Camberwlle onilne

From the bus on the way home I’ve seen the latest outrage to be committed against Camberwell: the sign for the new Oriental buffet, where Mozzarella e Pomodoro used to be.

Now the Green is dominated by a huge, cheap, bright plastic sign, with the name of the place flanked by pale, unappetising shots of bowls of food. Worse, the name is spelled:


Honestly. A garish, mis-spelled monster. Doesn’t the council get any say in approving this tat? Why can’t we have a town centre committee to consult on things like this? As if Christine’s Meat & Fish weren’t enough.

We’re doomed.

Update: And here, courtesy of Luke & Rachel, it is:

Anyone for Noodels?

Author: Peter

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

57 thoughts on “Camberwlle onilne”

  1. I think it’s spelt like that because unlike noodles, NOODELS are magic.

    They defy gravity so you have to turn your bowl upside-down otherwise they float up to the sky. Check out the sign. Wonder whether the chinese writing means anything different if it’s upside-down?

  2. Was on the bus home after a few drinks in “Noho” and I saw the Noodels sign and I was narked. Ranted about it to the lady who was with me at the time, who found it funny.

    What makes it really bad is that it’s so prominent.

    Anyone passing through Camberwell will think mmm what a chatty, tasteless dump and they can’t even spell here.

    And what utter moron, what fool of a signwriter, put that up in the first place. I’m sure the Chinese owners would’ve been open to correction. Or was it their intention to funk things up a bit a la dunkin donuts.

    Bah. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised. Take a look at the dreadful literacy and numeracy skills of the kids who are being turned out of schools these days, despite a decade of Labour “education education education”.

    We should campaign to get the Noodels sign changed. Come on, stand together, this is our chance to change Camberwell for the better! I shall put a note through the door… Maybe we all could.

  3. too right — i saw it on the way to gymnastics [not me btw, the wee guy] and thought thats awful.

    i used to have a pretty strict policy of never eating anywhere that had photographs of the food facing the street; noodels would be what i think the youth now call an ‘epic fail’. do you think they’ve all been reading beckett, dagmar?

    it doesn’t take much efort to make these things so much better; there isn’t enough theatre in our retail in camberwell.

    pardon my poor grammar etc

  4. You’ll be drowning your sorrows, then, Drew? (The rugger.)

    The Dutch for noodles is “noedels”.

    Does anyone know why John Ruskin Street was closed off this evening, junction New Road? Several unmarked police cars in attendance. Gunshot?

  5. Could I suggest:

    - polite, written notes put through the door. I shall also have one drafted in Chinese.

    - contact our local councillors. Though if you’re in Brunswick Park don’t bother wasting your time with Sandra Rhule.

    - a boycott of this place until it puts its house in order, and that’s coming from a big noodle lover.

  6. “It’s in a conservation area. Doesn’t that count for anything?”

    Not by itself, although it can be the icing on the cake if the area is part of an area pedestrianisation/regeneration/employment initiative, which it isn’t. Just a series of flim-flam piecemeal grant applications.

    Let’s just be clear, media campaign or not — that sign isn’t going to change unless we pay for it ourselves, although perhaps it could sneak in under the Camberwell Society’s initiative to decorate the shops closest to their members, in C. Church Street, with grant money.

    Camberwell Green will now be known to passers-through as “that place with the 99p flagship store and two rip-off supermarkets, and where they can’t spell”.

    We have the symbols of illiteracy, deprivation and exploitation. Now all we need for the quartet is a symbol of moral depravity such as a strip club — perhaps to replace the Surgery?

  7. Bloody Hell. It’s Bloody Hell round here. I hate the idea of being a moaner and groaner but there’s been a dreadful inevitability to this since I was told that ‘nothing EVER changes here’ in 19956 by loads of my then first time customers at The Sun and Doves. My optimism is still there somewhere curled up in a little ball at the top of my skull — least that’s where it feels like it is — .

    Things HAPPEN to Camberwell without any of us knowing they are going to happen.

    Errrr. the new SE5 Forum website is due for going live. IT is good and will gain a life of its own like no other community site has managed here.

    Off topic but topical — could / would everyone here please mind signing up to ‘Save The Great British Pub’ on facebook please please please and ask all your friends to too! It’s worth joining facebook JUST for this one cause —

    Do you realise just how financially fragile pubs are in Camberwell because of the beer tie?

