Jazz cigarettes

I’m not a great fan of jazz, less so a fan of extended funk‐jazz workouts (see: anything by Prince, 1993–2005). Chart‐friendly pop‐jazz is also not a particular passion of mine. So I’m surprised to find myself saying that I’ve just had an amazing night at the Sun & Doves, where chart‐friendly pop‐jazz star Jamie Cullum made a special appearance to play extended funk‐jazz workouts at John Hoare’s monthly night.

I was lucky enough to get advanced notice of this ‘secret’ gig — I say ‘secret’, because the place was full — and got a good table at the front of the throng. The music varied; jazz, funk, electro, even some drum & bass touches. The musicians were obviously enjoying themselves, and the crowd did too. Lots of dancing, lots of fun. Rumps were shaken, booty’s bounced.

I didn’t take my camera, but there were plenty of others who did, so I’ll bring pictorial updates when they hit Flickr. My wife took her camera phone, so I’ll get some citizen journalism going, too.

Many congratulations to Mark for arranging such a fabulous night — a truly unmissable Camberwell event. I say that, because I was there; if I’d missed it, I’d probably say I’d heard it wasn’t great.

More tomorrow, when I’ve calmed down a little.

Author: Peter

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

128 thoughts on “Jazz cigarettes”

  1. Mark — congratulations on a top evening. A bit like Peter, I’d not normally think “oh, Jamie Cullum, I must go…” but it was cracking. It’s a while since I’ve been to the S&D, but I was totally impressed. Thinking I might make it down for the Great Dictator.…

  2. I was at the S&D on Friday, and whilst it was not as exciting as Saturday sounds, it was still a good night. Great beer and a nice atmosphere. Sadly that was ruined when on the bus back to Clapham on Coldharbour Lane, there was a mugging. One young thug stole a young lads phone and refused to give it back even though everyone on the bus saw him do it! He did not even run away. Amazing. The bus driver had to turn the engine off and call the police.

    I see that the BRB is reopening on Friday, smoke free which is great news. Does anyine know if they will still be showing the football in there?

  3. Yes indeed, most excellent evening, tho I don’t know how Peter’s managed to review it the night before it took place 🙂

  4. Sorry Peter, I’ve confused myself. Seem to be wishing my life away. For some reason I was convinced it was the 20th today.

  5. Totally off topic and apologies for the hi‐jack but a while ago someone on here recommended a carpenter — I think it was somewhere close to vestry road but I can’t remember who or when it was despite extensive searching of the archive.…. Does anyone remember? Is so could you possibly post here as I’m in desperate need of some carpenting! Many thanks

  6. another off topic comment, but returning to favourite camberwellians, i ran into mine last night. I always see her at the big somerfield. Normal 50yo woman in every visible way (perhaps a slight penchant for black clothing) but with two ENORMOUS rectangtles of thick black paint where her eyebrows should be. at least a couple of inches wide, and as black as night.

    i always wonder — mad, or just a long time living on her own, slowly expanding the size of her once slim, arched painted brows with no‐one to tell her to reduse the use

  7. Do you think there are any parallels between the fact that bloggers here find it hard to admit they like Jamie Cullum after a wicked night out with him because they are hamstrung by their need to be seen to be discerning and cool, and their inability to admit that they want Camberwell to gentrify because it compromises there image of being seen to be left leaning, in touch and right on?

  8. Or perhaps it’s just that his album releases are polished and slightly bland, whereas his live performance was raw and unrehearsed? Could it be that not everything revolves around house prices?

  9. Indeed.

    So are you going to buy some Cullum live albums now?

    I recommend Jamie Cullum — Live at Blenheim Palace but then I am a bit of a fan. I’ve even got the polished albums you loathe.

    I suppose I’m just smarting because I’m not a member of the local elite so I didn’t get to hear about the gig on Sunday until after I’d missed it…

  10. If you want carpentry done brilliantly, go to whyknotwood.com the site of Peter Cooper who has Camberwell connections, travels anywhere and does an excellent job at a reasonable price.

