Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Deptford on the RE-UP

There was a strange atmosphere on the high street when I went up at lunchtime. Not a threatening atmosphere, just a little edgy and even a little ebullient. It was extra busy for a Tuesday, there seemed to be a lot of confident young men about...perhaps I noticed a little extra testosterone in the air...

In particular there were about ten young black men hanging about outside Coral's, the bookies in the middle of the high street. Anyone who's watched The Wire (Marlon's gang are pictured above), or is into hip hop will know what I mean by RE-UP...and that is exactly what is going on outside Coral's every day of the week.

The activity is so blatant that no one who trades nearby is in any doubt about what is going on. Shop keepers tell me that there will be a similar gathering outside Coral's up to three times a day, most prominently on Mondays. Today's business was transferred from yesterday apparently since a cop car went by yesterday, picked someone up, and everyone scarpered.

Perhaps the police are operating what was known in The Wire as Hamsterdam, a free drug dealing zone, since by all accounts this has been going on for ages, or maybe it is all building up to a showdown, hence the buzz in the air today that I haven't noticed so much before...

Obviously Coral's (formally Hale's Gallery, ho, ho, Paul Maslin, look what you did by selling to a bookmaker) must know what's going on. And with seven bookies in the high street, and Paddy Power all set to take over the John Evelyn (in Evelyn Street, see the Deptford Dame's post here) in a shopping triangle that has two bookies already, one wonders what on earth our town planners are thinking when they talk about rejuvenating and making improvements to Deptford Town Centre.

Legitimate shop keepers watch from the sidelines over an almost lawless high street that sees every trading act in the book continually flouted (illegal shutters, illegal trading on pavements by subcontracted fruit and veg sellers etc, illegal parking, illegal drinking and drug dealing etc etc etc)...whilst civil engineers come by to look at laying new paving, with no proper plans of the area and are surprised to find tunnels under the road that lead from the shops...

I thought the pavements needed cleaning rather than re-laying, but cleaning up is taking on a whole new meaning. But I guess it ain't Brooklyn yet, there are no guns, are there.......


  1. I so agree with you. I like Deptford and I would like the area to develop keeping its character but walked up the High Street yesterday evening and the only new thing I noticed is that the Deptford Arms has been replaced by a betting shop! I'm not sure that is what an area tipped for improvement needs

  2. I think the anchor is the main problem the homeless and aimless there steal and double cross people regularly and Im sure some of them are into heroin, I had one steal £30 from me and the trouble I have had from the guys outside the coral is a wolf whistle, stop being rasciist and look at the real problem

  3. Anonymous, I agree that the Coral guys are not too scary for someone who is used to the area, and I didn't mean to single them out as the only source of er..antisocial behaviour or criminal activity on the street. There is indeed the anchor and there's a lot that goes on outside Ladbrokes. I was reporting what shopkeepers at the Corals end of the street are saying, and what I saw for myself. I'm not sure you can say that is racist. I am amused at the planners' attempts to gentrify something so wild and untamed.