Category Archives: local

Begging Wars: Nottingham Police’s dodgy Prince tribute 


Begging Wars. This ghastly bin-hoarding in Nottingham – truly ideological but with colour palette decisions that are more spurious than the ten levels of prejudice this Police ad entails. 1. Charities also beg. 2. Syringes are medical tools, not shorthand for filthy junkies 3. Junkies aren’t filthy, recall the cocaine wraps found in the Houses of Parliament 4. This associative illogic is on a bin. 5. ‘Alcohol problems’ are also rife in the parliament, and across every other sector of every class 6. Alcohol worse than drugs. 7. Distraction logic: begging should be unnecessary with a living wage for all. 8. Need to hack these shameful shit sheets. 9. Purple haze = dubious Prince reference, someone signed off on this design. Also insults Hendrix. 10. Racist, classist, badly framed. Posters at kid’s level. Nearly missed it but for T.

For this and many more reasons… This is #shameful

[update 1 October 2016 – banned by the advertising standards agency. Took long enough, and only 4 out of 5 of them were banned, dunno what the other one was, but think whoever thought this whole lot up ought to get a free ride to the job centre].

Plaque Unveiling Today in Ladywell (2.30 14.10.15)

Housing for Women Property Found to be Located on a Historically Significant Site

1820s engraving by Henry Warren from Lithographic illustrations of the Ravensbourne.

Housing for Women’s Lister House, Ladywell, has been found to be located within feet of a significant historical well, after which the area of Ladywell gets its name. Housing for Women is working with the Ladywell Society to mount a plaque to celebrate the historical importance of the location.

The Ladywell Society was established in 1984 when the historian Robert Smith came upon records suggesting that the area of Ladywell was the place where a spring came through the ground in 1472. At this time water was regarded with great reverence and the site consequently became an important spiritual location.

Site before Lister House was built

In 1472 Ladywell was merely a small settlement of huts located close to the village of Lewisham, but the existence of the well made it a significant site for pilgrims on their way to Canterbury, and is also said to have been visited by Queen Elizabeth the 1st. In 1855 the well dried up due to the construction of a local sewer, and its existence was soon forgotten.

Since 1984 the Ladywell Society has been working hard to ensure that the site is given the recognition that it deserves. The exact location of the well was finally traced to within a few feet of Housing for Women’s Lister House. The Ladywell Society, after receiving funding from the Lewisham Locality Fund, have created a plaque to mark this location and Housing for Women have agreed to have this plaque mounted Lister House.

Lister House, with an arrow showing where the plaque will sit

An official unveiling of the plaque is due to occur at Lister House (Railway Terrace, SE13 7XH) at 2:30pm on Wednesday. All are welcome to attend. This will be followed by a presentation by the local historian and founder of the Society, Robert Smith in St Mary’s Church, Lewisham, from 7:30-8:30pm on Wednesday 14th October. This presentation will give further details of the history of the well. All are welcome to attend what promises to be a very interesting and informative evening.

Release Delhi University Professor, Dr GN Saibaba from Prison: Picket, London 28.6.2015

Please join the picket at the office of the High Commission of India, Aldwych, London, WC2B 4NA 

From 1pm on 28th June 2015.(Nearest Tube Station:  Halborn and Temple)

 Dr GN Saibaba, a Professor of Delhi University and a versatile democratic rights champion was clandestinely abducted on 9th May 2014 by plainclothes Indian policemen. Since then, charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), he has been kept under solitary confinement in a dark cell of Nagpur Central Jail in the Indian State of Maharashtra.

Dr Saibaba, who is wheelchair-bound with 90% disability, has been in the forefront of the democratic rights movements across the Indian subcontinent. He campaigned tirelessly against ‘Operation Green Hunt’ – the Indian State’s war on the poorest of the poor of India, such as Dalits, Adivasis and peasants of Central and Eastern India, who are struggling to safeguard their lands, forests and rivers from being grabbed by the mighty and powerful  multi-national corporations – both foreign and Indian – in the name of ‘development’. For questioning the model of this so-called ‘development’, Dr Saibaba is incarcerated. Expression of one’s own views on political and socio-economic issues is not a crime but a very basic democratic right granted by the Indian Constitution to all its citizens. Perhaps Dr Saibaba’s only “crime” is that he stood in solidarity with the sons and daughters of the soil, who are resisting the corporate loot of their natural resources.

