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PITCH PERFECT

DANCING QUEENS

GLOBAL RELATIONS

Football finesse at Dulwich Hamlet

Clubbing together in Nunhead

Local families captured on camera

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issue 10 august/september 2015

PECKHAM PECULIAR

SUMMER IN SE15 having fun in the sun page 18


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DEAR READER, WELCOME TO ISSUE 10 OF THE PECKHAM PECULIAR, A FREE LOCAL NEWSPAPER FOR PECKHAM AND NUNHEAD.

Pictured: Legendary landlords Mary and Michael Hogan (known as “Hogie”) pulled their last pints at the White Horse in July. Hogie, whose son runs the Duke of Sussex in Friary Road, described his 33 years at the Peckham pub as “wonderful”. The White Horse is expected to reopen under new ownership as a “food-led community pub”.

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR Editors Mark McGinlay, Kate White Production The Creativity Club (www.thecreativity.club) Photographer Lima Charlie Features editor Emma Finamore Sub-editor Jack Aston Illustrator Alice Feaver (alicefeaver.com) Contributors Lorna Allan, Katie Allen, Joan Byrne, James Fisher, Helen Graves, Dan Harder, Lucy Hunter, Louise Kimpton-Nye, Rosalind Knight, Luke G Williams Marketing and social media Mark McGinlay For editorial and advertising enquiries, please email peckhampeculiar@gmail.com Blog: peckhampeculiar.tumblr.com Twitter: @peckhampeculiar facebook.com/peckhampeculiar instagram.com/peckhampeculiar pinterest.com/peckhampeculiar

We printed our first edition in January 2014 and since then, we have expanded the paper’s reach enormously. We now have almost 150 stockists in Peckham, Nunhead, Camberwell and East Dulwich, which you can view here: tiny.cc/ppfindus Hundreds of local businesses (and some from further afield) have supported us through advertising and many have stayed with us over long periods of time, enabling us to keep printing the paper. Tens of thousands of people have read The Peckham Peculiar since we began and we receive about 30,000 views on our blog each month. We aim to appeal to residents old and new, so whether you’ve lived here for days or decades, we hope you enjoy what we do. One long-term local resident is Katharine Viner, who this year was appointed editor-in-chief of the Guardian newspaper. When she returned to London from working overseas last summer, she was kind enough to tweet us the following: “Since I’ve been away my old neighbourhood has acquired a community paper, The Peckham Peculiar. It’s really good, full of fascinating things. “I really like the way it’s in a range of places in Peckham, and the content felt like it reflects the breadth of Peckham life. Also I learnt a few new things even though I’ve lived here for 20 plus years. Bravo!” We always like to receive feedback and story ideas from readers. Whether it’s via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr or email, please feel free to get in touch and tell us how we’re doing. August marks two years since we launched our Kickstarter campaign, which raised in excess of £5,000 to help us fund the paper. Now it’s the turn of other local projects that need your help. The fantastic Peckham Coal Line scheme is hoping to raise £66,000 to help build an urban park along the disused railway sidings between Rye Lane and Queen’s Road Peckham station. Like us, one of their aims is to connect people from different parts of Peckham and Nunhead. If you have a spare pound or two, we feel it’s a very worthy cause. Turn to page 5 for full details. We hope you enjoy the issue. Mark McGinlay and Kate White

new concept for car park Organisations, businesses and individuals are being invited to pitch their ideas to turn Peckham’s multi-storey car park into a hub for creative and cultural industries. Southwark Council is seeking proposals for interim uses of the car park that retain the current building structure, with Bold Tendencies and Frank’s Café on the top three floors, for the next five years. It wants to find someone to manage the building and will focus on workspace for creative industries and other arts and cultural uses. Ideas could include workshop space for small businesses, affordable artists’ studios

