If you were passing outside Sunny Stockwell tube station sometime around 2pm on Saturday afternoon, chances are that you would have witnessed the very worst spectacle that the modern art world has to offer.
'Performance artist' (prat) Mark McGowan ['aint gonna link] and his chums decided what a jolly artistic wheeze it would be to enter SW8 and re-enact the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes. Oh, and to make light of a very serious matter, the 'actors' (yeah, right...) wore cardboard boxes on their heads; the firearms used were comedy foam guns.
I think the art or arse question has been sufficiently answered here. Move along. Nope - please really do move along, there is absolutely nothing of interest to see here.
Oh woe is the dangerous and edgy world of the contemporary urban modern artist. Yeah, but not half as dangerous or edgy as being chased down the Northern Line platform at Stockwell by some misguided officers with very real dangerous and edgy ammunition, and not some comedy foam guns they have picked up at the Woolies closing down sale.
The whole pathetic spectacle is supposed to make us reflect on the events of 22nd July, 2005. In no way was it an attempt to give publicity to a piss poor performance artist.
By blogging about the 'event,' then yep, I've also been sucked into the sorry little game. But it was a quiet Sunday for me, and McGowan and his cronies do have a certain comedy value to share (laughing at, not with.) Like the wonderful Stockwell News, I'm not even going to link to the knobber.
And what of the de Menezes family, currently in town for the inquest taking place down the Clap'ham Road at The Oval? You turn up in a foreign country to find out why your son was shot dead by the police, only to find some fools wearing cardboard boxes on their heads poncing around right in your face in an attempt to gain self-publicity.
The video footage shot by cronies of McGowan at least keeps in line with the crap stunt of an idea. More disturbingly, the performance artistlittle prick managed to generate some interest from the mainstream knobber media whores.
Where there's shit...
But unless it involves guns on the mean streets of SW8, then the knobber mainstream media whores aren't interested.
I'm embedding the video below, but only as evidence that the silly little stunt actually took place. Feel free to click through and leave a comment of encouragement.
I've been playing around with spotify of late. It took less than five minutes for me to fall in love with the music on demand app. Essentially spotify is an online jukebox. With endorsement from the majors and indies, the extensive back catalogue of tracks is streamed to your machine. Unlike last.fm or pandora (which I have never really got to grips with,) multiple plays of tracks is also possible.
It might just be the online delivery model that the music industry has been searching for. The previous P2P argument of downloader's sampling before buying has now been sanctioned by the labels who have signed up to spotify. The big boys have finally realised that downloading is a form of online radio, rather than mass piracy.
There is a subscription model available with download functionality. I think it's at this stage that I turn to my old friend Mr Xtorrent. (As an aside - when was the last time you entered a record store? And nope, I don't mean the iTunes store. Reckon it was sometime in '04 for me.)
So far spotify (spot + identify... not great) is in beta, and only available for Mac users. Which is no bad thing; I'm still waiting for Google Chrome to recognise me as a potential user.
The style and functionality is very much Mac based. All tracks have drag and drop capabilities, meaning that you can share songs over email, IM, or even twitter. Same goes for playlists that you generate.
The range of content is staggering. I've yet to be disappointed with a search. I was even rather gobsmaked (although not literally for too long) when I stumbled across Diesel Park Westkaraoke. The fragrant mrs onionbagblogger is in for some fun boozy Friday nights to come.
The only downside is the reduced bitrate of 160 kbit/s. It sounds fine following a morning swim when my ears are still blocked up with all the crap from the Clap'ham pool.
Cheers to @funkturm for the invite - tweet me if you'd like one in return, I've got five to give away.
Tonight, 7pm, underneath Waterloo Bridge. Not that the ride is organised or anything, but if you happen to turn up, then you just might meet other cyclists who are heading off for a spin around town to kick start their weekend.
Here's an open letter from the enviromentalist, Des Kay, who was largely responsible for taking the legal action against the Met:
Open Letter to Critical Mass from Des Kay
'I'm delighted that the House of Lords yesterday unanimously upheld my appeal.
This case has now been running for nearly three years since Inspector Gomm first handed out his flyers to all of us telling us that the Mass was unlawful and that we needed to give advance notice and decide what route we were going to take in advance. I'm glad to say that this isnt the case and we no longer have to fear the threat of arrest.