  11. First of all, don’t exagerrate; I said I’m not particularly a fan, I didn’t say I loathe him or his music. I actually have a song of his, the cover of “Frontin’ ”, which is pretty good.

    Second, there is no ‘local elite’; I happen to know Mark and he tipped me off. Other people found out through different means.

    Also, I need to give more credit to the other musicians who played that night, who were all excellent.

  12. I just happen to be a practising freemason and they tipped me off..

    What is an elite if it’s not just a small group of friends looking after them and theirs.

  13. The BRB will be smoke free from Friday? Excellent.

    We went to the Sun and Doves last Friday night. It was a nice enough pub but we didn’t find anything particularly appealing about it to drag us back there again and away from the likes of the Phoenix or the Castle. Maybe in summer its different??

    The staff didn’t seem that friendly, they even ignored me at the bar for a while and served others instead. Winston, from the Castle, gets my vote for the friendliest publican in Camberwell. He goes our of his way to greet people, especially regulars, and smiles lots. It creates a good atmosphere, definitely.

    And S & D was really really smoky, even at 5 pm in the afternoon. Even one of my mates, who smokes like a chimney, thought it was smoky when she arrived.

    And the music was a bit too loud and techno for our liking. We didn’t try the food, though I admit it looked good.

    All in all, an ok experience but its not a pub I’d go out of my way to visit again in a hurry.

    If only the Castle would turn off their tv. It would then be the second best pub in Camberwell, in my view. I think the Phoenix is best:

    - smoke free section
    — good selection of beer
    — decent enough food
    — good clientele

  14. I suppose if you’re going to take such a broad definition of ‘elite’ then I am part of one. As is everybody else who’s ever had a friend tell them something that they don’t immediately share with every other person in the world.

    I think you are smarting from not being part of it, yes.

  15. Agreed. I don’t think there is anything wrong with a bit of elitism.

    It’s unavoidable. I’m just kicking myself for not infiltrating the local S+D / SE5 forum / Camberwellonline elite rather than alienating them with my agressive stance gentrification, tramps and veg.

    But how far should an acceptance of elitism extend?

    Secret gigs are ok but restrictively high house prices are not?

  16. Squidder — We need some cupboards built around things (eg the boiler) and also need some bookshelves put up and a few things fixing generally. If you’ve got a name, number, email address I’d be eternally grateful!

  17. Maybe Mark could invite you to play at the S&D, parping on your one‐note trumpet 🙂

    I think on this occasion an ‘elite’ was justified; had a larger crowd turned up there would have been extra costs for security, health & safety considerations, etc.

  18. SG‐ I think you are being hard on the barstaff in the Doves. The two lads who served me were pleasent as always.

    Bear in mind that posting on here you are grassing them up to their boss. Is that really what you want to do?

    I agree about the smoke and the respective qualities of the Phoenix but I like the ambience better in the Doves and the everchanging art makes for a pleasant back‐drop.

    Once the smoking ban kicks in the Doves will reassert itself at the top since the Phoenix forced it to no. 2. (in my opinion).

    Can’t blame Mark for not risking an early adoption of the ban but definitely looking forward to the change…

  19. Alan, I just said it like it was. I’m not grassing on anyone, as you put it.

    I don’t know the names of the bar staff and its not important, I don’t want to complain as such.

    But as a customer it’s an impression I was left with. I don’t want to make a big deal of it, though, it was a minor thing.

    The great thing about web 2.0 and blogs in particular is that customers can now express our opinions on businesses and the quality of service — ranging from BT, to Starbucks to our local pub.

    It doesn’t mean people have to agree with them. And I actually think its good for businesses to get all sorts of feedback, good and not so good.

  20. I knew just from reading this blog that something big was happening at the S&D on Sunday. OK, I didn’t know what, but there were enough hints to have made me think about going down there had my parents not been staying.