August/September 2015

and food and drink places. Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “The car park is already popular with local people and visitors alike, and we want to make the most of the huge amount of unused space there and increase employment opportunities for local residents. “Although the site is still earmarked for development in the long-term, in the meantime we have a great opportunity to build on the success of the businesses

station square plans revealed A planning application to redevelop the area in front of Peckham Rye station is set to be submitted in September. Last month architects Landolt + Brown led the fourth and final co-design workshop, which was attended by local residents and traders. Some key design features for the site were revealed at the meeting. Plans will be drawn up to demolish the Art Deco arcade in front of the station to make way for a new public square, despite some people arguing that one or both buildings could be retained and refurbished. The new square will include rich planters and seating as well as a new canopy for local, independent traders. However, some were concerned that no trees have been included in the designs. With the Art Deco buildings in front of the station removed, the railway arches either side of the square will be opened up and could accommodate a café or bar, a new premises for TSB bank and other retail uses. The Art Deco block on the corner of Rye Lane and Blenheim Grove will be retained but could have two extra storeys added to create a community workspace and covered roof garden. A planning application is expected to be submitted at the end of September, with a formal consultation held in late September and early October. If the proposals get a green light, work will begin in summer 2016 and the scheme will take about 18 months to complete. Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “I’m really excited to see the plans to create a new square outside Peckham Rye station, but more importantly it seems local residents are really pleased with them too. “I believe the scheme Landolt + Brown architects have designed is exceptional, and demonstrates the positive involvement of local people through the co-design process. It really reflects Peckham’s diversity and unique character. “After years of discussion we now have plans, supported by the community, that will improve the area for everyone who visits, lives or works in Peckham.” View the latest plans at tiny.cc/prstation. To comment on the designs, email peckhamrye@landoltandbrown.com.

currently using the car park, and Peckham’s own developing reputation as a cultural hotspot, and create a really thriving creative community in the heart of Southwark.” Eileen Conn, coordinator of Peckham Vision, said: “We are delighted that the council has listened to local suggestions about the potential for more interim uses in the multi-storey car park, and look forward to hearing the proposals which this initiative brings forward. “The striking architecture of the building, with the spectacular views and the

resounding success of the summer cultural events and Peckhamplex cinema, add up to a strong case for keeping and reusing the whole building all year round in the long term. “The interim use of the overall building will enable the potential for this long term use to be thoroughly researched as the Peckham and Nunhead Area Action Plan (PNAAP) planning inspector said should be done.” An invite for proposals will be issued to selected organisations soon and they have until mid-September to apply. Following an evaluation process, a preferred bidder is expected to be announced in October. For information on applying, email matt.derry@ southwark.gov.uk.

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 3


NEWS

films in unexpected places The Peckham and Nunhead free film festival returns in September, with a varied programme ranging from zombie horror to family flicks. The 10-day event, which is now in its sixth year, will see more than 30 films screened at venues across Peckham and Nunhead, including pubs, parks, community gardens, shops, churches and bars. It kicks off on September 3 at the Ivy House on Stuart Road with a showing of Edwardian silent films from Gaumont film studios, which were

peculiar fact

Ice cream makers Rossi used to have a parlour on Rye Lane.

based near Dog Kennel Hill from 1904 to 1912. The rare films will be accompanied by live music from pianist Neil Brand. On September 10 filmgoers can watch a screening of Landfill Harmonic, a documentary about children living in a slum built on landfill in Paraguay. They learn to play instruments made from recycled rubbish and form an orchestra that tours the world. The film is about the transformative power of music but also poverty and waste pollution. Aptly, it will be shown in the studio space at the Veolia waste recycling depot in Devon Street, just off Old Kent Road. Other highlights include Pawel Pawlikowski’s Oscar-winning film Ida, which is showing at All Saints church, Blenheim Grove on September 4. It tells the tale of a young nun in 1960s Poland who is reconsidering her faith and identity. If you like a bit of zombie horror, come to Brick Brewery on September 9 for a screening of Return of the Living Dead, which sees two bumbling employees at a medical supply warehouse accidentally release a noxious gas that causes the dead to rise again. On September 6 a family day and street party at All Saints church will include a screening of animated children’s film Shaun the Sheep; and on September 11, catch 1980s cult classic RoboCop at Four Quarters bar on Rye Lane. A bike-powered outdoor screening will take place on Peckham Rye on September 4, and a ground-breaking 3D mapping event by students from Greenwich University will be shown in the chapel at Nunhead Cemetery on September 5.

