollar farrell

But the transport links are questionable, the condo thing is a land grab, the capital is dodgy… and the locals upset.

1BillionVision

Sayes Court Garden (by Roo Angell and Bob Bagley)

John Evelyn’s garden at Sayes Court was one of the most famous and revolutionary gardens of its time.  Evelyn’s many visitors included his friends Samuel Pepys and Christopher Wren, and even Charles II himself.  Through surviving documentary evidence the garden’s legacy lives on, but the garden itself fell into sad neglect shortly after his death in 1706, and through the vacillations of fate has come down to us today as a corner of the parcel of Thames-side Deptford known as Convoys Wharf.  Now scheduled for development, the current owners intend to build directly where the most innovative and influential parts of the garden lay, destroying any future possibilities for discovery.  The project Sayes Court Garden is founded on the belief that this crucial piece of our national heritage is not only a once-beautiful historic garden, but also has a vital role to play in the success of the new development for the community at large.
Deptford is now perceived as a deprived neighbourhood of south-east London, classified as an Opportunity Area in the Mayor’s London Plan.  The forty acres of Convoys Wharf dominate the river; long closed off to the public at large, at first glance it looks like any other brownfield site in need of some urgent and much welcome development.  However, this is not entirely the case.  The whole site has a rich history, and just under the concrete skin lie not only the origins of the garden, but also the granite docks and slipways of Henry VIII’s Royal Dockyard, founded in 1513.  For 350 years this was the foremost Naval Dockyard in the realm; Raleigh, Drake and Cook all have their stories here.  In Evelyn’s time the manor of Sayes Court was walled off from the Dockyard, but they were closely linked.
In 1856 what remained of the house and grounds were purchased by the Admiralty and incorporated into the expanding Dockyard.  As new ships became too large with the silting up of the Thames, the site was sold.  The proposals from the current owners, Hutchison Whampoa, consist of 3,514 new homes in a mixed-use development, to include retail and office space, a primary school and a working wharf.  The success and longevity of such a development depends to a large extent on a sensitive response to the site and its surroundings – both cultural and physical.  To achieve these aims the design needs to be distinctive and engaging: heritage assets hold the key.  Restoring John Evelyn’s garden at Sayes Court would bring immeasurable benefits to the area, and stimulate interest and recognition from around the world.  Along with the potential to mark Henry VIII’s Dockyard on the same site, this neglected corner of London could become a tourist destination in its own right, complementing nearby Greenwich along the Thames Path.  For the neighbourhood itself, this extraordinary garden could help to define the character of the new development, giving a strong sense of identity and becoming a source of local pride.
One of the most exciting aspects of the project is the garden’s capacity to function as an open space under the democratic guardianship of the community: a new “common”.  It would be a place of delight and beauty for everyone to enjoy, a challenge to the trend which sees access to our exceptional heritage reserved for the wealthier boroughs.  Planting the numerous trees and medicinal herbs would bring sorely needed and ever-increasing advantages to health and the local environment, and the garden could become once again the setting for experiments and research.  All in all, it would be a fitting remembrance for two great and generous-hearted men who dedicated their lives to improving conditions for all strata of society: John Evelyn himself and also his descendant, William John Evelyn, who donated his ancestor’s garden to the people of Deptford.  After everything that has since passed, it is proper that it should belong to the public again.
Hutchison Whampoa need to be persuaded that these benefits outweigh any difficulties in re-structuring part of their design or possibly losing a small portion of building land.  The current proposals completely ignore Sayes Court Garden, and support is urgently needed if this unique piece of London’s past is to be saved – to become part of our future.

 

Roo Angell and Bob Bagley

Deptford is… – post on Convoys Wharf transport issues.

Convoys Wharf transport #2: public transport

posted on Deptford is... 6 July 2013
One of the strongest arguments against allowing Convoys Wharf to be developed to the density that Hutchison Whampoa is suggesting, is the fact that the public transport accessibility of the site is so poor.
This situation has not improved with the new masterplan, so many of the comments made in our last assessment still apply. Many of the people living in these new properties will have to travel into London for work on a daily basis, so how will they do this?
Planners measure public transport accessibility by measuring it on the PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) scale. This provides an assessment of how easy it is to get from the site to public transport, and ranges from 1 to 6, with 1 being the lowest rating and 6 the highest. In London a rating of 4 is generally a good level for major developments such as this to aspire to.
The PTAL rating of Convoys Wharf ranges from 1 to 2 across the site, with 2 being the level at the exit on Princes Street. With Hutchison Whampoa’s plans for redevelopment, the rating will rise very slightly, but will still be an average of 2 across the site, and 3 closest to Princes St.
The diagram below indicates the transport plans for the site – in simple terms, HW is in discussion with TfL about the possibility of having a pier for the Thames Clipper river bus, and also proposes either a new bus through the site, or the diversion of one of the existing services that go along Evelyn Street, the 199 having been suggested.

