A Then and Now feature on Kennington Lido is crying out to happen. Sadly there's little photographic evidence available online. The Now side to it would simply show a rather boring Astroturf pitch.
Next Week: The Bonkers Bible Basher Boozer opposite onionbagblog HQ II - a Then and Now Special (after I have short circuited the main power chord that amplifies the tambourines at two in the fucking morning.)
I cycled from the basketball (below) up Brixton Hill for the second leg of my South London Sunday North American sport 'extravaganza.' You can just picture the American networks hyping it up:
'Join us after the intermission as Super Sunday continues - live and direct from the St Reatham *cough* Enorm-o-dome as the Redskins go hunting for the scalp of the Stars.'
The reality was that Oxford arrived late and face off was delayed.
The High Road is hell frozen over
Just like the surrounds of Streatham, my strategy for the evening was Less is More. That's my experience of the local kebab shops anyway. Out of the frying pan and not exactly into the fire. Brixton Rec was bloody hot for the basketball, whilst the High Road Rink is Hell Frozen Over in every sense.
I was armed with a thick coat and a flask. Don't spoil yourself, I thought. Like the Streatham kebab meat, I needed to acclimatise. And so I suffered the first period in a pair of cycling shorts. Less is More I reminded myself as I looked down below and saw that the lycra wasn't doing much for my lunchbox.
The first shock of the evening wasn't that Stars scored first, but that they scored before a single penalty was called. This has been a rarity in the ENHL this season. 1:42 on the clock and the Stars were shining.
Cheap penalties littered the first period and Streatham did well to survive a 5 on 3 skate. The equaliser came at 15:57 after hard work from Richard Hardy set up Craig Metcalf for a tap home. Steve Paris gave Streatham the go-ahead goal (get in there!) a minute later, hitting the puck high upstairs in the net. All the excitement raised my body temperature by at least half a degrees. Less is More, I reminded myself. I removed a single cycle glove. Do they play Strip Poker on Skates in the States? It will be an Olympic sport by 2012, I tell you.
Bang on the first period buzzer and Robert Blazowski faked a pass that trickled all the way underneath the away netminder to give Streatham a 3-1 lead as the teams headed for the locker room.
I'm happy (I think) to report a change in the music policy at the High Road Rink. We had Huey Lewis, Van Halen and even some ZZ Top (which wouldn't surprise me if this was announced as the line up for the V Festival next summer.)
What we didn't have was a goal judge as the second period faced off. Probably too busy watching 1980's Weekend on VHS1.
80's Man was put in place behind the goal (LOVE those leg warmers) and he was soon pressing his red button as Perry Richardson hit home a fourth for Streatham. A fifth followed from Paris on the powerplay, shortly followed by a sixth from Richardson, clearly enjoying his return to South London after a season away with out Invicta friends.
Top of the table stuff from Streatham, Time Out time for Oxford.
I was by now down to my Y-Fronts with every goal giving me extra body warmth. A seventh from Joe Johnston and the Beast was about to be unleashed on the High Road Rink. Two minutes for illegal equipment, etc.
The Voice of the High Road Rink was playing catch up with his goal announcements. The eighth got lost in the ambience of the rink as the ninth hit the net.
Midday through the game and with a 9-1 lead, Streatham swapped netminders as James Tanner (no I haven't got any 'buff' pics of the puck stopper, before I get any more email requests) skated off and Jonathan Silvester took up his place between the pipes. Oxford responded by firing plenty of rubber at the young netminder.
Just as the game was getting a little predictable, an Oxford player was given a two minute penalty for 'an unspecified offence.' That was the official call. I've seen penalties for 'fisticuffs' before, but blimey - wtf is 'an unspecified offence?' Under such House Laws, mrs ononbagblogger would be permanently based in the penalty box.
9-1 to Streatham at the second period break. I was rather hoping for ten more home goals, and then the 80's theme could be complete with a n-n-n-nineteen one home win, as Paul Hardcastle might say. But you're unlikely to find permed dwarves with a fascination for electro pop at the High Road Rink. Instead we have The Voice of the High Road Rink who informed us that:
'If you turn your ticket over, you will find details of THE place to drink in Croydon.'
Surly that's got to be your own piss should you ever find that you have geographically sunk so low?
The Old High Road Rink scoreboard hit double figures at the start of the third, thanks to persistence from Richardson earning him his hat trick. If the cap fits, etc and it did for Johnston who also found his third goal of the game.
Astute readers my have observed a change in the home team name. I almost missed it myself, until I set out for my first London Towers ball game of the season, only to find the 'franchise' has down-sized.
No more Neil the DJ, no more krispy kreme doughnuts and no more Towers Dancers making it uncomfortable for me to sit straight at the Crystal Palace Sauna on a Saturday night.
