Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb

This morning I had to go to the dentist (Camberwell Dental Care; recommended), but as I brushed my teeth I realised that I’d run out of mouthwash. Not wishing to visit Dr Asad without a minty-fresh mouth, I decided to buy a bottle on the way, and give my mouth a rinse before I got there. So I bought a bottle from the Spar on Vestry Road, took a good big swig and carried on my way.

Having finished my ablutions, I looked around for a drain to spit it into; that was when I realised that the streets were full of kids on their way to school. I didn’t want to look like a crazy man, spitting a gob-full of foaming liquid into the gutter in front of the children, so I had to walk on with a mouth bulging with mouthwash.

Every turn I took, there somebody was; children and parents doing the school run, commuters late leaving the house, dog-walkers; it was like the Batman film from the 60s, where he’s desperately trying to get rid of a bomb but is thwarted by nuns, children and a family of ducks. It was only on Camberwell Grove I finally found a ten-second window to rid myself of my load. Still, I think Dr Asad appreciated it.

So, dental hygiene aside, what’s the news? Camberwell Baths, the Cuming Museum and Livesey Children’s Museum are all set to be hit by budget cuts, and could close. Apparently health and culture are not high on the list of priorities for Southwark Council. The website of the Livesey Museum has some links to online campaigns to keep them open; I’m slightly wary of the effectiveness of online petitions, so I would urge you to raise this issue with your MP also.

The Camberwell Grove railway bridge is to reopen, with traffic lights and barriers installed until the bridge is replaced completely. There’s another online petition to sign if you want Network Rail to do that sooner rather than later.

There was something else I was going to mention; I may update when I remember what it was.

Author: Peter

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

92 thoughts on “Some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb”

  1. The last (only) time I went into Angels and Gypsies they weren’t at all sure about what was going to happen with the ground floor or when. They were concentrating on building up hotel trade. That was last September probably. I lose track.

  2. They should let athletes use any drugs they want. Make it like the American wrestling. Imagine watching the superfreaks shatter old records. 6s 100m.

    That would make it more of a spectator sport. At the moment it’s a bit dull.

  3. Somebody tried to break into our bike shed yesterday (we have a communal garden) and broke the lock and door of the shed

    From what I can see they failed to obtain any bikes, but were trying to cut/file down the chains securing them to their racks…

    It’s almost an annual to 18 month occurence though, so it’s nothing we haven’t seen before (sadly)

  4. Can everyone make an extra effort this weekend to find something out or notice something or have an adventure in Camberwell please?

    We are a low on good material recently.

    Maybe I’ll get a pass out on Saturday and go to the Buckle…

  5. Did anyone see the (I presume) attempted heist on Tuesday?

    I came along at lunchtime to see Police tape around a Securicor van outside Barclays Bank next to the Butterfly centre along with three or more Police cars. Anyone have any further information?

    (I dont get many opportunities to use the word heist in day to day life!)

  6. OK so this is a Peckham story, but it’s my nearest “school”. With suspensions running at this rate some classes must be empty. What a failure. What a truly desperate hopeless place we live near.

    Caravaggio is about the best thing going in the past year, but even that’s just a little restaurant. Cool tho.

  7. On the council cuts. I am very very TIRED of hearing the annual bleat “we don’t get enough money from central govt so we have to put your taxes up again, sorry bout that, don’t blame us.”

    I worked for local government once. I left after 9 months cos I’d had enough of it. I have honestly never seen so much money wasted on doing so little.

    And so many worthy, smug people thinking they’re “serving the public”. Yeah, some are, and who would begrudge the binmen a pay rise, but many more have non jobs and they’re along for the nice job security and bloated pension at the end of it.

  8. mark51 — you’re in a better position than i to judge, but if i had a limited pile of cash and wanted to realise a hotel with ground floor restaurant, i would have done it the other way round.nespa?

  9. @ Drew: That’s what I thought; with a decent restaurant, they could keep cash flowing for the hotel. Maybe that’s not the business plan, but I can’t really see why.

  10. Alan, tomorrow is private view night at the South London Gallery. This means that the Hermits Cave will be packed with extraordinary, brilliant, charismatic creatures. It’s good. The edgy, twitchy, cutting-edge arterati will rub shoulders with the nutterati and others living la vida local. A huge proportion will spill onto the street to smoke. Despite the cold, the denim miniskirt worn with black tights quotient will be high — and that’s just the blokes.

    You are right. Anarcho-cynicism is good. One man’s downfall is another man’s yang. One door closes and another doesn’t.

    I still think shutting the Livesey is a little bit mean, but hey, it’s the weekend.

  11. Not worried about high rate of exclusions at the Academy. I would be more worried if a school with difficult kids had a low rate of exclusions.

    Thanks Dagmar — not sure I’m going to get an exiat tonight but I’d love to see the mix.

    @Phil G — definitely agree about a pay rise for my bin men. They have finally started keeping the recycling separated and they have stopped sifting through and leaving anything not in a black bag.

    Definitely would like to see someone at the Maudsley sacked over the disgrace of Windsor Walk though. That’s a good example of public sector lethargy.

