Keep the bloody noise down

Memo to pub owners: When you have a pub full of punters eating or having a chat at 5.30pm on a Sunday, there’s no reason at all to turn the music up so loud that people sitting a foot away from each other have to shout to be heard — not even if one drunk bloke asks you to because “this is a wicked song”.

So after we were driven out of the Castle, we went for a quiet pint at the Dark Horse on the way home. Or, not so quiet; after having bought a pint and sat down, the evening’s entertainment started setting up their sound system right next to our table.

Finishing up, we thought about going for some fish and chips from the Flying Fish; unfortunately, despite having ‘Open 7 days 11am-10.30pm’ on the door, they were shut.

It was not a successful Sunday.

On the positive side, we did get some very nice bread from Paul’s Continental Olive Shop on Saturday; filled with olives, tomato and herbs. But a quick question: why is the ‘S’ in ‘Shop’ on their sign drawn as a snake?

In response to a comment from Dagmar, I’m also intrigued by the Peckham Lodge; it’s a big, smart building and I’d like to know more about it. Was it ever a successful hotel? Is it now, as I suspect, a bail/asylum hotel? Or am I doing it a grave disservice? This page says it “specialises in catering for long stay guests”; it also says “Peckham is a vibrant creative hotspot and has recently become incredibly fashionable amongst Londoners”.

Author: Peter

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

54 thoughts on “Keep the bloody noise down”

  1. We had two interesting expereinces over the new year period at the Castle:

    New Years Eve: we went in at 1:15pm or so and found it almost empty. We were able to choose a table and gave our food and drink orders to the waiter swiftly, receiving the drinks at once and the food within 15–20 minutes or so. The food, standard pub stuff, was good.

    New Years Day: we went in at a slightly later time with visitors hoping to have a repeat of the previous day’s good food. As many of the other pubs in Camberwell were shut the place was full and very very busy. In the end it took over 80 minutes for two of us to be served with the remaining two finally receiving their food 20 minutes later (apparently they had ran out of the menu items but only realised this when the other two dishes were almost ready). Being British we didnt make a scene ‑making only a small complaint about the fact that all four of us werent served together. The manager though was a very friendly and gave us all the meals free and topped up our glasses.

    So we left the pub with a mixture of satisfaction that we had not paid for the good lunch we eventually received but frustrated at the standards of service. As it was a bank holiday timing was not important but if it had been a week night or even a Sunday afternoon we might have been a bit more annoyed.

    We will be making a return visit in the near future for the best of three decider and will then be able to come to informed opinions on the pub.

    Loudness of music wasnt a problem onn either occasion…

  2. Interesting directions to Peckham Lodge on that website — by foot from New Cross Gate tube! ignoring the 100’s of buses outside and Peckham Rye train station … Good introduction to London for the East European migrant workers who are probably its clientele!

  3. We had lunch in the Dark Horse on Sunday. We invited some non-Camberwell friends along and were all suitably impressed.

    The food was great, although some of the portions were a bit on the small side.

    Our friends went away jealous as each time they come we take them to another Camberwell gem.

  4. I went to the Castle the week before Xmas and I thought it was okay, but my boyfriend kept grimacing at the music — 80s’ ‘greatest’. We walked on past on Christmas Eve, despite deperately looking for somewhere open serving food, because they had the most dismal looking TV programmes on the plasma screen. Having a large TV on in the background doesn’t make the place look inviting if you want to go to talk to friends over a drink.

  5. I’ve also experienced the overloud music problem in the Castle. For me, it was a weekday lunchtime, when I could barely chat for the excessively loud 80s music which the owner seemed intent on keeping on pumping up throughout my stay.

    I have also had the same experience as Mumu did a while back too, but put it down to teething problems. Er, that was 2 months ago…

    I do feel The Castle does get a bad press on here sometimes, and it is still a great pub, but these ‘problems‘ (food service, over-loud music, TV! (TV in a pub???)) are starting to do the place a dis-service.