Although it was a difficult decision to take the case in the first place I (and many others) felt that it was the right thing to do and I'm pleased that after all this time the House of Lords has agreed, with all five Law Lords unanimously agreeing.
What is very important is the outcome that the London Mass is exempted from the requirements of the Public Order Act and so there is no need to give advance notice. That should give cyclists a lot of comfort. In particular, anyone who is interested in self-stewarding the ride will now feel considerably more comfortable.
The House of Lords had lots of very positive things to say generally and there is much that is useful in the judgments for other people wishing to set up Critical Mass Cycle rides elsewhere in the country.
Thanks to everyone who supported the case over the years.'
Good decision. The Canterbury had the happy happy crowd boozing away before Weller time; the bar room scrum of the Academy was a world away, with the Canterbury catering for the not quite as mad for it crowd as they were fifteen years ago, but still ready to drop their pint at the first rallying call for the Eton Rifles.
And so some time around 8:30, it was indeed time to sup up yer beer and collect yer fags. Well, not quite fags, but that didn't stop the annoying little shit standing in front of me at the Academy from lighting up. A sharp prod in the ribs when yer man fired up the Eton Rifles soon saw him off.
A similar set to Monday, with a few changes. After the firing of the Rifles, it was straight into Shout to the Top. I felt like finding the smoking little shit once again and giving him a big man hug. No tongues though, not with his tobacco breath.
Elsewhere within the Weller crowd, I clocked a fishtail parka (TRUE!) and a couple of old school skinhead boys, boots, braces 'n all. I thought it best not to break the news to them that the Falklands War was over.
I don't know if it was a slow night for the touts, or if the gawblimey geezers fancied a bit of Weller. A few of the recognisable 'Buy or Sell' boys were bopping away at the front. A sharp prod in the ribs would usually be the best course of action, but one of them is the old man of one of the kids from Somewhere in SE17. So that's all right then. Phew.
As for Mr Weller? Gone was the white denim of the night before. Black Levis are the new white. Our hero was also sporting a new haircut from twenty-four hours earlier. I hope he went to see Pete the Greek underneath the Academy. Tuesday is OAP's for a fiver day with the Butcher of Brixton.
There was still sufficient flowing locks to ruffle throughout the two hour set. Paced perfectly once again (there's a bar breather mid-set with a track off Heliocentric,) this was a tighter performance than that of Monday evening.
During the rare moments when Weller takes a breather and the band carry the show, you can see that the old boy still loves it. He was off-stage and dancing away in the wings - and why not? Watching your band play your songs to such perfection must be rather pleasing.
Whirlpool's End was once again saved for the show-stealing finale. It's played out with a backdrop of historical footage taking in Martin Luther King, JFK, John Lennon and 9/11. For all the talk of putting behind his political posturing, Weller is still a street fighting man.
A final foot shuffle for Town Called Malice *swoon* and that was Weller #2 finished for Tuesday.
Hat trick on Wednesday? Got a few work details to balance first, but I'm hopeful of being back down the front at The Academy in time for the Northern Soul DJ support act. See you in the Canterbury before the Eton Rifles are fired.
Live! (knobber) blogging from a sandwich friendly TfL Blogger's Briefing. Gonna see how many sarnies I can sneak out before last orders.
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Yep, so I've been summonedinvited to a Blogger's Briefing at TfL's fancy HQ at St James. I'm sitting around a boardroom table with the varioustwitterati and corporate suits from TfL.
I'm a Cyclist - Get Me Out of Here!
Not quite sure why I've been invited. To make up the numbers as a sarnie eater? I blog about... cycling. I think I last caught the tube sometime in '98.
But TfL's remit also includes cycling, and so I'm hopeful of putting a spanner in the spokes with some pedal questions sometime in the session.
OK, so here's the deal: Richard Parry, TfL's Head of Strategy is doing the meet 'n greet thing. We've had a whirlwind tour of the tube network in ten minutes, being told of a ten year plan to transform the tube. I thought I heard this back in '98, and hence haven't caught a tube since.
Being a Blogger's Briefing, technology is keeping us all away from the sarnies. There's some TfL geeks with us (ooh - Macs!) who are about to show us some new TfL tools. I bet they're gonna be blog friendly. But what's in it for bloggers? A revenue stream?
Mmmm - we'll see.
