I am on holiday

Back on September 21st. Anyone who posts a comment which gets held in moderation will have to wait until then to have it approved. Sorry.

Hasta luego.

Author: Peter

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

98 thoughts on “I am on holiday”

  1. Open House weekend was great. Saturday We wondered round the local area visiting The Camberwell Eco House on Coleman Road, Sunshine House on Peckham Road, 15 and a half Consort Road in the morning. Then William Booth college, DKH apartments and Julian Stairs potting studio in Dulwich in the afternoon.

    Sunday coincided with freecycle day. We cycled up to Belgravia and went to Seaford house followed by the Argentine Ambassadors residence before joining the thousands of cyclists pedalling along the mall. It was a fantastic sea of florescent vests bobbing up and down around the queens house and a vision of what London might be like without cars. We peeled of down Whitehall past the reportedly 2hr queue for horse guards instead opting for the foreign office and India house. The rows of stuffy government corridors filled with grey 70’s filling cabinets and the wasted grand courtyard now a civil service car park were disappointing however the Durbar Court rooms were incredible. They reminded me of the palais de Versailles! Lots of gold and heavy Victorian lead paint colours.

    From here we headed to the Southbank food festival, which was also immensely popular — the hog roast had a half hour queue but was worth the wait, before heading back to Southwark and the New Vic theatre. Which was a really cool space.

    I wish I had taken more photos.. it was one of those weekends when you think.. “oh isn’t London great, unique, buzzing etc”.

    Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nickwoodford/sets/72157607448555127/

  2. Absolutely off topic.

    THE Sun and Doves’ quiz restarts tomorrow evening at 8pm after a wettish summer when, of course, everyone in Camberwell was in Tuscany or Jamaica.

    Lots of people have been calling about it. There is a guaranteed take home of £60 with wines and other winnings for runners’ up.

  3. Dirty old town, dirty old town. Well done though innit NickW for the Camberwell well feature, that was great! That was really full and great! I still think the Mary Boast theory that Camberwell means where the old Celt tribe lived and there was a well is the best. Most place names just mean: there are some folks there, maybe a couple o’pigs. Well done, though, NickW, that is a real find. We are above London in every way. Even our well is in the sky.

  4. Yippee! Camberwell McDonalds is having a make over, oh joy the smart new corporate look comes to SE5!

    McDonalds seems to be about the only thing that is doing well in Camberwell currently — the Butterfly Centre seems to have many empty shops available so if you have upwards of £35,000 a year you too could open a shop: see http://www.novaloca.com/property-details/3455 for details

  5. £35K per year – that can’t be real. No wonder they are empty.

    We really need rents that enable small business to be profitable and pay reasonable wages.

  6. 35K a year is a serious mistake if not a joke, McDonalds is one of the few shops that can afford to stay afloat in Butterfly Walk. But it’s not as profitable as it could be — obviously because rent and service charges are so high in spite of the demographics and true footfall — and the franchisee, concerned for the safety of staff, does not take trading up to the the 4am premises’ licence and closes at midnight…

  7. William Beveridge passed through Camberwell today, not the beverage that we know, but the fellow who drafted the welfare state, in locomotive form. This nobly named engine is far more distinguished than the P&O Nedlloyd Atlas which passed through two days ago. First came the merger of P&O and Nedlloyd (Ned being Netherlands), which was itself subsumed into the merged Maersk-Sealand company, which then became just Maersk. So if the name had been regularly updated, the loco would now be called P&O Nedlloyd Maersk-Sealand Maersk Atlas.

    There is a marvellous picture on the web of P&O Nedlloyd Atlas passing the magnificent old church of Kings Sutton on the Oxfordshire/Northants border. The livery and coachbuilding of today’s engines don’t seem to have the grace and presence of previous diesel engines or the marvellous, mighty Deltics in particular.

    So it is, too, that engine of the economy loses its good name and becomes ever more functional.

  8. I believe the refurbed units on Bellenden Road are around £1k month. Even that seems excessive. The traders have to eat, surely.

    Tragic really because it’s so hard to make a profit and we get all this churn.

  9. Yes, mind you, Metro-Land passed through the other day in rather gay yellow and blue livery. However, this livery was that of Metronet, the tube servicing and maintenance company created by Balfour-Beatty and other companies, which went bust last year. Gwyneth Dunwoody helped name and launch the locomotives, so to speak, one of which was called the Gwyneth Dunwoody. Talk about churn! It’s a jolly livery, though.

