Burgess Park, the Olympic Torch, and so on

Lots of news today, for some reason. Maybe because it’s sunny.

OK, first, Burgess Park reopens this Saturday after a long, long wait. Partially reopens, anyway. There’s an open day with loads of events from 11am to 5pm (weather permitting, of course). I’m looking forward to seeing the changes. One bit of news I’m quite keen on is that there’ll be a new barbecue area in the park, around the lake, which is a nice idea.

On 26th July the Olympic Torch will pass through Camberwell between 11.45am and 12.15pm, coming along Peckham Road to the Green, then up Coldharbour Lane.

SE5 Forum are looking for volunteers to help with stewarding this, and also general leafletting duties; meet at 2pm on 22nd July in The Recreation Ground if you want to help.

According to The Telegraph, teams of ‘street pastors’ have led to a 95% decrease in street crime in Camberwell. I can’t find that figure confirmed anywhere, nor do I know how they can prove that any reduction is due to the pastors, but if it’s at all true then it’s a very welcome development.

Finally, a privately‐funded firm has published plans for a new tram line between Camberwell and London Bridge, which they claim could be operational within two years. The streets are certainly wide enough for the most part, as it’s where the old tram line used to run; but Walworth Road has since been narrowed so not sure how that will work. Integration with the Oyster network is also an open question. Still, exciting if it does happen.

That’ll do for now.

On a night of violence

I’ve had to turn the news off as the repeated images of violence were making me inestimably sad. As I write this, Camberwell has remained mostly unscathed, although the same can’t be said for Peckham, Brixton, Walworth Road, Old Kent Road, or East Dulwich. I can’t quite take in what’s happening.

Anyone who says with certainty that this is down to pure criminality is talking out of their arse. Likewise anyone who says this is due to disaffection from society, or poverty, or anger with the police, or racial hatred, or any of the multitude of other reasons I’ve heard tonight. Nobody knows for sure why this has happened. I’d imagine the real reason is a combination of any or all of the above, depending on which of the participants you ask.

One thing we can probably say with some certainty is that this doesn’t happen for no reason, and it doesn’t spring from nowhere. But we don’t have any context for it, just supposition and opinion.

There’s no excuse for some of the behaviour we’ve seen; smashing in or setting fire to small, locally owned businesses, and looting the houses of the people who flee out of fear. You can’t excuse that. You shouldn’t even try.

If things have become so bad for people that they feel that rioting is the only option open to them now, I can sympathise with that. But using violence to take something because you’ll personally gain from it is loathsome behaviour, and deserves punishment.

I don’t want to score cheap political points now (there’ll be enough of that in the next few days) but the lack of presence from our elected leaders has been notable. Where was Mayor Johnson? Prime Minister Cameron? We’re hosting the Olympic Games next year, shouldn’t they have spent some time to at least pay lip service to addressing the problem? And while they have the excuse that they were out of the country, where was Deputy Prime Minister Clegg in their absence?

I don’t know what’s going on. I’m bewildered and confused and sad, and not looking forward to all the finger‐pointing, politics and punditry that’s destined to follow this.

One final note: over the next few weeks, please don’t buy anything that you suspect to be stolen. Don’t reward this. Help local shopkeepers instead.

Graphic design, parks, pubs, post office

Hello everyone. Quite a mixed bag of stuff to get through with this one, so I’ll crack on.

How would you visually represent SE5? One of the students at the College of Arts has had a go.

Visual representation of SE5

As reported in comments on the previous post, part of Lucas Gardens has been saved from being sold off to developers, as the College is said to have bought South House. I went to a Halloween party in East House on Saturday night; apologies to the neighbours.

Here’s something topical: Camberwell post office (“grungey and dispiriting”) used as an illustration of why bonuses are not always deserved.

Also topical: the murderer of a man who was stabbed to death near his home, on Coldharbour Lane, was sentenced to a minimum 30 years in prison last week. He sounds like a proper nasty bastard, so: good.

Has everyone taken a look at NickW’s proposal to split traffic around Camberwell Green and pedestrianise the end of Church Street? There doesn’t seem to be much there to argue about, IMHO, and it’s good enough to at least serve as the start of a conversation.

Finally, I have a special offer for everyone; my first ever, I believe. The Grand Union are set to open in the former Grove this week, and are having a launch party on Thursday 5th (there will be some free drinks, I believe).

They’re keen to get the hyper‐critical readers of this blog on their side, so have offered me the following deal: anyone who presents a print‐out of this blog post to the manager gets 2‐for‐1 on main meals — and this deal is valid for the whole of November. That’s pretty good, right? I’m sure there should be some terms and conditions to this deal, but there don’t seem to be, so knock yourselves out.

I wish they’d kept the Grove name, though; a pub’s name is its heritage.

Let the bacchanalia commence

First, the bad news: A man was stabbed to death in Paulet Road on Sunday.

Second, the neutral news: I’ve installed a new comments system; it needs tweaking but should be working properly. Let me know how you get on with it.

Third, the good news: It’s party time! The Camberwell Arts Festival kicks off on Saturday with The Big Event in Myatt’s Fields Park, and continues through the week until the Sunday after. I’ve contrived to be away for launch weekend (every damned year; I swear I don’t plan it that way) but I’ll hopefully have somebody reporting on it for me soon.

You can download all the details here (PDF, 530KB).

Also this weekend, the Marlborough pub (67–69 Sedgmoor Place) are hosting Marlborough Fest, a three day festival of music. They have a “large beer garden with two sheds, benches, flora & fauna, bbq, the occasional squirrel”.

Enjoy yourselves

Drunks, closures, park

Bit of a palaver on Lyndhurst Grove last night, as a drunk driver rammed into a car, reversed, rammed it again, drove off when the victim got out of his car and told him to stop, then rammed two more cars before fleeing on foot. I saw the lot; it was both exciting and scary. Police arrived about half an hour later.

We were on our way back from il Giardino in Peckham, a place which should be recession‐proof because its staff are so bloody nice that you’d never consider not going. One place which isn’t recession proof (segue!) is The Dark Horse, which as everyone must know by now has closed down. And on the subject of closures, we now have photographic evidence that Somerfield in Butterfly Walk will close on April 29th. I honestly can’t wait to see a Co‐op in there; I was in Co‐op today and it’s miles better.

Further good news about Burgess Park; as well as the £6m already pledged, apparently there is a further £1m to spend on the Chumleigh Gardens area. Looks like we’re on course to have a radical transformation; I’ll be first in the queue when the zoo opens.

I tried Amaryllis on Coldharbour Lane for the first time on Tuesday, as the wife wanted to watch Volver in the S&D and I wanted to watch Arsenal beat Hull in the FA Cup. It’s nicely decorated inside, and they serve decent Chinese food at reasonable prices — £3.50 for a plate of chicken in black bean sauce and egg‐fried rice (I had rice instead of noodels).

Finally: Prince William was in Camberwell last week; our very own Eyechild has the report.

Enjoy the weekend, everyone.