Plenty of fighting talk about a 'historic chance to transform the tube, evolving the tube will enable Londoners and the historic challenge facing TfL with increased passengers.'
Hey - I have a solution: cycling...
Prawn sarnie on the go.
It's not quite on par with the historic shift from steam to diesel, but print is dead, online communication is the key, so said the Man from TfL. And here's me thinking it's all about making trains run on time.
Nice new website though.
'Business model for communication is going to be based around mobile devices.'
But my mobile doesn't work underground. Doh!
Here comes the techie presentation. The aim is to enhance all the old tools together. Nice, friendly female voice over in the online presentation. Sounds like an ad for Colgate.
Service boards for individual lines and stations. Google map mash ups ahoy. It all looks very flash. Can't see how the TfL boardroom presentation on the fancy iMac will match up with the reality of being stuck at Morden at midnight, waiting for the last tube.
'Nice widgets, but as Diamond Geezer has pointed out, it doesn't include the overground or DLR.'
Techie guy, and Head of Strategy have both seen dg's criticism. And they have failed to answer it.
'Tube is all important, blah blah blah bollocks.
'Widgets are hard to communicate to the general public.'
So why waste time building them, then?
iPhone is a priority for future use. Widgets on social network sites also being looked at.
Got me first Q in. Pretty dull about, all about customisable widgets. Thinking hard as to how I can convert a boardroom full of tube anoraksexperts into cyclists. A widget on your handlebar? It could perhaps keep count of how many knobber Petrol Heads cut you up each morning.
Interesting Q about how to make the TfL more of a social media site. 2.0 is all about people and how they interact with each other. The TfL site has 2.0 aspirations, but it deals in raw data.
Not much of a reply, but to be fair, there's not really an answer to be given. TfL is a very individual site from a user's experience. We don't talk to commuter's in the carriage, so why should we talk to each other online?
Still lingering on about how to personalise the TfL site. Interesting points made about how unique personal touches offline (quirky tube announcements) are really appreciated. Why can't this be replicated online?
...cos geeks have no sense of humour.
All very tube centric, and as we know, the tube doesn't exactly reach out into the heartlands of South London. Taking things off track, so to speak... I mentioned the wonderful marketing presence when a tram carriage was placed outside Brixton Library, as a PR stunt ahead of the proposed Cross River Tram. The locals loved it, and we all looked forward to finally being connected with North London.
Some people take a break by going away somewhere foreign for a few days. It's a time to relax, do the activities you want to do and escape from the usual day-to-day existence.
I'm taking a rare holiday this week, watching Paul Weller play twice (possibly three times) during his Brixton Academy residency. It's a time for me relax, do the activities I want to do and escape from the usual day-to-day existence.
Weller! Weller! Weller! Oooh!
And so Monday night, and gig #1 of my Weller anthology. It's actually been *whisper* 22 years since I last saw the Changing Man, and blimey - the old boy hasn't half changed since those white denim days of Red Wedge at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham. I like to think I've changed ever so slightly as well, although I am still partial to the odd parading around in my white denim.
'F***ing hell - Monday night in Brixton. Who would have thought it?'
I found myself asking the same question, and then the opening riff of Peacock Suit had me strutting along with Weller, who yep, was wearing a pair of white Levis. And what a mover as well!
A two hour set followed, paced perfectly with his solo back catalogue, the odd snippet of The Style Council, and even some jumping around action with The Jam. That's Entertainment was a bit of a show stealer, although if you were to write a contemporary classic that has been adopted by three generations of teenagers as a tale of urban despair, you would expect to remember the lyrics halfway through.
For a kid stuck in the 80's (me, not Weller,) Shout to the Top was a welcome surprise. All the soul may have been sucked out of it, but the message came crashing home with the beefed up guitars of modern day Weller.
Porcelain God was slightly trippy. I'm pleased that I stuck with the Guinness and not something rather stronger for my evening's recreation. Misty Morning was stool-rock strum-along, and ever so slightly Stonehenge. And what about a dub version of Wildwood? Seriously... (seriously good, actually.)
A shake of the tambourine, a flick of the hair (almost between every chord change,) and yer man was gone for another night. Blokes hugged, girls snogged (well, one couple anyway) and the Academy emptied with the crowd still singing That's Entertainment en mass.
Same again on Tuesday.
Wish you were here.