  8. I haven’t seen the noodel shop i will go down after work tonight as am in need of a bit of amusement.

    Still in optimism mode the snow on Monday was lovely and having been released from work friends and i spent a lovely day happily talking to everyone in Ruskin park and on Coldharbour lane and helping with their snowmen.

    However on a downside more Camberwell crime to report — not serious but odd and scary. My flatmate was coming home very late on Saturday and as she was opening the door a man who had walked past her ran back and pushed her hard so she fell over and then ran away. He said nothing and made no to get into the flat or take her bag maybe just an example of someone who thinks it’s funny to scare lone women at night?

  9. Sounds like your run-of-the-mill misogynist nutter Hannah. Or maybe he was a decent bloke consumed with rage having just seen the new noodel sign.

    Really sorry your flatmate was given such a fright. Not nice at all, to put it mildly.

  10. Mistakes in menus are dying out. It is marvellous that we have a new restaurant whose very McDonalds sign boasts “Noodels”. Under law, they should provide ’em. That’d stymie ’em, eh? Everyone could eat free!

    There are whole websites dedicated to such mistakes. “Fresh Giant Crap”, that sort of thing. The lists of mistakes make people giggle exponentially, to use a buzzword, meaning till they roll round in post-crunch hysterics wetting theirself.

    Thanks, Mumu, for the shooting news. The police are precise on their ballistics evidence so streets are closed off for ages.

    Hannah, you are one of the reasons for being in Camberwell and so is your friend. Tell her that her glow beams us all up.

  11. Southwark Council do not care about Camberwell. Elephant and Peckham get millions in regeneration money. At the same time Camberwell goes further and further down market. All this despite the fact that SE5 started from a much stronger position and the council could have achieved a lot here with a relatively small investment. I suspect it’s to do with the number of votes available (SE5 being split between two different boroughs).
    Return on investment can be measured in both money and votes. Unfortunately, it’s often the latter that politicians factor into their calculations when spending public money.
    Personally, I’m moving as soon as I am able. The fun has gone from Camberwell. It’s all shop closures, traffic and children getting killed / killing each other.

  12. I suppose it’s entirely possible it’ll close down soon, in which case we might at least get another roll of the dice… Sign or no sign, Chinese Buffets generally aren’t much cop in my experience.

    In the meanwhile, someone could could possibly do some Adbusters style guerilla jamming on the signage to erase the typo. I’ll hold the ladder…

  13. @Stuart indeed and the current Tory/Lib Dem council in Southwark know that they are never likely to win here so are not concerned. Other bits of the borough, eg Dulwich, get investment such as £5.5million for the swimming pool as they are marginal.

    @Eyechild — although it sound heartless that is partly my hope. Surely if there was such a demand for a Chinese buffet one of the other Chinese restaurants would have introduced it. My only thought on seeing buffets is avoid — you dont know where they’ve been, how long tehy’ve been standing in the serving area etc etc

  14. I work near a few of those buffets and they’re usually best avoided. Poor taste, greasy stodgy dross, empty spring rolls etc. Still, after a few pints, who knows…

  15. Who knows maybe it is what the people of Camberwell want and will prove to be hugely popular? I’m always amazed at the number of people in Nandos whenever I go past and these are families which you do not see out very often in other Camberwell restaurants: Nandos obviously meets the needs of that demographic and who’s to say that a Chinese? Thai buffet wont do so either?

  16. The Spar in Vestry Road has a hand-wroitten sign inside, “Nodels 29 each 4 for £1.”


    The word noodle comes from German, Nudel (saucy!) which comes from Latin, nodus, knot. The earliest noodle find is from China, 4,000 years ago, on the banks of the Yangtse, made from foxtail millet or broomcorn millet.

  17. I quite like Nandos but haven’t been in a while.
    I’m sure the average Camberwell citizen will love some cheap crap greasy “Chinese” food plated up in a buffet of hell.

  18. I spotted the sign on the bus a few days ago and was transfixed. I spent several minutes pondering whether it was simply the most glaring typo I have seen since an edition of a Lonely Planet guide with ‘Westen Europe’ in big, yellow letters down the spine, or else if they meant it in some way. A pun I’d missed? Some sort of half-arsed attempt at a trade name?

    Subtlety doesn’t usually go hand-in-hand with Chinese food buffets, so I guess it’s a cock up.