Dr Saibaba suffers from a heart ailment and degeneration of the vertebrae for which he needs constant expert medical attention. After his incarceration, his health has seriously deteriorated in the prison. The Indian State has ensured that Dr Saibaba’s bail application was rejected thrice. The trial has not started even after a year, and the authorities are denying him the necessary medical attention, which suggests that the Indian State is slowly letting Dr GN Saibaba’s health deteriorate to point of no return. Imprisoning a 90% disabled person violates the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Persons with Disabilities Act, and the UN Conventions. His case is just a glaring example of a complete travesty of justice which happens far too often in the Indian subcontinent. There are 300,000 prisoners waiting for trial in the Indian prisons languishing for years without legal access, most of them from the most deprived social sectors.   

We appeal to all intellectuals, lawyers, students, workers and trade union activists of Britain and Europe to condemn the incarceration of Dr Saibaba and thousands of many others by joining the Campaign for the Defence and Release of Political Prisoners.  Please join the picket at the office of the High Commission of India, Aldwych, London, WC2B 4NA from 1pm on 28th June 2015.(Nearest Tube Station:  Temple)

Indian Workers Association, GB (Central Organising Committee); 

          Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC), UK;

  Tohum Cultural Centre – London; 
International Campaign Against the War on People in India

Marx Trot 2014

Marx Trot on sunday 13 July, starts at 2.30 archway tube…\

<note, May 2016, the next Marx Trot is planned for August 14, 2016. More details on this blog soon. This is just a date holder>

Mshelfie

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 13 July. All welcome. 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 Southampton 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 House BYO libations for the first part).

[word to the wise: bring some tinnies in a bag – and sunscreen, umbrella as weather dictates and dosh for dinner (possibly in a footba-oriented venue). The early part of our route involves considerable walking – on the heath – kids are very welcome for the first few hours but after 7.00 it possibly gets a bit adult oriented – well, I mean we visit pubs Marx used to haunt – gespenst-like – in Soho. Mostly harmless, but its cup final night]

Previous trots = https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/marx-trot-this-sunday-2-30-archway-tube-2/ and https://hutnyk.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/marx-trot-2012-july-7-2/and here: https://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

Bonfire night got a whole lot more interesting

bonfire of Austerity | 5 November 2013

Tomorrow (Tuesday 5th November) The Peoples’ Assembly is calling for a day of protest in every town and city in the country. The South East London People’s Assembly are hosting a ‘Bonfire of Cuts’ in Lewisham:

Bonfire of Cuts – 6pm @ Grassy Knoll opp. Lewisham DLR
-Bring effigies of politicians, bankers or the 1% to burn. Will be music, speakers and fire.

Procession against austerity, the bedroom tax and local
cuts – 4.30pm @ Catford Town Hall
-Bring placards or effigies for the route which will pass Lewisham Hospital, still under threat, and other key local places affected by the cuts on our way to the Bonfire.

Performance about austerity politics – 1.30pm @ Deptford Lounge Public Square

Action against poverty – 10am @ Deptford High Street/New Cross Road
-Led by the local food bank

Come to one or all of these acts of civil disobedience against austerity organised by the South East London People’s Assembly. All of them will be family friendly, and welcome participation from everyone.

Go see Convoys Wharf on Saturday

Convoys Wharf Site to Participate in Open House 2013
Hutchison Whampoa are delighted to announce they will be opening the Convoys Wharf site to the public on Saturday 21st September 2013, as part of the London Open House.

Open access to the site will take place between 11am-5pm. Visitors can look forward to viewing an exhibition of the masterplan proposals in the historic Olympia warehouse, while meeting members of the Convoys Wharf development team and also enjoy a riverfront pop-up café.

