Monthly Archives: September 2010

OxJam Line-Up October 23

OxJam Brixton announced the first names in their line-up for the Brixton Takeover on 23 October this week. They are:

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Brixton Market Lock Down protest – ‘Don’t Ice Brixton’

I’ve just received this message on a Friends of Brixton Market mailing list about a protest they are planning today at 2pm against the planned temporary ice rink at the site of the Popes Rd car park:

Subject: Brixton Lock Down 28th September / Don’t Ice Brixton
Dear Friends,

Brixton Market Traders will be closing their stalls and shops today at 2pm for an hour to protest against a temporary ice rink being built on the site of the Pope’s Road multi storey car park.

Tesco PLC want to develop a superstore in Streatham, on a site that includes Streatham Ice Rink. As well as the store, the development will include housing and a new ice rink. But while they’re doing the work, the Council wants them to ensure that an ice rink is still available. Lambeth have said Tesco need to pay for a temporary ice rink on a different location in the borough. They first chose Streatham Common, but a successful campaign by locals stopped them putting it there. After that, the council’s eye fell on Brixton Market – or on its carpark to be precise.

Although we all agree that we should rely less on cars we also know that local town centre’s suffer greatly from the lack of parking and Brixton is no exception.

This car park has been closed since December and the lack of parking has seriously effected the businesses in the market some reporting a 50% loss in business. Market customers who buy big sacks of rice, cans of oil, boxes of fish for their families need to transport it by car. A market like Brixton cannot survive on footfall alone. Without car parking, shoppers largely from ethnic minorities, are being forced to take their custom elsewhere and Brixton Market as a whole suffers.

Brixton Market Traders Federation, the Assocation of Brixton Arcades and Shops, the Friends of Brixton Market, The Brixton Society, Transition Town Brixton, local businesses, local tenants associations, youth groups and other community groups are opposed to this proposal and the Brixton Lock Down is the first of many forms of protest and action that will be taken until an appropriate car parking solution is implemented.

As a supporter of Friends of Brixton Market please do let us know what you think and if you want to know more about this campaign and you want to know what you can do to support it go to;

Thanks in advance for your time.

Barby Asante

for the Friends of Brixton Market

See here for an interview with market trader Diana Godwin back in February 2010 about the challenges market traders were facing after the closure of the car park.

UPDATE [10.38 pm, 28.09.2010]: See here for photos from today’s lockdown

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Mini Interview: Jacob Fodio Todd, OxJam

Brixton Blog interviews Jakob Fodio Todd, regional manager for Brixton OxJam, about this year’s music festival on 23 October

What is OxJam?

OxJam is a month-long music festival across Britain and we’re organising one in and around Brixton. The money raised goes to Oxfam and they spend it on three different elements of their work – campaigning, development work and emergency response.

What’s going to be happening in October?

We’ve got as many local musicians and DJs as possible – people like Yaaba Funk for example.  People are very receptive to the idea of playing at OxJam if they’re around and available, so we’re going to have some really good events. There are going to be lots of different DJs and it’ll be taking place at all the major Brixton venues – The Windmill, Plan B, Rest is Noise, Dogstar and Upstairs at the Ritzy.

What events have you got planned in the lead-up to OxJam?

We’ve already had a few – a Frock Swap, where people came to the Dogstar to swap clothes, and a Jumble Sale in the Dogstar. They’ve been quite stressful to organise! But there’s always been a really good atmosphere and a nice flow of people have attended. On 9 October, we’re going to do a takeover of Windrush Square with music and stalls from local businesses.

How much are you hoping to raise?

We raised £4,000 last year, so we’re hoping for a bit more this year. About £300,000 is expected to be raised across the country.


Upcoming Events:

Oxjam Brixton Windrush Square All-dayer, 9 October – promoting local Brixton organisations, Oxjam festival and music and dance entertainment

Oxjam Brixton Takeover 2010, 23 October – @ Plan B(electro/dance), Rest Is Noise(afrobeat/hi-life), Upstairs at the Ritzy(jazz/blues/soul), Dogstar (hip hop/reggae) and the Windmill (indie/rock/ska) – tickets £8 (

More info:
FB:  Oxjam Brixton Takeover 2010

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Ode to the Brixton Summer

There have been some wonderful May-like days this week, but it’s September, it’s now freezing cold and it’s getting darker earlier every night – yes, the summer is truly over, so here are some photos in memory of it:

The summer starts with flights grounded because of the volcanic ash and Brixton got perfect, plane-less blue skies:

(Photo: Laura Morgan)

Then came the end of Labour and the beginning of Con-Lib…

The Lido went from being empty…

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

to being very full…

Some poor people had exams in the Recreation Centre:

Granville Arcade opened up on Thursday evenings:

(Photo: Damon Hope)

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

The best lasagne in Brixton at Bellantoni's Italian

England put on some poor performances at The Ritzy:

There were street parties – this one’s on Endymion Rd:

And we got to give our opinion on the co-op council by putting plastic balls in red buckets:

Flowers, and especially roses, bloomed all over Brixton:

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

And the foxes came out to play:


(Photo: Jon Biles)

We had what has been named by some “the best Lambeth Country Show ever”:


(Photo: Laura Morgan)


(Photo: Laura Morgan)

(Photo: Jason Cobb)

(Photo: Mike Smith)

photo(Photo: Laura Morgan)

There was a jerk chicken cook-off:

One photographer, Charlie Abbiss, took photos of Brixton Market:

And the star of the summer was…Brockwell Park:


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The Brixton Weekend ahead

Saturday: It’s Open House weekend, so grab a catalogue from Brixton Library and get snooping. And tonight Plan B is launching its monthly Community night with a set from Detroit disco producer, Moodymann.

