Saturday, July 28, 2012

Who's that girl?

Who's that beautful girl? It's Jasmine! From Crossfields Estate, Deptford, London SE8! Watched by over 20 million people in the UK alone. Wasn't she fantastic?!!

Like all the other performers, Jazz was sworn to secrecy and wouldn't talk about her role before the show. On Wednesday, her mum said, "She is SO underplaying it, says it's no big deal! Two billion watching on telly, 60,000 in the stadium and a feature in an hour long section! She's excited though and having fun."

Jazz was her usual modest self talking to Vanessa on BBC Radio London this morning:
listen to ‘Vanessa Talks to Jasmine Breinberg - Star of the Opening Ceremony’ on Audioboo
You may also have caught her and equally modest co-star Henrique on ITV's Daybreak. She will also be on the BBC Breakfast show tomorrow morning, and has been interviewed by the Sunday Times (yet to be published) and the Daily Mail.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Deptford X 2012

Deptford's annual contemporary visual arts festival kicks off this Friday to run concurrently with the Olympics until 12th August.

There is so much to go and see it's too big a job for us to pick out what may be the highlights – so have a look at the website at

Apart from some big names invited by the lead curators Hew Locke & Indra Khanna, and work commissioned by Lewisham Council, there are over 50 fringe artists or projects popping up all over the place in shops and on the sides of buildings, in the streets and other more unusual places, plus gallery shows, open studios, events and performances.

There's a free printed map to tell you where everything is, which you can pick up in various venues. To find out more about the actual work on show, download the brochure from the website or buy one for a quid at Creekside Cafe (on Creekside) and Arch Materials (in Resolution Way). The map can also be downloaded. Both are indispensible if you want to know what's going on. There are also walking and cycling tours to help you navigate your way around and not miss the best stuff.

The curators' theme for the festival centres on "the decorative": "Surrender to the pleasure of the decorative. Revel in the excessive, embrace it and be dazzled...But... Layers of decoration contain levels of meaning, messages and codes – symbols of power, conspicuous consumption, signals of elitist knowledge, patterns of control and signs of social belonging..." All that glitters is not gold, perhaps?

Work is in the process of being installed ready for Friday. We spotted lead artist Hew Locke's piece going up on the side of the old Tidemill school today. Hew's piece is called Gold Standard and "uses original old share certificates to explore the history and movement of money, power and ownership". Our first thought is that it is certainly sited in the right place to comment on the bondage of capitalism – on the old school (which is privately guarded), in view of the new school (which is now privately run).

The organisers are hoping to attract extra interest from visitors to the equestrian events at Greenwich, and APT studio artist Heather Burrell (who designed the decorative gates at Creekside Discovery Centre) has picked up on the equestrian theme – look out for her life-sized galloping horses on windows throughout the area, directing visitors in an eastward direction to Greenwich. In Creekside Cafe we spotted some small coloured horses cut from metal which she is selling cheaply to help pay for the larger ones (pre-festival they are only £5). Heather's horses may be the nearest many of us will get to any of these beasts this year, despite the events going on in Greenwich (unless you're a frequent visitor to our plethora of betting establishments, of course).

We also spotted this piece by Tracey Payne this morning, sitting atop the Deptford Project train carriage, like a weather vane signalling the unprecedented number of construction projects going on in our area. Expect more visual surprises like this once the festival is in full swing.

Full listings at

Also see South London Art Map.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Have you got a light?

Agent 005 (in white) has forgotten his matches

No worries, I'll give you a light

Right, let's set fire to Lewisham shopping centre!
A good few turned out in the morning sunshine to see the torch leave the Laban this morning.  Including the Greenwich council refuse lorry, which had been unable to resist those oh so tempting ''Road Closed'' signs.  As the torch went from Creekside to Creek Road to Deptford High Street, canny Crossfielders used their local knowledge and took a leisurely stroll through the estate to watch the procession reemerge onto Deptford Church Street from Giffin Street 10 minutes and at least one changeover later.

UPDATE (via Sue): More pics from Crossfields residents...

Augustina (Holden) reporting from Laban and Wavelengths...

Tim (Castell) almost caught "the kiss"...

