… and I claim my £10

I experienced my first ever fleeting moment of public recognition yesterday, when reader jos3000 spotted me and shook my hand (never asked me for an autograph, though). This enjoyment of this encounter was spoiled by the fact that he saw me in the Somerfield petrol station on Peckham Road; I would prefer people spotted me in the most exclusive bars, or doing charity work, perhaps saving a nun from a burning building, not buying Pepsi Max in a petrol station.

I’m off on holiday from Sunday for a week, so there will be no updates until at least a week on Sunday. As always, feel free to use the comments as you wish; if anyone would like to write a proper post and help me out while I’m away, get in touch and I’ll let you know how.

Author: Peter

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

49 thoughts on “… and I claim my £10”

  1. Have a lovely time! Hope the airport situation won’t affect your holiday fun.

    Just a quick note really about, erm, food…! I know it’s been there for ages and I’m the last to get on the boat, but I finally ate out at Lamoon Chinese restaurant (on Denmark Hill opposite NatWest) and I have to say that I was really pleasantly surprised.

    Not only lovely food minus MSG (dishes we had include Vegetable Tempura and Aubergine Szechuan), but the staff were really friendly and it was great value.


  2. The petrol station is a cult place, Peter. Yesterday they were selling Hardy’s “Varietal Range” Shiraz 2004 for £2.49 down from £4.99. I bought one bottle, hoping to return today to buy more if the first was good. But the whole lot was gone. However, I bought a bottle of the new Somerfield Cotes du Rhone for £2.39 instead of the £3.79 it should be. This is the second time this has happened on that product line at the till. The new Cotes de Rhone is proper French, bottled in France not Scunthorpe. The old Somerfield own label was awful 2CV fuel.

    I must tell you, there was an ad in the Standard for guinea pigs to have a brain scan at the Maudsley for brain research. I applied. You get £30 and a photo of your brain. You have to answer questions about your mental past and lifestyle, including how many units, yes, you do each week. I put down 63, which is a bottle of wine a night, thinking this would be mad enough for them, 3 times as much as you should. But they rejected me, saying it was too much.

    The £30 would have bought 100 units at the petrol station, but it was the photograph of my brain I was after, what’s left of it. I think it must be a dark red colour, claret.

  3. The new Horniman aquarium is good. The stars of the show are the moon jellyfish in their own deep blue tank, mesmerising to watch, very ambient. Apparently, cuckoo wrasse are fish that start life as females then turn into males. Imagine their embarrassment. I bet none of them tell each other about what they’ve grown, but they’re all in the same boat, year after year.

    The Arthur Wyatt fossil collection high up in the gallery is a bit neglected. Some of the exhibits seem to have upped and left, leaving just their captions on yellowing paper in typewriter print. Some of these talk of “worm borings” and “fossils found when boring” for oil. The graptolites from the Ordovician are as spacey as the jellyfish.

    The African garden has burgeoned in the London heatwave. There is even Mother-in-law’s tongue from the Congo.

  4. Well, people — it looks like we’re on our own for a week. Let’s run amok!
    Has anyone taken in the “I Love Peckham” events in Peckham Square? If that’s what love looks like (a stall handing out leaflets on the tramlink due for completion in 2016, someone collecting signatures for something and a few bbq stalls) we are seriously all doomed!

  5. I see DJ Apache Indian was performing this afternoon, he’s good. We went to see the Kandinsky pictures at the Tate Modern. It was like one of those experiments they used to do giving people LSD, the paintings got zanier and zanier till they could have been done by snails after a rainstorm.

    Next Sunday the Horniman has a Jamaican jerk cooking contest with “world music” (reggae, I hope), stalls and all manner of fun 1–6 pm.

  6. Hannah M — I just don’t react to right-wing Murdoch owned propaganda anymore — It has no effect on me — it’s not relevant to the lives of people who live in British Cities (especially London) and has nothing rewarding to offer…

  7. The gangs and muggers are a problem. Someone called Sandra Laville has written well about the Damilola trials recently in the Guardian. I don’t know why we didn’t all riot the night that Damilola Taylor was killed — we should have all gone down to Peckham and rioted. It was partly a racist killing — the resident blacks do not like the Africans at all.