*no set list action as yet, but expect it to appear over here sometime soon*
The data is out there (although the original blog is now dead,) but publish and be damned. Worse still, possibly receive a brick through your window.
Instead we have this handy heat map, which aggregates the data and crunches it up by postcode. As documented around these parts last week, SW8 has three BNP supporting scum. Looking elsewhere around my little patch of South London, and surprisingly Brixton Road is also identified as having BNP representation.
This doesn't mean that the region from Nine Elms across to SW9 is a racist free zone; the map mashes up the data via postcode regions, not lines of longitude and latitude.
Plus the map is made up only of BNP scum who have actually been foolish enough to join the racist party. It doesn't depict BNP support per se.
Any show of support for racist scum should be treated with concern, but thankfully it's still minor pockets of BNP presence around these parts. Scan out further towards areas of North Notts, and the very real threat of a strong BNP presence starts to rear its ugly head.
A useful mash up map would be to overlay the heat data with stats documenting race hate crime in the UK. Not that it would tell us anything that we don't already know.
Clap'ham increasingly resembles the tawdiness of Camden by the day.
Is there a rational reason for a spaceman to be looking out across the SW4 landscape? Or is it simply to represent the knobberswacky young urban types and their post-modern approach to getting pissed, within?
But words about worms are worthless. You might as well be reading Fly Fishing by J.R. Hartley. So here we have another onionbagblog vlog (urgh! Let's just call it a streaming mulit-media content delivery platform.)
Live! (knobber) blogging from a sun-drenched Champion Hill.
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Back down at Dulwich - remember that? The fixture list hasn't been fortunate for the fragrant mrs onionbagblogger and I this season; too many midweek matches, a few Friday kick-offs and even lunchtime matches on the Lord's day. This was the very reason I turned my back on the professional game all those years ago.
And so here we are in SE22 on a rare Saturday afternoon out. It's my second game of the season, mrs obb's first. That £150 spunked on season tickets doesn't seem such a good investment now. mrs obb may as well have paid for £50 for an Arsenal match. She'd still end up complaining about the cold.
0-0 with half an hour played. I think. A bit of a late sprint from Sunny Stockwell and yep... I missed the kick off. Straight in through the turnstile (singular) and my £150 was almost paid back with interest. I found a credit card on the floor, and thoughts turned towards a West End weekend bender. But the high morals (and highly strung) mrs obb led me to do the decent thing and clone it hand it in.
On the pitch and the Hersham Boys of Walton & Hersham are a bit of a sham. My thoughts are already turning towards 69.
The highlight so far has been the slight delay as a Dulwich player (I never was good on names, even as a regular) insisted on changing his old clogger boots to a pair of ridiculous white poncey pieces of leather. What is this? A game of ping pong?
Five minutes until the soup flask comes out, 0-0.
Half time and the Man from Champion Hill, he say; 0-0. Great. Should have stayed at home doing the gardening. Goal scoring opportunities have been as few and far between as my visits to Champion Hill this season.
Dulwich had a lame shout for a penalty just before the break. To be fair to the Walton centre half, the challenge was more of a Big Daddy style body check than anything Joey Barton might inflict upon you.
The poor ref was lost. The baby face whistle blower looks like he is still hungover after one snakebite and black too many on his 18th birthday celebrations last night.
I'm three layers deep, not counting my cycling tights.
Some kid sitting in front of me has mistaken the onset of mid-winter for T-shirt weather. If only Dulwich could roll their sleeves up...
Thinking of braving the toilets under the main stand. Please inform the authorities if this blog isn't updated within the next couple of days.
The teams are back out - Dulwich especially early and having the look of a side that didn't sit in the dressing room at halftime doing the Telegraph crossword. It looks like words were exchanged, and they weren't 'four across.'
I'm rather impressed with the forward planning from The Voice of Champion Hill. The PA played Aerosmith and Pink as the, ahem, pink 'n blue boys came running out. There's not a lot of choice when it comes to selecting songs from the modern hit parade that contain 'pink' in the title. Plus not enough Aerosmith is played at football grounds.
'Yer 'avin a 'mare, ref' as the schoolboy wearing black has just been told. Hasn't stopped him booking the Dulwich number 8.
0-0, and it's all kicking off on the bench down below. The language is the missing blue ingredient from the Aerosmith song.