  10. The units in Butterfly Walk are hugely overpriced and need to come down by half or at least to £20,000 per annum

    Which kinds of proves my point about that whole development being the fruit of a seed that was sown by a bunch of wideboys and conceived and delivered by some willingly fertile corrupt councillors at Southwark Council

    A truly professional retail development that had people with a bit of progressive business acumen running it would realise that rents needed to be mixed and multinationals subsurdising independents for true success — this is the norm in many other retail centres

    Also, they would look at the Camberwell demographic and realise once again that £35,000 is a laughable amount to expect for a retail unit in that location

    But when you allow pondscum to speculate at will…you can’t expect much of a result

  11. £35,000 a year is an amazing amount of money to pay. I see that “Options” clothes is closing down. The people that run that shop are a really nice bunch. They always say hello to me and I’ve only bought about 4 things from there over the last 10 years. Once bought a shirt there that every time I wore it, someone would come up to me and ask me where I got it. Initially, I was pleased by this (it’s never happened either before or since), but after a while, I stopped wearing it because I got tired of having to explain that it was not a Vivienne Westwood or Stella McCartney, but instead a £9.99er from a shop in Camberwell. I used to leave home with cards with their address and telephone number and which buses to get from Elephant or Oval tube.

  12. The newly renovated Cambria pub is great. Food is quite expensive, but exceptionally good quality, so worth the spend. I just hope that it will succeed… It’s a bit off the beaten track.

  13. Some posters on here may be interested in a new initiative: http://www.gaycamberwell.com

    A previous post on the SE5 forum commented that “the best places for a bit of culture have a meaningful art, music and gay scene.” So we thought we’d help Camberwell out with the gay part.

    This website will be a resource for gay events but also other events of interest in the Camberwell area. Plus there will be a regular blog about our adventures in Camberwell, a forum, and reviews of restaurants, bars, and anything else we can think of that might be interesting. All suggestions gratefully received, as would any information about events.

  14. Hello all, I’m back from my holiday. Have been for a week, but enjoyed a week of radio silence.

    @ Gay Camberwell: So where is it? I mean, obviously a lot of gay people live in Camberwell, but AFAIK there are no dedicated bar / club nights here; we’re certainly no Vauxhall. And most of the parks are locked at night, unless it’s all going on in Burgess park. That said, someone here once mentioned that there’s an active scene in the toilets in Ruskin Park, so I’m probably just ignorant of it all.

  15. Not quite referring to any specific venue, including toilets! Rather it’s a resource about gay events that are going on. There’s a gay book group that’s held once a month in the Castle, for instance. The website brings together all the information we know — and will hopefully bring out other things that are going on. And — if our own experiences are anything to go by — may encourage more gay people to socialise locally — or indeed move here!

  16. Dear Boy, I mean Peter, welcome back. One was going to ask how your Spanish road trip was. How was it?

    Gay Camberwell, welcome! The Father Redcap used to be the best gay/other pub for miles, for Miles. Camberwell is as queer as it comes.

  17. @Gay Camberwell
    Welcome. At the moment, Camberwell appears a bit quiet on the gay front, but things weren’t always thus and I’m sure won’t always be. Good luck with the website.

  18. We’ve just been having a chat about what there is to do in Camberwell and we realised there aren’t any comedy venues. Or are we just missing them? Do any of you have thoughts about where might be good for comedy?

  19. @75 Gay Camberwell — none as far as I know although I think there was a comedy night at The Castle some time ago. I’d be interested in doing a comedy night at The Sun and Doves. But have never been sure it could work given the payout of the space. Saturday nights might be a possibility.

    What do you guys and chapettes think?

  20. Yes, we wondered whether it would work in your space, but you’re a better judge of that than we are! Maybe the area where you have the film screenings? It would be great if it could happen…

  21. Thanks GC. Will discuss with managers. I really do like the idea of it. I know the people who used to run Comedy at EDT but they have dispersed to far flung places.

    Any enterprising stand up comics out there wanting to take on a new venue and make it jump?

    What do other contributors think? Would be especially useful to ahve regulars make comment. My email is mark@​sunanddoves.​co.​uk feel free to get in touch…

  22. The good thing about Camberwell is that it’s not far from Duckie at the RVT and not far from the EDT. The Camberwell pubs are for intercourse rather than for being performed at in, all that comedy, “Thatcher, eh?” etc. The crossroads nature of Camberwell is something positive. It is not a centre for queer culture, left-wing humour or any such defining feature. That said, the Redcap in its heyday was an ideal mix of performance and people of every bent — cheap, cheerful and sleazy, a sort of beatniks’ Silver Buckle.

  23. I liked Father Red Cap, saw some great drag acts there, knew straight away when the Dog Star boys got it that they would ruin it. It would still make a great venue but it’s wrapped up in the same kind of lease and berr tie nightmare as the two other pubs on the Punch website above — and S&D — and Hermits, Castle, Canning and most others in south east London.

    Bear is free and so is Funky Munky. Most in East Dulwich are tied too — EDT; Bishop; Palmerston; Magdala; FHT; etc etc But there’s a footfall there which helps.


  24. Thanks dman — there’s a bit of industry speak with a mention of the Sunday Times article here might be of interest to those of you who like a decent pint in a nice pub.

    Not tried the site on my err. Very berry. Can you post from your little bunch of grapes too?

  25. Just back from a week in Marseille — wonderful city with beautiful architecture and heart stopping views of the Med it also has a multicultural population that would give Camberwell a run for its money.