Open House London celebrates London’s premium buildings, places and neighbourhoods and offers a cost free, unique opportunity annually to discover the the city’s innovative architecture, with over 700 buildings of all kinds opening their doors to everyone.

To find out more about London Open House 2013 and to see what other activities are taking place around London, please visit their website at:

http://www.londonopenhouse.org

See also:
here,
here and here

This, from the East India Company ship yards to the return of Whampoa opium capital to London, is the topic of my talk the day before at the Zeitgeist workshop in Bielefeld.

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

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.”

Save Lewisham Hospital Demo – Sat 26th January 2013

JOIN THE DEMO through Lewisham and Catford on SATURDAY 26th JANUARY to show Jeremy Hunt what we think of the proposals to close Lewisham Hospital A&E, Intensive Care and some children and maternity services!

Join the 'Save Lewisham Hospital' Demo on Saturday 26th January

__________________

Also: BBC Question Time protest.

Please see below protest this Thursday 10th Jan, about Lewisham Hospital.

Details below from: http://www.savelewishamhospital.com/bbc-question-time-protest/

Join the protest at BBC TV Question Time – 10 January 2013, 17:30-21:30.

Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmith’s University, Lewisham Way, SE14 6NW

Rail: New Cross or New Cross Gate
Buses: 21, 36, 53, 453, 436, 136, 321 Marquis of Granby / Lewisham Way stop

Goldsmiths commits to support students from local boroughs

Promotional feature:
Goldsmiths, University of London has announced a raft of new bursaries, waivers and awards worth more than 1.4million to encourage students from local boroughs and to attract the most promising academic talent from a wide range of backgrounds.
Among those to benefit will be students from the borough of Lewisham who come from low income families or demonstrate academic potential. Ten students will receive free places covering their entire undergraduate degree, worth £27,000 each. A further £5,000 will be awarded to four of these recipients as part of the Mayor’s New Cross Awards.
An additional ten students from local boroughs – Lambeth, Southwark, Greenwich, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Croydon – will receive a partial fee-waiver to cover 50 percent of their entire undergraduate degree, worth £13,500 each.
Goldsmiths’ 2013-14 financial support includes:
•       129 scholarships of £6,000 to students from low income households (National Scholarship Programme).
•       Four scholarships of £4,500 to students with a disability.
•       Five scholarships of £4,000 to students who are care leavers.
•       Up to 10 scholarships of £3,000 for students over the age of 25 who come from a non-traditional academic background and show great academic potential.
•       Up to five scholarships of £3,000 for students studying on Access programmes who demonstrate academic potential.
In 2012-13, Goldsmiths invested 30% of the fee income from all fees above £6,000 on additional measures to improve the student experience and encourage wider access to Goldsmiths. Two of the ten students to benefit from the 2012-13 Lewisham Fee Waivers were recipients Victoria Summers and Maimunatu Sillah.
Victoria, who is studying BA (Hons) Drama & Theatre Arts, said: “I was going to come to university anyway but getting the Lewisham Fee Waiver has made a massive difference to my approach to it. To know that there’s somebody who has belief in what I can achieve is really spurring me on at this quite ambitious time in my life. It has made all the difference.”
Maimunatu, who is studying BA (Hons) Social Work, added: “Before coming I thought Goldsmiths was really posh and out of my league. It was always a university that I thought I would never be accepted into so it was a shock when I my application was successful. It broke down all my stereotypical thoughts about the place.”
For full details of the financial support offered by Goldsmiths, visit http://www.gold.ac.uk/ug/fees-funding/

Fuck the Jubilee

The jubilee, recessionary Britain, and and Johnny Rotten staging controversy in the newspaper again, it may all seem a bit like old money for ropey old jingles, but look – at least the advertising for the event in New Cross on Sunday is up!

So I will be heading along to the New Cross for the “Fuck the Jubilee Street Party” – event details via our friends on you know where (even FB’s share-price is having a Thatcherite austerity moment):

http://www.facebook.com/events/207617176019542/

They say: “Goldsmiths students and New Cross inhabitants alike, join us at [a yet undisclosed location] in celebration of an alternative to the flag waving queenie-idiolising jubilee celebrations.