    Completely off‐topic — where can I recycle plastic bags? The cupboard under my kitchen sink is almost bursting with them.

    And, can anyone recommend a plumber & bathroom fitter?

  21. Rhian, you can email carpenter Cooper (above) from his website. His work is tip top. He also knows other good, reliable carpenters if he’s busy.

  22. I just remembered why I haven’t looked at the blog for a while; it’s been taken over by Alan Dale and every single frickin blog entry ends up with a discussion about house prices.

    On a lighter note I’d like to recommend the Thai that is now open in the evenings at Seymours. I’ve always found Thai restaurants to be pretty consistantly decent in quality and this is no exception. Good size portions pretty reasonably priced and bring your own.

  23. Steady on Joe! Everyone is entitled to thier opinion and if you don’t like it then why not contribute and move the discussion forward rather than silently fuming?

  24. I also highly recommend the Thai at Seymours. I’ve eaten there a few times and the food has been very good everytime. It can take a little time to arrive, but you know it’s been cooked right then just for you when it does. The people are friendly, and it works out to be a cheap option when you take your own drink.

    I was in there on Saturday and a young (20s) woman burst in, told the waiter she was using the loo and pushed past him so he didn’t have chance to stop her. The woman who runs the place came out from the kitchen to wait outside the toilet for her to come out (she was in there quite a while — probably shooting‐up I thought). When she did re‐appear, and the restauranter told her the toilets were for customers only, she just hurled a string of abuse before walking out. Right there, whilst I was eating my dinner and trying to mind my own business. Didn’t put me off the food, though.

  25. Yeah -let’s get back to food. Which is the most expensive local restaurant? I’m planning a rather special occasion…

  26. Alan; deeply sorry you didn’t get a personal invite. I knew a month ago but had to keep it quiet for reasons Peter mentions above. I had real fears about the number of people turning up. Getting the place full without bursting so there would be a great vibe, so everyone would really enjoy it, including the musicians, and want to come back for more was paramount.

    So we put out a couple of hints on this blog — the SE5 calendar had it fairly detailed but clearly not many people use that yet, copeywolf speculated too and, as Mel R says it was clear something big was happening that night.

    What we’re trying to do at S&D is create a scene in Camberwell, to make the Sun and Doves the centre of a Camberwell scene. Wrapping creative talent around our operation at every level. It’s a tall order and there’s a lot to do. Jamie was part of that.

    John Hoare does a monthly residency here — thanks Peter for putting the links up at the top — It’s called John Hoare and friends, he plays every month with a different line up, always plays fantastic musicians and really great music. John loves the freedom he has to experiement around the set up here and wanted to help get his regular night going — help S&D in our mission to change Camberwell and to help make a ‘scene’. HE and Jamie are great friends — they used to tour together — and they fancied doing a gig together and we were the place for it.

    On the night, in spite of my nerves, it went really well. Everything clicked into place and we had a Truly Magical Experience. The band played great music, the audience loved it, the rapport bwetween the musicians and the audience really sparked off waves of brilliant, spine tingling playing; it was, really, the best live performance we could possibly have hoped for. Electric and a taster for what we want S&D to be all the time.

    And the line up — John Hoare, Dave the drum, Jamie and Ben Cullum — all want to play together here again.

    SMOKE at 5pm shouldn’t happen.

    And thanks all for the feedback even in passing as part of the blog — negative as well as positive. Customers’ experience is what’s needed to help make the business better…

  27. Thanks Foxy but no need to help me out.

    Jo — If you read all my posts you will see that I have touched on a number of issues, including the mundane I like this restaurant, I don’t like that pub etc. etc. Granted I do usually return to my preferred topic and for that I do not apologise.

    As Foxy said it is your perogative to steer the debate in the direction you want it to go.

    For example Mel R’s last post brings us back to the issue of how Camberwell is coping with the disproportionate number of vulnerable adults living locally.

