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Hot off the press, the SNTB posters are now available to buy. These A3 posters are full colour on 135gsm silk stock and would make a great Christmas present for both the patriotic South Norwoodian or those unable to see the beautiful South Norwood views for themselves. The price for the pair (unframed) is £25 and, if you would just like one of the designs, £15. They can be delivered free to South Norwood; otherwise postage will investigated depending on address. These will be sold on a first come, first served basis.

Please email ritchielamy@gmail.com with your request and your details. Currently there is a limited quantity but, if there is demand, another run can be ordered from the printers.

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250px-Larry_Paul

Boxing Champion Larry Paul past away yesterday, his daughter at his side. Our thoughts with all his family and those who knew him.

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Art is something that should be shared (…..as opposed to vile racist, back biting, infighting, mysogynistic comments that people share so willingly on social media….I digress…..) so the latest offering is by Wislawa Szymborska.

A Few Words on the Soul 

We have a soul at times.
No one’s got it non-stop,
for keeps.

Day after day,
year after year
may pass without it.

Sometimes
it will settle for awhile
only in childhood’s fears and raptures.
Sometimes only in astonishment
that we are old.

It rarely lends a hand
in uphill tasks,
like moving furniture,
or lifting luggage,
or going miles in shoes that pinch.

It usually steps out
whenever meat needs chopping
or forms have to be filled.

For every thousand conversations
it participates in one,
if even that,
since it prefers silence.

Just when our body goes from ache to pain,
it slips off-duty.

It’s picky:
it doesn’t like seeing us in crowds,
our hustling for a dubious advantage
and creaky machinations make it sick.

Joy and sorrow
aren’t two different feelings for it.
It attends us
only when the two are joined.

We can count on it
when we’re sure of nothing
and curious about everything.

Among the material objects
it favors clocks with pendulums
and mirrors, which keep on working
even when no one is looking.

It won’t say where it comes from
or when it’s taking off again,
though it’s clearly expecting such questions.

We need it
but apparently
it needs us
for some reason too.

Wisława Szymborska

We at the South Norwood Tourist Board recognise that skyscrapers represent the true pinnacle of humanity’s collective achievement, nowhere more succinctly summed up than by, world-renowned humanitarian, Donald Trump’s response to the 9/11 tragedy, “40 Wall Street actually was the second-tallest building in downtown Manhattan… And now it’s the tallest.”

With that in mind we can only applaud the vision of Croydon Council to approve plans for the second tallest building in Britain. With the Shard being a good 15 minutes away by train, there is obviously a desperate need for another building that “can be seen from Piccadilly to Brighton” – and it in no way represents the latest installment in an ongoing willy-waving competition between planners, architects and property speculators. The current purple erection at Saffron Square stands only a measly 43 storeys and is clearly inadequate to attract the sort of thrusting business brains we need to keep Croydon on its current trajectory. Speaking in the Croydon Advertiser, David Hudson, Chief Executive of Guildhouse UK Limited, whose project, One Lansdowne will stand a massive 68 storeys high, said that the building will be “cheap and easy to build,” and embodied the values of Croydon as well as adding drama to the skyline.

Although we at the South Norwood Tourist Board had always imagined drama to be the last thing you would want when you are 68 storeys high, we are nonetheless inspired by Croydon’s vision to reimagine the white heat of technology through the wet dreams of an international property speculator. That is why we will be petitioning Croydon Council to give South Norwood our very own skyscraper on the site of the old Portmanor pub, which has for too long been left abandoned. And, in contrast to others, we are not shy about admitting that Number One South Norwood, or Todger Tower as it will be known, will be an unashamedly phallic symbol. Unlike One Lansdowne’s twin or hemipenes design, common among snakes and reptiles, we will go for the traditional phallic tower, casting its proud shadow over visitors arriving from London. As tourists flock from The Shard down to Lansdowne Road they will be undoubtedly be overcome by a primal urge to stop off at Norwood Junction and join locals as we dance around Todger Tower, celebrating the fertility which keeps our schools full to over-flowing.

Should the tower be built, which should happen at around the same time as Croydon Westfield opens for business, we will also be inviting visitors to share in the spectacle of our Esbat or full moon ceremonies. On the occasion of each and every full moon we will shoot fireworks at the Moon from the tip of Todger Tower. As a result of this symbolic insemination, the goddess Selene will fill the world with lunatics. Indeed, we have a strong suspicion that this may already be happening.

