SUMMER ISSUE 2013
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Encouraging creative connections and action in the local community
Cover illustration: Dilly Boase
SUMMER ISSUE 2013
Brought to you by
Editor Shazea Quraishi Art and Design Jonny Hughes
Sarah Allison is a comms consultant passionate about ideas that can create positive environmental change. firstname.lastname@example.org Jane Anderson is a freelance travel writer. janeandersontravel.com Olivia Arigho Stiles is a student of History at Somerville College, Oxford. Dilly Boase is an artist and illustrator who loves baking bread. Rizwan Butt is an Arts producer, cycle instructor and Generalist with an interest in the urban. Mark Chilvers is a photojournalist specializing in editorial magazine and newspaper commissions. markchilvers.com Jane Dickson When not writing a PhD thesis on green roofs, she is gardening and blogging. janedickson.wordpress.com Elisa Elschner is a freelance journalist passionate about green issues. She is completing a Masters at UCL. Alice Evans is an English Lit student at UCL. Otis Grove-White is 9 and has been producing his comic, The Meteor for 3 years. You can find it at willgrovewhite.com Mathilde Hawkins is 13 and lives on Mayall Rd. She would like to become a journalist. Her story ‘Island Green’ is illustrated by her mum Florence.
Hector Hawkins is 10 and also lives on Mayall Rd. ‘Baloney Ville’ is his first cartoon. Rebecca Holman, editrix extraordinaire, writes for magazines and broadsheets about sex and feminism. Dylan Loffstadt Hughes is 12 and loves art and business. Jonny Hughes is designer, photographer and community arts do-er. Claire McDonald is a family food blogger at crumbsfood.co.uk Bill Nash is an actor and writer. Shazea Quraishi is a writer, translator, editor and creative writing facilitator. shazea.wordpress.com Cyrus Quraishi Nash is 7 and likes football, karate, and books. Nefisa Sundari is 8. She loves to draw, play table tennis, read and eat mangoes. Wanting Toh is studying Urban Planning, Design and Management at UCL Steve Tooze is a reformed tabloid hack turned trend analyst & general Greenie. Finlay Tooze is 6. He likes bikes, jelly sweets and Minecraft. Zelda Rhiando is a novelist and digital consultant living in Brixton. badzelda.com Thanks to Jane Dickson and UCL who paid for the printing
Photos: Jonny Hughes, Dusty Gedge, London Buglife
THE URBAN WILD PROJECT Rooftops in Herne Hill to Go Green
London is also a result of the work of organisations like the Urban Wild Project in Herne Hill, run by a pair of dynamic environmentalists, Caroline Noble and Kati Obregon. Since it was established in May 2012, it has received rising local interest, leading to plans for 30 green roofs on the shops along Norwood Road and Railton Road in Herne Hill. And there are multiple benefits of green roofs, as Caroline explains: “A project on this scale can make a real difference to our local air quality, help combat rises in temperature, absorb storm water run-off, reduce flooding in the area, and provide places for wildlife such as bees, butterflies and beetles to live, feed and nest.” However, these benefits may not be immediately apparent, so engaging with local people has been critical to the success
THE IDEA OF GREEN ROOFS, or ‘living’ roofs, has been around for centuries, notably in northern Scandanavia. Modern green roofs, which are made of a system of pre-manufactured layers placed over roofs to support vegetation and a growing medium, are a relatively new phenomenon, first appearing in Germany in the 1960s. In 2003 English Nature came to the conclusion that UK policy makers have largely ignored green roofs. However, there are growing numbers of them in the UK, in part thanks to the Greater London Authority’s London Plan which cites urban greening as a way of addressing climate change. The spread of green roofs in
Sunday 9 June 2013 10am to 4pm Herne Hill Market Station Square, SE24
Great produce, fantastic food, community projects, kids activities, live demonstrations, free printing workshops (bring a tshirt!) art exhibition, sound installation, local bands, storytelling and much more.. .
