Give me Cotton

Sometimes I get so bogged down in the details that I forget the big picture; two years of the CamberwellOnline Blog and I let it pass without comment. Thanks to everyone who reads and comments and gets involved in one way or another.

I started this for a spare time project, and never dreamed that so many people would help me along the way. Some I’ve met, some I hope to meet, some I may have walked past in the street. You’ve inspired me to poetry!

In other news… Miura bar opens, Dark Horse on the brink of opening, Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh (Batman jelly?) needs your (financial) help to keep Camberwell’s youths on the straight and narrow.

I’m off to a barbecue in Finchley this weekend. I have never been to a barbecue in Camberwell (Sun & Doves excepted). Who wants to invite me to a barbecue?

Author: Peter

Long-time resident of Camberwell, author of this blog since July 2004.

33 thoughts on “Give me Cotton”

  1. The boy done well. You deserve a holiday in Finchley. That Camila is a national hero, really cool, as they will say in the Dark Horse.

  2. That is the best ad for the pub ever, probably the best ad for anything ever. I will now tell my partner that from now on I will dwell in the Sun & Doves during hours.

  3. Well done on your second birthday! I would have a BBQ for all you lovely Camberwell people but unfortunately the greedy sods who developed my flats thought we’d want a car park more than we’d want a garden — so we have some empty asphalt which the local kids chuck litter into rather than a garden (nobody uses the carpark cos it costs £10,000 per space and anyway none of us have cars!)

    I’ve never been to the Lambeth Country show but am inspired by all your enthusiastic comments to go down there this saturday and drag all my nearest and dearest whether they want to go or not! — i’m from The Country so i will be checking to see if they’ve managed to do it right — i am expecting Wellie wanging at least!

  4. How about (and stop me if you’ve heard it before) an event which combines:
    (a) a BBQ
    (b) an opportunity to celebrate the Birthday Blog
    © fundraiser for Kid’s Company

    …or am I just being too wide‐eyed and impractical?

  5. That’s a great idea, Roana. Bring a bottle and a point of view. Pete’s blog fosters conversation in Camberwell, electronic or barbecued. There is a new book out, I have been alerted by an English‐teaching friend, CONVERSATION: A history of a declining art, by Stephen Miller, Yale University Press. Borges, Barthes, Sartre, de Beauvoir, even Beckett minimally, these guys, they conversed. Conversation is not blokes braying or birds bleating into plastic mobile phones while there are people breathing nearby.

  6. Anyone know about a skatepark in Camberwell?

    I’ve heard rumours of a concrete bowl for skateboarding in a Camberwell Park — has anyone seen it?

  7. Hi Peter, My friend was shown a photo of it but all we know is that it’s new and in ‘a little park in Camberwell’. No idea where. It’s not the one in Peckham. There’s not that many places it could be.

  8. I’m not 100% sure — maybe only about 60% sure — that it is…[wait for it] on the much‐maligned Southampton Way.

    I think there might be such an animal in that little temporary park area just beside Southwark College before new builds in Elmington.

    I’ll try to remember to look at let you know for sure.

  9. A concrete bowl in Camberwell! I just checked on the Stockwell Skatepark website and it appears it might be true. Corner of Kelly Avenue and Commercial Way.

  10. Ben — as Joe D says, there’s a new “youth facility” in Kelly Avenue, just off Commercial Way, SE15. I think that’s where you might find the skatepark.

  11. And can I also say — Camerwell OnLineBlog.
    The article by Polly Toynbee in the Guardian on David Cameron that your original entry referred us all to came quite close to making me lose the will to live. I enjoy a sideswipe at the Tories like the next (wo)man, but Polly, really! I now remember why I stopped buying The Guardian. Self‐satisfied and smug? Moi?

  12. I’m new to this blogging thing and new to Camberwell too, so apologies if I’m offending any etiquettes or anything by changing the subject; we were woken at 3 this morning by the sound of three youths kicking our garage door in. Quite shaken by it — we only moved in a week ago — can people reassure us this is a rare occurence or am I being naive?

  13. Hi Newbie,

    whereabouts are you in Camberwell? I think that may have a bearing on whether it’s a common occurance or not.

    On the upsaide though I’ve lived in Camberwell for 8 or 9 years now and never had anything like that happen, so it could just be “high jinks”.

  14. Hi Newbie. Don’t worry about offending any etiquettes, you’ll find that very rarely do the comments stay relevant to the original post.

    As for your bad experience, I can only empathise with you but tell you that I’ve lived here for five years and worked here for three longer than that, and I’ve never had anything like that happen to me. Maybe just bad luck.