    Havent experienced the TV problem, but I would walk straight out of a pub if they have the TV on! Jeez, I go to the pub to AVOID TV, not to watch it.

    Paul’s Olive bread! — Mmmmmmmmmmm and Sssh, keep it as one of Camberwell’s hidden gems! 🙂

  6. In fairness as we didn’t go in I couldn’t swear you if it actually was TV or a DVD of ‘TV greatest’ or some such. What it *looked* like from the outside (we passed twice, hours apart) was some kind of ‘Best of Christmas TV’ show…

  7. Alas was indeed TV, noticed adverts just now en route to Metro for emergency potatoes. I love Metro.

  8. Sash Window News. Nick Edwards, the framer in Vanguard Court, recommends his friend Vince 01349 387384 for sash windows.

    Nick’s number is 0207 703 3182 for anything to do with frames of any sort and excellent joinery.

  9. My memory of the screen in the Castle was that it was showing a television pop music video channel (one of the mtv wannabes from freeview I think) with the volume muted rather than actual ‘proper’ television. But to some extent the effect is the same as the eyes of the people facing it inevitably turn and watch it. It is also slightly disconcerting to see a pop video for say S Club or Britney which bears no relation to what is actually being heard over the pub’s sound system.

  10. That’s funny, because the last time I went there three years ago, to meet a bunch of people who were quite happy with the pub as club thing, old Britney was gyrating in front of me, five time her normal size. It was very concentration-challenging!

    I do not knock Britney or such creatures — they are all part of the eternal female. You can’t really say that about Madonna. Hit me baby one more time, as the goddess has said since time immoral. I have always liked Britney for her generosity and tummy.

    Madonna once ran against Cyndi Lauper in the charts and maybe she won, but Girls Just Wanna Have fun is by far my favourite above any of the wheedling, camp-Catholic, gay-leaning anthems that Madonna has come up with.

    That said, the gay-shanghaied (pres-ganged, maybe, to use appropriate imagery) Kylie is kind of the eternal female, too. This really is a complicated cultural studies topic conversation that you will not be able to hear, probably, in the Castle.

  11. It was okay for your Lord Henry alter ego to use make ‘gay’ synonomous with other negatives. We could all laugh.

    The real you should know better.

  12. I just want to make it clear that I wasn’t complaining about music in pubs in general — I’m not that old yet — just that at the time it was full of people eating and talking; a bit too early to pump up the volume.

    And I didn’t read anything negative in the way Dagmar used the word ‘gay’; did I miss something?

  13. woah!

    “Dagmar” is actually “Lord Henry” Conspiracy Theory? how shocking!

    In other news, I’m thrilled to notice that Aristocrats has finally closed down. Shame it opened in the first place considering…

  14. SP has a point, well picked up, “gay” is not a negative unless you’re the cultural commentator Mark Simpson.I am thinking of going to look for Lord Henry in the Pharmaceutical Museum on Lambeth High Street. He may have fallen behind a cabinet scavenging for supplies during the festive season.

  15. Dagmar, as one of my psychopathic forebears once declared, “Never apologise, never explain.”

    As for making “ ‘gay’ synonymous with other negatives”, this is an outrageous slur on my honour! My Balinese houseboy has been a great comfort to me since Lady Carstairs went on the lamaster, and he would be outraged to hear his Lordship accused of such base homophobia. Good God, I even deign to give him a reach-around!

    I would challenge you to pistols at dawn, S P, if I ever got up that early!

  16. Indeed. I’m sure some of your best friends are gay. Even Peter, who was denied important info about the nature his New Year’s Party, somehow managed to have a surprisingly okay time (well thanks to good views).

    I once went to a party like that. No one told me it was a black party but I stuck it out like Peter and those blacks were actually nice enough. They did play a lot of black-leaning anthems. Close call but it makes me appreciate what Peter went through. Thankfully we’re both very forward thinking on these matters and embrace diversity unreservedly.

  17. I only have one friend. His name is Mr Dandy. I don’t think he’s gay. Although he does have a lot of Johnny Mathis albums.