The festival will culminate with Welcome to Busseywood, an event that includes an exciting line-up of films from the African continent and African diaspora, spoken word performances, Q&As and an African market. Films from rising stars Cecile Emeke (Ackee and Saltfish, Strolling series) and Shola Amoo (Touch) will be shown, as well as exclusive UK screenings of the award-winning South African film Bomlambo, The Summer of Gods (Brazil 2014) and Polyglot (Germany 2015). Organisers Vashti Henry and Orvil Kunga are

keeping the headline film and live band under wraps for now, but are confident that audiences won’t be disappointed. Welcome to Busseywood is on September 12 from 12.30pm onwards at the Bussey Building. The Peckham and Nunhead free film festival runs from September 3-13. For the full programme, visit freefilmfestivals.org Pictured: The Summer of Gods, directed by Eliciana Nascimento

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coal line plans move forward The Peckham Coal Line project has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise £66,000 in startup funds. The Coal Line is a design for an elevated urban park built on disused railway sidings and dormant land between Rye Lane and Queen’s Road. It would begin at Rye Lane and run for 900 metres beside the existing railway line, dropping down into Kirkwood Nature Reserve before finishing at Queen’s Road Peckham station. The team behind the project said two Peckham communities that are currently divided by busy roads and complicated one-way systems would become seamlessly connected via a calm greenway with space for walkers and cyclists. Like the award-winning New York equivalent, the High Line, the aim is for the park to become a much-loved landmark and a carefully crafted green space. The team said it will offer “iconic qualities” such as the red brick backdrop of industrial-age architecture and dwell-points with breathtaking views across the London skyline. Architecture student Nick Woodford came up with the idea for the route while working on a university project. After sharing the designs online, he gathered a small team of volunteer professionals to help create a long-term strategy. More than 500 people attended a series of walks along the proposed route in May, which is partly located on the disused Rickett coal line sidings. Community feedback will inform any future design process. “What we want to do is connect communities

and neighbourhoods,” said Woodford. “It’s essential that this project gets as much input and as many ideas from local residents as it can.” A series of public events will continue during August and September, with more opportunities to take a guided walk of the route during Open House London weekend (see page 10 for details).

The Spacehive crowdfunding campaign will finance an official feasibility study that will pave the way towards the build stage and facilitate further community engagement through public events and workshops. Donors will be offered the chance to have their names carved into the fabric of the Coal Line

foundation stones, and if the project garners enough support, it could receive up to £20,000 from the mayor’s High Street Fund. The Peckham Coal Line crowdfunding campaign runs until October 31. To donate, visit tiny.cc/ spacehive

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arch faces axe A local architect has spoken out against plans to remove the arch from Peckham Square. The large canopy was designed by renowned firm John McAslan + Partners and installed at the southern end of the square just over 20 years ago. However, following three co-design workshops that explored various options for the site, Southwark Council has decided to remove the feature to build cafés, cultural space and a mix of new homes. Architect Benedict O’Looney told the Peculiar he was disappointed by the decision, adding: “I am really sad about this decision as I think the arch, and the space underneath it is a great and eminently useful space for Peckham. “I just do not get why the council wants to densify and potentially privatise this public space when there are so many other potential building sites, in less pressurised settings, within a short walk of our handsome arch. “With the dreary open bus station just down

the street and the Southwark-owned open spaces behind the high street to the west, there are plenty of spaces to build new flats in central Peckham. Knocking down the arch seems wrong and wasteful. “The view from under the arch is really impressive – many of Peckham’s best buildings are lined up and framed by the gentle curve of the arch’s canopy. It’s a covered space that can be used and enjoyed by all locals and visitors to Peckham, no matter what the weather.” But councillor Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said: “The arch has been a part of Peckham for many years and we know that there are a range of views on whether it should be kept or not. “After listening to local residents and weighing up the options we have decided to remove the arch so that we can improve the square and have new cafés, cultural space and some new homes.

“We want to build on Peckham’s success and make sure there are opportunities for local businesses and cultural organisations to grow.