Artists Impression Of Todger Tower

Artists impression of Todger Tower at full moon

Batman

When Batman came to South Norwood,
To start with we thought it’d be good,
To have our very own superhero,
Keeping cash machines free of loitering weirdos,
Patrolling the streets and protecting commuters,
From the nefarious schemes of the kids on their scooters,
But sad to say, our joy didn’t last,
All that superhero worship faded quite fast,
See it’s not just the actor who bawled out his cast,
Seems like Batman himself is a bit of a bastard,
He beat up this bloke and stuck his head down the shitter,
Which seemed a bit harsh for just dropping litter,
And the kid tagging walls, he won’t do it again,
Not even after the hospital have retrieved his pen,
He spied on the barbers cos “they were up to something,”
And a dog with loose bowels got a right bloody lumping,
He intimidated joggers who strayed off the path,
And set upon kids who were just having a laugh,
And finally it all came to a head,
When he confronted the old woman who fed the ducks bread,
“They prefer seeds and corn,” he muttered with a frown,
We found her the next morning, floating, face down,
We all met up down The Portland and said this ain’t right,
He’s uptight and judgmental – and spoiling for a fight,
And there’s not so much that we need to put right,
That we can’t get by without this Dark Knight,
It’s clear to us all that he’s no Adam West,
Camping it up in his pants and his vest,
He’s a violent vigilante – and at best,
He’s acting out some trauma that’s been too long repressed,
So we sent him packing – and Batgirl and Robin,
Off down to Croydon saying, “Boxpark can have him!”
And so judge not – lest you be judged yourself,
By a man dressed in rubber with a bit too much wealth,
As for us in South Norwood, I guess we’ll recover, 
We’ll just have to start looking out for each other.
P Dovey 2017

“Borrowed” from:

http://deserter.co.uk/2016/10/deep-south-norwood/

Deep South Norwood

goat-1

We’d been meaning to come to South Norwood for some time, drawn by the South Norwood Tourist Board’s mantra: ‘Celebrating what others fail to see’. It could be a motto for all of South London.

But it was the opening of the new Antic pub, the Shelverdine Goathouse that finally got us off our arses for the 13-minute journey from London Bridge to Norwood Junction. Antic, too, celebrate areas where Pubcos fear to tread. We were going to get on fine.

Excessive yoga
Excessive yoga

I started at Coffee Craft, the sweet caff in the lovely Edwardian venue, the Stanley Halls. With its film club, performances, excessive yoga and upcoming CAMRA beer festival, you could say Stanley Halls is the cultural heart of Norwood. It’s named after William Stanley, a noted local inventor, architect and philanthropist (plus painter, writer, musician and photographer). Back in the day, geniuses used to try their hand at anything they enjoyed; there was no barrier between the practical and the creative. Nowadays our best and brightest tend to stick to one discipline, though to be fair, singer Cheryl Cole does have her own perfume and shower gel.

But if Stanley Halls is the heart, then the Sensible Garden could be considered its soul.

Neat, neat, neat
Neat, neat, neat

The Sensible Garden is the brainchild of the SNTB, whose other fine work includes a failed attempt to get Norwood Junction station renamed Norwood Intergalactic. The SNTB, with the help of the community, turned a derelict piece of land on the high street into a green space in which to pause, be seated and enjoy a little can of what-you-fancy. The Sensible Seat, the world’s first park bench to be named after a punk, was unveiled by Captain Sensible himself two years ago. The solo artist and co-founder of punk legends, The Damned, went to school over the road and later went on to form The Blah! Party, whose policies included stopping the Iraq War and making John Prescott lose weight.

After sitting on this nobly reclaimed land awhile, it was time for a stroll in the fresh air and green pastures South Norwood is known for (possibly). There’s a lovely walk around South Norwood Lake and Grounds – a remarkable beauty spot that even some locals are yet to discover. The lake has several timber platforms dotted around it for anglers to spend the day in solitude with their maggots. They’re equally tempting for a toke with a view, if you like that sort of thing. However, I’d arranged to meet Half-life at the South Norwood Country Park, the area’s other green expanse, with the express purpose of playing an 18-hole game of pitch and putt on its lovingly tended course.