Ken to reception please, Ken to reception
The South London BBL side has re-aligned itself in the ENL Division 3. That's like Chelsea dropping down to play in the Conference. There's no way I'm dragging my Marin up Central Hill every week to watch what is essentially a basketball pub team.
And so I went back to basics for my basketball kicks on Sunday and made the short bike ride to Brixton. The Topcats have a proud tradition in the UK game, even being able to boast a sending a former player to ply his trade in the NBA. They also now play in the same league as the Towers.
Accusations of me being a serial hoop jumper, yes, but back in the 'Hood and British basketball is being kept alive in Brixton. Local talent passes through the club, all guided by the, ahem, TopcatJimmy Rogers. The Brixton Coach is a legend around these parts, providing basketball as something much than a sport for South London Yoof.
Seeing as though the Towers don't give a toss about my five years of hoop frustration paying to watch the flagship team of the BBL, bollocks to the buggers I thought. Brixton here we come.
The Topcats are run as a community club. The three quid entry (compared to ten quid at Crystal Palace!) confirmed this. It's all about the ball game, not the Benjamin, brother...
I may have changed teams but I hadn't changed habits. Half the distance to travel and I still managed to arrive fashionably late. The free programme (OK, a photocopied sheet of A4) asked Brixton basketball fans to:
'Welcome the Cardiff Celts to Brixton Recreation Centre - the Ruff House of Fun and Dunking.'
Although not of spelling it would seem.
'Please make our away team feel the love in the house.'
Want to see my backwards dunk, darling?
Basketball at Brixton is a bit different to the Towers at Crystal Palace. Less skilful, more, um, ruff. Thankfully the gap is not as great as the momentous gulf between watching the pink 'n blue of Dulwich compared to the Premiership prima donnas.
'Staff announcement: would Ken please come to reception, Ken to reception please.'
That's something you don't hear too often at Old Trafford.
The equipment cupboard doubled up as the home team locker room and the halftime blast of Christina Aguilera so beloved at Crystal Palace was replaced by the humming of a five year-old girl sitting behind me. At least the little kid was in tune.
It was a bit strange watching a game on the very same pitch I play five-a-side football on. I wouldn't try your three pointer from that particular corner of the court mate - that's where our lardy left back chundered last week after eating a chicken tikka masala before kick off.
The ball game itself seemed evenly balanced, but then who's counting? Not having a scoreboard didn't help my understanding of the game. But then after failing to feel the love with the Boyo's birds, I realised that the South London Yoof lurking close to the equipment cupboardlocker room were actually keeping the scores on the doors with a wipe on / off board. Brilliant!
There's no point banging on about tactics because I haven't got a clue. Not sure the Cardiff Coach had either. Final score: Topcats 85, Celts 67.
I went for a swim at the Lido this afternoon. You read that correctly: I WENT FOR A SWIM AT THE LIDO this afternoon.
Not the Lovely Lido (some heartbreaking picture action to come later in the week) but the recently re-opened London Fields Lido out in Hackney. It's a strange time of the year for a Lido to open, but they do things differently in North London. At least it is open, and rather lovely it was too.
My head almost exploded
After a sustained campaign of local pressure, Hackney Council finally agreed to invest in London Fields to the tune of 2.5m and give the old girl a face lift. Maybe they could do the same thing for their local MP next?
London Fields is not yet officially open, but a trial period is underway for those in the know. Which judging by the large number of lane swimmers, kiddie pissers and coffin dodger doggy paddlers on Sunday afternoon, half of Hackney has had the tip off.
Having paid my three pounds entrance, I made my way down the corridor to the gents changing. It was all pristine clean and spanking new. Very nice. I put on my shreddies and after a quick shower, braved the late October temperatures and walked outdoors semi-naked in a North London park. This is apparently the norm North of the river.
The sight that greeted me is surly one of the Seven Wonders of London. An outdoor pubic space, shared by a bunch of people who have the shared aim of arseing about in a huge fuck off pool.
The restoration of London Fields owes a lot to the style of Tooting. The outdoor lockers are colour painted in a similar glorious technicolor to that of the Tooting changing rooms. The pool itself boasts 50m in length (or half a Tooting Lido) with perhaps the only criticism being the narrowness of the widths (17m.) But hey - cram 'em all in - the more the merrier.
And so what exactly was I doing swimming OUTDOORS in E8 when I could have been bathing down the road from onionbagblog HQ II at Brixton Rec?
The selling point of London Fields is that it is heated.
Much is made of Brockwell and Tooting's 'character building' water temperature, but unless you are a SLSC masochist, you can't swim in the South London outdoor pools beyond the end of September. Hackney hopes to open up London Fields all year round, with the next few months acting as a barometer for business.
