Take a pinch of White man

It’s Carnival day, and in the spirit of multiculturalism I’ve decided to scrap the post I was writing about race. To be honest, I was having a hard time tying all the points together without asking “Why can’t we all just get along?”. It’s a hell of a complex subject, and I’m afraid I just can’t do it justice.

Instead, I’ll present you with a few of the points I wanted to raise, and ask you for a moment of quiet reflection to draw your own conclusions from them.

  • On the 436 a few weeks ago, I saw a young Asian man attacked by a young Black man, for no obvious motive other than their colours.
  • Camberwell has a large Somali community, and yet they are almost invisible in terms of presence in local businesses.
  • When I watch football in the Cadeleigh Arms, about half of the punters are Black; yet the only insults that get thrown around are to do with club loyalty.
  • Fear is often based on stereotypes; there’s a poster over at the SE5Forum who seems convinced that kids only go to the cinema to deal drugs, stab each other and get each other pregnant. I can only imagine he’s never been to the cinema.
  • There’s a group of young Black kids who often hang around outside their house in the street where I live; they used to make me nervous, until one time I gave one of them a cigarette (back in my smoking days) and he was very polite, asked my name and addressed me by it from then on.
  • Even as an advocate of the right to free speech, I recognise that limits need to be imposed; while I don’t think the Rasta/separatist rally in Lucas Gardens should have been outlawed, I don’t believe the Council should have provided resources for it.
  • Love see no colour.

Make of that what you will.

On other matters, I dropped into the Dark Horse for a half of Addlestones this afternoon; the staff were very friendly, which I appreciated, but the place was pretty quiet; I don’t know how that compares to other local pubs.

Update: Forgot to mention, I found a pub that shows Premiership Plus games — thanks to everyone who gave me tips on that. Two problems with it:

  1. It’s in Peckham (the Albert on Bellenden Road)
  2. It’s full of Man Utd spoilers

Author: Peter

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

25 thoughts on “Take a pinch of White man”

  1. Since Dagmar’s report of the event in Lucas Gardens, I have been thinking about whether I’d want the event to take place again. It transpires it was an event to celebrate the life of Marcus Garvey. There’s a bit of me that thinks that one should allow expression of black nationalist views — they may not be widely held, but they do exist. Then the rest of me thinks how I would feel if the NF or BNP were holding a rally in Lucas Gardens. They are not direct parallels, but I hope that you get my drift. So, on reflection, I think that the Council ought not to permit an event that makes white people unwelcome being held on its property. That is (sort of) outlawing it.

  2. The Dark Horse is select. I was turned away from their opening night. I was so embarrassed! I thought anyone could turn up.

    Many are called, but few are chosen.

    So it is the same in society with race and mushticulturalism, oh my sisters and brothers.

    Let us be plain. We live in a PC World. On offer are euphemisms. “Race” means black. “Mushticulturalism” means muslim. Jazz used to be called “race music” in America.

    (We have an old saying in Denmark, “One of Charlie Parker’s farts is worth infinitessimally more than the hot air that issues from the pharisees of any colour.)

    My introduction to Islam was at Zara’s kitchen where the family were muslim and told us what it meant for them. But it was their open, honest, generous and above all humorous general demeanour that made me follow what they were saying.

    Also Jeff, Mr Zara, had been an international football referee in Africa where he was often chased off the pitch by disgruntled players.

    So, well kicked off, Peter. But we venture where there may be many land mines, and unexploded bombs, oh my brothers and sisters.

  3. Hmmm — as people say difficult territory. i think we would allacknowledge there are sometimes problems and issues with living in a multicultural society — especially one as diverse as Camberwell. However having spent the first 18 years of my life in an almost 100% white monocultural part of the UK, I would never want to return to that. At the risk of sounding like a someone on the Oprah Winfrey show, i’ve gained so much more meeting and living with people from all types of backgrounds and have usually found that no matter how different our backgrounds we all often have more similarities than differences.

    Umm there we go maybe not the most incisive of posts — maybe i’m still a little bit loved up from Carnival yesterday!

  4. How nice to bring your glow to the blog. I want my nippers to attend Dog Kennel Hill primary which is not just a good school but has the whole rainbow of kids. This indeed is why we are here. SE5 is vibrant, virtually vibrating.

  5. Re: the Albert. It’s a bit of a focal point for Man Utd and Arsenal fans. They both go for a bit of good-natured (although it often doesn’t sound that good-natured!) banter. They pretty much even each other out on the ‘spoiling’ front in my experience.

    Was there a definitive answer on whether or not the George Canning is showing Prem Plus games?

  6. Won’t comment on the multicultural debate at the moment because I haven’t decided what I think about it…

    However, I went to the Dark Horse for brunch yesterday, and while it wasn’t bad, hubbys burger wasn’t a patch on the fillet steakburger at The Castle, and my scrambled eggs and english muffin was a bit of a teeny portion for £6.95.…

    Still like the place though.

  7. The prices in the Dark Horse are outrageous. Food’s not bad, but £9 for a spinach and feta parcel (singular) is not going to work in Camberwell.

  8. English muffin? English muffin?
    Wossat in yor marf yor stuffin’?
    A monocultural statement
    Like that ain’t nuffin’!

    I have been trying to find out the derivation of the word “mullered”. Some people ascribe it to the star German striker Gerhard Muller; some to the “mad mullah” Mahdi of Khartoum.