of the project to date. A stall at the Lambeth County Show last year proved popular. Kati said, “one of the issues we’ve faced is that people can’t see the green roofs once they’re installed, so they can be a bit out of sight out of mind. So we are buying time lapse cameras to feed the information back to the Urban Wild Project website so people get the chance to watch the roofs in action. This will be especially exciting when David Perkins and the team from Roots and Shoots begin
KEEPING IT CLEAN Green roofs help to maintain Lambeth’s flood defences
building habitats to encourage wildlife to move in.” Kati and Caroline have had to overcome significant challenges to get the project to where it is today. As Kati said, “despite a lot of support from shop owners, it is essential to get the freeholders who own the leases to approve the project too. Without it, greening Herne Hill roofs can only ever be a dream.” Ensuring freeholders understand how living roofs might benefit their business is crucial to this project, because they don’t always live locally. Many people don’t know what living roofs are, or about the benefits they provide like savings on energy bills, increased roof lifespan and reducing flood damage. Sarah Allison
Owen Davies is at the forefront of the battle to maintain Lambeth’s flood defences and sewage network. Not the most glamorous of crusades admittedly, but one that has made him an ardent supporter of the Urban Wild green roofs project from the beginning. A sustainability engineer, Davies maintains that sewers in Lambeth are at full capacity. In the absence of any imminent upgrade, the Urban Wild project is a vital stop-gap in maintaining water management. It is also a useful blueprint for other areas. Green roofs ensure the controlled removal of surface rainwater and increase the capacity of the water network. Quantifying their long-term impact on the Lambeth system is difficult, but Owen believes any intervention has a ‘nibbling’ effect in promoting public awareness. So yes, shit happens. But Green Roofs is helping with the clean-up. Olivia Arigho Stiles
Photos: Jonny Hughes, David @ The Wildlife Garden - Roots and Shoots
THE BUZZ ABOUT HIGH-RISE HOUSING David Perkins and the solitary bee TOWER BLOCKS are a common sight across the country but it’s not every day one comes across a block specially designed for tiny winged-tenants. In 2010, David Perkins of Roots and Shoots, an expert on the habitats of solitary bees, helped construct the Trellick Bee Tower which provides solitary bees with suitable nesting spots. These bees do not live in colonies - they make individual nest cells in the ground or in hollows in dead plants. David believes that tower block housing will suit green roofs rather well. An interview with him reveals some of the intricacies of pioneering such a project.
Q: How important are solitary bees to green roofs and what will attract them to the roofs? Bees are essential components of healthy ecosystems - in cities the available spaces for wildlife and plants are under a lot of pressure, so we should definitely be considering habitats for bees. If roofs begin to be used for growing food, pollinators will be needed, and a range of solitary bee species, coupled with bumble bees, make excellent pollinators.
Q: Why will the tower block housing for solitary bees work well on the Herne Hill green roofs? The bees prefer nest sites in full sun for about half the day, and there will be plenty of sun up there. Although there may be a shortage of forage plants to start with, any colonising population should be sustainable as the planting matures. Brockwell Park across the road could also help with colonisation by some species. Q: Is there any difference between a tower block for green roofs and one for normal gardens? Stability in high winds has to be considered. The Trellick Bee Tower in the Wildlife Garden at Roots and Shoots is in a very sheltered spot. Its components are all loose and can be taken out or replaced easily - it is held together by straps and gravity! This won’t be possible on the roofs but we can use the parapet walls of the roofs as a support. On his site visit, David gathered information to check roof suitability and plans are now being made to investigate installing a bee tower. One tower would be built initially, with a second one possibly added later. One thing is certain though, bees and humans alike can look forward to healthy buzzing roof gardens not too long from now! Wanting Toh
JUST SOME OF THE SHOP-OWNERS LOOKING FORWARD TO THEIR GREEN ROOFS families. When he’s not cutting hair, Boki likes to garden.
Boki is hoping to get one of the first green roofs, and feels the project is bringing the community together. He’s seen Herne Hill changing over 20 years - his customers range in age from 2 to 92 and there are more young couples now, as well as
Around the corner from Boki’s Hair is Umana Yana Roti, “the meeting place of the people”, named for a place in Guyana. As well as being a keen supporter of green roofs, Deborah,
the owner, is an avid gardener who wanted to plant up the area outside her shop but people kept stealing the plants: “I planted banana trees and other exotic plants to make it tropical, but by the next morning, they’d disappeared. So this time we just put in some flowers, and they’ve stayed. It’s looking pretty now.” Shame on you, tropical plant thieves! (ed)
Harry, of Olley’s Fish Experience, has exciting plans for his green roof terrace. As well as collecting and recycling rainwater from the roof, he plans to have a beehive (with cameras and a live feed for local schools) and perhaps some chickens and a rooster. Also on
the roof will be a pirate ship - a recycled scene from Oval House Theatre which currently sits in his back garden. But that’s not all… In the railway arch behind the restaurant, Harry is putting a giant wormery to deal with all of Olley’s food waste, and maybe his neighbour’s as well. And if he does decide to put his feet up at some point, he’ll have a terrace for that, with a spectacular view.