Business was good, but the poolside barometer was a bit bloody cold to be honest. It took me two lengths before I was convinced that I could stay in the water without my head exploding.
The surroundings made up for the luke warm water. Trees on every side with the nearby inner city sounds silenced by the solitary experience of swimming. It felt slightly sterile and lacked the art deco appeal of Brockwell and Tooting. But the two South London beasts are often accused of being stuck in the past with 1930's toilet and shower facilities.
It will take some time for London Fields to find its feet. Or even flippers perhaps. A Lido is simply more than just the water; it's the swimmers that use the space and the interaction between them. This can only develop over time, and I suspect London Fields will offer something very different come the summer months when the sunbathing terrace is populated. Lido life is all about procrastinating rather than putting in the lengths.
But who's going up and who's going down? Dennis did the business at The Den. An FA Cup Final and a genuine push for promotion. But for whatever reason, the cheeky chappy couldn't quite lift Millwall into the top flight.
Is the latest move the Lions' loss and Leeds' gain? If Dennis had stayed at The Den, would Millwall's dramatic dip still have happened? All speculation; if my aunty was my uncle then Steve Claridge would be my sister, etc.
Wise wanted more money for players at Millwall, and rightly so. Meanwhile he inherits a Leeds side full of misfits and probably still wants more money for players. Dennis now has the task of asking the meanest man in football for his support (meanness being measured purely in fiscal terms, before Kuddly Ken sends some of his banning order boys down.)
The lesson that Millwall need to learn from the past two seasons is that you need to speculate to accumulate. And I don't mean hiring endless YES men in the boardroom either. At the other end of the spectrum though is the Leeds live the dream era of bubble bursting financial blunders. Will Dennis find a happy medium?
'Where's there's brass, there's muck,' as the Yorkshire folk are fond of saying after another Geoff Horsefield miss in front of goal adds an extra twenty quid to the Leeds laundry bill.
Mmm - where were we? Got a little sidetracked with tall tales of tables and knobber wifi networks. There is a sequel for toady that involves a revolving door settee policy (strictly one in, one out - all the way to Bal'ham) a Brian Clough sweatshirt and Keef the Window Man of SW8.
I've worked harder this half term than I ever have in almost three years of professional pencil sharpening. In fact Monday afternoon's 3:30 date with destiny *may* put an end to the pencil sharpening, but at the cost of brown pants aplenty.
But all of this can wait. I think I was about to post up the abandoned pictures of Marylebone Lane, shot late in the day on Tuesday with The Way We See It. Calling them abandoned gives them a sense of mystique. If I lived in Shoreditch I could even set up a guerrilla webshite of all my abandoned 'multimedia experimentations.'
But back in SW8, we call it the Crap Picture Gallery:
*It was tough - time was tight and I HATE fucking flash photography*
'Cos John Lewis are a little shite really, aren't they?
Forget all this Never Knowingly Undersold caring face of capitalism crap. They're still Grade A cunts out to fleece you. Plus the females on the make up counter just don't look right.
Want some fire wood?
You see we bought a new table for onionbagblog HQ II. That's a kitchen table that you put in your kitchen and do normal things at, such as dribble wet Weetabix down your front, not a kitchen table that is about as useful as a colour blind traffic light.
But the fucker is now wedged in our hallway, the perfect firewood for 5th November.
Penny for the guy? Plus just a few more for the John Lewis fuckers.
It all started back in the summer when I spent a delightful Saturday being dragged around various furniture hell holes in search of a table. A tray on yer knees always does the job for me.
We found the fucker that we wanted. It was indeed a bit of a beast, but I like 'em firm and hard. The caring face of capitalism even offered to ease our mind by sending Mr Measuring Tape Man round to fit me up.
Oh the jokes...
Jobs a good 'un he declared. Onto the modern interweb it was to place the order. Put the kettle on, make a brew and then wait two months for the fucker to be built. En Francias. Pourquoi?
And then last week we get the call saying that a forest in France has been cut down and with a bit of Bostik, hey hoe, here's your table. Perfect timing, being half term week and all that.
The big delivery day arrived this morning. Finding that we had run out of tea bags earlier was more of an anti-climax to be honest.
Bish bash bosh, delivery geezers buggered off.
'Not in 'ere mate, no way, any chance of a brew, etc'
I convinced the geezers to at least give it a go, seeing as though Mr Measuring Tape Man had given us the green light, plus if I'm gonna waste my holiday then I'd rather do it once than put in a repeat performance.
The beast was dumped in the hallway and the delivery geezers buggered off to cut up more cyclistscarry on with their fine profession.
Fun and games ahoy. Phone calls aplenty.
My first point of contact was the delivery company who John Lewis outsource for fuck off tables. I was a little disappointed when the geezers turned up in a hire van, rather than the usual green and white livery of the caring capitalists.