    Peckham has changed a lot since the killing — but it took that killing to speed up the changes. The North Peckham Estate has gone. But it would take someone who genuinely knows, like that wonderful Camilla woman, to say what really happens down there, rather than do a bit of dusty old Marxian grumbling, or Daily Mail let’s-worry-’em guessing.

  8. I live in one of the new developments that replaced the North Peckham estate, very close to where Dami died. Although central Peckham has changed massively since Dami’s death, apart from the demolition of the North Peckham estate and the new houses around there, the area around Southampton Way has, if anything, deteriorated since then. It’s more dilapidated and run down, and there seems to be more trouble in the evenings around the shops along Southampton Way, although I have never personally been bothered or intimidated by ‘gangs’.

    I can’t believe it took so long to convict that poor little boys killers. It’s so sad.

  9. Mm, there we have it from one who knows. I was once in the old Zara’s when a girl gang harrassed them, saying all manner of unmentionable things about one of the sons and his mother, Zara. I told them that the racial abuse was now an offence, but they scarpered soon before the police arrived. It had been going on a long time, apparently.

    But we cannot be surprised such things happen.

    More cheerily, I was in Tlon Books yesterday, what a great shop. There is a new pamplet book on sale there by Christopher Jones which is a mystical and misty meditation on Burgess Park, which I am all for, as a full-time dreamer myself. He has also written “Subterranean Southwark”. There is a nuclear bunker at 28 Peckham Road.

  10. Dagmar — Tlon books in Elephant and Castle? — Indeed one of the few reedeeming features about the whole Elephant & Castle shopping centre — The WH Smith’s in there seems to exist in some kind of late 70’s low stock time bubble.…hmmmm

  11. Yes, the Elephant Tlon. I will now patronise it. There is a funny tobacconist called Unit One that has queues of old people after cheap fags — real World War II type queues. What with all the African stalls and other shops there’s quite a buzz, like in Peckham High Street these days.

    On which controversial subject, Sandra Laville in the Guardian writes about the strict pecking order amongst Peckham stabbers etc. which is a wordplay I’ll not forget easily.

  12. Snuff, very good. The saddest shop in Camberwell is the big Somerfield. I have just been there to buy some cheap wine as advertised in their door-drop leaflet, but it was full price, and I didn’t get the 5% discount for 6 bottles, either. More than that, it has a DSS office, waiting room for hell atmosphere. I can’t help thinking Somerfield are in trouble, not just in Camberwell, but everywhere. Their recent coprorate history is troubled. Kwik Save, which they bought, used to be great.

    The Dark Horse seemed to be patronised by artists, and just a few of them.

  13. Dagmar — I find Somerfield quite expensive for things like fruit juice and alcohol and their range is somewhat limited — it would be great if the branch opposite Butterfly Walk reverted to a cinema — which is what it once was…

    The Essoldo Picture House (means Silver Screen in Italian)

  14. That article in The Times is incredible (& I mean that it is incredible in a bad, distateful way). I don’t recognise the Southwark that they portray. We have to be honest with ourselves and say that the “sense of community” that the article mourns is less evident in all large urban areas — you only have to get on a bus or a tube to realise that. But I don’t think that you can lay that at the door of this (or any previous) government’s immigration policy. Not sharing a common language makes the task of building some sense of community more difficult, granted, but there are still pockets out there. Andt those pockets are not racially exclusive, in my experience. Anyway, rant over!

    A few days back I posted a (darkish) poem by Dorothy Parker, the American poet and satirist and I’ve come across another little gem of hers, which I thought I would share with you all. When asked to review a performance by Katherine Hepburn in New York in the 50’s she was quoted as saying;
    “She explored the whole gamut of emotions from A to B”. I love that! Meooow, pussycat!

  15. I frequented The East Dulwich Deli the other day — I quite liked it and found myself wishing we had something simular in Camberwell — (retreats to World War II Missile Bunker with Thermos Flask, powdered milk and tinned provisions…)

  16. I agree, Musti, that Babel article was a bit wild. Two weeks ago, at 7 am, I boarded the 436 bendy bus that runs from Peckham to Paddington where I alighted. The full bus had every kind of face you’d ever see in the world. Most got off at Vauxhall or Victoria for probably another connection. No-one got on after Camberwell, all the way to Paddington. I noticed they were mainly small people, in size. They were the minimum wage people who run London’s economy and in that way have a sense of community and are cosmopolitan and catholic — their work in the capital brings them into contact with a wide range of people. Anyway, they are bonded by the economics of their common situation. That 436 is a far cry from how it is in, say, Northern Ireland.