For a Thames Clipper service to call at the site will require the refurbishment of the existing jetty and the construction of a new pier on the jetty. Although TfL has acknowledged the possibility of a new pier at Convoys Wharf, there is no firm commitment to a date other than during phase one, which is five years long. There is also no confirmation of whether the service would be the regular London-bound boats, or just a shuttle boat to Canary Wharf.In either case, use of the riverbus service is impractical for many people – not only in terms of its restricted capacity, but also because it serves so few destinations and is slow in comparison to other public transport options.Aside from the bus and boat services, future residents at Convoys Wharf will have to travel somewhat further afield to access trains or DLR services. Naturally Deptford station is the closest train station to the development, and as the transport strategy points out, the station has recently been refurbished. But although the station is now more pleasant to use and easier to access, and the capacity of the station itself may have been increased, there has been no change to the capacity of the actual trains.The analysis of available capacity on services from Deptford station depends heavily on completion of Crossrail in 2018; this is predicted to reduce the number of people using London-bound trains from Woolwich, and is entirely credible. However there is no reference to the most recent Office of Rail Regulation figures which showed Deptford station experienced 7.1% increase in usage last year, and this is expected to continue as redevelopments continue and residents move into the new properties.According to the trip generation figures, 258 people from Convoys Wharf will take the train towards London in the morning peak hour between 8am and 9am. This seems a very low figure considering the total population that could number 10,000 or more. But even taking this point aside, the addition of around 44 passengers to each already-overcrowded train is not a pleasant prospect.Bus services are also likely to suffer – while the transport plan envisages a bus route through the site, there is no firm commitment to a new service as yet, so it could well be an existing route diverted and hence making journeys longer and more overcrowded than they are now. Almost 500 people from the development are estimated will be catching the bus during the morning peak hour, many presumably going towards Underground or Overground services elsewhere.

Meanwhile less than 200 will catch a river bus, although with only four services in the peak hour, that’s still an estimated 50 per boat. The boats in the current fleet each have 220 seats.

“Battle of Convoys Wharf”

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 10.09.43Evening Standard piece on Convoys Wharf by Kieren Long

Published: 26 October 2011

Does it matter what’s underneath the pavement? Under our feet, in the earth, are the traces of the 2,000 years of Londoners, their coins and clothes, their trinkets and tools, the remains of their buildings and roads.

The question of whether this material, this soup of memories, should have any bearing on how our city develops is an open one for those building our city today, and one that has sparked an argument over the massive Convoys Wharf site in Deptford, which I visited last week. If Hong Kong developer Hutchison Whampoa gets its way, this 16-hectare riverside plot (the size of about 20 football pitches) in the borough of Lewisham will soon be home to 9,000 people in 3,500 homes, with a new school, shops and space for “cultural uses”.

So far, so good. But this isn’t just any slice of the river. Convoys Wharf was formerly the King’s Yard, built by Henry VIII in 1513 as London’s military dock and known across the world. It was the harbour to royal yachts, where Francis Drake was knighted aboard the Golden Hinde in 1581, and where Elizabeth I’s Spanish Armada-defeating fleet was built. It is a place of astonishing, nationally important historical significance.

Greenwich, just a mile down-river, with its colonnaded Old Royal Naval College, has become a world heritage site and will officially become a “Royal” borough next year. But it was Deptford that built the boats that made England powerful enough to conceive of and fund that architectural setpiece in the first place.

The plan submitted by Hutchison Whampoa is a regulation piece of urban design by commercial architect Aedas. It’s pretty uninspired, with the usual precision about residential unit numbers but vagueness about the kind of public life that might be found there. But the plan tries hard to link into its surroundings, and the proposed development will be much better than the gated communities of riverside west London. There is a recognisable street pattern, a bus route through it, along with a school and an attempt to make a high street with a mix of uses. Broadly, the plan is based on work in 2005 by Richard Rogers, whose principal insight was to try to continue the line of Deptford’s high street towards the riverside.

Perhaps most importantly, it also proposes public access to the riverside here for the first time.