In addition there will be new council homes, with half reserved for local residents who are overcrowded.”

cocktails and conversation Local volunteers are hosting a new monthly cocktail party at Greenhive care home in Nunhead. Cocktails in Care Homes is run by Magic Me, an arts charity that aims to connect different generations of people to build a stronger and safer community. It links up people of varying ages through shared, creative activity. The cocktails project grew out of conversations that the charity had with residents of local care homes. It identified a real need for evening activities, as most events take place during the day. Last year the charity held 76 parties for 342 residents at eight care homes across London. Volunteers are mostly in their 20s and 30s and live and work locally. They host the party and socialise with residents over a drink. According to Magic Me, many residents enjoy having an event to dress up for and get their

hair done, nails painted and wear suits and bow ties for the occasion. It has also increased the communication skills of some residents with dementia. The first Greenhive party was held in June with more than 10 volunteers and 20 residents taking part. They run monthly on a Wednesday evening and the next one takes place in September.

going green One hundred planting kits were handed out to residents at an event on the Cossall Estate in Peckham this summer. The free kits included trays of plants and bags of compost to enable the many balcony boxes on the estate to be planted with flowers, herbs and vegetables. Residents also received expert advice and help with planting. The event, which included music and refreshments, was organised by the Friends of Cossall Park and Kirkwood Nature Reserve. It also marked the start of Growing Cossall, a new growing project on the estate that was also begun by the Friends. Following an award from the council neighbourhood scheme, the group purchased gardening tools and started work on rejuvenating the communal flower beds and generally making the estate look more attractive for local residents. Over the past two years the Friends have successfully campaigned for the renovating and upgrading of the football cage and planting new trees. They’ve also started an annual Cossall in bloom competition and have made many improvements to Kirkwood Nature Reserve. August/September 2015

peculiar fact

Volunteer Simon Richardson, 29, said: “Having no grandparents left and sensing that rootlessness that 20-somethings often feel living in London, I wanted to hang out with some older people. They have such perspective on things and you always learn a lot. “I’m new to Peckham and thought this would be a great way to find out more about the history of the area. The work Magic Me does is innovative and highly professional, but it’s also elegantly simple: by bringing young and old together they remind us how much we have to learn from one another.” Volunteers attend basic dementia and communication training. To sign up for an induction, email volunteering@magicme. co.uk. The charity is also interested in working with local businesses (particularly bars) and musicians, artists and performers.

A Roman road to Lewes began under some back gardens in Asylum Road.

peckham loves me

The Friends of Cossall Park and Kirkwood Nature Reserve meet once a month, usually on the second Monday, at 6.30pm at Cossall TRA Hall. If you’d like to join or receive further information, contact chairman Alan Glen on glenalan9@aol. com or 020 7732 1127.

A rare photo of singer Jarvis Cocker, taken the year before Pulp’s hit Common People stormed the charts, is featured in a new book of Peckham photos. Peckham Loves Me, by Steve Ball, captures local life in the 1980s and early 90s. The book is a personal diary of Ball’s time in SE15, from playing in his band The Psycho Daisies to visiting long-gone nightclubs such as Lost and Smashing. It also features the photographer’s close friends and family at various locations around Peckham, as well as a young Jarvis Cocker (pictured above) on the verge of Pulp’s breakthrough release.

Peckham Loves Me is published by South London-based company Jane & Jeremy. jane-jeremy.co.uk

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 7


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space for all Nunhead’s new community centre is set to launch on September 12. The Green is a new-build space with three rooms to hire, including a hall that seats 140 people. There’s a garden, a kitchenette and an atrium with café-style tables that will eventually be open access. The space is run by local group Nunhead’s Voice. It’s available to hire for all sorts of activities, from yoga and taekwondo to bingo, ballet and film nights. It could also be used as a base for local festivals and events. Various therapists will use the space and there will be support with getting online as part of the council’s digital inclusion scheme. It can also be hired for private events. Everyone is invited to a launch event on the afternoon of September 12, which will feature taster sessions and demonstrations. Local groups will also be invited to perform. The centre, which is located next to the Old Nun’s Head pub on Nunhead Green, will rely on room hire income and volunteer staff to stay open. “The aim is to have a really broad programme that caters for as wide an audience as possible,” said Jackie Clayton from Nunhead’s Voice. “We’re hoping it’ll be available to use for 90 hours a week if we can find enough people to help run it.” To volunteer or hire the space, email thegreennunhead@gmail.com

top theatre school plans peckham move One of the UK’s leading drama schools could be relocating to Peckham. Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts was founded in 1945 and is currently based in Wood Green. It has more than 400 full-time students, a further 300 enrolled on short courses and 120 staff. Mountview’s president is Dame Judi Dench and it has trained stars of stage and screen including Ken Stott, Brendan Coyle, Lindsey Coulson, Douglas Henshall and Eddie Marsan. Britain’s Got Talent judge Amanda Holden also attended the school.