A lake
Very much a lake

The walk to the park revealed a virtual graveyard of closed down pubs and a surfeit of pebbledash. The park itself has been through many changes over the years: From part of the Great North Wood, to ancient moated house, to sewage farm, it is now a real slice of the countryside, with no building in sight for most of its 125 acres and nature running amok, willy-nilly.

‘Thank fuck for the car noise,’ said Half-life of the distant sound of traffic. It is comforting being reminded you are not in the actual country and are only minutes from speed bumps, wifi and artisan olives. ‘What is a sewage farm anyway?’ he went on. ‘Aren’t we all sewage farms in a way?’

The park is now a glorious wilderness, but sadly, infuriatingly, the pitch and putt was closed, without explanation or indication of when it would open. Shit, being closed for no reason was taking this country imitation too far. I wouldn’t have minded so much but it was too early for the pub. What the fuck were we supposed to do with ourselves? It’s no wonder country people are forever stabbing horses in the arse for fun.

You could easily get lost in the Country Park and indeed we did, immediately, which at least lent us some purpose. When we found our way again we had to cross a tram line to get to the streets. It gave us that exciting sense of danger you get in the country, where you’re never entirely sure you’re not about to be eaten by a larger animal, like a wild boar or a farmer.

On the way to the pub, we ran into another pub. The Albert Tavern is a pleasant enough backstreeter that shows all the football and has a Sunday meat raffle. I love the idea of going to the pub to win dinner. Unfortunately my ale had more floaters than Tony Soprano’s pond, so we didn’t hang around. We headed to the Gold Coast, South Norwood’s West African pub. We’d just stopped for Guinness but the smell from the garden’s grill persuaded us to try the chef’s special: Chicken with rice and black-eyed peas. Flavourful and spicy, it was a real treat and a departure from most pub fare. This you don’t get in the country.

London's southernmost pub
London’s southernmost pub

From there we travelled to the southernmost London pub of all time, the Joiners Arms. That is to say, the pub nearest the equator with a London post code. Beyond it is Croydon, a mysterious world from where few travellers have returned. The Joiners feels every bit as country as the park. Almost every inch of wall and ceiling is covered with ephemera, from horse brasses to stuffed birds. It’s dark, welcoming and cosy. Just a shame they didn’t have more than Doom Bar on, or we could have seen out the winter there.

We paused in Brickfields Meadow (a meadow on the site of an old brickworks) for a smoke in the children’s play area and pondered the significance of the concrete mini-maze like addled mystics.

By the time we arrived back at the Junction, it was still too early for the Antic pub to be open (don’t get me started), so we popped in the Cherry Tree, another ‘half a Guinness’ pub – a pub with either no ale, or ale you don’t trust. It’s Polish-run but nonetheless rather patriotic, with St George much in evidence. The regulars seemed a decent bunch, but Half-life watched in awe as a woman punched another woman in the face after she’d refused to let her assailant touch her hair.

In the garden there’s a mural of a Crystal Palace eagle smiting a Brighton seagull, reflecting one of football’s more mysterious rivalries. It’s thought it began, or at least intensified, in 1974/5 when the two teams, managed by Terry Venables and Alan Mullery respectively, played each other five times in one season. In a second FA Cup replay, the referee, Ron Challis, subsequently known as ‘Challis of the Palace’, ordered Brighton to retake a successful penalty because Palace players had encroached in the area. It was saved and Palace won 1-0. Mullery went ballistic, especially after a Palace fan chucked hot coffee at him. He threw down some change, shouting that it was all Crystal Palace were worth. They’ve hated each other ever since, to the bemusement of the wider football world.

Ruffled feathers
The M23 derby

I had to drag Half-life away as the Shelverdine Goathouse was about to open. We arrived at 15 seconds past four and were beaten to the bar by about half a dozen punters. Clearly the thirst for a decent pub is strong here. Having been deprived of a good pint all day, we made our way through their range: Beatnik, Signature Pale, Neck Oil and Jaipur, pausing between pints for a smoke up.

‘See you in 20 minutes, boys,’ the barmaid winked. And there was us thinking we were being discrete.

Half-life accused me of slipping him acid after coming out of the gents screaming, ‘The goats, the goats!’