  18. “Pistols at dawn”? Isn’t that what Kevin Spacey was involved with in the park by the Imperial War museum?

    I apologise about the phrase “gay-leaning”. Let me explain… [Music is turned up, it is Gloria Gaynor, conversation is drowned out.]

  19. I think S P has done a convincing job of exposing the latent bigotry and institutional homophobia of this blog but to what end and at what price?

  20. Not that kind of SP Alan.

    And they’re off.

    Exposing, Latex, Buggery, End, Homoprobia…

    And End has come in at 100–8, beating Homoprobia by a good length.

  21. Dagmar: Nick Edwards, the framer in Vanguard court, unless he got married and changed his name, is Nick Hughes and the number’s right.

    Some of my best friends know Dorothy. I’ve never met her though.

  22. Spacey did indeed draw his pistol at dawn, but it went off half-cocked, which was a disappointment to all concerned.

    Officially he was “walking the dog”. I walk the dog only occasionally, despite my earlier post. Usually I spend my evenings drinking laudanum and spanking my monkey, like another of my ancestors, the reviled Lord Rochester. O to achieve his levels of debasement!

    Tonight, however, I am sober, and am perusing Andre Gide’s STRAIT IS THE GATE, whilst simultaneously casting a choleric glance over Almodovar’s overrated VOLVER. Beat that, SP!

  23. I once went to a party of over-sensitive, paranoid-leaning people. Dreadful. Left immediately and headed over to a party of drunk-Catholic, Irish-leaning people. No hang on, a party of drunk-Irish, Catholic-leaning people. Darn. That’s not it; a party of Catholic-Irish, drunk leaning people. Sounds better, but I’m still not capturing it…

  24. I think the correct term is “drunk-Irish”, Rosy. I encounter many of these Gaelic-spouting scoundrels on my palatial estate in Galway.

    I say “encounter”. I actually set the dogs on them and see how fast they can run. It’s like coursing, but bloodier. And with human beings.

    I’m sorry, I meant to type “human beings”.

  25. Just spoke to Nick Hughes. His mate Vince’s number had had a digit transposed and is 01394 387384.

    I try and avoid leaning on Catholics wherever possible, in my experience they tend not to like it …

  26. Forgive me, I am so dizzy. Nick the Frame is indeed Nick Hughes. Nick Edwards is a fellow we both know who works for the Rough Guides and also has a Welsh surname. I don’t know why I forgot Nick Hughes’s surname — I wrote a verse for his 40th birthday, in Welsh.

    Hughes is 40.
    Hughes that then?
    Hughes the Frame.

    And so on. I haven’t even handed him the verse, I go to the Cave so rarely. Nick, hello.

  27. @ Dagmar — I knew Mark Simpson in a previous life and he is, in fact, gay himself (or at least, was back then). I always thought he had unresolved masculinity issues, myself (a bit like the guy in Right Said Fred).

  28. Mushti, you will find “The skinhead Oscar Wilde” at He coined the word metrosexual. I was once introduced to him at the Hermits. He wrote a book on Morrissey and is always being consulted on the telly/radio as a gay affairs expert. Did you know him in Tooting?

  29. Lord Henry — I admire your new year’s exercise ambitions (Straight is the Gait, by Gide).

    I can also recommend Roads to Freedom by Sartre; running is an excellent way to burn off excess seasonal calories.

  30. Not Tooting, no (though I am amazed by your memory). He was involved in the Lesbians & Gays Support The Miners group back in 84–85, as was I. I was a lesbian at that stage, but have migrated to common and garden gay in the intervening years. I now understand your earlier posting much better. Sorry I mis-interpreted it previously.

  31. I was sitting in the dentist’s today awaiting a check-up on my gnashers following a particularly sordid contretemps in Mayfair in the early hours of Wednesday morning, when I came across a copy of YOU magazine.