MORE DETAILS ANNOUNCED CLOSER TO THE DATE”

 

so see the FB site or just hang around in NX looking a little bit 1977 England’s dreaming.

Deptford & New Cross Virtual Social Centre. Film Night. Housing. 17.5.2012 7.30PM

Hi,
Just a reminder about tomorrow’s film night:
Subject: New Social Centre / Film night starts May17th at NX Library

Deptford & New Cross Virtual Social Centre present
Films to change the world with: Housing

Films about ordinary people’s direct solutions to housing crises –  from
rent strikes to squatting

@ New Cross People’s Library Thurs 17th May 7.30

283 New Cross Road SE14 nearest station New Cross Gate on London
overground from Dalston Junction etc and train from London Bridge

please publicise through all relevant channels!

Thanks

seven minutes away

– walking distance from my house… The militarisation of London was well in place before the Olympiss, so I am hoping the appearance of these toys in the park up the road gets people more interested. Its not like Britain doesn’t also already sell plenty of these babies worldwide. Scumbag Lords of Death Piggy Pollies. Cute puppy too – I bet your Guardian editor was rapt when they found this pic in the proof sheets – oblique little reference to Bliar/Cameron as Bush/Obama’s lackey-in-chief. Not sure the fence is secure though – joy riders anticipated, does the new Camry even come with a tow-bar these days?

Manifesto manifestation 28.4.2012 Clapham Common Bandstand

Freee’s Manifesto for a New Public will be at Clapham Common bandstand this Saturday (tomorrow 28.4.2012) at 2pm!

Print this, underline the bits you agree with, and join where you wish, and disagree where you must – for the collective (for example, that second last para about not pointing at the rich… I dunno. Got a big stick?)

Declaration

Anyway, generalize this (not just ‘artists)…

 

 

 

 

New Cross Review of Books

About NXRB

Book Reviews from the Big Crabapple that is NX, London.

This is a haphazard collection of reviews old and new. Of course we are not competing with any of the other fine book review rags out there from other towns like New York or London, it’s just that…

We will accept contributions where they are by our friends and comrades, where they are really good and so long as they are approved by the unbiased (non parliamentary, ultra-leftist, no touching faith in reformism or the State) editors. We reserve the right to reject (and hunt down, huff and puff, and burn your house etc.) any sexist, racist or pro-capitalist comments or contributions. You know the drill.

We are for reading, for reading in context, for making reading a part of the struggle to transform lives and life – looking for ways to transmute the nasty slime of Capital into something else, something better, whatever it takes. If it takes book reviews too, then here we go. Culture Industry Reconsidered! Film reviews too people – high-brow elitist theory-heavy auto-reflexive hyper-critique inclusive.

Email the editor-ish (you will see, editorial here is a self-organising collective process) John.Hutnyk [at] gold.ac.uk

Why Cultural Studies in South London

(Note to self for Centre research blurb draft): Stitching between the local and the global in a way that is more than rhetorical, our projects find a geopolitical significance in a South London sensibility. This part of the world has always been global, since the Romans at least. We understand issues – colonial and Maritime history (Greenwich), militarism (Imperial War Museum), race and migration (Stephen Lawrence Centre), commercial and art industry led regeneration/gentrification (Deptford, Tate Modern etc) as examples of a local instanciation of globally significant patterns and events. As modes of production shift, they often shift first in South London. But this does not mean we think this is the centre of the world – our research interests reach out to the global and find patterns of interest in Kolkata, Canton, Niger, Lusaka, Vanuatu, Gabon. More quietly, perhaps, we are also, and maybe even more interested in a planetary ethic than you get in the usual priorities of global (global finance, global trade, global arms sales). Here, we are acutely aware of the planetary or globe girdling movements of protest, creativity, sensibility, meaning. Yet, we see how the planet will eventually make a mockery of all ‘culture’, when we are dust, and a perspective that recalls this terrifying and humbling reality might put our little theatricals into perspective.

Number four million in an ongoing series about why NX is so great great we don’t even need to name it twice twice.