'A slight misunderstanding' between Dulwich boss Craig Edwards and some bloke standing behind the pitch side barrier. Poor pitch side barrier bloke didn't quite grasp the concept of the rolling ball system. Ball was booted out; barrier bloke caught and hurled it back into play. Bit late, fella, but never mind. Play had already re-started with the rolling ball, and Dulwich were attacking the penalty box. Two balls on the pitch, a dropped ball and a VERY unhappy Dulwich boss.
0-0 still; fourth placed Dulwich could do with a win to make a promotion push as we approach the Christmas campaign.
Leaving the field for Dulwich is Theo Fairwearther Johnson, replaced by only a single player, which doesn't seem quite fair.
Oh, I see...
Battery on the sub-price ultra compact notebook not looking too good. A rare outing for the Asus and it might not even get to see a goal.
It 'aint over for Dulwich (or the Asus) yet. A goal for number 9 (yeah, I know...) in the 71st minute. What I'm missing in player identification, I'll make up for in description:
F-ing ACE goal!
End to end stuff, with Dulwich hitting the post, only for Hersham to break down the other end and score with a lob over the 'keeper. A blatant offside, but the goal stands. Both teams are attacking, playing positive football and trying to find a winner.
And that's how it finished.
See you sometime next year for another £50 non-league match.
We all know about the state of the global economy, but how are things shaping up locally? I spent my Saturday morning at the local Farmer's Market opposite The Oval tube, talking to traders and finding out about fiscal matters on a very micro-economic level.
The Oval Farmer's Market has been trading for just over a year. It was named as the Best Local Market in Time Out this year, a success that has been built upon the quality of produce on sale, and the friendly local atmosphere. It operates every Saturday morning at St Mark's Church, and always seems seems to attract plenty of shoppers.
Prices can't quite compete with the supermarket big boys, but the quality of food far exceeds any processed crap you'll find along the aisles of a faceless food hanger.
Many thanks to the all the local traders who were happy to help out with the recording. The fragrant mrs onionbagblogger and I are looking forward to our Giggly Pig sausages with some mash later on this evening; the delightful clever cookies are our planned afternoon treat ahead of a Dulwich Hamlet home fixture.
The manager replied by telling me that the product was 'utter shite,' (he actually said that,) but seeing as though I was under an eighteen-month contract, I was told to come back some time towards the end of next year.
In the meantime, my £10 direct debit payment has crept up to £11. Something to do with 'requesting a paper bill.' I wasn't told about the extra charge, complained, and was reassured that I would receive a £1 refund and an online billing account with no further paper bills.
But of course the knobbers have taken £11 out of my account once again this month.
But back to the 40kbps...
Is 3's mobile broadband still 'utter shite?'
I don't want to spoil the ending for you, but if you are trying to view this video via an utter shite 3 mobile broadband dongle, you probably won't even get past the opening few frames.
Still utter shite. With increased levels of shite-tivity. Maybe that's what the extra £1 payment is for?
'Off to one of the shortest High Streets in London this week. Whitechapel High Street was once lined with public houses (some mentioned in Dickens) due to it being a main route in and out of London. The traffic never changes, it seems, but at least now things seem to be getting a bit nicer around here with lots of building works (although how long that lasts with the crunch is anyone's guess) The street runs from Aldgate High Street to Whitechapel Road (pretty much where Osborn Street comes in) and is, in my mind, a road of two halves.
To begin with you have city buildings, mostly in a state of disrepair; Aldgate Tube, which I can't go by without images of 7/7 flashing through my brain, and then onto a more stately run of buildings including the total gem of the Whitechapel Gallery. Founded in 1901 it has been a leading light in modern art since it's opening. The only gallery in the UK to show Guernica and to give David Hockney his first show must be doing something right in my eyes. And if you don't like the art, the building is worth the visit alone.
Hustle and bustle is the way I'd sum up the street, so enjoy!'
PLUS: Here's the bike ride first, starting off from Brixton Rec.
*cuts out somewhere around Tower Bridge when the batteries on my flip decided to take a breather - I was approaching North London, after all*
Another week, another community consultation process kicks off from Lambeth Council. Just like Lambeth Councillors, these seem to be two-a-penny, and just as effective as well. I'm still waiting on the outcome of the 2002 community consultation to decide the best local use for the Council owned site of the Rising Sun pub at Larkhall Park.
It's all very well having public consultations, but to actually implement them is another matter.