  12. Mark if I see you in the Buckle I will say ‘hiya’. Warning ‑I cut a pretty unimpressive figure.

    Can’t promise I’ll be there this week but may be.

    I usually head there after the Hermit’s so pretty late and tanked.

  13. The forecast is that the air pressure will hit a crystal-meth-strength 1044 millibars over the weekend which, along with the sunshine, will even make the misanthropists amongst us as high as a kite. Camberwell dwellers will be acting extremely happy and only a few cycling bloggy anoraks will know why.

  14. Umm,

    I can’t think of many exciting Camberwell things at the moment — apart from teh fact we all seem resigned to the fact that a small minority of our fellow Camberwell neighbours like robbing us with depressing regualarity.

    Well it looked like they were painting the Redstar green and advertising for new promoters.

    Oh and thanks for the sympathy but it wasn’t me that was broken in to but our third floor neighbours!!

  15. I’m eagerly awaiting the opening of the Spice and Nice resturant at the end of Denmark Road!
    I will be absent from Camberwell this weekend, though I’m sure it’ll battle through admirably without me.

  16. Spice and Nice

    They have been decorating and renovating for quite some time now and it looks like they have done a fine job

    I hope the food is as good as the effort that they have put into the nice refurb…

  17. ‘We don’t won’t your kind round here!’

    Happy to update the escape. Cunning plan. In our part bedsits sell!!! Need to get planning to turn the house into bedsits and install some loos and we can max the price. All going well. Then we’re off! Funny place this. Folks rush to protect the trash and turn on the hard working taxpaying types who call a spade a spade.

  18. Told you! The high-pressure weather has cheered everyone up. The spades round our part are by far the friendliest people in the street, John, even when the barometer’s plunged to 960 millibars.

    Sometimes I feel life would be better in Tunbridge Wells or LA, but everything is here in microcosm: Camberwell Grove is like Tunbridge, Angels & Gypsies is straight from LA.

    [Adopts Dick van Dyke cockney accent, sings:]

    “All’s a‑well in‑a Camber-er-well…”

  19. @ JohnnyM: Let me begin by attacking your (false) dichotomy, one which is favoured by many such as yourself; your position is that by not agreeing with you, we are ‘turning on the hard working taxpaying types’; making implicit that we are not. I don’t want to speak for anybody else, but I believe I fall into that category myself; I have a full-time, permanent job, at which I work hard, and I pay my taxes. One of the regular visitors to this blog is Mr Mark Dodds, who works 60 hour weeks as well as getting involved in all sorts of extra-curricular activities — and I’m pretty certain he pays more than his fair share of taxes too. I’m sure other people here would fall into the ‘hard working taxpayer’ category too.

    The reason you don’t seem to be popular on here is not because you’re the plain-talking voice of reason, but because you’re frequently insulting and because you’ve made it perfectly obvious that you’re only here because you can’t afford anywhere else, and you want everyone else to improve the area for you, without you lifting a finger, so the value of your property will go up and you can move on to wherever it is you feel befits a man of your status. To call a spade a spade, you are a parasite.

  20. leave the lad alone. johnny — make sure you permission from your mum and dad before you start converting their house into bedsits.

  21. As best as I can tell, Camberwell Society is the only Camberwell community-based action group with a proven track record of actually doing something to improve the community. Given there are no other real options of such groups, I would say you should support them. What other group is actively working to improve the area?

  22. Go for it. The mag is great. The Society is an excellent part of the fabric. OK, it’s not an off licence, turf accountant or daft chicken outlet, but it is the charcoal and silver-grey streaks in the Camberwell rainbow.

    Did anyone go to the Redstar dance night last night? The flyer looked interesting.

  23. Johnny M is the problem of crime increase, It’s all his fault!!!
    In Camberwell letting temporary accomodation as bedsits is why no one invest in thier community. they could be thrown out at any moment and are not allowed to work becuase of the higher rent vs housing benefit.
    He is keeping poeple in the position of not paying tax and having to “scrounge” so they have to look elsewhere for extra income so we all get burgaled by his tennants.

    Johnny M I wish you negative equity and not return on yield xxx

  24. johnnym — You really can be an unpleasant character can’t you? — Ok things are far from perfect but maybe just maybe on occasion, you might want to pull your head out of your anus and acknowledge the fact that totally unregulated free-market economics causes a considerable amount of damage to a highly diverse inner-city communty like Camberwell.

    I’m not an anti-capitalist anarchist — but when I can see with my own eyes the negative effect that the current lowest common denominator free market practices cause ie: — all these highly destructive side-effects on society that persons like you are too ignorant to understand and make the obvious link between the two…

    I think it’s only right that we consider the prospect of a more cerebral way of doing business for the good of us all

  25. Muriel Spark lived in a bedsit in Camberwell, found for her by a Catholic priest. Perhaps a return to the grim rigour of the bedsit would bring out the barely concealed, quivering desire of the Dame Maggie Smith in us all.

    Alan, did you get to the Buckle? Most people with children I know are laid low by vicious viruses.

  26. Jeezy Peeps, dagmar, are you sure? I’d always gone safe in the certainty that the sainted Muriel lived out her days in marchmont, Edinburgh.

