Sunday, May 11, 2014

Kate Tempest new album launch at the Bird's Nest

Kate Tempest will preview her new album Everybody Down (due out on 19th May) live at the Birds Nest on Tuesday 13th May...7pm-11pm. Free entry!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Venice Preserv'd

Venice Preserv'd © Johan Perrson
Venice Preserv'd has got some terrible reviews from The Guardian and the Evening Standard and Time Out among others. The criticism is mostly to do with the rather time-wasting 'promenading' from the Cutty Sark to the play's location at Paynes & Borthwick wharf, and the failure to co-opt the audience into helping create a carnival atmosphere. Whilst some may be happy to get into the swing of things, others may find all the clutter surrounding this production a little too distracting.

We attended 'the carnival' last week on a bleak looking Friday evening. At the end of the day we found ourselves enthusiastically applauding the tremendously talented multi-racial cast and some fabulous indoor stage settings.

Surely it is worth shouting about TWO brilliant black actors in the lead roles (Ayesha Antione and Ashley Zhangazha), supported by a brilliant cast and every reviewer notes Jessie Buckley. On the sidelines, Dwane Walcott is surely worth a shout. Great design (Helen Scarlett O'Neill) and production support these actors, and all involved should be proud.

These are the people that make Venice Preserv'd worth seeing.


If you're local you might want to miss the early start in Greenwich, which seems designed purely to lure West End theatre goers down to the far-flung site on Watergate Street via a boat trip to Greenwich. Considering the poor transport links at P&B Wharf, it might also be seen as a vehicle for illustrating the nearness of Greenwich to new luxury home buyers.

As the Standard says, the blurb "conjures an image of flamboyant spectacle" but "the reality is less thrilling" with "a few actors capering around in masks" in a "good-natured yet not exactly atmospheric preamble that's far removed from the gorgeous excess of Venice's famous carnival".

But the walk from Greenwich is not helped by the company leading the audience along a filthy and polluted Creek Road (see our previous post) for much longer than they need to rather than use the river walk through the Millenium Quay estate. (Perhaps the riverside residents who own the road refused them access. There could be a bridge there but they've probably stopped that too).

Both reviews also question whether the entire show might be an elaborate advertising ruse to sell luxury apartments. "It's a bit like being stuck inside a property advertisement", says the Standard. "An hour has passed before the show even gets underway, and then every time the drama threatens to gain any momentum everything stops as we are moved to another location. It begins to resemble an extended property viewing rather than a piece of theatre", says The Guardian.

It was a chilly evening and threatening to rain when we went last week, which made the walk from Greenwich utterly dismal, and the lingering on the brand new terrace at Paynes & Borthwick less enjoyable than it might have been had it been warm and sunny.

The week before we'd been to see our local actor friend in Othello (in the smallest theatre in the world at Leicester Square – the only staging of Shakespeare during the week of the great bard's birthday). That excellent little production helped us get over the culture-shock of period costume and text and prepared us for the similarly passionate and blood thirsty story of love and friendship in Otway's 1682 tragedy.

But we had to wait ages for it to start. When it finally got going, the audience was moved through four different locations within the P&B development as the action unfolded – two indoors and two outdoors. In one of the indoor locations, we sat rather uncomfortably with a restricted view of the action on the floor. Luckily many of the scenes took place on a raised stage with three very clever set changes.

Venice Preserv'd © Johan Perrson

The backdrop to the play is one of revolution, the citizens of Venice uprising against a corrupt government, but the government wins and the revolutionaries are doomed – a rather depressing outcome, considering our present times and the location of this production. As this reviewer notes, "What we are left with at the end of the a restoration revival draped across a symbol of London's insurmountable wealth gap".

If you're going, get the cheaper tickets, wait for warmer weather, perhaps skip the promenade from Greenwich, make sure you're not allergic to Shakespearean-style plays, and you may find yourself 'immersed' quite agreeably...

Plus you'll get a preview of what will hopefully (though don't count on it) become an attractive and freely accessible terraced Deptford waterfront.

