Booze and crime and mental health

It was remiss of me not to mention Bonkersfest! last week; I had it in my mind, but it slipped away. I wasn’t able to attend as I was on a marathon bike ride around London, but when I passed in the late afternoon the Escola de Samba was in full flow and it looked like a great time was being had. Anyone care to provide a report?

Camberwell gets a fairer hearing in the FT’s review of the Church Street Hotel, helped by the fact that the author seems to have friends in the area who can give him some background. It would be foolish to pretend we don’t have crime and drug problems here, but that’s not all we have; if it were just guns and drugs and unrelenting misery, I very much doubt that most of you dear readers would be living here. I certainly wouldn’t.

Having said that… there’s been another incident down on Camberwell Road. As I passed this morning I saw the Nag’s Head and the neighbouring Costcutter sealed off with police tape, and plenty of coppers around it. Seemed to be centred around the Nag’s Head. That little area down there’s had its troubles recently.

Author: Peter

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

100 thoughts on “Booze and crime and mental health”

  1. Indeed this little stretch of camberwell is as badly affected by crime as anywhere — the very nature of the empty (and now some semi-burned-out) dwellings above the street level, and amount of general detritus hardly makes it surprising. Residents leaving mounds of poorly tied bags of trash, newaristocrats.. a heady cocktail of grime.

    The sooner the legal conditions get sorted and the planning permissions are confirmed on this stretch sooner this corner of camberwell will improve. few live in the buiildings that are to be replaced and there is virtually nothing of merit. even the status of the Gala bingo building wouldn’t be guessed at from the (poorly) graffitied and ugly exterior.

    Increase the pace of change to grotspots like this. Of course preserve what’s good about camberwell but if we listened to some of the more cautious members of this community we’d never get anything done. I for one supported the planning applications and will be glad when the wrecking balls move in.

  2. A quick note for the sake of clarity: most of the problems recently discussed on this blog have been on Camberwell New Road, rather than Camberwell Road, although I’m sure the latter has its share of problems.

    CR isn’t on a Council border & TFL red route & teen gangland intersection, and I pray it never experiences the effective daytime curfew which our local schoolchildren impose on us from 3.30 to 5pm, weekdays.

    I just wish the Council wasn’t so complicit in Landlords deliberately leaving properties empty for years in order to run areas down and then rush through “emergency” planning applications to “rescue” an area. If they didn’t, our architectural stock would be immeasurably improved. More action, sooner, and with greater emphasis on quality of architecture, conscious of its economic bargaining power, would be welcome from the Council.

  3. three shot in november, one fatally, trouble at teh shop over teh weekend, shooting outside Edward’s, our 100metre stretch of delights can boss camberwell new road for crime anyday of the week!

    i’m off to go hang some freshly mugged trainers over the telegraph wires outside. the true sign of a badass area

    on a more serious note, I certainly agree re empty properties. the council now have certain powers to act, but seem completely unwilling to address it. a massive problem

  4. Is it me or is there an orange octopus on top of a wheelie bin at the top of Lyndhurst Grove? Last night I thought a saw an old electric shop sign at the same place which said, “PETER’S pies, sausages, charcuterie and langoustines” or something like that, leant against the wall, it was.


  5. I have it on good authority that it was the son of the landlord of the Nags Head who stabbed his father, the landlord some immense ammount, and also his, the fathers partner.

    The son is in jail and the father and his partner are in Kings.

  6. Well solved, Maigret, good work. The Nag is a vestigial Camberwell white working class boozer I remember from my old Camberwell Road/Addington Square/Walworth days, but it would seem to have come to a bit of a modern chavvy end. That is sad and grim.

    There was a programme on the box the other night about language, which said that “spiv” is Romany for “sparrow”.

  7. What do readers make of Wi-Fi? Richard Branston is telling me I need a modem router thing, a go-wrong gadget I call it, to tool up our pc, but it’s Wi-fi, and I reckon it fries your brains. I said this to the Virgin man who came round, but his brains were so fried, he just grinned at me. Seriously, does anyone know about Wi-Fi and its pollutative effect indoors?

  8. We have Wi-fi at home, and other than the nightmares and the bleeding gums I’ve yet to notice any adverse effect.

    The recent scare stories about Wi-Fi appear to be based on unscientific research; that’s not to state it’s unharmful, just that that’s yet to be proven by any studies.

  9. Thank you, Peter. I asked the orange octopus on the wheelie bin about the Wi-Fi, but it just spewed jelly and shook, gibbering and jabbering, raging against the machine.

    Mind you, my man at Virgin now says we now have to buy an aiport for our tiny mac. Flippin’ ‘eck. That Branston has it all sorted.

    Is it me or is Camberwell noisy flight-path country at the moment? Maybe it’s just the wind direction.

    I like the planes, they look like angels. What would William Blake have made of them, that old poet bloke who saw the angels in the trees on Peckham Rye?