But a group of local people accuse Hutchison Whampoa of recklessly ignoring the historical remains, and are pleading with the developers to reconsider their plan. They say the site should be given back more of its original character, that ancient remains below the ground should be available to public view, and that water should be reintroduced to the site by digging out the former Great Basin of the dockyard.

Chris Mazeika, who lives in the Master Shipwright’s house on the eastern side of the site, is part of a network of local bloggers and campaigners asking questions of Hutchison Whampoa’s proposal. He believes that there is something important about the history of the site that should be drawn out by revealing the remains or perhaps echoing the original layout of the dockyard.

“To reveal the remains would make it a much more distinctive and layered place,” he says. “When you walk down a road that has been established by hundreds of years of getting from A to B, and one that’s drawn by a planner – it’s a very different experience.”

The site today is rather eerie, a huge expanse of concrete with a few Sixties and Eighties warehouses still standing. There are no roads and no sense of how it all once fitted together. The riverside is spectacular, though. The wharf juts out into the river and the view from it takes in a vista from Surrey Quays to the west and Greenwich to the east. This timber platform will be transformed into a public park in Hutchison Whampoa’s plans, complete with river bus stop.

The Grade II-listed Olympia Warehouse (built in the 1840s) stands in the middle of the site, slightly askew to the riverside, a magnificent iron structure most recently used by Lewisham council as a storage facility for wheelie bins. It is the only historic building left above ground, and the proposals designate it vaguely as a “covered public square”. They aspire to something along the lines of Spitalfields Market. This all feels a bit sketchy at this stage, and the developer’s preference is to retain just the beautiful iron frame, perhaps adding to it a new glass envelope.

In anticipation of these remains being covered up by the new development, a huge archaeological dig is under way between the Olympia Warehouse and the river. The foundations and remains of the huge Tudor storehouse and the docks are clearly visible in the trenches. Two slipways, complete with timbers used to brace and support ships as they were constructed, look amazingly complete to my untrained eye. All this will be recorded, then covered over again and the new residential buildings built over the top. The remains will never be seen again, or at least not until Hutchison Whampoa’s buildings are themselves demolished, which could be 200 years away at London rates of replacement.

It must be said that the King’s Yard has long lost its Tudor character. Since the Second World War, successive idiotic owners chose to demolish the remaining buildings on the site and fill in the basin and slipways. Most jaw-dropping of all is that in stages between the Sixties and as recently as the Eighties, a Tudor storehouse was demolished and its foundations concreted over so that huge distribution sheds and warehouses could be built.

It is heartbreaking that so much has been lost.

None of that is Hutchison Whampoa’s fault. The group and its architects see Convoys Wharf as an opportunity to create a residential quarter they believe will be “modern and positive”. The architects say that the arrangement of the proposed apartment buildings perpendicular to the river somehow mirrors that of the historic slipways, and a proposed park on the site of the former double dry dock will evoke the history of what’s underneath, perhaps by using materials that suggest its former use. That to them is enough. My visit to the site convinced me that while the developers are very aware of what lies beneath, they don’t feel it of sufficient significance to prevent or slow London’s development. Aedas and Hutchison Whampoas have made a judgment that to preserve any remains for public view, or to reintroduce water into the site (as the Rogers plan proposed) would be uneconomical and (they told me) would be a hindrance rather than a help to make it a better place to live.

As for the campaigners, they are vague about what they are calling for and appeal to notions of memory, meaning and history that are not part of the usual property development vocabulary.

Mazeika, like many of us, finds it difficult to describe exactly what difference it makes to resurrect ancient street patterns, to uncover old docks. He favours gradual, incremental development, but that is never going to happen with such a large site under single ownership.

This seems an unbridgeable intellectual gap in today’s London. The nuanced understanding of the place that the locals advocate here in Deptford is mirrored all over the city by local interest groups, amateur historians, and concerned residents near large regeneration projects. But it has no way of gaining traction in a development process involving this much money, and that is a failure of our planning system and of imagination of the politicians who are the guardians of our city.

I respect Hutchison Whampoa and Aedas for trying to make a decent, mixed place that links into the surrounding community. I think (unlike some Deptford residents) that the scale and character of the spaces around the Olympia Warehouse will be fine, certainly better than the meaningless public spaces at equivalent developments of a decade ago (Paddington Basin comes to mind). The quantum of development, and its skyscraper-scale apartment towers, aren’t a problem to me, and the new public space by the river almost can’t fail to be enjoyable.