    I was shocked to discover, in his obituary, that the great nationalist historian John Prebble lived most of his life in a mansion flat in Clapham.

    what’s next? Rabbie Burns lived in a Peabody up the Elephant?

    my culture is falling around my ears!

  27. Where do all those Kirsty tv & radio culture girls live, Drew? I never see them in the 99p shop in Butterfly Walk, which continues to be an Aladdin’s Cave of delights, e.g. yesterday:

    “Snot my fault there’s nothing in ‘ere — it’s all crap. CRYSTAL! I’m not spendin’ money on a load o’ shit. I got yer a Kinder Egg, it’s got a toy in ’em.”

  28. On the mighty Camberwell Church Street today early afternoon I saw some guy in a high vis jacket affixing a large red plastic arrow with ‘KFC’ written on it on top of a phonebox, pointing up the road in the direction of the colonel’s place on the next block.

    It’s dog ugly, retarded advertising. As it runs parallel to the road, it’s hard to see from passing cars, so one assumes its target market are the people directly opposite in The Castle, something I’d be fuming about if I was the manager of that place.

    Personally it pisses me off as it’s right near where I live. Presumable the local council gets some kind of kickback for this, but personally, I’d like to find whatever pen-pusher rubber stamped this and ‘stick that sign where the sun don’t shine’.

  29. I dropped a mail to the people over at Angels and Gypsies a couple of weeks ago out of pure curiosity. A cahp who owns the place got back to me the following day with quite a nice email. I enquired as to whether the bar was open to non-residents and when the tapas bar would be open. He stated that the tapas bar would be open ‘soon’ and that it wasn’t open to residents for a drink.

    So it’s either doing incredibly well and there is no rush to open for food or even let people in for a drink. Or they really haven’t a clue.

    The former would be nice.…

  30. Angels & Gypsies is enigmatic & therefore not to be too closely interrogated, perhaps eventually yielding its secret. Rooms may be rented there as we like — perhaps we should volunteer a couple of bloggers to report back. We can hardly blame them for not throwing the place just yet to the flotsam and jetsam. Class is to be had at the Dark Horse any time. The bar staff are enchanting.

    The Enchantment — Aubrey Beardsley & co. — show at the Dulwich Picture Gallery was good — last day today, long queue — exquisite, carefully crafted, yes almost obsessive, and that was just the queue.

  31. Did indeed Dagmar. Had the viruses already I think.

    Have you heard the song Soulja Boy Crank Dat ( Superman dat ho)? It’s a hip-hop tune with an accompanying dance routine that has taken the US by storm. Saturday in the Buckle was the first time I’ve heard it in a bar. If you like hip-hop and rnb then the £3 entry fee is a bargain. That’s only on Saturdays though — normally it’s karaoke-in-the-community.

    To really appreciate the song you need to look up ‘Superman dat ho’ on Urban dictionary.

    While you’re there you might want to check out Spiderman too so that you can enjoy the reply ‘we don’t superman no mo we just Spiderman dat ho.’

    We did manage to befriend one couple who we sat near. He was a middle aged black guy in shades and a gold sequined blazer and she was an attractive large bosomed late teenager in a revealing open shirt and with an afro comb in her hair. We were sharing a table when the bouncer took exception to the pair of them simulating sex.

    Initially that may sound like a fair complaint but this behaviour is commonplace in the Buckle. I suspect that the bouncer’s real complaint was about the couple’s difference in age or even perhaps the nature of their relationship. Or maybe he was jealous because she was lovely.

    After his reprimand our man got really angry in ‘hold me back’ kind of way and ran off in search of the doorman. Luckily for all he couldn’t find him. I guess he didn’t check the door.

    Subsequently whenever the doorman walked past our man got up and protested, waited until he left, chased after him and then returned to his seat unscathed.

    We reassured our pal that we had no objection to their sharing of affections and that the bouncer was overreacting and needless to say we became friends.

    As we witnessed her willingness to crank dat I’m confident there were no superheroes invoked in there house on Saturday night.

  32. I’ve bought Heart of Darkness on eBay so I can check what I’m being accused of…

    I forgot to mention that they’ve got one of those toilet guys in the Buckle now so the lavs are a much cleaner and safer place.

    I usually tip £1 after my third slash. Up to then I just smile and say thanks. Only had two pees on Saturday so I’m 66p in defecit.

  33. Strangely enough, I passed one of those free bookshops on a brick wall the other night where someone had put out a load of books for people to take.

    The institutional penury in the Dagmar house hoovers such books in for our mental enrichment. We may be poor, but we are rich in irrelevant detail.

    One book was ‘Exterminate the Brutes’ (another quote from Heart of Darkness) by Sven Lindqvist who is not that rally driver but a Swedish travel writer and cultural thinker — the Granta-published book comes with a quote from John Berger. Lindqvist travels through the Sahara with his laptop and fine mind — this is a long way from the Buckle.

    Basil Davidson, we like, of course.

    But at the moment what we really like is the rough music of Konono No.1 — not Rough Guide music, but really rough music.

    What a sound! The mice are scared to death by it. The racket! The racket!

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