  17. I mean the recent arson and baseball bat attacks on migrant Polish workers there. Who you are is quite important there — ludicrously. I know a chap from Armagh, his parents ran a pub restaurant, his dad was in an Orange Lodge. They wouldn’t join in a Protestant-paramilitary-run strike, so the boys burnt their pub-restaurant down to the ground. It makes Peckham, by and large, look tolerant, except for the gangs and their pecking order.

  18. Tlon books is fab, I have both bought and sold large quantities of books there — they’ll pay about £15 — £20 for a cardboard box full of paperbacks. I can spend hours there browsing.

    Other cool places at the Elephant — Castello’s Pizzeria and La Bodeguita. And just down the road towards Kennington — The Lobster Pot. It’s a fabulous, quirky little french seafood restaurant. I love it!


  19. Racial attacks are now commonplace throughout Ireland. It’s similar to what has existed in the North since partition — the tuppence-ha’penny looking down on tuppence. As long as they can be persuaded to hate and fear the Taigs/blacks/Chinese/Polish, they’ll row in with their betters. The impoverished working class may be flipping the burgers but it’s the Polish who are making the patties in the first place.

  20. Funnily enough, Hestia, I’ve met older people in the west of Ireland who are incredibly cosmopmolitan because they’ve worked abroad. I met a woman who raved about the shoes she bought as a young woman in the 1950s in Kilburn.

  21. The E.U is the greatest thing to ever happen to Ireland and Spain in particular…no one has benefitted more than those two nations…

  22. I’ve heard they have a university in Galway, too. But it might be just a rumour. I know they’ve got roads.

    It’s true you can get a cappuccino in Galway, but if they hear your English accent they spit in it first. It’s an acquired taste, I’ll admit.

  23. Galway city has long been the IT capital of Ireland. My point was that people who travel understand more. I mean, Beckett went to Paris and he understood everything.

  24. This is what I mean by running amok! Bus journeys described, pubs being burned down, Lord Henry’s satire and in the middle of all of this, people pop up with recommendations on nice little eateries in the area and the going rate for a box of second hand paperbacks! Bring it on! If you don’t, I’ll resort to more poetry!

  25. By the way, Dagmar, was that woman still wearing the shoes she bought in Kilburn in the 1950’s? How did they look?

  26. I was thinking about heading up to East Dulwich this weekend, actually.

    In a mob. With torches. Like in FRANKENSTEIN.

    Isn’t “eastdulwichlife” a contradiction in terms, like what Groucho Marx said about “military intelligence”, and Truffaut about “British cinema”?

    Only kidding, Ed Life. Good luck with your blog, You Fifth Columnist, you.

  27. Definitely up for a dance off… Run DMC style. That hilariously happens in the Castle every now and then on a Friday night (mainly just to scare the students and show them that there is no such thing as cool once you hit a certain age)

    We often get joined by a random Italian man in a very tight t‑shirt who dances with his groin at any ladies in the circle… is that you Copeywolf??

  28. Mushti, mate, I fear my apercu about the Irish lady and her 1950s shoes was somewhat naive and risible.

    Does anyone know what a cappuccino is? Can you get one in East Dulwich?

    Peter will come home and find the 6th formers have trashed his website!

  29. cappuccino — what a crap drink that is, I never ask for that when I’m in Spain — it’s just good rich coffee with a drop of warm milk in…none of this frothy pure-white antiseptic,bland rubbish

  30. There is a rasta event in Lucas Gardens happening now if anyone is interested. The music is great, proper reggae before they introduced the synthetic bass and drum machine.

  31. + URGENT MESSAGE STOP + ON NO ACCOUNT GO TO THE RASTA EVENT IN LUCAS GARDENS STOP + WE WERE NOT WELCOME STOP + A STEWARD WAS FAR FROM PLEASED WE TRIED TO GET IN STOP + I am such a daft Danish girl! I thought it was all about peace’n’love! There were strident speeches about the “devil”, the “enemy” and how you shouldn’t have your kids vaccinated and how evil fluoride in the water is. There was also talk of “shenanigans” in society which I thought was a nice nod to Irish culture, but I bet it wasn’t. I have read about these people. They go to live in Ethiopia and make a total nuisance of themselves, sitting round smoking dope all day. They believe in repatriation. Stone me, it was like a rally in Germany in the 1920s.