New Cross State of Mind

by Transpontine


New Cross is better than New York is an entertaining new blog by the people who make those ‘I Love New Cross’ bags they sell in the London Particular cafe. As they rightly point out:

– They’ve got Macy’s, we’ve got TK Maxx;
– They’ve got Studio54, we’ve got The Venue;
– They’ve got Carnegie Hall, we’ve got Lewisham Arthouse;
– They’ve got Brooklyn, we’ve got Brockley.

Glad I’m not the only one who enjoys subsitituting New Cross for New York in songs, or indeed as they say ‘substituting the word “Brockley” for “Brooklyn” in Beastie Boys songs. “No Sleep Til Brockley” is particularly good on the night-bus home’. ‘Brockley we go hard’ by Jaz-Z also does it for me.

My current favourite is New Cross State of Mind by Alicia Keys:

Grew up in a town that is famous as the place of movie scenes
Noise was always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that’s what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name on a flyer in Deptford Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby, I’m from New Cross
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New Cross
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New Cross, New Cross, New Cross!

On the old A2, there ain’t never a curfew, ladies work so hard
Such a melting pot, on the corner selling rock, preachers pray to God
Hail a dodgy cab, takes me down from Brockley to Deptford Bridge
Some will sleep tonight with a hunger far more than an empty fridge

One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty
No place in the world that can compare
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Neil tours us round Deptford.

Why thanks Neil:

http://transpont.blogspot.com/2011/09/convoys-wharf-latest.html

Transpontine: South East London blogzine – things that are happening, things that happened, things that should never have happened. New Cross, Brockley, Deptford and other beauty spots. EMAIL US: transpontine@btinternet.com Transpontine: ‘on the other (i.e. the south) side of the bridges over the Thames; pertaining to or like the lurid melodrama played in theatres there in the 19th century’.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Convoys Wharf Latest

The future of Convoys Wharf, site of the former Royal Dockyard on the Deptford riverfront, has been discussed here before. A revised planning application for the site has recently been submitted by News International (former owners of the site) and Chinese property developer Cheung Kong (current owners).There is a lot of local concern about the plans – not just about the impact of what is proposed, but in relation to the loss of the potential once in a hundred years opportunity to do something special here that makes a positive difference to people in Deptford. Challenging these plans, put forward by two of the world’s most powerful conglomerates in the world, is a daunting prospect.Enter Deptford is…, ‘a group of local residents who want to ensure that the redeveloped Convoy’s Wharf offers the best for Deptford and its future. We are NOT affiliated to any political party, commercial interest or quango’. This Saturday 24th September, 10 am to 12 noon, they are organising a ‘planning objections workshop’ in the Blue room at the Albany, Douglas Way.They say ‘Many local residents are worried about the impact of the redevelopment, and are keen to ensure that their concerns are heard by the council. But the planning documents are numerous and complex, and many people who want to respond to the application simply don’t have the time to read them fully. Even those who do have time to read the documents may not know enough about the planning system to be able to write an effective response. So we are holding an URGENT planning objections workshop THIS SATURDAY MORNING at the Albany theatre in Deptford, to provide help and advice to people wanting to comment on this planning application’.

Is that all there is?

A couple of weeks ago I took a group of visitors to Goldsmiths on a guided walk around New Cross and Deptford, focusing on the history of the area and some of its buildings. It was an interesting group, mainly from USA and India, including among others critical architects, a photographer, a film maker and a singer/theatre writer.

The theme of their meeting was globalisation and preservation and this seemed very apposite to Deptford. After all it is arguably one of the birthplaces of a kind of globalisation, the East India Company having been based here, and various colonial and slaver expeditions starting out from the Deptford shipyards. And ‘preservation’ is part of what the argument about Convoys Wharf is all about – how can or should any development reflect the site’s history and preserve the memory of shipbuilding and migration (as for instance Shipwright’s Palace argue)? And what about the site of the historic Sayes Court garden?