    Why don’t we all gather on the Green one evening soon and have an erotic orgy for peace and freedom?

    Why am I so airy? So many questions!

  10. Dagmar, even the BBC news website thinks that the Panorama programme on WiFi was a load of rubbish!:

    Anyone else get the Camberwell arts festival brochure through their front door — I read it last night and was emotionally overwhelmed by all the arty goodness that’s available over the next few weeks… can’t make the French Cricket in Myatts fields unfortunately — but how about a bloggy meet up to play petanque in Myatt’s Fields on the 19th?

  11. Walking up Denmark Hill last night at about 3am, and got approached by a bloke in a car who offered to drive me anywhere I wanted if I gave him some petrol money.

    This was a new one on me.

  12. I met a lady on Grove Lane who was drinking a can of Bass Shandy. She had African features and her face was clearly painted black but her neck was white.

    She reminded me of Lenny Henry’s Miles Pope in his box office smash True Identity and I began checking the bushes for hidden camera’s and her gloves for Jeremy Beadle’s spare hand.

    Nothing happened so I suspect that she wasn’t really Beadle or even a minstrel but actually had an issue with skin pigmentation, alcohol and homelessness. Although I accpet that it would take a lot of Bass Shandy to drive anyone onto the streets.

    I have to admit that I didn’t give her the sandwich money she craved.

  13. Saw this in London Lite on Monday… sadly I have to type it out as I can’t find the story elsewhere (have to say that I didn’t look very hard.…

    The public will get the chance to choose the work of offenders subject to community sentences carry out, under a scheme being piloted from today at Camberwell Green magistrates court. Among the tasks are clearing up parks and removing graffiti. Ideas can be sent to GL-​CGCourt.​community@​hmcourts-​service.​gsi.​gov.​uk

    Snappy email address is obviously designed to maximum ideas — both otherwise an interesting idea… Anyone else hear or know anything about this?

  14. Alan, I have met this lady recently three times in the champion hill / sainsbury’s east dulwich area. Each time she has told me that she is diabetic and has no money for the electricity in her flat, and therefore no light by which to inject herself.

    She is known as the minstrel in my house, although i also suspect it may be some kind of skin condition( and therefore feel guilty about the nickname).

  15. Duke of Denny H- I’m sure the nickname is only applied for clarity and is not intended to be offensive.

    She also told me that she is diabetic. I can believe that I suppose. But what should one do when faced with an ageing diabetic albino who is begging for electric and sandwiches?

    I said ‘I’ve got my own problems’ and waved my prosthetic arm at her, but not everyone has that luxury…

  16. I gave Bass Shandy Lady money for a sandwich on Herne Hill ROad on Sunday. She said she was diabetic and didn’t look crack-ravaged so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Noticed black face / white neck issue.
    Usually don’t gove money due to falling prey to a range of scams in the past — including the guy who used to run up and down Coldharbour Lane saying he needed money to get petrol to visit his wife in hospital.
    Remember the black woman who used to hang round Camberwell with her face painted white in a wedding dress?

  17. Sorry mates, I’ve told her not to do this. I’ll try and be firmer but your Mum’s your Mum, right?

  18. Sorry Florian — only just spotted your gag. Very good but it’s obviously too much white lightening that she is suffering from.

  19. Netto is doing Treefield brand honey at 79p for 1lb (454g) at the weekend, Saturday and Sunday only. Treefield. The spelling on the maps of their doordrop leaflet has “Locamo Road” for Locarno Road and “Chourmert Road” for Choumert. This suggests to me that their leaflets are produced centrally not locally.

  20. The Kursaal Flyers were really good. I once played on their undercard.

    The 99p shop is selling luxury speedboats under the title, “Celerity Launch”. The boats have a decal transfer which says, “My Haliday”.

    I find this strangely touching as come up to the 10th anniversary of Di’s death.

  21. Uh Spooky

    I haven’t heard or thought of the Kursaals for years until a caption I saw on a photo on flickr reminded me of them and I posted a link to their website.

    And now this

  22. A lot of top-notch intellectuals who appear, say, in the London Review of Books, use the word “psychic” when most people would use the word “psychological”. A lot of them are psychoanalysts, well you have to be to appear in the LRB. Psychists, maybe they should be called. Cyclists. Trick cyclists. Analysts!

    I like it. Maybe we should switch the Bloggers’ Day Out from the Isle of Sheppey to Southend!

  23. is nobody interested in the pilot scheme taking place in Camberwell that allows local residents to recommend community activities for our local offenders to undertake as part of their sentencing???. I thought it was a great opportunity to get some community projects started and resourced…
    Although, I am happy to at least be informed that this isn’t interesting / old news…

  24. Things that need doing in the area are very hard jobs that the offenders just couldn’t do. These jobs are done by very competent people on low pay — caring for old people, for instance, you have to be strong to do that.

