Monthly Archives: August 2010

The Brixton week ahead

Sunday: Bring your drum along to The Ritzy at 6.45pm tonight for a drumming workshop with djembe master Afla Sackey. And then stay on in the upstairs bar for the Sunday Blues night featuring Errol Linton.

Tuesday: The Brixton £ Group is holding its first fundraising dinner at Olley’s fish ‘n’ chips restaurant in Herne Hill. The fish and chips at Olley’s aren’t what they used to be and it’s slightly odd that a B£ event is happening in Herne Hill, but we can forgive all that for a good cause and comedy from south London comedian Trevor Lock.

Wednesday: You can actually do this any day, but why not on a Wednesday? Make some postcard-sized artwork for the ‘Send Me a Postcard Darling‘ exhibition at Red Gate gallery in October. Postcard-size is 6″ x 4″, by the way.

Thursday: Go down to Mango Landin with your four favourite records for Open Deck Night and, just a few minutes away,  it’s the monthly Reggae Train with David Rodigan at Hootananny.

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Oona King vs Ken Livingstone: The battle comes to Brixton

The vote for London mayor might be two years away, in 2012, but on September 24 this year the Labour Party candidate will be selected. This week, Oona King visited Brixton as part of her campaign to wrest the candidacy from Ken Livingstone. Read a review of Oona King’s meeting ‘with the Brixton faithful’ here at the Greenwich-based 853 blog.

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Brixton Campaign: Ban/Boycott Brixton Starbucks

Starbucks Brixton

Starbucks opened a new branch in Brixton today right beside the tube station, and already a campaign has been launched to boycott the new shop. In the past few years, the high street has seen the death of Woolworths and the arrival of H&M and T-Mobile, while the market is becoming a home for independent, but more ‘chichi’ shops.  What do you think? Is it the death knell for Brixton’s unique ‘character’ or is it best to agree with one tweeter’s remark that, “it’s only a small branch of Starbucks, stop whining. That’s how our economy works.”

If you want to boycott the Starbucks, here are some views on where to get the best coffee in Brixton (and they’re not all votes for Federation Coffee):

Christopher Douse, Brixton: Federation hands down. Only other contender is Opus (1.50 for a small cappucino) but it’s a bit inconsistent. £2 for a cappucino in Federation (there is only one size), very smooth but intense coffee flavour and lovingly prepared each time so it’s consistent. Plus they are really friendly (e.g. gave me a new one for free when I spilt my first one without having had a sip!). So even though it’s £2, which is relatively expensive for an independent coffee, you don’t feel remotely ripped off. You can get a loyalty card, too (6 coffees get the 7th free or something like that).

Anonymous (ahem, apparently that’s how contentious coffee is in Brixton this week…): Rice milk latte @ Wild Caper… Why? It’s light, sweet and smooth all at once… Little cup of heaven 🙂

@tomp2 @FederationCoffe without a doubt! Their flat whites and iced lattes are made with more attention than any other coffee I’ve had

@82mmphotography hey- mine would have to be the hive! Great place for lazy hangover lunchtimes;) Thanks

@FreeSouthLondon It has to be @FederationCoffe(e). All other Brixtonian coffeemakers will undergo 3 hours of public ideological humiliation.

@Brixtonbeats love a good latte at opus… Just tastes like quality in coffee form 🙂

@mr_richie Has to be San Marino’s, best in #Brixton by far. Enormous lattes, a veritable bucket of coffee. And they’re pleasantly brusque.

@mr_richie Oh, and Lori’s Frothy Coffee booth in the newsagents by McD’s is worth a look too.

@rodstanley the new Starbucks *sarcasm*

@SimonTateBooks Honest cafe is decent, as is Ritzy, not tried San Marinos. I’m kinda depressed about the new Starbucks opening 😦

@lauracward Cornercopia, then Federation. I like everything about Cornercopia – desserts, tables, chutneys and it’s a bargain!

@DJDanCook Federation, Flat white, every morning

@DogstarBrixton federation coffee – cool place, amazing coffee, good beans from nude esspresso, in Market which is great & NOT starbucks 🙂

@DogstarBrixton by time we roll up its time for a Caffè macchiato…

@CllrMattBennett Rosie’s in the market does tasty coffee; plus it isn’t just served in an identikit bucket like the chains…

@WindmillBrixton Bollocks to Starbucks. Adam’s Bakery on Brixton Hill does good coffee at £1 a cup!!!

In what is becoming a bizarrely coffee-themed week, here’s a pic of the new coffee shop (selling coffee beans to take home as well as cups of coffee) about to open next to Rosie’s Deli in the market.