If plans go ahead the theatre will move into a brand new facility on a brownfield site at Eagle Wharf, behind Peckham Library. It will house a theatre together with teaching, rehearsal and dance studios and community arts facilities. The venue will bring a host of educational, cultural, leisure and employment benefits to Peckham, including community drama and dance classes and productions, outreach sessions and community wellbeing and fitness classes for all ages. Councillor Mark Williams, Southwark’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, said:

“Peckham’s reputation for creativity and culture continues to grow and we are delighted to be working on this plan with Mountview to bring them to Southwark. “They are one of the best classical and musical theatre schools in the country and have a strong record of reaching out to the community to open up the arts to all.” Southwark Council approved the draft heads of terms in July and the theatre expects to have a lease agreement in place by the autumn. It will then go to consultation and planning in spring 2016.

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More than 70 artists and craftspeople will welcome visitors into their homes, studios and public places for this year’s Nunhead Art Trail. The event, which is now in its third year, will see hundreds of works will go on show, including paintings, prints, photography, design, ceramics, textiles, collage, glass, furniture, sculptures and sketches. A free guide to the trail will be available in local shops, libraries, pubs and schools ahead of the event, which takes place on September 19-20. The map can also be viewed online at nunheadarttrail.co.uk. Dick Graham is one of the artists taking part. He uses charcoal and Conté crayons to create large-scale life drawings, which he works on at Monday evening art classes at the Thomas Carlton Centre on Alpha Street. He also sketches smaller scenes that depict everyday life in south-east London and beyond. “I go out with my sketchpads and sit in Morrisons café and draw people there,” he said. “I did quite a few sketches of the anti-austerity march in June too.” Graham, who has lived in Nunhead for 19 years, will be exhibiting works at his home at 57 Athenlay Road. He will have about 20 framed drawings on display, as well as some linocuts and his sketchbooks. Graham has been drawing on and off since his teens and started up again three years ago after a 12-year hiatus. “The art trail inspires people to draw,” he said. “Last year several neighbours of mine took up drawing classes as a direct result of seeing my works.”

DICK GRAHAM

nunhead fills with art

Textile artist Louise Baldwin is also exhibiting at her home at 24 Reynolds Road, alongside contemporary basket-maker and published author Polly Pollock and watercolourist Sarah Christian. Baldwin, who teaches a textile course at City Lit, said: “Some of the fabrics I use are very ordinary, such as little patches of worn-out fabrics and clothes. Then I’ll often embroider

quite dreamlike imagery over the top.” Another artist taking part is Janet Johnson, who uses watercolour and oils to depict alpine scenes, skiing and hikes in remote places. She said: “I really want to transport the viewer to a place that they wouldn’t easily be able to get to themselves.” Johnson’s alpine scenes will be displayed at her home at 9 Athenlay Road. Her paintings

of horseracing events, including the Grand National, will be on show at The Man of Kent pub on Nunhead Green. Sculptor Randy Klein, who has worked with the community to create a number of public artworks in Peckham and Nunhead, will also be exhibiting again this year. Visitors can view his workshop and sculpture garden at 12a Athenlay Road. Klein’s new works the Immortals are on show at GX gallery in Camberwell from September 1-19. He is also leading a local sculpture walk on September 16 entitled Sculpture’s Space in Public Space in collaboration with the Museum of Walking. The event begins at Queen’s Road Peckham station at 5pm or Nunhead station at 6.15pm. A tour of Klein’s public sculptures will be followed by a panel discussion and drinks at Nunhead community centre The Green. Buy tickets here: tiny.cc/klein.