Augustina jogged to the Broadway for the changeover and snapped Doreen Lawrence in Brookmill Road...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Deptford Torch Weekender

Lewisham Council is inevitably making a big deal of the Torch Relay this weekend, with events planned in Giffin Square, The Albany Cafe, Deptford Lounge and Wavelengths from 10am -3pm on Saturday. Much of it is kids-orientated, with pop-up performances, entertainment and taster swimming lessons. There's more on Sunday in Wavelengths only.

On Monday 23rd, there's stuff planned from 6am-12noon, even though the 'Olympic Flame' will have come and gone before 8am. See the route here or pick up a leaflet at Wavelengths or the Lounge. Those up early enough will be able to watch Doreen Lawrence carry the torch. The relay begins at the Laban Centre in Creekside, starting at approximately 7.30am and arriving at The Stephen Lawrence Centre on Brookmill Road at around 7.49am, passing via Creek Road, the high street, Giffin Street and past Crossfields on Church Street at about 7.40am.

There will be road closures all around the area till midday on Monday, starting from this evening when the top part of Creekside will be closed all weekend.

The Stephen Lawrence Centre will also be hosting a Family Fun Day from noon-4pm on Monday, (during which time the torch will have been through Bromley, Croydon and Sutton and arrived at Merton, as part of Day 66 (?) of the relay).

UPDATE: Thanks to a comment from Anonymous (below) we have made a correction to the printed information in leaflets available in local venues: Giffin Square has replaced 'Albany Square' as the venue for much of the entertainment planned. Unfortunately we could not find any details on Lewisham's website to refer readers to.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

HMS Ocean back in town + missiles on Blackheath

Ian Visits (his pic above) reported earlier in the week that HMS Ocean is back in dock at Greenwich. When it was here in May, Greenwich residents were invited on board for a look around. On Sunday 15th it will be open to all between 10am and 3pm. Muster point is the Old Royal Naval College grounds, where there will be a bag search before the public can board a boat transfer to the aircraft carrier.

Meanwhile, the Blackheath Bugle has posted an MOD information leaflet about the missiles that are to be sited now installed on Blackheath. It has more detail than previously circulated, including some FAQs. For instance: Is there a risk of the missiles exploding accidentally whilst on site? Where would an aircraft fall if it was hit by a missile fired from Blackheath?
Download the leaflet here.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Consultations coming up

Wednesday 11 July, 6pm-9pm
Thursday 12 July, 3pm-8pm
Views and comments invited on proposals for Faircharm Trading Estate. "The proposed Faircharm Creative Quarter is a mixture of workspace, living space, galleries and social spaces that respect the Creekside conservation area and respond to the local neighbourhood." This will affect Crossfields, so don't miss.
Unit A004, Building A, Faircharm Estate, 8-12 Creekside SE8 3DX
More info:, 020 3176 4161

Saturday 14 July, 10am-3pm
Monday 16 July, 5pm-8pm
An opportunity to view and comment on the new "emerging" masterplan being put together by Terry Farrell & Partners for Hutchison Whampoa. It will be interesting to see if any of the intriguing proposals put forward by locals have been taken on board. 
Hall & Studio, First Floor, Deptford Lounge, Giffin Street
More info: 020 7636 6603

Charlie Pi at Shoreditch Town Hall

Prolific artist and Frankham House resident Charlie Pi is presently exhibiting in the cavernous and labyrinthine basement at Shoreditch Town Hall, with a massive show of 'work in progress' called The Burning Exhibition. It runs till 12th July, 12noon-6pm.

Charlie's says "It's like an Open Studio, but my studio's too small and my volume of work is enormous, so it makes sense to put it in a suitable and accessible space. Everything from burnt wedding dresses on plywood to paintings on tablecloths. Like a tea party with Miss Havisham, Lizzie Borden and Snow White. I burn frocks. That's what I do."

Greenwich Comedy Festival

Dylan Moran (SOLD OUT), Reginald D Hunter, Sean Lock, Mark Watson, Milton Jones, Andy Parsons, Stephen K Amos, David O'Doherty, Doc Brown, John Shuttleworth, Rich Hall (SOLD OUT), Marcus Brigstocke, Sean Hughes, Richard Herring, Robin Ince, Rufus Hound, Jerry Sadowitz, Chris Ramsey (SOLD OUT), Andrew Maxwell, Craig Campbell, Danny Bhoy, Isy Suttie, Jerred Christmas...the list goes on...

