Sunday, May 31, 2015

'Reclaiming our University' at Goldsmiths

Tomorrow at Goldsmiths in New Cross, Goldsmiths UCU (lecturers/academics union) is hosting a 'Reclaiming Our University' conference. They say:

'The marketisation of Higher Education has radically undermined the idea of the university as a public institution – gearing institutional priorities towards what is financially profitable rather than socially and culturally worthwhile. In this context of intense competition between universities for students and research funding, there has been a dramatic growth of capital projects, advertising budgets and Vice Chancellors pay. Meanwhile students face a huge debt burden, and staff, a working environment characterised by unmanageably high workloads, stress, inequality and insecurity... We want to protect and develop Goldsmiths and Queen Mary as a places that deliver innovative and radical teaching, that support independent and critical research, treat all its staff and students with respect and are committed to social justice'.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

London Urban Legends at Brockley Max

Brockley Max Festival starts tomorrow, lots of  arts and music coming up over next couple of weeks, starting with the usual opening night music event by Brockley station. You can check the programme for full list of events, for now just want to highlight an event next Monday June 1st (8 pm) at the Ladywell Gallery behind the Ladywell Tavern.

Former Transpontine contributor and London Forteanist Scott Wood will be giving a talk on 'London Urban Legends: The Hidden Insult and Other Stories'. Ladywell-based Scott is the author of 'London Urban Legends: the corpse on the tube' (History Press). Admission is free.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Music Monday: Skinny Lister - Down on Deptford Broadway

Skinny Lister pictured outside The Birds Nest on a return visit earlier this year
(photo by Brian Rasic)
Skinny Lister have come a long way since starting out in South London in 2009 and playing early gigs at the Ladywell Tavern, Birds Nest (Deptford) and Jam Circus (Brockley). Since then they've toured the USA, Australia, Europe and Japan, playing at numerous festivals.  Their first album 'Forge and Flaggon' (2012) featured the track  'If the gaff don't let us down' with its chorus of  'we'll sail away tomorrow, back to dear old Deptford Town'.

Their second album, released last month, is called 'Down on Deptford Broadway' and the album title features as a line in one of its songs, 'Six Whiskies'  - a tale of a drunken stumble through London.

I'm really enjoying the album, a mixture of folk-punk stomps that recall The Pogues and calmer moments, such as 'What can I say' sung by Lorna Thomas (video filmed around Hastings).

Thursday, May 21, 2015

A deer jumps through a window in Lewisham

A hundred years ago today, a deer jumped through a window in Hither Green Lane:

'Deer in a Lewisham House

A deer, which had apparently escaped from some park, on Friday jumped through the window of a house in Hither Green-Lane, Lewisham, occupied by Mrs. Perren and her daughter and did considerable damage. Chairs and tables were smashed, and a good deal of glass and china broken., The police were informed, and after barricading the window a sergeant and constable, with two other men, entered the room The animal appeared be mad with fright, and it  took the men some time to secure it with a rope'.

Gloucestershire Echo, Saturday 22 May 1915

Yes, this may have been the original Lewisham Stag

Monday, May 18, 2015

Peace meetings in First World War Lewisham

Opposing the First World War was a difficult business, with harassment from the authorities and from pro-war mobs. In 1916, Nellie Best of the Women's Anti-Conscription League was jailed for 6 months for deterring recruiting, and the Lewisham Borough Peace and Anti-Conscription Council passed a resolution demanding her release (Daily Herald,15 April 1916).

Sylvia Pankhurst, the radical socialist and suffragist, was active in the anti-war movement, as a key figure in the Women's Suffrage Federation/Workers Suffrage Federation (after 1917 name change)/Workers Socialist Federation (from 1918). The WSF was particularly active in the  East End of London, but sometimes south of the river, as this report of a 'GREAT PUSH" FOR PEACE' (Daily Herald, 6 October 1917) demonstrates: 'The Workers' Suffrage Federation's " Great Push" for Adult Suffrage, Socialism, and, above all, for Peace by Negotiation, held on Saturday, September 29, in Greenwich and Lewisham, where all the speakers met with good reception. Men in khaki and wounded soldiers from the local military hospital took Peace leaflets and bought the Workers' Dreadnought. A good collection was taken...  Volunteers for these parades should write to Miss Sylvia Pankhurst, 400, Old Ford Road, Bow, E3'.

Sylvia Pankhurst
A planned meeting the following month by the pro-peace Fellowship of Reconciliation received a more hostile response. Those opposing the war were likely to be labelled as pro-German as the headline to the following article from the Nottingham Evening Post (9 November 1917) makes clear:


A meeting under the auspices of the Fellowship of Reconciliation at Lime Hall, Lime-grove, Lewisham, to be addressed by Mrs. Swanwick, was cancelled at the last moment yesterday owing to the presence of a large and hostile crowd. Cheers were given for the "Boys in Khaki" and the Lads in Navy Blue,” and several of the promoters of the meeting were rather roughly handled. An impromptu patriotic meeting was held outside the hall, at which a resolution was passed in favour of refusing to allow any more peace meetings to be held'.

'Mrs Swanwick' mentioned here was presumably Helena Swanwick, the first Chair of the Women's International League, an organisation set up by pro-peace suffragists (she was also, incidentally, the sister of the artist Walter Sickert)

Helena Swanwick - stopped from speaking in Lewisham, 1917

Ken Weller's book 'Don't be a soldier!' The radical anti-war movement in north London 1914-1918 is an excellent account of this period. As the name suggests it is primarily about north London, though he mentions the WSF making  'occasional forays into the transpontine wastes of South London'!. Wish I had the time to research a South London version.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Folk on the Hill

Tonight - Friday 15th May at the Hill Station Cafe (Kitto Road, SE14) presents 'Folk on the Hill', with live music from Byron Biroli, Harry Dickson and Pigeon Heroes. Entry is free/donation, food and drink available.

Here's Pigeon Heroes in the Goldsmiths Music Studio, New Cross Road:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Nepal earthquakes

Various initiatives have been going on locally in response to the disastrous earthquakes in Nepal. The Hill Station Cafe in Kitto Road SE14 collected donations for an emergency airlift:

Tomorrow (Friday) there's a film night Nepal benefit at the Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan Buddhist Centre in Spa Road, Bermondsey:

Monday, May 11, 2015

Muddy Waters at Goldsmiths 1968

This poster popped up recently on Twitter (@salvatorRosa) - legendary blues artist Muddy Waters playing at Goldsmiths College in New Cross, November 29 1968. Also featuring Otis Spann (playing with Waters), British blues guitarist Gordon Smith (who has played with Kevin Coyne among others) and Mike Kean's Dusty Blues Ensemble.

However, as somebody in comments has pointed out, the image in the poster appears to be John Lee Hooker rather than Muddy Waters! Awkward...

John Lee Hooker

Muddy Waters (left) as he actually looked in 1968
(pictured at Hammersmith Odeon)

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Recent Sydenham Street Art

Some recent Sydenham street art.

This is off Sydenham Road (by the car park near the Co-op/Lidl)

The kingfisher and fox are on hoardings on Sydenham Road, replacing the lemurs that used to be there.