Please do not feed the trolls

Hi everyone, I’m back to quickly address some of the crazy stuff that’s been going on over the last few days. I don’t want this blog to get bogged down on a single issue, but wanted to have a quick word about this.

So there’s a movement afoot, started by some readers here, to try to get the former Gala bingo hall / Odeon cinema given to us Camberwellians as a community/cultural centre; the new owners are an evangelical Christian organisation, and some people who I assume are members of their congregation have made some decidedly un-Christian threats and hinted at racism from those opposed to them taking over; to which some people have decided to respond, not always fairly.

First of all I want to make clear that opinions on this blog should always be considered to be opinions of individuals and not representative of any group or organisation, unless explicitly stated.

And while I don’t censor comments, I would advise people simply to not get sucked into un-winnable arguments because they have a nasty habit of escalating; just say your piece, perhaps give a response to clarify that piece, and step back. Let people who make snide or unfair comments hang themselves with their own words.

As for the campaign — which I broadly support — I would like to state that, despite my general antipathy to organised religion, I’ve never interfered in their business before, and probably never will after. To me this is not a campaign to stop a church, this is a campaign to gain something for everyone in Camberwell, not just those of a certain denomination.

There is a dearth of good public space in the area, less still spaces to host art or events. The Gala building is a fantastic opportunity that only comes up once in a lifetime, and we need to do our best to seize it. There just aren’t any comparable spaces around; I mean, there are the former Council buildings on Peckham Rd, but Southwark are busy flogging those off to property developers.

So in my view this is not a negative campaign, it’s a positive one, and that’s what I wanted to make clear.

For those who aren’t interested in this at all, I hope we’ll be back to the usual topics soon; The Tiger officially opens on Wednesday, if anyone wants to volunteer to review it.

And for those who are tempted to get involved in debating with the trolls, just remember this:

Someone is wrong

Author: Peter

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

23 thoughts on “Please do not feed the trolls”

  1. Great post Peter…

    This blog has always been a fair,good natured and often humourous reflection of life in Camberwell and it’s environs…that’s why it’s here!

    Some of the comments of the last few days have been the complete antithesis of what this blog has always stood for…

    That however is the nature of a democratic, completely open ended web based forum — which is open to everybody.

    Do not feed the trolls — indeed!

  2. What happened here was pretty mellow compared to other blogs / comment boards. We’ve all seen threads where the wrong end of the stick gets passed round and round and descends into CAPPED UP vitriol and hate. Thankfully that hasn’t happened here.

  3. The langoustines are skipping around Lucas Gardens again like dancers at a Lady Gaga gig. The bright yellow Pandrol Jackson Stoneblower DR80211 was stationary on the railway line in the bright sun this morning, a sure sign that, as Robert Browning of Camberwell famously wrote, “God’s in His Heaven and all’s right with the world”, which is quite deep really, everyone in their place, eh?

  4. Talking of Lucas Gardens, what’s the new adventure playground equipment like?

    What they’ve done in Warwick Gardens (totem poles, trees, log circle) will be fantastic in the summer.

  5. I did think it was all getting a bit harsh so hopefully your soothing balm Peter will ease the troubled waters.

    On a new place to go in Camberwell The former Eastern Tree on Coldharbour Lane which closed a few months back is to open as a Brazilian/Italian bar/restaurant/pool room this Friday I think.

    I am not quite sure if the are spreading a wide net to ensure the get lots of diverse custom but if it is any good I am sure we will hear here!

  6. At the risk of being accused of prejudice against non-whites, I was very excited to see an albino squirrel just off Camberwell Grove this afternoon.

    Here’s a photo to prove it — sorry it’s blurry, but the squirrel wasn’t being very co-operative.

    Whites only on Camberwell Grove, I hear. But remember whites have rights too.

    And given how sensitive the board is at the moment, I should make clear I am referring to squirrel rights. Follow the link and see.

  7. Yes, the stoneblower is supplied by Harsco of America who bought Jackson in 1998. The Jackson Stoneblower was developed in co-operation with the old British Rail Research and Railtrack, to go one better than an ordinary ballast tamping machine, introducing pneumatic blast injection or “stone blowing”, literally blasting the stone under pressure into the existing ballast which has already bedded in.

    Pandrol are the inventors of the fabulous “Pandrol clip” which clamps the rail line onto the sleeper which sits in the ballast. Good ballast is ideally made from crushed stone because the rough edges fit together well under pressure — granite is the best. The stone size must not be too small — drainage, mind! — or too large to shift about instead of meshing.

    Pandrol deal with track maintenance of all kinds, so DR80211 should be correctly termed a Pandrol Jackson Stoneblower supplied by Harco.