He calmed down when I told him I’d seen the pictures on the wall of people with goats’ heads too. Something about the combination of Victorian refinement and cloven-hoofed weirdness freaked me the fuck out as well. It was probably the most powerful anti-drug message I’d ever seen. I tried not to look in their eyes and focus on the hands but my eyes were inexorably drawn to their spooky rectangular pupils. Worryingly, Half-life thanked me for making him feel normal.

Despite the exceptional ale array at the Goathouse, we sampled two other hospitable pubs nearby, the Albion, another solidly Palace and football pub (half a Guinness) and the Jolly Sailor (half a Guinness), so we could catch a game. Norwood’s first railway station was named the Jolly Sailor after the pub, a naming convention that we heartily approve of.

‘They should name all stations after pubs,’ suggested Half-life.

‘It would mean a lot of Kings Arms, et cetera, if you named stations after pubs. You wouldn’t necessarily know where you were.’ I said, like a bore.

‘You’d be in a pub. Who gives a fuck where you are?’ concluded Half-life.

Squint and it's Paris
Squint and you’re in Paris

We stayed a little longer as the welcoming hosts at the Sailor let Half-life order in Thai food (and chips). It had been a long day, but afterwards he wanted to go back to the ‘good pub’. I assumed he meant the Goathouse, another Antic success story, doing a thriving business with customers they weren’t even sure existed until they opened their doors. But from my bus window I saw him turn towards the Cherry Tree, possibly in hope of finding a nice girl with a criminal record for the night.

There was an application to open a late bar near Norwood Junction station in evidence. Along with the Goathouse, the Joiners, the Gold Coast and committed campaigns to reopen the lovely old Ship and Portmanor pubs, it’s easy to see South Norwood ‘happening’. It’s got a diverse community with a sense of civic pride and we all know the arrival of fine beer foreshadows enlightenment. It might have some rough edges but how else can you be sure you’re not in the country?

The deafening silence IS being questioned .

An open letter has been written demanding action from our elected representatives, PLEASE SIGN as the more people behind it the louder the message becomes until it cannot be silenced.

An Open Letter to Croydon Council and MP’s

Whilst I’ve no doubt that meeting swill be called, consultations organised, promises made but within 10 years nothing will have changed apart from the feeling you have been cheated; therefore it is essential that results are the only evidence we accept as commitment to our improving our area. Keep in mind that democracy becomes irrelevant if ‘public meetings’ are used simply as a tool to enhance the illusion that the community were consulted and concurred!

Two quotes from Abraham Lincoln commenting on his own position of power, sprang to mind after reading the letter:

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

South Norwood has a rich wonderful wonderful history, matched only by the diverse character and culture of the community.

..complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

Lets ensure that South Norwood is developed for the benefit of the current community and not to make space for people whose disposable monthly income is higher than the average yearly wage!

The letter reads:

South Norwood is stuck – there is talk of regeneration all while the main high streets are being decimated by ugly conversions of shops to flats. We would like Croydon Council to suspend planning permissions for such conversions on Portland Road for two years and to heavily penalise shop owners who go ahead with these conversions before planning permission has been given.

There appears to be a habit of shop owners seeking unrealistically high rent to prove that they can’t rent the shops. We also ask Croydon Council to engage with the shop owners to keep rent at a realistic level so that the many keen small business in the area can start to revitalise the flagging High Street and Portland Road instead of being priced out of the area or forced to run online only business.

In 2014 Emertons The Ironmonger in Station Road was paying £90 for a street trading licence so they could display stock on the street, but 2015 it was £900 and this year £1500. The rise of the licence to £1,500 is simply too much for a small businesses to afford. We ask that  Croydon Council return the licences for Emertons and the Clock Tower Green Grocer and other South Norwood businesses display stock on the street back to the previously affordable 2014 rates.

We would also like to see the same conservation status given to Market Parade extended further down Portland Road to cover the shops down to Dundee Road so a new hub area can generate around the Leisure Centre and Doctors’ Surgeries.

This petition will be delivered to:

  • Croydon council
  • Gavin Barwell & Steve Reed
  • Shadow Minister for Diverse Communities
    Dawn Butler

Sign to show your support to demand change but shaped by people who currently reside here.

https://www.change.org/p/croydon-council-save-south-norwood?tk=HDCL4CcNQrfPvRWCOK6Gj1mbBkGVOwlMIHwckl97fEI&utm_medium=email&utm_source=signature_receipt&utm_campaign=new_signature