One thing that is very striking about the area, looking at it through the eyes of visitors, is just how much it is a zone in transition. I kept finding myself saying on the one hand, ‘until recently this was here’ and on the other ‘soon there will be a new tower block here’. Another feature for an area so tied up with its riverine history is how cut off much of Deptford is from the river itself, not least by the walls around Convoys Wharf. The current planning application promises to restore public access to the river, and that is essential. But does that mean we should just accept any scheme that offers a view of the water?

Another theme that emerged from chatting to the visitors was how similar the experiences of urban development, and specifically riverside development, are across the world. Unimaginative identikit schemes, often by the same architects and developers in different countries, with ‘luxury flat’ tower blocks and sterile semi-public spaces. Is that all there is?

Meze Mangal

Not sure how I feel about mass exposure of this (since its the best food in the borough) but, via Transpontine, here it is:

Eray and Koray – self-styled ‘Cypriot Eminem and Dr Dre’ have a great new track out celebrating the delights of Meze Mangal, the Turkish restaurant in New Cross. Filmed on location in and around the place, the track starts off ‘I know this little place on Lewisham Way (what near the college?), if I had the money I would go every day…’. Look out for those Love, Peace and Kebab Grease T-shirts. All with a little bit of help from Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance.

 

Mapping Goldsmiths

An open invitation to all students and staff at Goldsmiths:

The Other Survey: Mapping Goldsmiths Workshop

Tuesday 15 March 2011, 5-7pm, NAB 326

The drastic cuts to university funding, tripling of student fees and
ongoing ‘restructuring’ of higher education have been accompanied by an
insistent language of measurement, evaluation and competition.
Intensifying tendencies that we’ve been living with, and enacting, for
some years, the university is being formatted as an institution in which
the “student-consumer” is asked to rank “service providers”, and where
artificially scarce resources are to be allocated according to competitive
pressures, in line with principles that are indifferent or antithetical to
a transformative conception of learning, and to non- instrumental
relationships between those who teach, study and work in universities.

The project that we are trying to build starts from the idea that we can’t
allow knowledge about the university to be colonised by student surveys,
league tables, and indicators of financial performance. Rather, we should
perhaps reflect on how little we know about how the institution works, how
power is distributed within it and what the economic, emotional and
existential realities of the “student experience” are, including how
Goldsmiths relates to its local, national and global environments.

In this workshop we would like to begin this process of collective
reflection, dialogue and mapping using it to improvise a participatory
project on university life. Come along with your questions, stories and
ideas so that we can start to sketch out the experiences of students,
teachers and workers who are a part of the College and explore what other
visions and practices of the university we might develop.

Keith Richards’ First Drug

Keith’s elegantly wasted days started when his grandfather let him have his first drag on a cigarette in New Cross.

From the autobiography p, 46:

Gus never bored me. On New Cross station late at night in deep fog, Gus gave me my first dog end to smoke. “No one will see.” A familiar Gusism was to greet a friend with “hello, don’t be a cunt all your life.” The delivery so beautifully flat, so utterly familiar. I loved the man. A cuff round the head. “You never heard that.” “What, Gus?”

Grandfathers get away with that sort of shit al the time, I’ve noticed.

Dragnets of London

Dragnets of London (for Raul).

John Hutnyk

I was on my way home on the number 436 to Lewisham recently when a woman did something I thought was both impressive and unusual – she spoke out against the delay caused by the 20 police who had boarded our bus. She scolded them for wasting her time and for picking on certain passengers that, she said, should be left in peace to get on with their travel.

We have become accustomed to these all-too frequent Metropolitan Police (MET) dragnet style interruptions. Such hold-ups are now quite common in my part of London, a predominantly black suburb, where ticket checks are used as a cover for an immigration shakedown – itself justified as part of anti-terror vigilance. I watched the police officers explain to the woman, in escalating aggressive tones, that her demand to know why the bus was being delayed was misplaced because officers were ‘assaulted every day by people without tickets’. This seems a strange and disproportionate response to a legitimate query from a member of the public. Travelling in a uniformed strength-in-numbers group of (more than) 20, some of whom were armed, suggests an excess enthusiasm of the transport police for ‘ticket inspection’.