Spring Fair at Surrey Docks Farm

Hopefully the rain will stay away for the annual Spring Fair at this working city farm down by the river in Rotherhithe. More about the fair here, and how to get there here – cycling along the river looks favourite!

Friday, May 2, 2014

FREE music and arts events this weekend

Fri 2 May 7.15pm O Brother, Where Art Thou? Old Police Station • 8pm Winged Migration Sanford Housing Co-op • 8pm The Naked City Gallop Sat 3 May 10am Optical Adjustments St Nicholas Church • 1pm Ritual & Play Old Tidemill School • 8pm Frank Zappa's Baby Snakes Vinyl • 7.30pm Stray Dog Gallop • 8pm Grease Telegraph Hill Park Sun 4 May 1pm Ping Pong Old Tidemill School • 8pm Owl & the Pussycat Montague Arms

Friday 2nd May – Monday 5th May
Arthub presents 
Bank Holiday Charity Postcard Show, Silent Auction & Grand Raffle. Grand Opening Friday 2 May, 6-9pm
Silent auction continues Sat/Sun 12-5pm, Minimum bids of £20. Monday 5 May: one day sale 12-5pm, all available postcards £25. In aid of The Deborah Ubee Trust & The Ahoy Centre. Arthub Gallery, 5-9 Creekside SE8

Saturday 3rd May, 1pm
Misguided Tour of Deptford & New Cross with Richard Tyrone Jones
Award-winning poet and local resident Richard Tyrone Jones will mis-guide you through Deptford "in a fascinating FREE tour with some very quirky features. Myth or reality? Amazing tale or barefaced lie? Join him for a tour that will reveal Deptford in a totally new light..."
Meet at Sanford Housing Co-op, Cold Blow Lane, 1pm. Ends 3pm at the Albany, where Richard is taking part in the Crosswires Festival (see below). NB: Doesn't look like there's much Deptford in this piss-take walk?

Saturday 3rd May, all day
A day of mostly FREE music at three Deptford & New Cross venues
12pm–3pm Deptford Lounge (FREE)
3pm–10pm The Albany (FREE all day)
3pm–3am Amersham Arms (FREE before 8.30pm)
An eclectic mix of the best in new and traditional music "in the tradition of the late John Peel's radio shows". Check out the great line ups at each venue on the Crosswires Festival website.

Saturday 3rd May, 9pm
It's May Bank Holiday – traditionally time for South East Londoners to head to Rochester for the Sweeps Festival or Hastings Jack in the Green for a bit of paganism, folk music and morris dancing – and to celebrate the pride of the common working man. But the trains are all f**ked, so get a taste of these festivals on home turf with the best sea shanty crew in the UK.
Birds Nest pub

Monday 5th May, 12-5pm
Locally organised bank holiday fair with a strong whiff of political activism from our posh friends across the Creek...
Greenwich Green ('by the Greenwich Tree of Life mural') aka Bardsley Green, 262-288 Creek Road SE10 9SW


Saturday 10th May, 10am-10pm
Over 30 artists studios (close at 8pm) • in the gallery: Painting, Smoking, Eating (group show) • café by GCDA • Cardboard Jungle workshop for kids • bar, drinks & DJ in the evening. 

Saturday 10th May, 7.30pm
Hosted by drag queen Mrs Jonjo
Cry with laughter on the greatest night in European music (not!)
Tickets £5 (includes a drink) 18+ only, last entry 9pm
The Albany, Douglas Way SE8 4AG

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Shocking new pollution results for Deptford!

This is a screenshot of the online map that displays the results of a Citizen Science Air Pollution Survey carried out earlier this year by local residents (see our previous post).

The results are now published. View the full results for Deptford here.

The survey measured Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels only (it is too expensive to monitor carbon particulates), and the results show extremely dangerous and illegal levels on Deptford Church Street, Creek Road, Deptford Broadway and New Cross Road. The black dots are readings of over 60µg/m³ (micrograms per cubic metre). The red dots show readings between 40 and 60µg/m³. The EU legal limit is 40µg/m³.

