Please end my loneliness

I was going to write a little more about the results of the recent shopping survey, but I find that it’s Friday already and I don’t have time. So just a quick reminder that I’ll be in the Sun & Doves on Sunday afternoon from about 4pm if anybody would like to come and join me and meet some of your fellow Camberwell residents. Hopefully JohnnyM will be there to tell us what idiots we all are!

Even if that doesn’t appeal, there’ll be a curated show by Stella Scott. I don’t know who that is or what it’s about.

If you haven’t met me before, here’s a photo of me dressed in a medieval hood, so you’ll be able to spot me (although I probably won’t be wearing the hood).

Please don’t leave me sitting there on my own.

Author: Peter

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

69 thoughts on “Please end my loneliness”

  1. Haven’t I seen you in the churchyard at midnight? You wave a choppy finger and say, “Pleased to meet you, at last!” I turn and run.

    (Peter, I’m just replying to hold the fort whilst the Friday Nite in Camberwell mob wake up slowly.)

  2. EEK! Hurry Peter and take down that photo. Computer nerd alert!! Luckily Camberwell is full of women looking for men with inner beauty (and a British passport).

    Sorry I couldn’t come along and belittle you all. I’m sure the Dagmar v Peter ‘who is the most enlightened’ battle was far more entertaining. Speaking of drama:

    So we drag into Camberwell in the wee hours Sunday dropped off by a night bus filled with the worst of the worst. Let off just near Caraveggio’s only to discover a war zone. Clubbers exiting the new improved ‘bring your own gun’ club all over the streets shouting about a car wind screen shot out. Glass was everywhere and you’d have thought it was a polling station in Zimbabwe protesting cheating. We ran away quickly. Only moments later we heard Camberwell’s official sound symbol: the police siren, in four-channel stereo.

    What a third world dump.

  3. The Dagmar family, two of whom are extremely pre-pub-escent, were at the Horniman Museum yesterday afternoon where they came upon Indian classical musicians playing in the conservatory. There was a chap playing a huge clay pot who made superb sounds — at the end, he threw his instrument up in the air and caught it. Wonderful. Such is the mighty power of tea.

  4. You talk a lot of shit on here, JohnnyM, and I let you get away with it; but when you start making personal insults, you cross the line. I’d like an apology, please.

  5. Perhaps you could post a compare-and-contrast pic of yourself, JohhnyM? It would only be fair.

    I know it’s fruitless to pander to your persecution complex, but you really are deeply tiresome.

    How’s the exit plan going? If you’re too slow with the renovations — or, indeed, if the good lady does run off with the lodger — the impending global financial meltdown could see you stuck here for a while.

  6. Sorry I couldn’t make the drinks, kiddy duty while Mrs Drew was hot-footing it in Berlin. She went via T5 but seems to have gone unscathed.

    JohnnyM I wonder if you could find some other target for your vitriol — yourself perhaps? PG and his missus have never been anything but charm itself to me and my family.

  7. Every small town has its good old boys like JohnnyM, who at least brings news from the night bus world, in an old-fashioned hard-boiled style. His vision of me and Peter sitting cross-legged, saying to each other, “You are the more enlightened,” “Oh no, I think you’ll find that YOU are by far the more enlightened,” is quite funny.

    I am reminded of a western called The Gunfighter starring Gregory Peck, where a veteran gunfighter feared by the bad boys, is finally shot down by a local would-be big-shot, after laying down his gun.

    Derek W. Johnson MBE passed through today. He paid 7 and a half thousand quid to have his name on that engine!

  8. I hope that the meet up yesterday went well, Peter. Personally, I’m not really into meeting up, but please don’t take that as a snub, anyone — I just have enough friends already. I’d only end up committing myself to doing things to improve Camberwell, anyway, and then fail at delivering them!
    I think your photo’s fine, Peter — who’d have thought that JohnnyM would plump for the obvious — a cheap jibe from the comfort of his own mono-dimensional little world. Win the Lottery or something and p**s off!

  9. Hi Peter et al. Its been ages since I’ve posted but I am sure I am one of many who quietly enjoy the updates, news and banter of your blog. In July it will be four years since you started and Camberwell has changed considerably. At times it feels that for every two steps forward there is one step back but never before have I felt so positive about our areas future. Your blog has generated a community spirit lacking in much of London.

    However after five years here I have come to realise that there are two distinct groups of people in our borough. Its not rich and poor or black and white, but those that love choose and want to be here despite the difficulties and those that hate it don’t want to be here and cant wait to get away. The former are generally happy, relaxed and positive the later, repressed, unhappy and angry with their lot.