    Not much of interest there you might think, but lo and behold I found an article penned by one Lionel Shriver, she of WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN fame. Apparently she lives in South London and, what’s more, was doorstepped by the infamous “I‑Might-Look-Like-A-Junkie-But-Wait-My-Daughter’s- Dialysis-Machine-Has-Run-Out-Of-Electricity-And- I‑Need-Money-For-The-Meter” Woman.

    Shriver almost gave her twenty quid, thought better of it and gave her a fiver, the silly old moo!

    I’m glad she got ripped off. I was ripped off when I bought her book. It’s a very good book, don’t get me wrong, but I mistakenly assumed Lionel Shriver was a man. I make a point of never buying books by women. Best to play the percentages, I find.

    My teeth are fine, by the way.

  32. Ha! Halfway through it at the moment. It’ll put the second half in a whole new light.

    Maybe the follow-up will be an unflinching study of a conwoman with wildly implausible storylines.

  33. I am still reading in the copy of Heidegger: A Beginner’s Guide I found at the same place where the man gave me his trousers. I had to go to Wikipedia to help explain it to me. “Agriculture is now a motorised food industry”, he said in 1949.

    A friend of mine is driving to Barnsley today in a BMW. I said to him, “Remember when you are driving that BOMB up the A1, you are passing motorised food.”

    I am learning fast!

    As successful has been the £2.49 red wine from Aldi entitled Baron Saint-Jean: Vin De Pays Du Gard. The Baron Jean is very fruity and tastes like wine, which is unusual at this price. The Baron John, at a benign 11.5%, gives the oenophile a sporting chance. “Keep horizontal in a cool place”, reads the back label of the Baron Jon. Ask for it by name.

    A rocking night in the Cave last night with exceptional music which transformed the place. “Why are they so cheerful?” I asked. “There has been a funeral,” came the answer.

  34. Yes, it was his wake. The music on his funeral service order was brilliant, so was the stuff played last night. It was a really good way of being played out, an excellent memorial, very Camberwell.

  35. Went to Clapham Picturehouse this afternoon to see a night in the museum. Very nice really. Good film and reminder of what we don’t ahve here in good old SE5.

    There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have more here. It’s wrong that we don’t.

  36. Mark — Maybe it’s something we can discuss at the meeting on Wednesday — Councillor Alison McGovern asked us about what we thought a while back and I have always suggested the Snooker Club on Camberwell New Road because the building is already old cinema (with more space than the Clapham Picture House) I can’t imagine the lease or freehold would be too expensive to buy out (judging by the state of repair on the outside of the building) — I think it fall under Lambeth although it may be Southwark but they both co-operate on so many things these days that maybe encouraging them to take a look at it wouldn’t be a bad idea — would it? Or is it just in Camberwell that they don’t co-operate with each other!!! — A community run cinema would be a very romantic idea but I think we’d probably have better luck trying to interest Picture House/Screen On The Green/Ritzy or even the Curzon or NFT in considering a satelite branch…

  37. It would have to be multi-screen because single-screen cinemas are too risky these days. A while ago I was working on the redevelopment plans for the South Bank Uni building on Wandsworth Rd. We tried to get Picture House interested in the auditorium but it could only take one screen.

    I think also that there has been a recent failed application for a mixed-use residential development on the Snooker Hall site. There may be further applications in the pipeline.

    Everytime I walk past the bingo hall on Camberwell Rd I wonder if it could be changed back to a cinema. It’s a bit too out of the way, though, I think. Having said that, anyone know what has happened with the redevelopment plans for the area just south of there?

  38. I used to play every week in the snooker club, against a clinical psychologist who used every trick in the behavioural book to put me off, it was good fun. It was a great club, dark and full of concentration, where I learned how much my game went to pieces after only a small amount of snooker club lager later on in the evening. My friend lives in Australia now. Tumbleweed blows through the hall, in my mind, there is no roof, the rain comes in, the pigeons produce a new generation of themselves every 6 weeks. I sit at home watching snooker on the telly like an old lady, with a glass by my side of Baron Jon. Nothing lasts.