And I don’t even drink the stuff…


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Jerk Cook-Off

Jerk Goat

Brockwell Park hosted the annual Jerk Chicken Cook Off competition today, moved from its usual venue at The Horniman. Caribbean Chefs competed against each other for the best jerk chicken, goat [see above] and fish. And there was plenty corn-on-the-cob, plantain, callaloo and coconut water too. YUM.

Last year's winners, Tasty Jerk from South Norwood, attracted massive queues for their barbecued jerk fish, chicken and more

Jerk Chicken, Rice 'n' Peas and Plantain

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‘Lambeth Life’ – a co-operative council paper?

If you’re going to turn the council co-operative, you may as well turn the paper that represents it co-operative too, right? Over at her own blog, @kayewiggins has been speaking to Steve Reed, Labour Leader of Lambeth Council, about his plans to hand over more editorial control of council freesheet ‘Lambeth Life‘ to residents who want to get involved. It’s an interesting idea but, as ever, it’s not quite clear just how much editorial control that will mean. Perhaps the council should stop pretending that ‘Lambeth Life’ is anything but a council paper and support residents who want to start an independent local paper or magazine over which they would have full editorial control.

Kaye’s blog post is here.


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The weekend ahead in Brixton

You’ll have to wait until next weekend for the Jerk Cook-Off in Brockwell Park, but there’s still plenty to keep those tastebuds ticking over…

Friday: Brilliant laid-back reggae band The Hempolics are playing at Hootananny in a night that includes brass band Brassroots and ‘ska-rap-rock’ from Imperial Leisure.

Saturday: How about some sport? At the Brixton Rec today, there’s the alarming-sounding ‘Cardio Blast’ at 11am and Yoga at 11.30am…or you could just go for a swim. From 12-5pm, OxJam are holding a vintage jumble sale in The Dog Star in the lead-up to the OxJam music festival in October. And then, all pumped up and kitted out, dance the night away at Plan B‘s ‘House Rules’ night.

Sunday: Brunch at Brixton stalwart the Phoenix Cafe. No exercise today. Then at 6pm, if you can take it, there’s a Shaun of the Dead/Hot Fuzz double bill at The Ritzy.

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I Digress

Liam Roberts, a writer in the I Digress artists’ residency at The Grosvenor pub, tells us about the launch of their zine last week

Illustrations from I Digress featured at the zine launch at The Grosvenor in Stockwell

With traditional local pubs disappearing at an alarming rate, what better way to celebrate them than by engaging a local team of creative types to offer a new perspective on what they mean?

Last Thursday, 29 July, was an occasion to do just that, with the I Digress collaborative writing and illustration project launching its final product at The Grosvenor in Stockwell. I Digress, the outcome of a group of local writers and illustrators, used the pub as its focal point in generating a new twist on the zine format – a booklet of interdependent illustrations and short stories that drew inspiration from the welcoming, eclectic, and altogether inspiring surroundings of The Grosvenor itself.

The I Digress project began with the commissioning of one short story by Evie Wyld and one illustration by Hannah Carding, each focussing on some of the pub’s quirkier, as well as more subtle, characteristics. Carding’s original illustration was then sent to six writers, with each of them creating a 1,000 word story based on what they saw. Wyld’s original story was similarly given to six illustrators, with each of them crafting new images that reflected something of the stories they were given. So it went on, two chains of creative activity trickling across three generations of writers and illustrators over the course of the project.

The brainchild of three Camberwell College of Arts graduates, Alison Drewitt, Naomi Sloman, and Megan Dowsett, I Digress is a new South London take on community-engaged art. “The Grosvenor is brilliant because it really is diverse in its clientele and in what it offers,” says Megan Dowsett. “Its clientele really is anyone from around the corner to punk gig followers, Scrabble players, and artists and creatives. It’s clearly a space that’s going to welcome a creative response, and inspire a creative response.”

After two months of frenzied writing, drawing, and editing, the final publication was launched last Thursday at The Grosvenor in an atmospheric exhibition which featured contributor Charlie Fish, screenwriter for The Man Who Married Himself starring Richard E. Grant, performing a reading of his I Digress submission entitled Nadine. Visitors in attendance were invited to draw and write their own Grosvenor-inspired creations in a blank-paged, open-ended “new zine,” kicking off a whole new chain of ideas.

A pub is, after all, a public place of interaction and local community. I Digress is a celebration of that (blended with a healthy dose of creative Chinese Whispers) which, hopefully, peels back the obvious to reveal a few hidden layers of what lies beneath some of the more interesting corners of the Stockwell environs.

Copies of I Digress are now available online for £3.50 for the pair of zines.

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