THE EDIBLE BUS STOP ON ROUTE 322 On a sunny day like today, there is often a crowd of people at the bus stop. It’s not due to an unreliable bus service, however, it’s because this is the second edible bus stop in London. What started as guerrilla gardening has now developed into a community project, with more planned along the 322 edible bus route. Locals are keen to get involved as it’s not only transforming the neighbourhood, it’s also bringing a smile to the faces of those using the 322. For more information on how to get involved, visit theediblebusstop.org Elisa Elschner
HIDDEN GEMS STAR OF THE SHOW
A community hen house on Delawyk Crescent
Breaking fundamental rules in publishing
Photo: Jane Anderson
Star is back from solitary. Out in the main pen, she gets busy reasserting her authority. A jabbing peck here, a sly head-butt there, she lets them know she’s still top of the pecking order. For the Brahma twins, it’s a trip into protective custody. Their missing feathers and bloodied backs alerted us that Star’s matriarchal rule of the community hen house on Delawyk Crescent had tipped over into dictatorship. The other four hens know how to keep Star sweet. But even at twice her size, the twins, who lack her quick wits and social skills, are no match for her pint-size aggression and serve as constant pecking posts. Now they occupy the side coop where the top bird recently cooled her heels. The long-term solution to this feathery power struggle is unclear, but the twins look relieved to have a strong wire fence between them and their tormentor. Steve Tooze
Inside a secretive-looking building opposite Oval tube, is an attempt to break some fundamental rules in publishing. Off_Press, a not-for-profit start up with no experience and no capital, was set up to publish handmade books of poetry in translation at a time when everyone is watching digital skies. It’s just crazy enough to work. Low volume, high quality, marrying analogue (hand-bound limited editions) and digital (most titles come with DVDs), it’s an attempt to take books and new media into the 21st century without conflict or compromise. Marek Kazmierski, the man behind it, says “I’m doing my dream jobs – translating poetry, running my own press, and editing a magazine publishing writing and art by the unfree from all around the world (notshutup.org). But my dream life involves living far from civilization, writing novels and studying the future.”
Within a large Victorian house on Norwood Road, is the South London Botanical Institute, with London’s most compact botanical garden, a library with century-old books and a herbarium with specimens dating back to 1809. The SLBI was founded in 1910 by Allan Octavian Hume, a political reformer who, while in British India, was involved in the creation of the Indian National Congress, the party of Mahatma Ghandi that pushed towards independence. An amateur ornithologist and horticulturist, on his return to the UK, Hume became a patron of British botany, and continued to work on behalf of the Dulwich liberal party and supporting the Indian cause. For upcoming events and visiting times go to slbi.org.uk. By Rizwan Butt
THE SOUTH LONDON BOTANICAL INSTITUTE AND ALLAN OCTAVIAN HUME
Hume: political reformer, amateur horticulturist or ‘the Pope of Indian Ornithology’?
BEE’S-EYE-VIEW A giant solitary bee and a montage bee’s eye view appeared on two billboards in Herne Hill as part of the Green-Up festival. Artist Jonny Hughes, who created the work, said he liked the fact that “as well as showing positive images of urban greening, nothing was being sold”.