    Jackson Stoneblower is also, by coincidence, the name of an old blues guitarist who made a pact with the devil to play the best blues in Mississippi. The BBC Radio 4 News, whenever there’s ghastly word of economic gloom, always bung in at the end of a bulletin an obit along the lines of, “Jackson Stoneblower the legendary blues guitarist has died in a care home in Florida at the age of 96…” to hearten and schadenfreudate the fearful and trembling salariat aged 35–65.

  8. Something to ponder, and perhaps pass on to everyone you know in the whole wide world:


    If you love Camberwell, if you care about Camberwell, read this. And, if you agree with it, pass it on to everyone you know who also cares about the future of this marvellous, unkempt, sadly run down part of London. WE might just be able to make it change for once and for all. There are links below which provide a lot of useful information. The people who got this work together are all people like you — who care — who came together in the space of a week. We just CARE and we desperately want to see Camberwell improve! Please enjoy and join in!

    The former Gala Bingo hall is a 2000 seater grade 2 listed building with fabulous art deco interiors a stone’s throw from Camberwell Green, the centre of population to 40,000 people who have no substantial space for entertainment or civic congregation local to them. Last week Gala vacated the site and sold it, without notice, to an evangelical church group. This is a private sale. In legal principle it is a commercial transaction made between two willing parties and that’s that. But this situation is special. In short it is about hoping to achieve something invaluable for everyone in the area — of all faiths — something which will touch, improve and positively impact on more people’s lives than any faith denomination could ever hope to benefit. The fact is Camberwell is replete with churches while it perennially suffers from the absence even ONE venue appropriate for secular congregation.

    Camberwell has an extraordinarily rich cultural history and one of the most diverse population ranges in the entire UK. Camberwell has a remarkable concentration of people from the Creative Industries from all levels, disciplines and backgrounds imaginable. Camberwell also has the heritage of being a centre of artistic innovation and excellence originating from pre Victorian times.

    There are NO secular venues in the area that accommodate large audiences — no substantial venue for the performing arts, for music, for entertainments with general appeal. There are many voluntary and third sector organisations in the area who struggle perennially to find administrative facilities and a physical base from which to work. There are well respected community event organisations based in Camberwell who struggle to, who cannot, commission events here because there is nowhere that can accommodate even moderately large events. The Gala Bingo site has the potential to comprehensively address many of these serious, socially damaging, gaps in local provision of cultural and civic amenity.

    If the existing facilities at the Gala Bingo site could be intelligently improved, enhanced, extended and redeveloped it could meet, deliver and exceed a long identified, well recognised and — perennially neglected — widespread, burgeoning local demand for the provision of high quality arts, culture, civic amenity and heritage which the whole population would immediately gain benefit from.

    If, by some extraordinary turn of events driven by widespread consensus on the most desirable outcome for its future, the Gala site were to come under direct community control through the auspices of a Camberwell Community Development Trust, Camberwell’s current forlorn, downtrodden and sorely neglected position could change dramatically for the better, for ever.

    The Gala site presents a UNIQUE opportunity for everyone living, loving, working or passing through Camberwell. It is ideally positioned with the potential to be developed into an iconic landmark destination which celebrates the area’s unparalleled, fantastic cultural mixes, influences, aspirations in one venue, a venue of national architectural and cultural importance.


    the ‘cinema’ reference is too narrow. A broader description will emerge in time

    Facebook Group Cinema for Camberwell
    Cinema Website
    Camberwell Online blog
    A poster / flyer for your consideration small medium large
    Places of worship and of amenity and leisure within one mile of Camberwell Green

    Please forward this email to everyone you know who cares.

    With best wishes

  9. Excellent prose, well done!

    And thanks to Peter for making some sort of order out of (dare one say it?) evangelical spam.

    Spam reminds me of a certain type of food (not noodles) but fish fingers. What a treat it was to have Sun and Dove fish fingers in a bap, with chips like we had as kids. Good service too, with a smile, must go more often for lunch.

  10. OK, so following my earlier review of The Tiger I went back for a 2nd time and found it much better. Not that I disliked it the 1st, it was just a bit, well — so what.

    Anyways, they’ve moved the decor along a bit, and opened up another section. Really felt the whole ‘thrift’ wartime style a lot more this time. Some interesting stuff on tap and, unlike the Hermit, some soft music as well. Good effort!

  11. Agreed, Phil G.

    Bit pricey though.

    One of the things I really like about the Hermit’s is the lack of a backing track. Can’t beat the music of chatter. And it’s the only one that does this unless I’m mistaken?

  12. just enjoying a very nice coffee in the Love Walk deli, not eating in today but it’s very pleasant in here 🙂

  13. eusebiovic: If we don’t put up a fight – They will take it all ?.….……
    Our Townhalls are going the way of developers .…..
    Who s buying what?

  14. Doggyliliana

    Yes, I am referring to property developers…what did you think?

    How the process which results in plots of land being picked up for rock bottom prices is facilitated by extremely poor planning decisions at local government level — either through intention or incompetence 🙁

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