    I suggest JohnnyM and the gun slingers have more in common than they think.

  10. Peter G -

    Sorry I couldn’t make the meet up — was at work until 9.00pm

    Don’t worry about JohnnyM and his personal insults — I know that you are far too polite to offer a retort and no doubt see the whole process as self-defeating, but I’m going to do so anyway.

    I’m sure JohnnyM is as content and happy as a pig in his own excrement to be at the forefront of “The Dawn of the Dumb” and administers himself a self-congratulatory pat on the back whilst dragging his knuckles across the bathroom carpet every morning due to this very fact which gives him immeasurable pleasure.

    Yet another member of the living dead, who is a fully paid up member of the assimilated,brainwashed proleritat who totally buys into the aggressive,unregulated free-market economics mantra and then has the nerve to complain about anti-social behaviour and crime and not realizing that the totally irresponsible neo-con strain of the system he is more than happy to leave unquestioned and use to his advantage, creates all these destructive social side-effects.

    Still as long JohnnyM makes enough money to move to the suburbs and buy an armoured gate,cctv,intercom and insures himself and property up to the eyeballs — then the “Third World Dump” can be kept well away from his front door.

    Don’t have nightmares, sleep tight…

  11. JohnnyM would have fit like a kid glove last night with the performance at S&D where the thirty days of art went on apace with the artists drinking their own beer, trying to smoke fags indoors, drilling holes in a table and generally pissing everybody, customers and staff, right off. Got a call for moral support at 10.30pm.

    Tonight Will Self starts his April first talk at 7pm… I have a frustratingly clashing prior engagement at another pub, Portobello Gold in Portobello Road, for the launch of a book, Real England, by Paul Kingsnorth that includes a chapter on the destruction of the English pub as a focal point of community life.

    Portobello Gold is owned by Mike Bell (as The Sun and Doves is ‘owned’ by me), the man who set up the Freedom For Pubs Association.

  12. Moving in pretty impressive circles Mark..

    Peter in the hood. I prefer mediaeval.

    Who would live somewhere they didn’t like Johnny? Seems like a wind up. At least you’re generating interest and hits.

    Traffic lights on Camberwell Grove are nearly done. Big hand to all those who have ensured gridlock on South London’s finest residential road.

  13. Perhaps Johnny is right. Harriet Harman compares the area to a meat factory where it is wise to wear a white hair net. Blimey, it will be like an abattoir when Gillingham come to play Millwall on Saturday where it looks like Harriet will wear her hard hat over her white net.

  14. Multiple Serendipity Dagmar. I was just reading about Harriet on the Morning Advertiser website which had a link to this interesting and slightly disturbing news about legislation she’s responsible for introducing.

    If HH really does compare to a meat factory then there’s an irony in Kennedy’s closing so recently.

    Last bit is the ONLY football game I’ve ever seen in a football ground (rather than on TV) was Gillingham v Millwall at the Den about five years ago. They were a bunch of pussycats — both teams tapping the ball around like it might blow up. No blood, no swearing, no fisticuffs. Slightly disappointing. Or reassuring depending on how you regard such things.

  15. just check ed the odds on Betfair. Boris is running away with it. 1.45 to Ken’s 3.3.

    I’m worried about the buses.

  16. I think the reports about HH are slghtly unfair — from personal experience if, as a civilian, you go for a walk about with the Police and they routinely wear stab vests (as the Met do) they will ask you to wear one for Health and Safety reasons — i had to wear one when walking around Swindon at night with the Police last year.

  17. Exactly, Hannah. The Today programme is all huff & puff. An MP just has to walk outside to breathe the air and Humphrys is upon her like Basil Fawlty, “You are, are you not, an air head?” There is always some johnny trying it on. Thank goodness for the spring blossom, I say. The immediately surrounding areas that hold Camberwell in tension are not half as blossomed up as our streets.

  18. @ Mark: If you get a chance to speak to Paul, say hello from me; we’ve never met face-to-face, but I gave him a hand setting up his blog a while ago.

  19. It’s not a sentiment I’d usually express, but poor old Harriet. Still, she gave a particularly grumpy John Humphrys a decent fight. I’d still guess she wishes she’d never put on the vest, ‘courtesy’ or not.

    To mention belatedly: I had hoped to attend to Sunday meet up but only got back to SE5 at 4am that day due to delayed flights. A trip to a pub was the last thing I needed. But next time, hopefully.