  32. THEY ARE NOW PREACHING RACIAL HATRED. Southwark Council, are you listening? This is illegal. Why do you allow this to happen in Lucas Gardens, Camberwell? Do you not think they would be better off in Brixton where they like that kind of thing and thrive on hatred? I am not a happy Danish bunny. They have a sign up advertising Galaxy FM “DE BRAINWASHING STATION”. I kid you not. How Irish is that? What are you going to do about this, Southwark?

  33. Well Dagmar — the Lucas Gardens event has certainly got you agitated! Dont let it get to you — it’s only another quasi-religion, like the rest of ’em.
    However, if they actually stopped you going in, on the basis of the colour of your skin, you really should report that to Southwark on Monday. Personally, I can’t take rastafarianism any more seriously than I do the General Synod, The Grand Council of Mosques, The Board of British Deputies and the rest of them.
    Have a nice glass of that vermouth!

  34. You’re right, racial hatred is illegal, Dagmar. Ring the police and report it.

    I merely twirl my monocle at these people.

    Proper reggae died with Marley, didn’t it?

    I’m sure you must have been mistaken, though. Only white people are racist. Not black people, Asian people, Latino people, etc…

    Ooh controversial.

  35. That wooden spoon out for an airing again, Lord Henry? As to the current state of reggae, I’ve always favoured the less heavy dub sound, myself. Dub would make that monocle vibrate and ultimately, pop from the eye, I fear.
    In the reggae-lite vein, I hear that a band called the Easy Star All Stars are releasing a follow up to their brilliant Dub Side of The Moon (a reggae cover of Dark Side.…..) which is a dub version of Radiohead’s OK Computer on 28 August. Now that could be alot of fun!

  36. Perry Como and Vera Lynn suit me fine, Mushtimushta. Although my man Carstairs favours Dead Prez and A.R.E. Weapons in the few moments of leisure I allow him.

  37. Perry Como’s a bit inter-continental for you, I would have thought, Lord H. As it’s a Sunday, perhaps a little bit of Teddy Carr might go down well.

  38. Bloody hell! I was blissfully unaware of this going on just round the corner from me Dagmar. Sounds horrendous. Which group organised it? Good on you for going to the trouble of reporting it. Let us know the outcome / lack of it.

    Wish I was as chilled as Mushtimushta. This has got to me and I didn’t even see it!

  39. So now all the pieces fit together — good detective work, Amanda.
    It is very easy for me to sit at my computer and poo poo the whole event in Lucas Gardens last Saturday night, but I can absolutely understand Dagmar’s frustration and anger at being treated so poorly when attempting to enter the Gardens. After all, Dagmar is not solely responsible for slavery and the subsequent diaspora of African people throughout the world (or at least, I’m assuming that she’s not!).
    Black Nationalism is an infinitessimally(?) small voice, focussed on securing reparations (money) for the injustices committed to the people they claim to be their ancestors.
    I think that many of us would find it hard to deny that the historic economic dominance of the British Empire (as was) has contributed to Britain’s current affluence. But as the son of an Irish economic migrant to Britain who spent her working life as a cleaner, I’ll be honest, I don’t lose alot of sleep about my role in the economically dominant position that Britain now enjoys.
    Perhaps I could demand reparations so that I could be repatriated to the West of Ireland into a nice little fisherman’s cottage somewhere — now, there’s a thought!

  40. Ta for that, Amanda. I’m getting over it. The thing was, even after we’d scuttled out of the park, the P.A. system was blasting the Hitlerian, warbling, wibbly-wobbly tones all over the area for hours after.

    What was embarrassing about that was that the black folks locally in earshot were being told they weren’t proper people if they didn’t hate whites, fluoride and inoculation.

    I filled out a complaints form online on the Southwark site but now discover it wasn’t sent. You must have to do it carefully, not agitatedly, and have good IT skills. That’s quite a good system, though. You fill out the form, you feel better, nothing else happens.

    What Lucas Gardens now needs is rain.

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