This week we're looking at Vauxhall Cross; or a New Heart for Vauxhall, as the Lambeth copywriters like to call it. Funny that - cycle through Vauxhall Cross on a Sunday morning, and you'll see plenty of failing hearts as the casualties fall out of the seedy clubs situated underneath the arches. All licensed by the Council, of course.
The Council has correctly identified that Vauxhall is something of a car lover's paradise. I think the giveaway is in the name Vauxhall Cross. But all the talk now from any progressive politician is all about community. And so now Lambeth has identified the need to:
'Transform Vauxhall into a sustainable and vibrant urban centre, or 'heart,' with improved transport connections and linkages into surrounding areas.'
In short, increased transport usage should stimulate the local economy.
But despite the geographical positioning of Vauxhall as a hub heading out into all four corners of London, do we really need extra traffic to help grow genuine local change at a grassroots level? Am I missing something by stating that all this increased traffic moving through SW8 is, um, moving, and not stopping to help stimulate the local economy?
Real change comes from the ground. Vauxhall is a lovely location; riverside views, green space and a small handful of local, friendly small businesses. For the area to grow, the Council should be focussing on investing in more local, friendly small businesses, and not talking about better ways to direct the traffic flow.
But back to the consultation. Local residents have been given three options to choose from. It's a no brainer really, on par with the first question in Who Wants to be a Millionaire:
Option 1: 4,200 new jobs and 1,700 new homes.
Option 2: 8,000 new jobs and 3,500 new homes.
Option 3: 6,850 new jobs and 9,400 new homes.
Put people in the area, and the local economy will grow. Option 3 it has to be then.
But it's not as simple as that. Living around the outskirts of Vauxhall is wonderful. Living in a high rise overlooking one of the busiest transport interchanges in the capital isn't my idea of urban living.
Which brings us back to the issue of traffic, something that needs to be addressed in Vauxhall before you start talking about the fanciful 'four quarters of Vauxhall,' each with their economic regeneration plans.
Vauxhall is primarily a transport hub; anything else is secondary. You need to come to terms with this and accept it, before trying to change anything else. The cars won't go away. There's no other route to cross over from one side of the city to the other.
The New Heart for Vauxhall though is a one-off opportunity to try and accommodate the community around this reliance on cars passing through the area.
Get rid of the gyratory system? Maybe, but what route will the traffic then take? It's an unstoppable beast that demands passage through SW8.
For all the talk of 9,400 new homes, the people then moving into these 9,400 new homes need to feel safe within their new community. That includes road safety, and providing them with access to pass around, or through the Cross.
Or possibly even cycle.
Now there's a brave, bold statement.
I look forward to the outcome of the consultation sometime next century. By which time the locals of SW8 will have their own flying cars to circumnavigate the Cross.
I went to see the Doctor on Monday morning. Thankfully the Stockwell Surgery didn't have anyone issuing prescriptions at the time. Which is just as well, seeing as though I would probably pick up something slightly stronger than a paracetamol.
Crack cocaine is the drug of choice along the Clap'ham Road. The Stockwell Surgery is an abandoned town house that has long since been lost as a squat to the SW8 junkies.
But wait! Help is at hand! Realising the social menace that the Stockwell Surgery presents to the local community (a nursery is next door,) Lambeth Council recently undertook a major clean-up operation at the squat.
If you live anywhere close to SW8 then chances are that you have already heard about this; Lambeth Life and the local Nu Labour website have both been patting themselves on the back after a job well done.
End of story; the Stockwell Surgery has now been cleaned up and no longer presents any threat to the local community. Two for the price of one, what with local offenders enrolled to carry out the Council's dirty work as part of their payback scheme to society.
Everyone's happy (apart from the local crack heads, but they can find somewhere else to do their dirty deed, preferably outside of the Borough as well.)
And so I walked past the Stockwell Surgery on Monday morning, half expecting fluffy little bunny rabbits to be bouncing around in the front garden, and fairies serving up angel dust to any SW8 passers by.
Had the good Doctordrug dealing scum from the Stockwell Surgery stopped issuing his unique prescriptions?
'A great location this week and one where you should have little problem finding images. Gower Street runs through Bloomsbury and has had many a famous residence, Charles Dickens and Charles Darwin to name but two. It was also where the Pre-Raphaelite movement was set up (at number 7) in 1848.