    Do you want to chat about that or shall we just keep listing restaurants?

  28. Let’s just keep it light? Can anyone recommend an expensive restaurant? My Daddy is flying in for the weekend and has offered to treat me but I’d like to keep it local.…

  29. No problem Mark‐ glad it worked out well for you.

    Note my discussions with Peter earlier‐ I’d say that in creating a perception of a discerning social elite centred around a happening pub in an up and coming enclave of central London you are doing your job to perfection.

    The loyal S&D devotee should rightly expect to reap the rewards for their devotion and it seems that you are delivering.

    I’ll be there next time‐ but I’m not that popular so I may lie low…

  30. Cushy B — have you checked out Willow at the bottom of Denmark Hill? I went there once when it first opened, back in the days of my first Camberwell experience. I haven’t been back in this re‐incarnation. It strikes me as a traditional restaurant style place, though — and might have prices to reflect it.

    A few people have mentioned it on here but I don’t recall anyone mentioning prices…

  31. Thanks Mel — I have been there and its lovely but it’s actually pretty reasonable.

    I think if I’m really going to sting the old man I’ll have to go up West or into Dulwich.

    He doesn’t see me that often so I figure it’s fair enough…

  32. Alan, It’s Joe not Jo. I stand by my comment:

    “…every single frickin blog entry ends up with a discussion about house prices.”

    But let me add:

    “or gentrification”

    Whatever it’s still boring.

  33. Mel R — I ate there recently and it cost approximately £60 for a meal for two with a bottle wine. It was not bad — 7 out of ten.

    Mark — I am sure the Cullum gig was good, but “a truly magical experience”? “Waves of brilliant, spine tingling playing”? Are you sure someone didn’t spike your drink?

  34. Cushy B – if you really want to clean out your dad’s wallet, try and get a table at Chez Bruce in Wandsworth. Lovely, lovely food, though it might be hard to get a table at short notice.
    Or if all else fails, try The Dark Horse, with 3 course, aperitifs and a good bottle of wine you should hit the £80 for two mark…
    Ate at Seymours and had the worst pad Thai I’ve ever eaten. Though I have been told by my boyfriend that I am now banned from eating at Thai restaurants in London as they are just nowhere near as good as the ones I’ve tried in Australia. Like the atmosphere in Seymours though…

  35. Typo — sorry Joe. Sorry you’re bored too.

    I went to Ganapati in Peckham on Saturday. Very good.

    It’s Indian but much better than standard.

    More expensive than the average curry too. Worth a look Cushy but maybe it’s still a bit cheap for your high class tastes!

  36. Cushy B, if I was being paid for I’d go to Franklins on Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, for its French and similar excellent cooking and wines.

    Alan Dale likes the place, which is a good recommendation. Has anyone seen him, recently? It’s aspirational people like him and Lord Henry who keep the house prices up, you know, it’s not the gun shootin’ — that puts people off!

    The modern, solid‐wood furniture delivered last night to the BRB is really classy. It is all a far cry from the old Stirling Castle, Walmer Castle, Kerfield kind of alehouse we used to enjoy here!

  37. Red5 interesting that you call her Ms. Standingby but she calls herself Mrs.

    Perhaps you should sit down together and assess whether there is a bit of an expectation gap to be addressed…

  38. I can second a trip to Upstairs in brixton — it’s a wonderful place, althoguh perhaps more suited to a romatic evening out than a place to take the parents.

    I think if you really want to empty the parental wallet you need to leave Camberwell for the night and go a restaurant with a SW or W postcode.

    Try Racine on Brompton Road — wonderful old school French cooking and the wine list can make quite a hefty dent in the wallet.

  39. Thanks for all the recommendations. Will mull it over. Can’t face Brixton with Dad‐ it’ll worry him no end.

    Shame I can’t stay local. Maybe I’ll settle for the Dark Horse. Let him know it’s not all bad in Camberwell…

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