But in deploying standard urban design tactics the masterplan does find itself ignoring what makes this place special in the first place. I suspect the history of the site will be signalled in branding and signage more than any real, physical or spatial sense. And while it is a very difficult task to capture all these historical and cultural layers of a city in urban design and architecture, good architects should be able to do it.

When Convoys Wharf has been re-developed, the history of the King’s Yard will lie in a shallow grave underneath shiny apartment blocks and cappuccino bars. Professionals will move into the residential towers, which will probably be named after Drake’s Golden Hinde. And when their dinner party guests ask them where the docks used to be, they will reply: “I don’t know.”

Marx Trot sunday, 2.30 archway tube…

Note 2014. Next Marx Trot is July 13 2014 Archway 2:30 all welcome

People saying wear something red for this – and as its gonna be sunny, wear sunscreen or be redder than red. lal salaam.

Marx Trot sunday, 2.30 archway tube…

Marx Trot 2013 [word to the wise: bring some tinnies in a bag - and some dosh for dinner in China town, and more beer of course - afraid we don't have an Engels to subsidise us this year.]

karl-marx-grave-highgate

All welcome. A day of revolutionary dawdling, pints, and ending up awash somewhere on Tottenham Court Rd… The annual Marx trot this year will be on Sunday. Lal Salaam!

We will again be leaving from Archway tube 2:30 pm, then to Highgate Cemetery Marx’s Grave about 3pm – heading across the Heath to the Lord Southhampton pub which was the old man’s local on Grafton Terrace – then onwards to Engels’ house, then to the pub where the Manifesto was adopted by the Communist League, – now a crappy cocktail bar – and more… All welcome (kids could surely come for the first couple of hours – but warning, its a longish walk across the heath between Highgate and the Grafton Terrace HouseBYO libations for the first part.

.

Last year’s trot = http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/

(and links to previous) here: http://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2011/05/21/marx-trot-29-5-2011/

Pics of the houses: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/photo/london/index.htm

Other links:

http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

The Great Windmill Street venue is where Liebknecht says the Manifesto was adopted by the League of the Just/German Workers Educational Association/Communist League – but some say it was at the White Hart in Dury Lane. In any case Marx lectures on Capital at Great Windmill Street, but see here:http://www.alphabetthreat.co.uk/pasttense/pdf/communistclub.pdf

For Leninists – a diversion on the trot might take in Charing Cross station, and areas near Kings Cross and Pentonville:http://sarahjyoung.com/site/2011/01/16/russians-in-london-lenin/

Dancing the first international! http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.co.uk/2009_10_01_archive.html

A pub crawl with Karl http://www.mytimemachine.co.uk/pubcrawl.htm

Pavement Sumbissions

Screen shot 2013-07-05 at 16.21.51

Submission Guidelines

Pavement books is interested in hearing about any original book projects which eschew the dry, turgid and didactic along with journalistic drivel. Exciting writing with critical depth.

And no slogans or zombies.

We’re particularly interested in projects emerging out of the fields of cultural studies, continental philosophy, urban studies, architecture, visual cultures, literary and film criticism.

Proposals for single-authored and collaborative works should include the following information. Please do not send full manuscripts unless requested.

Title
This should provide a clear indication of the area of focus and the contents of your book.

Synopsis
A concise introduction (1-2 pages) indicating aims, themes and scope of the book.

Outline
This should take the form of a table of contents with a short summary (1-2 paragraphs) for each chapter.

Illustrations
Number and type of illustrations proposed, if any. As a rule we do not publish texts in full-colour although may consider doing so in certain circumstances.

Author(s)
Please provide brief biographical details (no more than 100 words) of all authors, editors and contributors involved in the project.

The Market
What is the proposed market and intended readership for the book?

Competition
Are there any similar texts currently on the market? How does your book differ from these?

Length of Publication
How many words (including bibliography and index) will the book be?

Date of delivery
How soon can you deliver a complete manuscript?

 

 

Žižek’s redemption

I have a big section on Žižek on Wagner in the Panto book. This, however, is another squib that has not made the final cut:

As we know, Žižek  often works by way of cinema examples, and by way of ironically and politically incorrect and sometimes allegedly ‘obscene’ moves which are the only way to expose the weak, self- serving self-deceptions of those that betrayed the end game of Star Wars, the impossible resolution of the Matrix, and the traumatic unconsummated assault on Laura in Wild at Heart. A fantastic overabundance of filmic image examples illustrate Žižek’s books – Woody Allen; Rashomon; Heidegger in the forest writing greetings to Argentina; Trotsky defended as in a courtroom drama; Kurtz up-river; Jesus and drug-induced religious experience; Minority Reports; Obi-Wan; broken eggs and demonic chickens; Marilyn Monroe with Humphrey Bogart ….