    If they pay that little attention to their sign, what chance a thoughtful head in the kitchen? We can but hope it goes bust soon. It’s now officially my second-most despised Camberwell business after that well-known destroyer of heritage, Christine’s M&F.

    I, too, fear SE5 is taking a downward slide. There seems to be no hand at the tiller with the council who, let’s not forget, are about to abandon our town hall for London Bridge.

  19. So is there someone / an organisation that is in charge of providing a voice in Camberwell instead of us all ranting away on this and the SE5 forum?

    If there is, why don’t we get in touch, get out there and get more people involved to do something.…I am thinking the Why don’t you? tv theme now…

    I am sure with a little less time on the internet and a bit more time on the street or in the town hall, we could make a few changes and encourage politicians to take heed.

  20. Problem is, while the council don’t seem to have much of a plan for beautifying Camberwell (or, rather, preventing its further uglification), a lot of the decline as perceived by me is just market driven.

    No council in the world (well, perhaps a few in North Korea, I suppose) could compel M&P not to close in favour of a noodle (sorry, noodel) bar. They couldn’t stop the lovely BRB being turned into a soul-less corporate pub serving swful food, or make sure the Dark Horse pulls in crowds commensurate with its usually excellent food. They couldn’t create enough demand for a proper fishmonger, let alone a Waitrose.

    Having said that, they maybe could have been quicker off the mark with Christine’s…

  21. Ah my handiwork! (In another life I am Luke and Rachel or half of it at least). It is worth perhaps raising concerns with your local councillor? Ask them why Camberwell towncentre has been neglected, ask what plans the council has to regenerate it etc etc? Just a quick email will hopefully raise the issue up the agenda? John Friary is one of the councillors for the green ward —

  22. A good example of how Southwark have been extremely neglectful of Camberwell is the Elmington Estate project.

    Large parts of the estate were demolished (because they were falling down and so there was little other choice).

    Southwark created a few new buildings along Southampton Way (where they were most visible to those not actually on the estate) and declared the scheme a success.

    Yet, if you venture a little to the East of Soton Way you find a huge site that has just been abandoned.

    A significant part of North Camberwell has been returned to something resembling a bomb site (as it was 50 years earlier). The reason for abandoning this area — lack of funds. At the same time, huge amounts of money are being spend on new projects in Walworth, Elephant, Peckham and Dulwich.

    Personally, I think Southwark Council should finish the only significant regeneration project they have undertaken in Camberwell in the last five years (which they were forced to undertake), before starting new ones.

    It all shows to me that they are really not interested in the area.

  23. Does anyone think that as the local council is Tory/Lib Dem and the councilers for Camberwell are Labour have anything to do with the fact that we live in a toilet?

  24. Stuart — I think Elmington has more to do with lack of courage in tackling developers and landlords than any political prejudice against our area.

    PeteW — the Councils, combined with TfL, have all the powers they need to regenerate the area cheaply, effectively, and quickly. But in not doing so, can they truly be said to be ignoring locals, whose requests consist of a cacophony of mutual reproach and self serving?

    Chunters — It’s partly down to our tribal voting habits here, but far more to do with our value systems.

    Bottom line — local articulate lobbyist locals are more concerned to preserve their ability to park on-street than promote a localist pedestrian culture, which would keep the money necessary for quality businesses in the area, and an infrastructure for those businesses to attract trade from outside the area.

    To deflect attention from these parking subsidies, these local lobbyists also shrink from promoting a Tube, Camberwell Rail, or speed limiting measures for the Green, as these could all determine a political direction which might lead to their parking subsidy being threatened. Yet the right is reserved to wring hands plaintively at local shootings and poor customer service, while ignoring the motoring infrastructure which — as at John Ruskin Street — tends to brutalise locals.

    In Camberwell it is more important to pledge yourself to a party that claims to represent the downtrodden, than actually make decisions which benefit the local deprived and desolate if they inconvenience you one whit. Therefore vote IMF Labour, citizens, for a clearer conscience and a badge of socially-enlightened respectability!

    We made the choice. Time to live with the consequences.

  25. “No-one likes us but we don’t care” is defeatist, miserabilist and uncamberwellian. Read the first 30 pages of Michael Caine’s autobiography describing how vicious it was round here and you will see how well it is now.