  20. All this harrumphing grumpy Humphrys does is there to give the impression of debate and is a good reason to switch over to Radio 5 or 3. People are rotten about Harriet because she is posh and clever. Camberwell has a posh and clever Labour woman MP. It’s good. And very Camberwell.

  21. Well done Will, in today’s Standard, for declaring the car unnecessary to family life in London, and leading by example. Soon the whole of London will come to its Self.

    Harsh on Harriet — unless of course she buys in to the New Labour pretence to lowering crime in the capital, whereas it is obviously a case of under-reporting especially of violent crime, as indicated by Mr Paddick, in which case Mr Humphry’s wrath is deserved.

  22. Finally went to Cowling and Wilcox. Wow!

    Great shop, easily Camberwell’s finest.

    I bought some wrapping paper and some card making stuff.. I paid for it at least.

  23. The blossom is holding up despite the wind. Did anyone see Will Self tonight at the Sun and Doves?

  24. Ahem. Will came in at seven pee em with a friend, got a drink, sat down on a seat on the stage area and had a chat with the friend for an hour and then left. I was unable to be there because my evening was in Portobello with MP’s and journalists and we all had so much to say to each other I couldn’t get back home until later on.

    I hope others who were able to visit S&D can give a better account of what haooened*. From what I can make of it at a distance it seems that everyone in the pub became part of a unique piece of performance art.

    I hope it was recorded suitably.

    *happened. Typo too nive to mitt

  25. What a hoot! I had planned to go but had to work late I can genuinely say I regret not seeing that.

    Do any of the other guests have a propensity for this kind of behaviour?

  26. Self came in the pub, sat down, had a drink & chat with a friend for an hour, then left. Duff says does anyone else here do this when they go in a pub? In other words, is this an aesthetic practice that the folks at Goldsmiths could deconstruct?

  27. Alan, it’s confirmed then; it was art: he did it pro bono — time is money — I could have applied for match funding if I’d known what was going to happen.

  28. Interesting — just looked up pro bono.

    Whilst it’s not qualified on the cash grounds it does qualify on the basis that someone thinks it’s art. If someone thinks it’s art then it’s art.

    I also looked up Will Self. He’s that guy of Have I got News for you- big mates with Boris Johnson.

    I doubt Bojo would do a pro boner. Maybe though- if it’s pitched as fertile campainging ground. Why don’t you get him down the Doves?

    He could be a good ally once elected.

  29. Back to our Harriet — she’s right this moment standing in for Gordon Brown at prime minister’s questions and getting a tough time from William Hague, himself standing in for Cameron. She’s battling back well, though.

    If I’m not careful I might start to like her.

  30. Forgot to add — my S&D spies (I had to be elsewhere) say the Will Self event was “interesting, but strange”.

    They also complained that the volume was up so loud for the subsequent film, Belleville Rendezvous, that conversation was almost impossible. Particularly odd, they say, as it’s subtitled from the French and only two people were watching it anyway.

  31. Unless Brown’s PR gnu from Brunswick can polish and spin the offering, that oily PR chap from Carlton Television will get in. Come on, Harriet, give ’em hell. Gillingham won last night, so it’s crunch time all round.

  32. Agreed Mumu. But Will Self doesn’t have lunch with Ken. Furthermore it seems like Boris is going to win.

    With that crowd it really pays to be pals. Let’s get him a pint and ask for a tube.

  33. “With that crowd it really pays to be pals” — Alan

    I agree, and note the sentiment that Boris is likely to win is backed by recent polls (see for further mayoral debate), although this is not yet certain.

    Informal networking can work, as suggested over a pint. But there’s no doubt that hustings in a Labour heartland of London with real problems that are still not being addressed would be preferred by Boris, as a chance to cement his position as favourite.

    Such hustings would be the perfect time to extract commitments to Camberwell from Ken, such as the reopening of Camberwell Rail, which Network Rail concedes would cost a pittance, which commitments Boris would be likely to immediately reciprocate.

    The hustings could be held at M.H. very easily; thus capturing the grit of Camberwell, a beacon for all keepin’ it real candidates. There are 3 or 4 people in SE5 who can make this happen.

    Diaries may be full, but Cancel for Camberwell would be a persuasive invitation. Any time, any date before 1 May.

  34. but who’s going to organise that?!

    Maybe Harriet Harman would come along in her body armour too. (Or was it Tessa Jowell- or are they the same person).

  35. Am I undermining my innercity credentials in admitting that I don’t know what M.H. is?

    My house? He’s certainly welcome.