We might be concerned that such policing will soon again result in further deaths like that which was visited upon Brazilian commuter Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in 2005 (shot seven times in the head by officers, no-one charged). There have been other unexamined incidents of deaths in police custody and the UK has an appalling record in terms of prosecution of official crime (see the 1999 film Injustice directed by Ken Fero and Tariq Mehmood). Another tragedy is primed to happen especially where commanders readily deploy disproportionate aggression if challenged by an impatient commuter. She was young, white, articulate, and had the sense to back down when the Officer in charge raised his voice and muscled up to her. No need to guess that any other appellant might not have got off the bus so freely. We other passengers, a few anyway, applauded her courage, but somewhat meekly. It does seem that a new anxiety pervades the streetscapes of the metropolis – a consequence of dubious foreign wars and suspect geo-politics, conjoined with institutional racism and a creeping resignation. Not many complain, but at least in this instance, someone did.

I was glad to have met her. We exchanged a few words:

Me: ‘That was great, well done.’

Her: ‘How can they do this, its intolerable.’

Me: ‘What is your name?’

Her: ‘Scheherazade’

This response is hilarious and smart – she identifies herself, sensibly choosing an alias, as the fabled storyteller who tames a despot with patient narrative over many many nights. Speaking truth to power, in coded repetition, Scheherazade offers a moral discourse through fantasy tales, Sinbad the Sailor and so on. Eventually the despotic ruler relents his power. The trouble is, I never saw Scheherazade again. But I remember her lesson – you do have to speak up.

Several months after the above incident, the MET have assigned dedicated public relations personnel to their inspection teams. Whenever I have seen the dragnet I have made a point of following that woman’s earlier tactic, and each time experienced the full force of MET customer relations, extending to a total bureaucratic run-around when trying to get a complaint about this heard. This is documented below in brief conversations where, while asking the most obvious questions, I find something very provocative – the ways speaking out can be channelled and contained are also to be examined.

In this first exchange, the ‘team’ were wrapping their operation up when I came by, so there was a sense of mild irritation with my questions, a kind of ‘shows over, on your way sir’ tone – which of course I took as an invitation to linger.

Me: [polite, ironic] ‘What’s all this then?’

Cop A: ‘We are looking for people without tickets, you’d be surprised how many we can arrest in a day.’

Me: [politely] ‘Hmmm, why do you need so many police, isn’t this over policing?’

Cop A: ‘Most people around here welcome this.’

Me: [politely] ‘No, no, no, we all think its outrageous. You don’t need to do this, you should go catch some real crooks, you know, corporate types, politicians, the Speaker of the House of Representatives….’ [the controversy over MP’s expenses was current news]

Later, to a different officer:

Me: ‘Why do you need so many police to check tickets on one bus?’

Cop A: ‘This is a message to people, we are being noticed. You noticed.’

Me: ‘Even when just one ticket inspector gets on the bus we notice.’

Stand around a bit, watch the slow process of a lad get a caution for riding his bicycle on the footpath:

Cop B: ‘Why are you riding on the footpath, its against the law.’

Bike-boy: ‘Its getting dark and my light is broken.’

… [some meaningless blather, bike-boy rides off]

Cop C to Cop B: ‘They’ll make up anything round here.’

I asked another cop who was in charge:

Me: [formal] ‘Who is the ranking officer?’

Cop D: ‘Why, do you need something?’

Me: ‘I want to make a complaint?’

Cop D: ‘Why?’

Me: ‘I think this is over policing.’

Cop D: ‘People think this is the free bus.’ (the 436 aka the free bus).

Next to him, a female cop:

Cop E: ‘You could talk to the sergeant.’

Me: ‘Him there?’

Cop E: ‘Yes, but he is busy now.’

[time passes]

Me: ‘He’s not that busy now?’

Cope E: ‘Just tap him on the shoulder.’

Me: ‘Surely that’s more your style than mine.’

I meet the ranking officer:

Me: [polite formal] ‘This is over policing, how do I make a complaint?’

Cop F: ‘Where do you live?’