Friday 13th – Friday 20th July: there's a Big Top, a Little Top, a Bandstand with live music, Meantime Brewery and sideshows in the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College. Tickets are a pricey £18.50-£24 in the Big Top. The 8-day festival is part of Greenwich Summer Festival, running from 4th July – 12th August.

Greenwich Park closes...the madness begins

Don't forget that most of Greenwich Park closes tomorrow for four weeks till 8 September. The Children’s Playground and parts of The Flower Garden will remain open, except on 30 July (for an Olympic Cross Country event). The Avenue is closed to cars till 1 October. The Royal Observatory will be closed on 7 July, reopening on 4 August. The National Maritime Museum will remain open throughout the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Park alternatives:

Maryon Wilson Park: hilly, great views, bonus zoo (53 to Charlton House)
Southwark Park: flat, lovely groves and hidden places, bonus art galleries (47 to Surrey Quays)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tree Works

In the minutes of the TRA meeting on 29th March it was noted that the Vice Chair Ram Jatan had written to the council about tree pruning. It had been years since it had been done, and many people on the lower floors had not seen daylight for some time. Some trees had dead branches which could fall on passersby at any time, and others were growing dangerously close to the buildings.

New and efficient Tenancy Officer Kerrie Taylor promptly got on the case and the next meeting on 26th April was attended by Head of Estate Services, Vince Buchanan. He told the meeting that they intended to commence a pruning programme and admitted that this work hadn't been done for three years (some think the gap is longer, possibly four or five years). A survey was conducted around five years ago (?) in which the trees were numbered, and which showed a lot of work was required then to reduce, shape and lift. Much of that work was done around that time. A tree which had been cut down to a stump then has now grown back to a good twenty feet. That's how long ago this work was last done. 

The meeting requested that Vince's team put up notices around the estate so that everyone knew what was going to happen. And Vince promised the Chair a list of works along with a schedule.

On 30th May, Vince emailed the TRA Chair, Tim, a "notice" about the tree works. This email and notice was also copied to Tenancy Officer Kerrie Taylor, with a request for her to arrange printing of the notice and posting on the estate. Why Vince could not arrange for his own team to do this is anyone's guess. Vince said in his email to Tim that works would begin in July, but the "notice" gave no start date whatsoever.

Tim was unable to attend the TRA meeting the following evening on 31st May due to work commitments, but the attending Tenancy Officer, Ebemi, handed out 6 copies (though there were twice that number in attendance) of a set of maps of all the trees on the estate and a list of trees to be attended to at Frankham House. No date for commencement was given.

Less than a week later, on 6th June, work began on Frankham.

Since the work had begun ahead of the promised time of "July", Tim hurriedly emailed "the notice" to the few people who are on the TRA email list, but in the meantime, the notice never appeared in print anywhere on the estate.

The "notice" was not really a notice, it was a letter. It stated that thanks to a request made at a recent TRA meeting, Lewisham Green Scene would be arranging for contractors to carry out works to the trees. A few of the smaller trees on the estate would be removed where they directly impact on buildings and structures. The bulk of the work to be done involved pruning, to ensure clearance from buildings, and reduce encroachment over footways and highways, thus conforming to highway regulations. Also deadwood within trees would be removed for safety reasons.

It was written by Rick Farr, Tree Services Manager and invited comments and questions to go to by 21st June – even though work already appeared to have started.

Implied indirectly in the letter was the fact that no work would be taking place at all if someone at the TRA hadn't suggested it was about time the trees were pruned because it was so long ago that they had been touched.

Meanwhile, Tim fielded questions and concerns to Lewisham's Tree Officer, Linda, and to the Manager, Rick, as follows:

Q: Shouldn't the trees have been pruned in winter?
A: No, now was a good time to carry out the works, especially after all the rain.
Q: What about nesting birds?
A: The contractor will have carried out a risk assessment and it is their contractual responsibility not to disturb any birds or bats, since there is a hefty fine and it's a criminal offence under the Countryside & Wildlife Act.
Q: What about the trees which are food for the birds such as cherry trees?
A: (not sure we got an answer for that one)
Q: Aren't the trees protected now that the area is a conservation zone?
A: No, the council are exempt.