You have the wonderfully new architecture of UCL to snap and the equally lovely yet not quite so modern UCL building. And the cruciform building opposite. Most houses along the street are owned by the university and if you're feeling a bit of jungle fever – head to the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. If you're well and feeling a bit luvvie - then try the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.'
... a fine way to spend a Saturday afternoon, walking the streets just off the West End with @funkturm, an old work colleague / come friend.
Here's an example of the online evangelicalism that first attracted me towards the modern interweb. This is fighting talk from Neil McIntosh, explaining how digital publishing has changed the expectations we now have from mainstream media.
It's nothing short of a digital call to arms, similar to what I've been advocating on a local level of late (and yep - the BIG plan for SW8 2.0 came to me in the bath this week.)
If you consider yourself a journalist and you don't blog, in short - you're burnt toast; if you're the Publicity Officer for your local Village Green Preservation Society and you haven't got an online presence, then you might as well pack it up now.
Nope - that's not good enough - it was a SOCIAL CLASS divide. Remember that filthy old word from the ideological 80's? The Nu Labour replacement language of a 'hard working family' won't work here, seeing as though the Stockwell working class family, um, didn't work.
What Rich Kid, Poor Kid did so perfectly well (apart from allow the upper class bint to make a complete fool of herself,) was to personify the great chasm in lifestyle opportunities that exist around these parts. The conservation area around Stockwell Park is a million miles (and pounds) away from the South Lambeth Estate. Except it's only across the road.
It does sometimes feel like we're living in a divided community. There's no meeting ground in the middle, and as the Poor Kid demonstrated in the C4 programme, those at the bottom have so much more than material wealth to offer to those at the top.
But help is available to the Poor Girl, as WeLoveLarkhall posted only today. @Councillor Pete Robbins covers the very same patch that was featured on the programme. It's reassuring to find that some people in the area are not afraid to take the stigma our of benefits, compared to the Rich Girl's view that working class people 'spend her money being really lazy and not working.'
I've saved my favourite piece of film from Local History Week until last. Norma didn't want to speak with me on camera initially - I wonder why!
But my persistence paid off. I knew she had a story to tell, making the structural changes around Stockwell much more interesting, with a personal piece of social history of growing up in and around SW8.
It's nice to know that in an area currently undergoing major social and economic change, there's still space for someone like Norma who has grown up in South London, and clearly has a lot of love for the area.
Following some illuminating chats with various passionatelocalsocietysorts, I took some time out to explore the many, varied workshops taking place throughout the day.
This was a very much hands on approach to local history. The large crowds at the Archive came along to find out how they can participate in local historical research. And where better place to start than at home?
Kelly from the Black Cultural Archives very kindly agreed to have a video chat with me, following straight on after her workshop on researching Afro-Caribbean roots.
How does the availability of historical records online change the traditional approach to tracing your family tree? What specific issues are relevant to Afro-Caribbean family history? And how does all of this take place on a local level around Lambeth?
The best bit of advice I received on the day came from Kelly: Get your hands dirty, dig around and ask questions!
Streatham was my first home in London some thirteen years ago. So what if it was really Brixton Hill by the Crown and Sceptre? The snob within said Streatham (and that's really saying something...)
But I soon developed a love for Streatham. The High Road was simply wonderful for shopping, with a mixture of chain stores, local shops and all number of surprises in-between.
Many local traders are now facing hard times along the High Road. It has been a steady decline ever since the closure of the department store, Pratt's, in the early 1990's. Rents are rising, leaving Streatham nothing more than a through road linking London with Croydon and Brighton.
Streatham High Road was declared the 'worst road in Britain' by the Today programme in 2002. There has been little improvement since. Traffic is the main issue. The rush hour can last from 7am through until 7pm, a constant stream of cars blocking up what was once one of the finest shopping stretches in the capital.
Away from all the pollution, and SW16 still offers a green, suburban home for many local families. The area could once again rise, if only Lambeth Council manages to resolve the ongoing Streatham Hub project.
A new ice rink, swimming pool and transport hub is promised. Tesco is the 'preferred partners,' gaining planning permission for a sizable new superstore in return for supporting the scheme. But the Hub has stalled once again, leaving Streatham in a state of decline.
Graham Gower from the Streatham Society explains the main problems around the area, and offers some solutions for SW16 to once again become the Shopping Centre of South London.