    Men and girls of Camberwell! I urge you to consider not what Camberwell can do for you, but what yoo-hoo Hello! magazine welcomes you to Camberwell!

    For instance, the industrial north-east of England may seem grim, but the cycleways through Cramlington and out to Blyth are freedom canonised.

    Blyth’s Tragopan (a pheasant) is classed as a vulnerable species — Edward Blyth, a Londoner, the founder of Indian ornithology, was much admired by Darwin.

    Blyth Spartans, just think, are managed by Mary Dunne. Their player Robert Shoulder has managed Crook Town and clubs as far away as Auckland.

    When he was injured, local papers could report that he woud be out of the next game like this, “Shoulder (knee)”.

    Or “Shoulder (shoulder)”.

    Ah, shoulder to shoulder with our Spar shop friends!

    I shoulder not got that 2‑for-a-fiver Italian red from the Vestry Road Spar. The label boasts the winery was set up in 1938. That is not something you’d think they’d want to mention.

    Cramlington, we look to you!

  26. @monkeycat, regeneguru & possibly a few other people:
    i couldn’t agree with you more — i think se5 forum is a really good idea, but in order to be truly efficient, it has got to get offline & onto estates & tenants & residents’ meetings, etc
    we could try and set up a meeting for people living in camberwell, not the councils and businesses, to clearly define the campaigns and groups of people willing to be involved then get on with it?

  27. @ Liliana, (hello by the way, haven´t seen you and your man for a while). I think that is a very good idea. Getting to speak to people who live here would be a good idea. There are a lot of strong residents associations in the area. Maybe something could be done by combining them and having one super residents for Camberwell association.

  28. Liliana — I agree with the idea of involving these associations. However, the Forum’s main weakness so far has been its reluctance to engage with members online, or to use technology to forward community objectives, with the result that it has languished in obscurity and failed to cohere around a single strategic direction.

    If you take a look at the current site, there is very limited reporting, and the only Board member to post there for over a year is Mark Dodds.

    All residents associations are active online, and it’s the easiest way to coordinate them, at practically nil cost.

    The offline-only approach has been tried and has failed. The Forum will stand or fall by whether their approach dramatically changes with the site update, with weekly online reports and all Board members regularly engaging in debate with members on the website.

    You will all be able to e‑mail Board members directly within a few days, as I understand that the new site will be operational sometime next week.

  29. Thanks all for supporting Burgess and keep your fingers crossed.

    I agree about all residents joining forces. We keep paying more in rent and maintenance fees and getting less. Our three kids must share two bedrooms and they are getting too old for that. Does Southwark care!? So sign me up for the super group. And I agree with the guy about local drivers. We must keep parking for local people and the Council must ensure oir cars are kept safe from yobs! Sign me up for that group too.

  30. Re: Noodels City.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but surely they can call themselves anything they want to, unless they are being obscene or defamatory. That’s why there are those stupid businesses called Krazy Kleeners and the like.

    They’re not called Fuck You Noodles. They’re not called Up Yours, Harriet Harman Chicken Chow Mein. They’re called Noodels City.

    It’s annoying, I know, but they have no case to answer.

  31. @monkeycat:come along to the library house on 28th 12–4pm (i’ll be sending out newsletter tomorrow or friday)

    @regen: offline and online combined can work (that’s what we’ve been doing the last few months & we are making progress, not as massive, but important nonetheless) — as for se5 forum, perhaps some of the issues/reasons for its failure is in the way it’s structured (i’m really only guessing here, as all i know about the ‘structure’/the way it seems to operate is exclusively online and the only meetings that ever get announced are the board meetings rather than people who use SE5 forum meetings — i have written about this before anyways)

    ok, here’s a proposal: people’s republic of southwark will try and set up a public meeting at a public space & invite everyone living in camberwell to see where we go from here? do you think end of march would be a feasible date to work towards (for the initial meeting)? it would be great if we could have a two hours meeting to begin with (and really be strict about it/organise well beforehand so that the meeting does not need to be longer)?

    if anyone would be up for helping with agenda items (getting people’s suggestions for agenda, grouping them, etc), informing tras and other residents etc, please let me know, best email me to info@​peoplesrepublicofsouthwark.​co.​uk


  32. Great idea Lilliana and regenguru. I will have our new TRA president be in touch. I served for a long time in the role and can tell you the main items will be (always are) 1) poor service from our rubbish landlord Southwark 2) dangerous cyclists on pavements and kids on scooters and 3) non estate residents taking our parking forcing us to park miles away from our own front doors and 4) anti social beahviour which always draws a crowd.