  15. I think that kind of think does happen but rarely and not more in camberwell than any other London areas. Outside my flat at 3am seems to be the preferred place to stand and have very loud drunken conversations — actually i suppose that might just be my neighbours!!

  16. Hey Newbie and all

    Take a look at the truth about Camberwell: http://www.se5forum.org/forum/index.php?topic=33.0

    Yep. It’s all true. But then it’s all chance. Just a bigger chance of it happening here than most places. The upside is that unlike most places, in Camberwell, if you let it happen, you will meet a wide range of people, many of whom will become true friends. You will find a rare generosity of spirit and deed here that will remind you that ‘this is what life is all about’. There are few places now where that still rings true.

    That’s one reason why we all love Camberwell.

  17. Well, Newbie, Mushtimushta et al, including TommyD in the really quite nice Southampton Way backwater near the vast, extraordinary expanse of Burgess Park — if you have one bad experience in my experience, it lasts for a long time and taints your view of an area, very understandably.

    Do you know, I used to have a tatty old flat in Notting Hill. One night I was burgled and all that was taken was an amount of hashish and my passport.

    Jesus, I thought, the police are after me. “Where did you get this hashish? Take us to them. You cannot leave the country.” All that. Fortunately the chap in the flat below me, who is a gay simultaneous Japanese interpreter, gave me some soothing green tea and said the police weren’t remotely interested in me.

    Also in Notting Hill I saw a rather noble‐looking tall black chap kick and punch the hell out of a middle‐aged cockney, so to speak, white bloke in a cloth cap and his son who had racially abused him in passing. It was shocking to see.

    But there, you see, super‐cool rich and dead poor live uncomfortably side by side. Camberwell, by contrast, has a better mix, and a healthier vibe generally. I find it useful, though, walking the streets at night, sometimes, to act really mad when nearing gangs of youth. I walk sideways, like a crab, with what has been described to me as “The Maudsley Shuffle”.

    The heat currently makes people lose their rag, too. My advice is stay cool, act weird, say nothing.

  18. I’ve lived in Camberwell for over 3 years and have never had any problem. I used to live out in a relatively affluent part of Surrey and you would see fighting in the streets every weekend at chucking out time.
    I don’t want to down play the darker side of Camberwell, there obviously is crime here, but personally, I haven’t been effected (hope this comment isn’t tempting fate!).

  19. I have just spent the weekend driving in a Mini in the heat between Camberwell, Bristol, Worcester and Bath. I came back on the coach from Bath for £7 via Chippenham, Swindon and Heathow.

    Everywhere, are built skateparks for youth which are vandalised. Skateboarding is for sensitive male youth in the provinces, a thoughtful tribe under threat from yobs. The nastiest things in the UK happen in places like Yeovil. You’re right, Stuart, people are more with it in places like Camberwell.

    It is a matter of young male youth in packs. If they walk alone, they feel different. It is a national problem to do with maleness, materialism, spiritual destitution and the problems of parenting amongst the relatively poor.

  20. On the first evening we were in Camberwell, some rude boys set fire to a van outside our house. Since then — well, just the one pistol‐whipping / mugging.

    But then my mum lives in leafy Chiswick and bad stuff happens there too. It’s London, innit.

  21. I think you’ve just been really unlucky, Newbie. I’ve lived in Camberwell for 20 years and have not had any problems — no burglaries, muggings, nothing. Am I living in a parallel universe? Perhaps. And I don’t even do the Maudsley Shuffle to blend in (love that, Dagmar — we’ve all seen it, but have never given it a name before!)

  22. Thankyou everyone. I feel reassured, and I will definitely be having a go at the Maudsley Shuffle. Last night I was woken at 3.30 by someone screaming for help, but I couldn’t see anything as I leaned quivering out of my bedroom window, boyfriend’s hockey stick at the ready. It’s clearly the witching hour in Love Walk.

    Hope to meet some of you around and about!

  23. That sounded like someone being mugged, Newbie, not expressing a need to play hockey in the middle of the night. Still, it was kind of you to offer.

    I love Love Walk. That’s the walk we should all be doing. When Baby Poppy was born in March, I wanted to walk down Love Walk with my partner on the way to King’s, but the contractions were too frequent, so we had to take a Camberwell Cab.

  24. I think the cab was probably a good idea — Love Walk seems to have enough drama without the screams of childbirth. It is very pretty and (usually) tranquil though, I still can’t quite believe we’re in London when we’re sitting in the garden surrounded by huge tress with the birds singing.

  25. Just further up, Stories Mews is fascinating, it’s like a country lane from a Constable painting. It has no tarmac. My 3‐year‐old daughter likes watching the blokes putting up houses from scratch, monitors their progress. There are some fab old garage doors with a tree growing in front of them.

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