Illustration: Florence Hawkins
ISLAND GREEN by Mathilde Hawkins (13) Until 1912, Herne Hill was called Island Green. It was a hill covered with forest, leaving no footpaths for passersby. It was sheltered and secluded from the whole of London. Only one human being lived in this accumulation of woody perennials, willows and white ash trees. His name was Count Herne and he was a well-preserved, lonely, middle-aged man whose only interest was the wilderness around him. He had purchased the property and the land of Island Green in 1901 when he decided he despised the human race and wanted to live alone with nature. The Count lived in a grand manor in the middle of Island Green and every morning, at 5:30 am precisely, he would set off with his notebook to explore a different part of the forest. He would draw the birds, plants and large trees he saw. At 12:30, the man would walk up the hill and prepare a simple meal of home grown cabbage and potatoes. After lunch, he would have a nap, waking up at 4 pm precisely. At 4:15 pm, Count Herne would set off with his notebook and repeat the morning’s process. He would return from his wildlife watching at 7 pm, eat another plate of cabbage and potatoes and go straight to bed. Every day was the same and he was a happy man. He enjoyed his own company and the wilderness around him. It was enough. Then in August of 1911, the Count was sketching a blue jay when he heard a woman’s voice: “Is that a blue jay? Well it’s rather beautiful, isn’t it? My name is Melanie Willow, what’s your name?” Count Herne, who was gobstruck and hadn’t spoken in a number of years, managed to answer, “I am Count Herne and this is my land. No one is allowed here apart from me! Please leave now.” Melanie Willow ran off terrified but Herne screamed after her, “Miss Willow! Come back! I’m sorry!” They began to sympathise and Melanie moved in with him. She was now a part of Count Herne’s daily routine. They shared the same interests, the same life style, and soon shared the same heart. Count Herne proposed to Melanie and they got married alone in the forest. In 1912, the Hernes thought it would be a good idea to make Island Green a public forest. It was a great success and Count Herne decided he no longer despised humans. The mayor of London thought that “Island Green” was a peculiar name for the forest and asked the Hernes to decide on a different name. They named it “Herne Hill”. In 1915, the Council had to remove a lot of the forest because it was spreading too much. That same year, the Hernes had two wonderful children. Nowadays, the Hernes’ manor is the café at the top of the hill and there are still some trees and plants from his forest. The Secret Garden was his favourite area of the forest. Now go and follow in his footsteps! In honour of the Green Roofs project
THE NAUGHTY STEP COMICS The Meteor by Otis Grove-White with a contribution from his brother Sid.
REVIEW at the Dulwich festival
As part of the dulwich festival I tried different activities like spray painting where we learnt different graffiti techniques and in the end we sprayed massive letters of the word amazing. Also I did a silent disco where there were three channels which you could tune into and every one had their own headphones on so people were doing different dances to different beats. There was a orchestra playing kids songs too. It was great, I got to lead the group with a baton. by Dylan Loffstadt Hughes Baloney Ville by Hector Hawkins
Jokes by Hector Hawkins and Otis Grove-White. Illustrations by Otis.
Doctor, Doctor, I feel like a curtain. Pull yourself together man! Doctor, Doctor, I feel like a bridge. What’s come over you, man? So far, two cars, a lorry and a bus!
What did one angel say to the other angel? Halo. Patient: Doctor, doctor, I’ve got a strawberry growing out of my bottom. Doctor: Oh, I’ve got some cream for that. What did the mother bee say to her children? Beehive yourselves! What do you do if you see a spaceman? Park in it, man!
How can you use green, pink and yellow in a sentence? When the phone goes ‘green green’ I ‘pink’ it up and say ‘yellow’. Who did the vampire marry? The girl necks door. Why do bees hum? Because they don’t know the words. Why did the loo paper roll down the mountain? To get to the bottom.
JUST CURIOUS… Talking to Gary, the Newspaper-Egg Guy at Herne Hill market and train station.
There’s a rumour the Flower-Lady’s lambs, seen at the Herne Hill market, are going to start school…
Nafisa: How long have you had hens? Gary: I started off with 6 in the back garden 15 years ago. Nafisa: How many eggs do you get a day? Gary: Close to 800. Nafisa: Who is your favourite hen? Gary: Maureen (laughing). Cyrus: What do you like more, eggs or newspapers? Gary: Eggs I think. Cyrus: Who came first, the egg or the hen? Gary: That’s a tough one. I think you should go to Wikipedia for that.
Cyrus: Where did the lambs come from? Elaine: A place in Suffolk, where they were dug out of the snow on Easter Monday. Their mum was on top of them and she died, but the lambs lived. Cyrus: Where are the lambs going? Elaine: To the Ravensbourne School, a secondary in Bromley- so the children can look after them – they’ve got goats and chickens and rabbits there as well. Cyrus: Why are the lambs going? Elaine: Because they’re getting too big for my garden! And they need to be with other farm animals. Cyrus: What do you like better – lambs or flowers? Elaine: Oooh, that’s so difficult. I can’t tell you – I love them all, animals and plants and flowers – I love all of them. And children of course, they’re gorgeous!