    The Dark Horse must be patronised if it is not to go the same way as Blakes. Soon I will take my NCT classmates from Eltham there en masse who are gagging to return to Camberwell for our parents’ night out. They find Camberwell excitingly multivarietous.

  9. I’m not so sure that we do live in a PC world (except on the occasional visit to their branch in the Old Kent Road, that is, for a new mouse mat or somesuchsimiliar).
    Trevor Phillips (CE of the CRE) said something quite interesting today in response to The Independent’s statement that the Notting Hill Carnival was a testament to the multicultural nature of Britain. He said that the event was no more and no less than a party, derivative of the carnival events that were staged in the West Indies in his youth. He went on to say that it was no more representative of the black population in Britain than Morris Dancing or Caber Tossing would be of the English/Scottish and that it had engendered a domestic tourism over the years. I think he has a point or two in there — which he makes without slagging off the event or saying that it shouldn’t happen in the future.

  10. Interesting point there. To a certain extend i agree — it is a party fist and foremost these days (and a very enjoyable one at that)and obviously Carnival does not represent all of Afro Caribbean culture in this country.

    However it is more than just a party, didn’t it have it’s roots in an expression of solidarity and positive black pride following the Notting Hill Race Riots in the late 1950’s? I think it would be doing its history and and the people who set it up a disservice to dismiss it as simply a mere party.

  11. Yes, the Carnival did start as a solidarity event after the riots and was probably a very effective way of providing a focal point for black people (and their friends and supporters) in Britain at that time. Perhaps it still does.
    I also think that the event now attracts tourism from other countries, not just the domestic kind that Trevor Phillips highlights.

  12. Carnival is really a Trinidad thing, isn’t it? The slaves were not allowed to play instruments or wear costumes, so when they were freed they really went for it. Then in the dull 1950s, the Trinidadians here went for it again.

  13. Anyone been into Miuro yet? It’s opposite The Castle. They hilariously had a velvet rope up outside it on Sunday night, though lord knows what the door policy is. Reminds me of the old days when Lucky Lucan and I used to sally forth into Annabel’s, passing the pale, lankhaired masses camped outside. If you’re reading this, Lucky, have one on me!

  14. I used to drink in the Joiners Arms in Belgravia, the same alehouse where, one night, Lady Lucan rushed in to say, “Something ghastly has happened. My husband has just killed the nanny, thinking it was me…”

    A velvet rope outside a bar these days, Lord Henry, means gunshootin’ and bling of a very different ilk.

  15. I saw the velvet rope there on the opening night, and assumed it was an affectation to impress the punters. Obviously not.

    The clientele, as far as I can tell, are exclusively Black.

  16. Une clientele noire? Cote d’Ivoiraise! Le Senegal! La Martinique! Le Guadeloupe! Quoi ca! quoi ca! Ca bouge, non?

  17. They come from the country known as Black. That’s Black with a capital letter, n’est-ce pas?

    On a divergent topic — someone on one of these threads complained that there were too many 24 hr bottle shops in Camberwell. Well where the hell am I to buy my booze at three o’clock in the morning?! As William Blake, a good old South London boy once said, the path to Hell is paved with good intentions.

    Also, my favourite name for a shop in this area is Drink Store. It does exactly what it says on the tin. Closely followed by barön jon in the Walworth Road (lower case a la Cummings, and umlaut intact).

    I’ve heard the clientele of Miuro buy their clothes at barön jon. Then they pop down to the cornershop for some watermelons. Peter spread that rumour. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  18. Has anyone been to Bellenden Brasserie on Bellenden Road, Peckham?

    Hubby wants to ‘do lunch’ there this weekend. No-one I’ve spoken to has tried it.

  19. @ Lord Henry: I understand you’re being lighthearted, but please watch what you say; it’s easy to misunderstand intention in the written word.

    @ Amanda Fuller: Is that what used to be the Peckham Experiment? If so, I’ve heard that the change has not been beneficial.

  20. The Dark Horse was heaving with folk last night, I was pleased to see. It is a good vibe in there and makes the good old Hermits look like an annexe of the Maudsley.

    I thought Lord Henry did well to get the umlaut on baron jon. I can’t do it.

  21. Lord Henry, surely The Temple of Bacchus is a better name for a botle shop than the Drink Store. And what is that shop called on Church Street where you can buy tennents super and glue? Now that is a proper shop.

  22. It is wonderful that Camberwell multiculturalism embraces such mad toffs as Lord Henry. He goes to Drink Store and manages to stammer out the word “Bottle!” to the storekeeper at 3 a.m. just like everyone else.

    I am reminded of Andy Warhol’s summation of the cultural significance of Coca-Cola.

    “You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”

  23. It’s great that Miuro has had its first two stabbings. I look forward to more in the future. I hope you don’t misunderstand this, Peter.

  24. Er, er, ha-ha, it was two in the morning when Henry posted that, Peter, when he has his special needs. I was reading Anthony Blond’s memoirs in Peckham Library yesterday, the louche publisher, and he has an amusing story of some posh cronies of his who pitched up at a chemist’s in Faversham, from town, with their doctor’s prescriptions for heroin. The poor chemist had to tell them there wasn’t enough prescription heroin available for them in the whole of East Kent.

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