    But some things get better.

    The Baron Jon red wine from Aldi is a mystery. Like many things in north Camberwell and the Old Kent Road, it starts off rough and ends up sublime. It is bottled with a screwcap in Sain Jean d’Ardieres. A quick Google of the Mairie website reveals a mayor with the most bizarre French beard and moustaches you’ve ever seen. He is obviously not the sort of chap who would let poor wine be grown on his manor. The barrels would be mysteriously broached and bled by night.

    One of the mysteries of Burgess Park is that sad shell of a tall Victorian building on Albany Road opposite Portland Street. Seen from the park, it looks like a bombed house, but from the road it proclaims THE KING WILLIAM THE FOURTH. complete with full stop, which dates it to 1880–90. I remember that pub from when I used the Anchor & Hope in Addington Square. The William was a pub you didn’t dare enter. There must be real tumbleweed blowing through it now, it’s a mess, but it must be listed. Does anyone know of any plans for it?

  39. After my intemperate post about anti-litter banners I have to compensate by reporting on a happy discovery this afternoon — the intertwined tarmac snakes in Lucas Gardens. Dagmar, many months ago you were asking about the Lucas Gardens plaque asserting that the wall was property of W, Hora,. I don’t know about the use of commas there but I found a poster on the British Library website which gives E. & H. Hora as Carriage, Cart, Dray, and Van Builders of Camberwell Road. Most notably, they built the Brewers’ Patent Vehicles, which have many ADVANTAGES as you will see from the poster

  40. That is fantastic, Eleanor. I think we all should form the Camberwell Pyschogeographical Society, abolish it after disputes, then form the Camberwell Situationists International. More about this soon, I am in deadly earnest. Meanwhile the baby must be fed.

  41. A while back some hoarding went up around The King William, and there was a board saying it would be flats soon. But nothing came of it. I think it may have been the same people who were doing the block at the top of Lomond Grove which is looking really pathetic now.

  42. If I had financial freedom I would have snapped up the William years ago and made it the best park pub / brasserie in London. But I don’t…

    Cinema: PictureHouse were interested in Camberwell about 8 years ago but the site (Walworth Bus Garage) went to TFL instead of Sainsbury’s.

  43. @Ben Patio — the stretch just south of the gala bingo hall is still being decided by Souhwark planning dept (despite consultation having ended variously from june-September).

    They are due to go to Planning Committee (next 8 Feb I think) although that was teh message I got before the last planning committee too.

    There is an application to demolish the whole stretch, except a small row of 5 victorian terraces (one of which I own a flat in)

    The design standards are not incredible but it would be a step forward. residential on the plot opposite gala bingo, then the 5 terraced stretch, then office/residential, and a bigger residential scheme on the far end next to the job cenre carpark. up to 67 stories i think.

    Bring it on. the whole sretch is a sh*thole. and that as a resident

  44. @ Ewookie “the design standards are not incredible”.

    First we shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us” — Churchill.

    Is it better to have a kempt but anonymous new build such as Fairview development on Medlar Street/CNR or to hold out for a design which either has something to say about modern architecture or is more sympathetic to this area’s Georgian antecedence?

    The quality of many recent low-ceilinged large scale developments north of the Green seems to indicate that Camberwell is viewed as a dumping ground by local authorities for people with no choice in where they live.

  45. Ewookie, thanks. If Southwark weren’t seemingly the only London Borough not to provide application drawings online, then we could all look at them, couldn’t we? As it stands the only way to see current drawings is to go to Portman St during office hours. Anyone would think they don’t people to comment.

  46. BP, you are right to draw attention to the weekday democracy practiced by Southwark. It came to light in the last local elections, when candidates from two minor political parties in Southwark were disqualified, partly due to electoral facilities not being available at the weekend.

    Didn’t seem to affect the far right minor parties; they seem more organised than minority lefties and centrists. It’s funny how the far right candidates don’t seem to get disqualified by the most zealous electoral officers.

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