LOCALLY SOURCED THE BOOKSHELF
Recent books by local authors Literature A Map of Nowhere Martin Bannister The Sea on Fire Howard Cunnell The Unpierced Heart Katy Darby The Purple Shroud Stella Duffy The Hired Man Aminatta Forna Vauxhall Gabriel Gbadamosi Clay Melissa Harrison Hurricane Butter Sophie Herxheimer King Death Toby Litt The Gospel According to Kane Courttia Newland The Courtesans Reply Shazea Quraishi Caposcripti Zelda Rhiando Umbrella Will Self Brenton Brown Alex Wheatle We All Ran into the Sunlight Natalie Young
brixton book jam
Non-fiction Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything Philip Ball The Rediscovery of India Meghnad Desai Bageye at the Wheel Colin Grant Lost London Richard Guard Secret London – an Unusual Guide Rachel Howard & Bill Nash The Time Traveller’s Guide to Elizabethan England Ian Mortimer granniesinc Guide to Knitting Katie Mowat A Greedy Man in a Hungry World Jay Rayner Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer Chris Salewicz Lost Lanes: 36 Glorious Bike Rides in Southern England Jack Thurston Young Adult The Alien Moon Alex Milway Ash Mistry and the City of Death Sarwat Chadda Dragon Racer Margaret Bateson-Hill Heroic Phil Earle Serpent’s Gold Samira Osman Children My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish Mo O’Hara Dinosaur Farm Frann Preston-Gannon The Dragonsitter Takes Off by Josh Lacy, illustrated by Garry Parsons The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs! Gary Northfield For help with the bookshelf, thanks to: Ollie of Herne Hill Books - check out his Lindy Hop classes in Brixton swingland.com & Alaistair of Rye Books - sometimes seen projecting films on the side of a van outside the bookshop.
BOOKJAMMIN’ ON THE SOUTH SIDE ‘brainfood’
Looking through the door of the Hootananny pub on a Monday night, you may not expect to see twelve writers going head to head with five-minute readings from books ranging from Gothic novels to gay romps. The Brixton BookJam is just one of the many treats available for literary aficionados south of the river: offerings range from regular open-mic nights upstairs at the Ritzy and poetry jams at the Half Moon pub in Herne Hill, to pop-up reading events at the Bread Room, Market House and Brixton Library curated by the Lambeth Reading Service. What all these events have in common is a fresh energy and an approach to the written and spoken word that is book-loving but not bookish and miles away from the warm glass of white wine and sea of blue rinses so often associated with literary events. Why not give one a try? brixtonbookjam.com Zelda Rhiando
THE NIGHT OWL Rebecca Holman
SOME VIRTUAL PLACES WE LIKE brixtonia.com Thoughts, opinions & general conjecture from London’s best bit brixtonpound.org The Brixton Pound: money that sticks to Brixton brixtonblog.com Local news website and newspaper brixtonbuzz.com Gigs and event listings camberwellonline.co.uk Camberwell and my life in it dulwichonview.org.uk Celebrating people and culture in South London Effra FC (flickr.com/groups/effra_fc/) Local photography meet-up handymanvoyeur.wordpress.com The Other Side of DIY hernehillsociety.org.uk Working for London SE24 hernehillforum.org.uk Creating a sustainable community in/around SE24 makerhood.com For local makers and local goods in Brixton, Camberwell, Clapham, Herne Hill and Stockwell loughboroughjunction.wordpress.com Loughborough Junction’s blog southlondonartmap.com A user-friendly guide to galleries in South London theworldoftlc.wordpress.com A Peckham-based blogger transitiontownbrixton.org Supporting transition to a sustainable Brixton urban75.com brixton based e-zine and message board since 1995 westnorwoodfeast.com On the first Sunday of every month, April to December
I could tell you about the trendiest (bleurgh) new places to go in South London - a speakeasy followed by a pop-up restaurant and a secret after-hours bar – but instead, here’s something really useful: three decent pubs a short walking distance from Brixton station. First up, the Duke of Edinburgh on Ferndale Road has a massive beer garden with bunting and hay bales - perfect for a muggy summer evening in the city. For something more intimate, the Trinity Arms, tucked away in Trinity Gardens, can get crowded before Brixton Academy gigs, but you sometimes find headline acts gearing up for the evening with a warm-up pint. Finally, if live music and plenty of atmosphere are what you’re after, check out The Windmill on Brixton Hill.
Photo: Mark Chilvers
J.W. GOLDSMITH 1931 - 2013 Wandering minstrel, dancer, jazz-loving free spirit and undiscovered artist. He will be missed.
Local community newspaper for SE24 and beyond. Focus this issue on green roof project from urbanwild