Sunday: Brixton Academy is offering the chance to take a look backstage from 10am-1pm as part of Open House, although to be honest the halls are not so much ‘hallowed’ as, well, rather shabby. After a quick lunch, there’s still a chance to catch The Illusionist at 1.30pm at the Ritzy and, from 7pm, there’s the Ubuntu Soul Session at Ritzy Upstairs.

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The Brixton Clubcard?

In the week of the first birthday of the Brixton Pound, we investigate a new idea for the local economy

Music, cake and even photo-calls with the mayor were in place last night for the celebration of Brixton Pound’s first birthday at the Granville Arcade.  But as plans for the co-operative council get underway, Lambeth is going to be experimenting with yet more alternative models for community living. The New Economics Foundation (nef), responsible for much of the impetus behind the Brixton Pound, has come up with a proposal to incentivise people to take on new responsibilities in their locality.

Nef, in cooperation with the Transition Towns network, has suggested the introduction of a loyalty scheme – much like the Tesco Clubcard or BA Air Miles – in which residents collect ‘points’ by carrying out actions beneficial to the community, such as recycling waste, or shopping at local businesses. Points can then be redeemed in exchange for public transport tickets, sustainable goods and services or cultural activities such as free cinema or gallery tickets.

Nef are also working with Social Trade Organisation (STRO), a Dutch NGO which has designed an online software payment scheme that could be adapted for a public loyalty scheme. According to nef, Cyclos “is a not-for-profit open source system that is dynamic and allows for continuous innovation as new currency models are adapted. Cyclos allows users to administer their accounts, view their transactions, and make (secure) payments via web access or mobile phone.” The STRO representative on the nef team has already designed another, very similar scheme in Rotterdam called the Nu Spaar Pass, a card which allows residents to collect points and trade them in for services.

Lambeth Council is in talks with nef, but is still considering different proposals and has not endorsed the idea yet. There is another public meeting on 23 September where residents are invited to “contribute and help shape the commissions’ final report”.

The Lambeth Mayor at last night's birthday celebrations

Quite a crowd gathered for the music on 'Fifth Avenue' in the arcade

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Brixton – the ‘clone’ town

'Re-imagining the high street' - the report released today

On the eve of Brixton Pound’s first birthday, Brixton has become a ‘clone town’, according to a survey released today by the new economics foundation. It studied the number of chain stores in towns and boroughs across Britain to highlight the importance of a diverse high street.

Despite its endorsement of the alternative currency, Brixton moved from ‘border’ status in 2005 to ‘clone’ status this year. The survey was conducted in 2009, before the additions of H&M, Starbucks and T-Mobile. It found that over half of Brixton’s high street shops are now chains. Nef created a scoring system which gave Brixton 50.5 points out of 100, with twons scoring over 65 classified as ‘home’ towns.

The report cites Philippe Castaing, owner of Opus and founder of Brixton Green, who has said that “Brixton is one of the most expensive high streets in London in terms of commercial rent, a major barrier for independent businesses.”

Nef first conducted the Clone Town survey in 2005, when Exeter came in as Britain’s blandest high street. This time, Cambridge took the bottom spot. But it wasn’t all bad news for South London – Streatham scored highly, with 76 on nef’s scale of 100, and was classed a ‘home’ town.

The survey is slightly skewed, however, because it only looks at the high street, not taking into account the number of independent shops elsewhere in the area. In Brixton, of course, many independent businesses have opened in the past year in the market, so it’s unclear whether it would remain a ‘clone’ town were the survey to be extended.

What do you think? Is Brixton ‘clone’ or ‘home’?

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Urban Green Fair, Brockwell Park, 5 September

Some photos from the Urban Green Fair last weekend…

Not massively busy this year...but that's Mango Landin's bar under the tree

Cafe Cairo

The Brockwell Bake

Mango Landin's rum and mango

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Interview: Ben Kreeger, Events and Promotions at Plan B

A Plan B poster from December 2009

1. What’s your job at Plan B? What do you do day-to-day?

I am the Events & Promotions Manager at Plan B. I programme all of the events at the venue, as well as running specific in-house events. I also manage all of the marketing and promotion for the venue. On a day to day basis this includes everything from speaking to agents and building relationships with emerging artists, to attending a wide range of events throughout London and working with some of the best creatives money can buy.