Me: [taken aback] ‘Why do you want to know?’

Cop F: ‘You can complain to the duty officer at your local station.’

Me: [insistent] ‘Don’t you think this is over policing?’

Cop F: ‘Most people don’t think so.’

Me: ‘I disagree. Most people here probably don’t think this is a good thing.’

Cop F: ‘You are entitled to disagree.’

Me: [exasperated] ‘Not for long it seems.’ [gesturing to the 25 uniformed cops hovering around the bus]

And so yet another micro moment of the creeping fascism of contemporary Englan’ passes at 6.05PM on a monday night on Lewisham Way.

Another day, another routine: Stopping to quiz yet another bus dragnet gang with a colleague, this time we are referred immediately to the public relations London Transport operative ‘Daniel’. This sort of discussion, reproduced below, has become a perverse kind of sport. I know it does little, and now I know the cops see public complaints as a kind of sport as well. Nevertheless, as they say in the Homeland – ‘If you see something, say something’.

A conversation between ‘Police Liaison Operative Daniel’ and two unidentified subjects of the realm, designated as ‘US’:

US: ‘[polite] Why are you stopping this bus here today?’

Daniel: ‘We are arresting people without tickets, booking them for crimes.’

US: ‘Is it an arrestable crime to go without a ticket?’

Daniel: ‘Most people without tickets commit other crimes.’

US: ‘So this is a kind of entrapment? You could just hand out fines.’

Daniel: ‘We are keeping the buses safe.’

US: ‘They are not unsafe because people don’t have tickets. Why are these officers armed? Are those guys immigration officers?’

Daniel: ‘Look, we could be out catching terrorists in the ethnic suburbs.’

US: [incredulous] ‘Sorry, which suburbs, how could you tell? Do they teach you about profiling?’

Daniel: ‘Oh, I know the profile very well thank you. Is there anything more I can help you with?’

US: [exasperated] ‘How can we make a complaint about over policing?’

Daniel: ‘You can complain to me.’

US: ‘sigh’

There is no question that the border and border policing has moved from the airport and ferry terminal to the centre of the city and the micro-moments of everyday life. The border is right there on the street, caught between mild-mannered individuals and institutional authority, uniforms on the bus, exclusions and deportations before your eyes. A million minute forms of repression that amount to a generalized war economy. Always under suspicion, ready to have you tickets checked, your bags examined (announcements remind you to never leave them unattended), security fear becomes everyday and the power of the authorities to detain anyone that ‘looks the part’ becomes routine. A border has been crossed, a border has been crossed… we run willingly into battle.

Still More Dragnets

Stopping to quiz yet another bus dragnet gang with a colleague, this time we are  referred immediately to the public relations London Transport operative ‘Dan’. This sort of discussion, reproduced below, has become a perverse kind of sport. I know it does little, and now I know the cops see public complaints as a kind of sport as well. Nevertheless, as they say in the Homeland – ‘If you see something, say something’.

A conversation between ‘Police Liaison Operative Dan’ and two unidentified subjects of the realm, designated as ‘US’:

US: ‘Why are you stopping this bus here today?’

PLOD: ‘We are arresting people without tickets, booking them for crimes’

US: ‘Is it really an arrestable crime to go without a ticket?’

PLOD: ‘Most people without tickets commit other crimes’

US: ‘So this is a kind of entrapment? You could just hand out fines’

PLOD: ‘We are keeping the buses safe.’

US: ‘They are not unsafe because people don’t have tickets. Why are these officers armed? Are those guys immigration officers?’

PLOD: ‘Look, we could be out catching terrorists in the ethnic suburbs’

US: ‘Sorry, which suburbs, how could you tell? Do they teach you about profiling?’

PLOD: ‘Oh, I know the profile very well thank you. Is there anything more I can help you with?’

US: ‘How can we make a complaint about over policing and inappropriate profiling?’

PLOD: ‘You can complain to me, Sir’

US: ‘:)’

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/about-us/freedom-of-information/released-information/foi-archive-immigration/929-immigration-checksa8cf.html?view=Html

See also here, here and here.