I do not at all mind if Žižek spends too long in the movie house, or that he is ironic, contradictory, precious, obscure or bitchy at times – often all at the same time. But I do mind when his endearing idiosyncrasies provide an alibi for less contradictory, more precious, wilfully ignorant obscure and boring bitchiness on the part of minor acolytes and when his ‘explanations’ amount to a subterfuge that deflects attention from a more urgent organisational politics. To say this is of course to demonstrate my own implication here and what is lacking is that I do not now immediately, and in a ten point programme, make some serious points in the end about, of all things, what I think is wrong with Žižek’s answer to the question of: ‘what is to be done?’

Žižek himself has done more of late than many to return the proper names of the revolutionary tradition to mainstream discussion, with texts on Lenin, Stalin, and his championing of Badiou’s Maoism. I prefer this roll call of communist thinkers to that other popular fat book which rescued such names from apparent obscurity – Hardt and Negri’s Empire (2000) – since in that book the tone was far more dismissive. Žižek however has done much to redeem serious discussion of revolutionary thinkers, even as he is too sympathetic to Empire whose authors he neologises as “HN” (giving credence to their pretension to be the new M&E for the 21st Century – as inaugurated in Žižek’s cover blurb for their far too thick book)….

We are all terrorists…

Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 16.02.08The recent revelations of Snowdon and the cartoon today from Bell don’t really seem that new. Though the following is also another paragraph from the Panto book to fall as a cutting to the floor, I remember the report where MI5 decided that we were all suspect:

If MI5 say there are no particular characteristics of a terrorist, nothing marks them out, all of us are suspect – and indeed, the contemporary nation state is increasingly only one of armed power. Jankel armed police vans in the streets of Britain, attack helicopters in Afghanistan, taps on your phone and inside your ipod. The people with beards are not all terrorists, and people without beards are not all terrorists, rather, all those with or without beards should be investigated, kettled and corralled – the terrorists are everywhere. They are, you are, we are – at risk of the wrath of Slavoj Žižek – all terrorists while actual attacks on particular sectors of the public, and with new legislation, new legal and administrative powers (detention, DNA, CCTV), Extraordinary Rendition (see Paglin 2006), expanded prison population, deportations, exclusions and a Whitehall Research Information and Communications Unit to counter Al Qaida brand ‘spin’ (Guardian August 26 2008) just some of the wide-spectrum targeting that runs cultural cover for political control.

Nepal in 2006

Another bit of text that has to be chopped from my Pantomime Terror book – this time because its no longer news, though I do note that today the Maoists are reported to be actively boycotting the election. And we know what an active boycot can mean. Go!

Here is the cut, sadly now left to rot on the study floor…

And lets take a lesson from Nepal, which in the same week in which Aki Nawaz was identified by The Sun as the pantomime caricature of the ‘suicide rapper’, the Nepalese Government, amidst its own Maoist ‘insurgency’, still repealed some of its ‘anti-terror’ in the interests of civic freedoms. The Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Ordinance (TADO) earlier introduced by King Gyanendra in the wake of the 2002 killing of his brother Birendra and ten members of the ruling Rana Royal family. The King was forced to repeal the terror laws by popular pressure from the insurgent Maoist movement, heading (April 2008) towards democratic electoral victory at pace. Yet beyond Nepal (further discussed in a later chapter), the war on terror has contracted rather than opened up civic space. It is my view that any exposure of such strictures is to be supported. Where is the discussion of the repeal of the terror laws and other fear-mongering that is making life in Britain untenable?

The End of World Cinema (Common House, Bethnal Green)

EndoftheWorldCinemaThe end of the world will come, no doubt, with a whimper and not a bang. But the disappointing reality of catastrophe, its everyday-ness, it’s lack of entertainment value, leaves us cold. Which is why in place of the slow violence of the end, The End of the World Cinema presents a monthly double feature of some of the best (and worst) apocalyptic films to ensure your final days are nothing less than spectacular. Apocalypse, the end of humanity and the world, disaster, catastrophe, and popcorn.

Schedule – films start at 7pm

July 28th: Running Man vs The Hunger Games
August 25th: Mad Max 2 vs The Quiet Earth
September 29th: I am Legend vs Monsters
October 27th: Soylent Green vs Delicatessen

Where: The Common House, Unit E, 5 Pundersons Gardens, E2 9QG

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