2. How has Plan B been doing since it reopened last year?

Things have never been better! In the last year or so Plan B has not only regained its reputation as one of the most forward thinking venues in London (able to attract some of the biggest DJs and producers from around the world), but also has a great crowd, week in week out. I think people are pleasantly surprised when they make their first visit to the venue since the relaunch. Our focus on new music has certainly helped us, as has the resurgence of interest in Brixton as a whole. I have worked in Brixton for more than five years and projects like the redevelopment of Brixton Village and even things a little outside of the area, like Frank’s Campari Bar in Peckham, have shown just how much creativity there is here.

3. Is there a theme behind the people you choose to DJ at Plan B?

We book people we feel are doing something interesting and people with a connection to the area.

4. Do you want to promote local South London music or is your focus more on getting in big-name DJs?

A bit of both – South London has always had an incredibly rich musical heritage and these sounds have had a huge influence on the sort of music we listen to and promote. At the same time, South London is not particularly well catered for in terms of ‘big’ clubs and we feel that a lot of people have to travel to quite a long way to hear some of their favourite DJs, so we also have a keen interest in bringing people from outside the area to play here.

5. What’s thinking behind your ‘Community’ night – and why?

Proper house music has always had a home in the area, from the notorious Rooty parties run by Basement Jaxx to DJ Harvey’s now legendary sessions many many years ago, to things happening at the moment, like Andy Blakes’ World Unknown warehouse parties. The main idea behind ‘Community’ is to create a night that redefines peoples perception of what constitutes a ‘house’ night in the area – this isn’t about Ibiza anthems or about some ‘legend’ making a comback to a bunch of builders from Bromley, this is about listening to quality music with like minded local people in an environment that feels intimate. We want to bring back some of the affinity for the area that has been so strong in the past; that’s why we called it ‘Community’.

6. What has the reaction been to Community so far?

Fantastic! People seem to be getting very excited about the night (especially the Moodymann / Floating Points night on the 18th September – see below) and all of the people we have approached about playing at the night have been impressed by our vision and commitment to the project.

7. How do you view yourselves within the local community and why?

We do a lot of work with Strong Look in Brixton Village, which is run by a former employee of ours. We also spend a lot of time at Rosie’s Deli and are on first name terms with a lot of the small restaurants and bars in the area. We certainly see ourselves as part of the local community and have been championing Brixton for many years, I am not sure how local people see us, but they are always smiling when they leave here.

8. In 2007 Plan B joined the Brixton Collective and you were interviewed in ‘Time Out’ saying that it is a struggle to convince people to come to Brixton. Is that still the case?

I think things are very different these days. At the time, the area suffered from a lot of negative media attention and the two years of Victoria Line weekend closures for refurbishment work really didn’t help. But it is fantastic to see so many new things happening – from the redevelopment of the space in front of The Ritzy, to the work the police have been doing to clean up the area around the underground station. There are more creative people in the area now and a lot of opportunities for small businesses to flourish, in a way that is not possible in other areas of London – people have begun to support what they see around them, which is great. Even the old school Brixtonites have realised that they do not have to be stereotyped. We are reaching a critical mass. The troubles of the past have helped us prepare for the success of today.

9. What has been your favourite ever night at Plan B and why?

I have so many favourite nights it is hard to pick. David Rodigan’s set at the RBMA party back in February was incredible. However my favourite night was probably the after show party we did for LCD Soundsystem a few months back. James Murphy (lead singer of LCD Soundsystem) played disco records all night with Erol Alkan, and Soulwax were on the lights. It’s going to be hard to top that, although saying that I am very very excited about having Moodymann play!

10. Do you ever go partying anywhere else in Brixton?

All the time. I really like The Rest Is Noise for a pint after work and my favourite night in London is still DMZ at Mass.

'Community' at Plan B this month

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The Weekend Ahead in Brixton (plus a Thursday)

Thursday: Brixton-based hip hop collective, The Illersapiens, are back for their monthly residency Soul Jam! at the Ritzy Cinema.

Friday: Another, more established Brixton band are playing tonight at Brixton Jamm – it’s the Alabama 3 with an acoustic set and songs from throughout their career (£10 advance tickets)

Saturday: Get swishing from 12pm today at the OxJam fundraising ‘Frock Swap’. Swappers bring 3 items of good quality clothing to the event, pay £5 entry, and you get a free Oxjam cocktail or mini manicure before the swapping commences.  They even have DJs to keep you entertained and an in-house tailor to assist with any alterations. (Dogstar, £5 entry. 12-4pm)

If you fancy an exhibition, there are a few on offer this weekend in Brixton – see Kurt Tong‘s photography at Photofusion or the group exhibition, You Don’t See That Every Day, at the Red Gate Gallery in Coldharbour Lane.

Sunday: It’s the Urban Green Fair in Brockwell Park from 11am-7pm. There’ll be a health zone, social justice stalls and, best of all, the Brockwell Bake.

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