  36. Would it be a good idea for SE5 Forum invite all four GLA candidates to Camberwell before 1 May?

  37. yes it would be a good idea and I slightly despair that the Forum has not thought to run a hustings meeting for the candidates — it could be a very effective way of highlighting camberwell’s problems and a good public meeting.

    However I fear that the event should have started to be arranged several months ago as you are unlikely to get the candidates, enough people for it to be worthwhile and a venue together in the next four weeks before polling day.

    There is possibly scope for getting some publicity and attention in the campaign? Maybe the Forum could publish a ‘manifesto for Camberwell’ or similar document and press the leading candidates to sign up to it.

    The Forum should then concentrate on building a relationship with the person who is elected for Lambeth and Southwark so that they are aware of Camberwell’s problems and the feeling of local people.

    We in Lambeth and Southwark have 10 candidates to choose from in the GLA elections — the full list has been published at

    The main contest is between sitting member Valerie Shawcross (Lab) who I think has been good for the area and her Lib Dem opponent Caroline Pidgeon who lives in SE5 but who has been part of Southwark Council which have neglected the area (just my personal views there!) — Shawcross’ majority is a little over 5,000 so there is lots to play for.

    Pidgeon is likely to be elected to the GLA whatever as she is also on the Lib Dem list of London-wide candidates (she is also the Lib Dem candidate for Vauxhall parliamentary constituency for the next general election but she stands no chance of winning there)

  38. Will Self baffled the assembled beatniks last night by putting on an even more unnerving version of the Pete and Dud show with his old friend Matt, a large mesomorph.

    They came in, sat down and chuntered on for an hour together, sharing a mike on a boom, which Self kept appropriating to bully the gentle giant, his friend.

    They were two blokes in a pub. Many of the “rive sud” audience did not seem that alert to me, as intellectuals perhaps should be. They did not seem to grasp that they were watching two blokes in a pub. Self referenced much of the audience’s cultural trig points — house prices, the Sun and Doves, Amy Winehouse, Girls Aloud, Kevin McCloud’s Grand Designs. I think this made the penseurs uneasy.

    Self finally said to the long-suffering Matt, “My wife hates you.” This was the crux or nub of the Situation. Perhaps the assembled were expecting a peroration on psychogeography, or a reading from Self’s new book “The Butt”. Anyway, the two chaps left together, like two blokes leaving a pub.

    It was ever so funny.

  39. Hail Dags, king of intellect. ‘a flower bloomed on the side of a dried slug hanging off a street drinker demonstrating the proud poor are true victims of the soulless City workers smoking subprime crack, as the wise man with no trousers said’. Get it? ACT AS IF YOU DO AND BE IN AWE.

    Sorry Pete’s. You do have a temper and once again show it. But yes sorry I shared my true opinion on your looks on a public forum. You too are forgiven for dissing me first in the main post but of course no one dares call you on that. It’s your show!

    PetsterW the one dimensional broken record you refer to is Reggie Gugu. ‘Cars, cars, cars, cars, cars’. Funny how he pipes up to tie cars to any obscure comment only to be ignored. Sort of like a drive by. Ha!

    Drew is class. Like him. Dodds too. I think he must be dyslexic or hyper. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Lots of balls in the air, no focus. I like that. Allendale is cool for living in those Council flats. He ribs our Peter for not buying a flat and our Mark for earning more than he admits. Funny. Petester’s temper came out toward him too.

    Mushimisti and ecoviouseobic lost out on home ownership so instead of relaxing with age hold on even tighter to foolish socialists tripe. Do real people still believe in all that?

    And yes, having apologised to the guy who really does, and this is no joke, consider himself Camberwell’s very own celeb, let me also admit that I, a guy who works hard, pays my way, gives to charity and wouldn’t hurt a flea, am lower than the masses round here who carry guns and knives and would as soon kill you and your family than look at you.

    Avoid me on the street. Or post an intellectual rant with blah blah blah.

  40. I don’t know, Peter, that was quite good! It takes all sorts to make a world, blah blah blah. There are always going to be awkward bloggers. Going forward, let’s move on.

  41. Excellent post. Especially the bit about me being cool for council dwelling.

    nb. Mark is richer than he admits — not earning more. It’s a subtle distinction but an important one.

    JohnnyM also has a point about your assumed celebrity status Peter and how that entitles us to take a swipe at you. Just bear in mind that no one makes you hang your ass out of the window on this forum. I for one am really glad that you do though and I particularly enjoy your occasional ill tempered replies.

    My only complaint about ‘our Johnny’ is that he can’t see the beauty. Would it help if I made a video of a plastic bag being blown around on the green?

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