    On the downside if you think the litter, traffic and bad parking in Camberwell is bad you’ve seen nothing till you go to Marseille!!

  26. What a breath of fresh air, Hannah. Rimbaud not only died in Marseille but had his right leg amputated there. Part of “Baise-moi” was filmed there which was advertised by one of those cool, French, girl-with-a-gun posters. The film was part of the “New French Extremity” at the turn of the century, transgressive art. Most of the violent and rough-sex action is described as “pointless” and “aimless”. Marseille is also known for French Hip Hop, like Lille and Lyon. Somehow it’s all more appealing in French, with the whiff of the Med thrown in. I mean, if we were told Patrick Hamilton had his leg amputated in Hunstanton, it wouldn’t be so glamorous.

  27. Claude McKay’s “Banjo” has superb descriptions of Marseille in the 1920s.

    A great book. First editions are selling for $1,000.

    Glad you liked Marseille… the Quatier I visited a few years ago was moody end edgy. If anyone’s seen the movie “La Haine” you’ll know what I mean.

  28. Speaking on of McKay, his auto biography has glorious and damming descriptions of London, it’s inhabitants, and culture, in the pre-war years – he hangs out with socialist newspaper people in Fleet Street before making for Moscow.

  29. Marseille was great. Everyone warned me it had a dodgy reputation but i didn’t see it really. In fact it reminded me in some parts of London — the groups of north African lads hanging around the back streets could be a little intimidating but not dangerous. The only time we were a little intimidated was the first night getting lost in Le Panier — no street lights and winding back streets and crumbling houses that felt a little like Naples in the 1930’s

    In fact it was the first mainland European city i’ve been to that reminded me of London in someways, it had the same energy and “take it or leave it” brashness.

  30. You have loosened, liberated, unleashed some louche, licentiousness of the spirit in us, Hannah. Why don’t we all jump the Orient Express when it next passes through Camberwell and ride down to Marseille (it will go there if we insist) and live like Rimbaud and Verlaine till the money runs out?

  31. Monday nights at the Cambria is jazz night, already has a following and with a special fixed price of £10.00 for dinner and a bottle of michalob/or a glass of wine we had a great night last week.With a diffrent vocalist each week it’s never boring..

  32. Going back to no.79 — does this mean the Dark Horse in its current incarnation is doomed? I really hope not. The idea of a “cafe/late night venue” fills me with dread. While the staff at the DH can be hit and miss in their competence, I think the chef is truly good. A couple of the dishes I’ve had there in the past wouldn’t have prompted a complaint in a Michelin-starred place. Their wine is uniformly awful, though.

    I’m starting to get depressed about Camberwell. There’s a whole series of places I loved when I first moved here in 2005 which are defunct and have been replaced by inferior alternatives:

    - The crazy but great Spanish-run “bistro” place on Denmark Hill, nr the Coldharbour Lane junction. Now the tumbleweed-blown, fire cursed Thai place.

    - BRB, with its pizzas and popular-with-poor-and-boozy-students two-for-one bottle of wine offers. Now the truly dire Grove.

    - The old incarnation of the Castle. Now plagued by permanent TV and music noise and with its decor looking decidedly shabby.

    I’m sure there’s others I can’t recall right now. I guess we do have the Bear and Caravaggio, but I’d be sad to lose the Dark Horse.

  33. I spent a couple of months down there (La Ciotat, just down the road from Marseille) once upon a time. Occitan music is pretty popular too — Massilia Sound System were faves with the locals. They were also very keen on smoking weed all day and listening to Bob Marley. And all the wee towns nearby are run by the Far Right. And pastis is horrible. I didn’t really like the place.


    Dark horse doomed?
    Incompetent staff, but pretty.
    Who wants accuracy?
    We are dreamers,
    Not actuaries.

    Hashish, wine, divine…
    Fire-cursed Thai place,
    Is she still there?
    I ache to this day.

    Popular, poor but boozy
    Students, decidedly shabby,
    But drunk, perhaps happy.
    Camberwell has no pareil,
    Except maybe Marseille.

  35. Lovely verse. The Dark Horse staff are — in the main — very pretty, it’s true.

    I’m particularly impressed you got something to rhyme with “Marseille”.

  36. My local is The Cambria

    Literally a 1 minute walk from my door!

    It’s looking good the food has certainly improved and the garden is great — not too sure about the interior decor though, it’s a bit dark…

    By the way just who are these mysterious persons who seem to like Jazz? Are they like the gideons? Everywhere yet you can never meet one for love nor money?


  37. That pub near that park had a jazz trio, they were good, really ideal for pubs. That big park, that’s being regenerated with big money, whatsitcalled? . Between the Junction and New Road. The sand in the sandpit was always the best in London, it looked like it was made from gold and felt like the finest silk.

    Radio 3 has just had Charlie Mingus on, the really intelligent, complex modernist jazz composer and bass player. People who like jazz are often dull, but the music itself can be as rich and promising as the bouilliabaise of Marseille itself.

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