    Let us all know the time and date and we can get our residents there in large numbers!

  33. Lilliana — good idea.

    The SE5 Forum has some great contacts with TRA’s and the council etc.. which would be useful — if you want i’ll find out the date of the next committee meeting you can come and see how we can help you arrange this.

    I think it’s a great idea. However for it to be successful from my years working in community engagement i would suggest the agenda needs to be tight and the session well facilitated to avoid it jsur becomming a non constuctive collective moan about Camberwell or hijacked by particular interest groups, for example as good as TRA’s are often they can sometimes be very narrowly focussed on their particular area to the exclusion of other issues.

    I think it would also be good to have an idea of what the meeting is for — is it to build a consensus on problems to take to the council or to mobilise people to help make a difference?

  34. If it were Nuudelz or something then I could see the point. But it’s just ignorant, and ugly.

    F–k You Noodles would be amazing though. I’d be a keen supporter. And think of the t‑shirt souvenirs they could sell.

  35. @hannah — thanks for that, yes, any help with informing people is greatly appreciated — i am in touch with one of the community engagement/liaison people for our neck of camberwell (and this lady sends out emails to everyone in tras/local community groups so that too will be helpful)
    totally agree with you about the agenda being tight — i think the way to go about this might be to give people enough notice & have a deadline cut off point for agenda items (say, two weeks beforehand), then group those suggestions and again let everyone know what they are before the meeting, so, come the meeting, we can work out ways to tackle the whatever issues there are.
    i think the idea of the meeting is both to encourage/empower people to take things into their own hands and then lobby whichever body/bodies need to be lobbied.

    @loveburgesspark — brilliant, will make a note of your thoughts & yes, do ask your tra person to get in touch

  36. I think it is vital that any meeting gets the people who actually have control along.

    It is all very well for 30, 50 or even 100 people to gather together and agree on a problem but if the local authority councillors and officers do not attend nothing will change.

    A problem I perceive of local groups is that they are not linked in with the council/ Transport for London/ the Greater London Authority which are the bodies that can actually bring about change.

    It is vital that representatives from these organisations attend any meeting. Therefore formal letters need to be sent — play to politicians fears and emphasise how many people are affected and concerned, people who actually elect them to serve. It is also worth encouraging informal approaches by voters in their areas — if enough electors send emails asking if they will be attending they will feel compelled to go. But link in with the council/ GLA to make sure that the event does not clash with an existing meeting (eg full council. mayors scrutiny committee etc as these will always take priority)

    Also get the press involved — we have two local papers, the South London Press and Southwark News that run a stream of depressing stories about the area, brief them and get reporters along to cover the issue and what the people of Camberwell suggest will be the solution to the problem — this also links in with influencing politicians as they are very aware of local press coverage.

  37. Dagmar, I’ll borrow it from you if I may — drop it off with the Deesses for Mark if so.

    Liliana — sounds like good works. I agree with Mumu that a presence from local representatives/decisions makers is very helpful at such meetings, and that when an issue is made public, it is difficult to ignore.

    Just to emphasise the importance of unity — if the various groups involved can coalesce around a single strategy prior to meetings, it would be more positive. We need to recognise that certain community claims compete with each other, and compromise to build a consensus that cannot be ignored.

    I support loveburgesspark’s wish to (1) protect public quality of space and (2) address parking issues. Practically, these are the issues through which Camberwell can be transformed.

    The visitor parking needs of local shops (such as Carnell as it was, and Whitehall Clothiers) are important, else we will inhabit ghost towns. There is a certain type of parking outsider (the commuter to work, the van man ‘avin’ a sarnie) that we can all agree to exclude to our mutual benefit.

    I would hope that there is not another councillors’ “crackdown on cyclists”, remembering that far more people are killed by cars on pavements than cyclists anywhere — Camberwell New Road 2007 a case in point, with pavement parking a massive problem throughout SE5. Pavement safety should be a general campaign which includes more protection for cyclists on the roads, at the same time as securing the sanctity of pedestrian space on pavements. The latter should not occur without the former — both are important.

Comments are closed.