    If the offenders live in the area, they should come up with ideas of what they think they could do. That would be a very good idea, beckyr!

    Most of the jobs they could do round here, you’d have to be really hard and tough and dirty!

  25. They could gather up all the tramps. Bathe them, spruce them up, wash their clothes by hand and undertake any repairs. This may teach the little scrotes something about humanity and humility.


    Re 33 beckr:

    Streets: Cleaning up shop fronts / litter. Jet spraying chewing gum, squashed sweets, dried up sick, ice cream and poo off pavements would be a great start.

    Church Street and Denmark Hill to begin with then fan out across the rest of the area. If there’s any skilled supervision involved they could be made to replace paving as well. Learning a new skill.

  27. what about getting them to maintain a constant vigil at the bottom of Wilson Road. Nearly everyday there is a new car that has been dumped there and had its windows smashed / wheels removed.
    they even do it in broad daylight — and it’s only because it isn’t overlooked by anyone. Still suprising given art college / church

  28. Are you sure that the ‘abandoned’ cars on Wilson Road aren’t something to do with the Art College?!

    Has anyone actually emailed community service suggestions in yet? I mean, is this really a serious venture through which we could get street-cleaning etc done?

  29. Personally i prefer the option where the people we employ in the legal profession do the work for which we employ them.

    I can dream up lot of vindictive punishments for perps; but i’m smart enough to admit most of them wouldn’t have a postive end result.

    What I resent most is civil servants getting fat on my tax dollar and asking me to do their job for them.


  30. I think they should send Paris Hilton to Camberwell. She could stay in the Camberwell Hilton.

    Today is the Horniman summer fair which is always a laugh. Perhaps Paris will be go-go dancing in a cage there as part of community service.

    Perhaps George Michael will be in the next cage. Dozing at the end of a huge spliff, he will drawl to her, contemptuously, “Wake me up, before you go-go.”

    Down to more serious local psychogeography, I found a copy of Celine’s novel “North” yesterday (“Nord”, 1960) in a charity shop, an interesting 1976 Penguin with an introduction by Kurt Vonnegut, lately deceased.

    Vonnegut was a professor of grim humour. Celine was as grim as it gets. But inside Celine’s grim northern novel was a purple piece of paper with a neatly written note: “Daddy — Gone for a spin. We will get some potatoes to replace others which are almost all rotten. (I’m going to take them back to Sainsb.)”

    So it goes.

  31. In the cage next to George Michael is Michael Jackson, drinking White Lightening. In the cage next to him is Lightnin’ Hopkins singing Smokestack Lightnin’. “No more smoke,” drools George, “give me Tina.” “Simply the best!” shrieks Tina Turner from the next cage. George Best kicks a ball about in the cage next to her, representing Celtic Tragedy. The ball rattles Boy George’s cage. “Do you really want to hurt me?” he sings in his best Woolwich housewife’s flutey tones. John Hurt performs soliloquies from Hamlet in the next cage. The cage next to him is draped with Dulwich Hamlet football scarves. Inside, TommyD sings a selection of Woody Guthrie songs.

  32. Woody Allen walks past. “Hi, TommyD,” he say. “I wanna auteur a movie about some situationists in SE5. I need some local situationists, know any? And a location. I was thinking of East Dulwich.”

  33. “Why East Dulwich?” says TommyD, aghast. “Because the guys there wear their sunglasses on their heads,” says Woody in his annoying cords and other preppie get-up. “And from the cinematographer’s point of view, Camberwell is too unpredictable, too edgy, it lacks harmony.

  34. I’ve just returned from a few days in Eire, where I discovered that “Bear” is the Irish (Gaelic) for Bar. That throws a new light on the re-christening of Jack BEARd’s on Camberwell New Road, though does not alter the fact that the new signage has been achieved on the cheap, and lacks originality! Will it be diddly diddly music 7 nights a week? Only time will tell!

  35. mark Says:
    June 8th, 2007 at 10:07 am

    Re 33 beckr:

    “Streets: Cleaning up shop fronts / litter. Jet spraying chewing gum, squashed sweets, dried up sick, ice cream and poo off pavements would be a great start.

    Church Street and Denmark Hill to begin with then fan out across the rest of the area. If there’s any skilled supervision involved they could be made to replace paving as well. Learning a new skill”.

    Would it not be an idea to uphold the law and fine people for dropping litter and allowing dogs to dump on the footpath?

  36. I’ve just returned from the Forest Hill Fair at the Horniman where two members of the Ian Petrie Band played Irish and other music. They are very good, so fluent they could play standing on their heads on top of their Guinnesses.

    It’s nice on top of the hill at the Horniman gardens, up above the ghastly pretensions of East Dulwich — the modern Pooters with their sunglasses on their heads, kow-towing to their materialistic wives, all stumbling over each other to keep up with the Joneses.

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