Crossfields Estate itself has readings as high as 46µg/m³ inside the estate. Higher readings were found on the estate near both Deptford Church Street and at Creekside. Opposite Wilshaw and Holden on Creekside the reading was 48µg/m³. At the Birds Nest roundabout it was 62µg/m³ and on the Crossfields side of Church Street at the crossing to Giffin Street it was 63µg/m³.

A tube on Deptford Church Street opposite Giffin Street measured 63µg/m³

Deptford High Street had much higher readings than expected (as high as 54µg/m³), but most of the over 60µg/m³ readings were at both ends of Deptford Church Street (84µg/m³ at Deptford Broadway) and the south end of Deptford High Street (69µg/m³). Levels immediately increase on New Cross Road – the junction at Amersham Vale gave readings of 110µg/m³!

Students at Goldsmiths College are exposed to extremely high levels, whilst our local schools do not fare very well either: 98µg/m³ at Addey & Stanhope, 68µg/m³ at Deptford Park, 62µg/m³ at Deptford Green, 56µg/m³ at St Alfeges, 55µg/m³ at Clyde Early Childhood Centre, and 40µg/m³ at Tidemill and St Joseph's.

Putting up a tube outside Frankham House on Deptford Church St. The tube reading was 57µg/m³, whilst at the Birds Nest it was 62µg/m³

Back in January, four Crossfields residents teamed up with four other local residents and the Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart campaign to conduct the survey in Deptford. They worked with the No to Silvertown campaign and the Network for Clean Air to produce a survey that covers five local boroughs. See the combined boroughs map on the Silvertown website.

It shows that even Lewisham is not safe. A tube placed almost at the entrance to Lewisham market gave a reading of 109µg/m³ !

Diffusion tubes were put up on lamposts in the week commencing January 6th and taken down in the week of February 3rd. Under the direction of the Network for Clean Air, the tubes were then sent to a lab. Unfortunately, the results took two months to process, so were too late to use as evidence in two grass roots Deptford campaigns against Thames Tunnel and Convoys Wharf.

A tube put inside the estate by Browne House and near the main road recorded 45µg/m³

Thames Tunnel

The consultation conducted by the Planning Inspectorate on Thames Water's plans to site a shaft on Deptford Church Street closed on March 12th. However, the Citizen Science Pollution Survey results have been submitted to them and will accompany the Inspectorate's recommendation to the Secretary of State on June 12th.

The Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart campaign are arguing that Thames Water should revert to their original choice for a shaft site on the river at Glashier Street – where the survey measured very low pollution levels of 14µg/m³. At this site, spoil could be transported by river and there would be no need to partially close Deptford Church Street for over a year that would cause gridlocked traffic to divert onto Creekside and Deptford High Street. If Thames Water's plans succeed, there will be 17400 extra HGVs using their site on Church Street for over three years.

A tube put up next to Crossfields ballcourt by the main road recorded 45µg/m³

Creekside and Convoys Wharf

These will be in addition to the 90 HGVs per day that will be using Creekside when the Faircharm redevelopment begins. And now that Convoys Wharf has got the go ahead, there will be hundreds of HGVs pouring into and out of Evelyn Street and heading for the A2 via Deptford Church Street.

At the Creek Road junction readings were as high as 74µg/m³

The results show our area is already highly (and illegally) polluted. These Deptford construction projects have the unique advantage of being able to access the river directly. The Creekside redevelopments could be using Deptford Creek. Lewisham Planners should force the Creekside developers to use the Creek, whilst ongoing discussions between them and GLA Planners over the transport plans for Convoys must make it an absolute condition for the developer to use the river and not our local roads.

In addition, Boris Johnson needs to speed up the conversion of our highly polluting buses to hybrid models, a former pledge he has fallen way behind on.

The Network for Clean Air wants the Mayor of London to bring forward the start date of the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone, extending it to include Greenwich and Lewisham. That presumably would include taxis as well.

Find more detail and information at the No To Silvertown website.

The Don't Dump on Deptford's Heart study was funded by the residents who took part plus a generous donation from Deptford First via Dame Joan Ruddock MP.