At the next (and most recent) TRA meeting on 28th June, some Frankham House residents complained about the quality of the work done on their trees earlier in the month. At this time, less than a week ago, we still had no news of what date the work on the rest of the estate would start, and no notices had gone up. Perhaps our new and efficient Tenancy Officer, Kerrie, is unwell, and no one has picked up the slack (she hasn't attended the last two meetings and the TRA miss her). Unfortunately, this blog did not post up any information either, since this writer was too busy doing paid work. Anyway, it is not the responsibility of a volunteer-run blog (or TRA, for that matter) to do the job of paid council workers in letting all residents know about impending works.

Today, work started, taking all by surprise, and alarming those who had not been warned about it. The noise of the chainsaws was deafening. Only a small part of the work was done, so will no doubt continue until every tree has been reduced to an elfin version of itself. The effect is quite shocking – the two trees below had been as tall as the top floor.

Some residents are pleased to at last be able to get some light into their gloomy rooms, whilst others bemoan their loss of privacy (since the trees provided a screen from the flats opposite or from the road). If birds were still nesting, no one will know, since the debris was quickly cleared away and fed into a wood mulcher to be spat out as sawdust into a Beeches Treecare truck.

Those who are feeling rather bereft at the severe short back and sides our beautiful big trees are receiving might be consoled by the knowledge that they will soon grow back – even the ones reduced to a stump. However, those who love bird-song may wonder where the birds have gone.

We hope this post helps explain the situation to those who were caught unawares. An email has gone to Vince Buchanan requesting notices be put up, and also suggesting a walkabout is arranged, so that people have the opportunity to come along and understand which trees have to be removed or have work done to them, and to give some reassurance.

UPDATE Wednesday 4 July: Vince says he's unaware of any agreement to put up notices but will do so and arrange a walkabout for a "delegation" of the TRA (NO! Vince, a walkabout for anyone who wants to know what's going on). Oh, and no worries, it'll all soon be over, work is progressing well! He appears arrogantly dismissive of the distress caused by his failure to notify residents.

UPDATE Thursday 5 July: No notices yet. No word about a walkabout. Not even a Polite Notice to apologise for the unprecedented noise and inconvenience (which is affecting businesses in the area as well as the residents), let alone anything to explain to them why it's going on.

Having not been given any schedules, we don't know how long this will go on, but seeing there are many trees left to be done, we can predict it will continue well into next week. It is still not too late for a Polite Notice.

UPDATE Friday 6 July: Notice has gone up. Hurrah! And it's confirmed that the work will take another two weeks.

Deptford Film Club: course for 18-30 year olds

Deptford Film Club asked us to flag up their summer course which starts tomorrow (they'd be happy to squeeze in any latecomers) :

Become a film festival producer
This summer, Deptford Film Club is building a pop-up cinema at the Stephen Lawrence Centre – and we’re recruiting a team of 18-30 year olds to run a short festival of film screenings in it.
We’ll teach you how to programme, publicise and manage a film festival. You’ll learn all the technical and legal aspects of running film events – and work out how to engage audiences with popular world cinema.
Click for more information and details

Monday, July 2, 2012

Coming up: DEPTFORD

Just watched the first film in the seventh series of Coming Up, Channel 4's "talent scheme where new writers and directors have the opportunity to make an original film with guaranteed network broadcast".

The film was called NEW CROSS. However, Deptford film location fans will have spotted that most of the scenes were shot in Deptford rather than New Cross – except the pub scenes (possibly The Amersham Arms?). So why not call it DEPTFORD?

Inside Faircharm looking out at Holden House

Albury Street

Just off Albury Street

Ah! New Cross underpass, the one scene set in SE14

Ha'Penny Hatch footpath again...

The cast includes that bloke from Being Human, Russell Tovey (who always looks so bloody sad), plus Alice Sanders, Georgia Brown, Alex Lanipekun and Jordan Long. The director is David Stoddart and the writer is Laura Neal. More about them here.

Maybe we're being a little pedantic about the locations, and it's perhaps just as well the title of the piece wasn't changed to more accurately describe where the film was mostly shot, since the central character gets randomly mugged beaten up in the New Cross underpass (not in Deptford, in other words).

Watch again on 4OD.