'Not our problem, mate. You didn't buy the fucker from us.'
I then call the John Lewis helpline.
'I'm sorry Sir (that's something I didn't get from the geezers) but we have no record of you buying this product from us.'
Eh? My bloody bank begs to differ.
I call the store direct, you know, the one where we looked at the table and the one where Mr Measuring Tape Man is kept locked away in some Oxford Street basement, fed a diet of bourbons and forced to read The Sun for six hours every day.
'I'm sorry Sir but we have no record of you buying this product from us.'
No! NO! NO!!!! You wouldn't you useless tossers! We bought it over the modern interweb after your Mr Measuring Tape Man gave us the green light.
But the modern interweb doesn't talk to you. You have no one to call. You send off an email and hope for the best.
Haven't heard that you are changing, and to be honest, I haven't got a clue who the fuck you are, either.
'...from yellow to chocolate brown.'
What? WHAT? Sounds like Corporate Knobber Alert time.
'If you pass by any of our three offices in the area (Clap'ham, Bal'ham or Battersea) unlikely you will see that Marsh & Parsons who they? More knobbers? has joined with Vanston's to create a strong and vibrant new force here on your doorstep.'
I thought that was Vest Man's designated role in SW8?
'Now, strange way to start a paragraph along with the excellent and professional service that Vanstons has always offered its clients, you will also be able to tap into the additional resources that Marsh & Partners brings with it.'
Tap away, baby.
But who the fuck are you? Window cleaners? Shit shovelers? A drugs cartel?
Cut to the fucking chase man.
With a total of twelve offices in central and West London which is precisely where I DON'T live you will have access to a much larger number of buyers and tenants with a substantially increased advertising budget and departments specialising in marketing, PR and corporate services.
Wanky knobber estate agents it is then. Shame you can't specialise in structuring a straight forward letter written in plain English. But hey, no worries. Should I ever require departments specialising in marketing, PR and corporate services, then rest assured, you guys will be first against the wall.
Gay Kayeaye! aye! and key members of staff are fully involved blah blah blah corporate toss fest etc.
Who's taken over who then? What's the redundancy headcount?
Unfortunately the newly acquired 'synergy' doesn't do much on a Google search. It would be such a shame if a shitty blog that banged on about corporate spamming by wankers such as Marsh & Parsons & Vanstons rose to the top of Mr Google's class.
A mad day rushing around town, trying to hold it all together...
Swimming in Brixton, furniture wax buying in Clap'ham (oh yes, dahhhling...), doing the landlord and tenants thing in Sunny Stockwell (and very reliable they're turning out to be as well), mending old boots at The Oval (cobblers!), doing dodgy deals with dodgy Goran to give my drainpipes a good seeing to, a bit of moonlighting myself, uninstalling a shit router, installing an even shitter router, uninstalling the even shitter router and then realising that I don't really need a wireless knobber network anyway.
And they call this a half term break?
Call this a half term?
I needed to get out. I needed to put my foot down and do some serious pedalling. 4:30 in the afternoon - bugger - too late for my planned Brighton bike ride. Not even enough time for another quick burn down to Battersea, let alone a bit of planned photography outside Brockwell Lido as the North wall is removed brick by brick.
These can all wait (although with the possibility of another holiday by mistake in the Lakes at the end of the week under not exactly great circumstances, maybe not...)
What couldn't wait though were a couple of WWSI deadlines. Wanky weather in recent weeks has seen me be a little lapse on the Sunday afternoon cycling / snapping front. It's no fun taking Mr Fixie out in wet weather, and the seven inch super zoom throws a wobbler whenever it gets wet.
My perfect timeframe for photography then was late afternoon. Roads as dry as a badger's arse, and the autumnal sun just starting to set to provide me with the perfect backdrop for some moody images.
But bugger again - Mr WWSI was sending us across town to two diverse locations. Arnold Circus on the edges of Shoreditch was up first, swiftly (or not so swiftly) followed by a trip into town for Marylebone Lane in the West End.
It was a race against time (well, the setting sun) as I'm no fan of flash photography. Up to The Elephant, crossing at London Bridge and then a quick sprint past Liverpool Street into the seedy Shoreditch strip. Perfect. A bit of clowning around at Arnold Circus under some fading conditions and the job was a good 'un. It always is, until I return home for the uploading anti-climax. A bit like the seedy Shoreditch strip then.
What a fuck up. I'm SHIT at nigh time photo taking. Dodgy drainpipes, more router woes and some VERY wet weather ahead meant that this was probably my only chance.
Arse. It's all an anti-climax. And so I leave you with not exactly a cliff hangar (although the image of a noose around the neck of the happy clapper twat is an appealing one,) but an appointment not to keep tomorrow when I post up my West End images.