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behind closed doors Private and public buildings across Peckham will welcome visitors for Open House London in September. A must-see property is 15½ Consort Road, which featured on Channel 4 programme Grand Designs. Presenter Kevin McCloud joined owner Monty Ravenscroft and his partner Claire as they transformed a sliver of disused land into a family home. The small-but-perfectly-formed property, which was built on an “unusable” brownfield site with a tight budget, features ingenious space-saving ideas including a sliding roof and a bathtub hidden under a bed. Open House visitors can also discover more about the Peckham Coal Line project, which aims to create a new urban park along the disused railway sidings between Queen’s Road Peckham station and Rye Lane (see page 5 for more). On September 19 a talk about the project at 12pm will be followed by guided tours of the route on the hour from 1-4pm (25 people max per tour). On September 20 there will be tours at 10am and 11am and a talk at 12pm. The meeting point for talks and tours is the Bussey Building.

Other properties opening to visitors are the Raw House, a Victorian terraced home with an industrial interior at 28 Anstey Road, RIBA Stirling Prize-winner Peckham Library and Southwark Integrated Waste Management Facility at 43 Devon Street. While the latter may not sound particularly appealing, it is well worth a visit. The building is said to be one of Europe’s most advanced recycling facilities, with many sustainable features including a grey water system, solar panels and a green roof. Open House London is on September 19-20. openhouselondon.org.uk

boxing charity plans bellenden site A south London boxing charity has submitted plans to open a new hub on Bellenden Road. London Community Boxing (LCB) seeks to increase social cohesion by uniting people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds in a common interest, while improving health and fitness and building confidence, discipline and life skills. It works with harder-to-reach groups from areas of high deprivation, including young offenders and isolated older people. It also runs sessions for young mums and people with disabilities and works with schoolchildren with discipline and truancy problems. The new Peckham hub will open in the Bellenden Business Centre this autumn if it gets a green light from planning chiefs. The space will be the charity’s headquarters and will feature a fully-equipped boxing gym. It will be a membership-based community facility, with fees and classes capped at an affordable rate for the general public and subsidised or free provision for certain target groups in financial need. The hub will incorporate competitive squads’ training under the auspices of the England Boxing affiliated amateur club, and the charity’s team of qualified coaches will run the outreach programme from the site. LCB was founded by a diverse group of people who met at former boxing champion Clinton McKenzie’s gym in south London. The facility was located above the Half Moon pub in Herne Hill before moving to Tulse Hill. When the gym closed in 2012 they decided to build on McKenzie’s work and set up a boxing10 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

centred community charity. “We saw the impact that boxing was having on people,” explained chairman and cofounder Leigh Bruce. “There were people who used the gym with good jobs, and there were kids who saw it as a second home and didn’t want to leave when it closed at night. It was about bringing people from all different walks of life together.” He added: “People in communities get isolated in various ways. I’m 60 years old and there were kids in there who couldn’t look me in the eye when we talked, partly because they had never met someone like me. “I realised, these kids are less employable and lacking in life skills because there’s no proximity, there’s no habit of speaking together. Within a few weeks they were looking me in the eye and we were having banter.” Discussing the Peckham plans, he said: “We’ve been searching for a suitable site for a couple of years. All the founding members live in south London and we definitely wanted to find somewhere in this area. “I’ve lived in Camberwell and East Dulwich since 1986 and our CEO has lived here forever too. Another founding member who’s a trustee and does some coaching with us grew up on a Peckham estate, so this is our neighbourhood.” The Peckham hub will help people from the charity’s outreach programmes continue their training, said Bruce, adding: “It will also allow us to take a longer-term approach while earning revenue to become more self-funded and less dependent on grants.”

citizens unite The Peckham Citizens network has vowed to take action against a problem park that is blighted by shootings, sexual assault, drugdealing and theft. Peckham Citizens, which launched in November last year, is a formal alliance of local schools, churches, charities and residents’ groups that are working together to make a positive difference in Peckham. Six months ago the group launched the 1,000 Voices campaign, which asked 1,000 people from Peckham what they like about the area and how it could be improved. This summer they gathered at Rye Lane Chapel to hear the results of these conversations. They found the issues affecting people most were lack of affordable housing; employment, specifically getting your first job and returning to work after a child or redundancy; and debt, including access to fair credit, predatory payday lenders and where to go for advice. The fourth issue that was frequently raised was Kelly Avenue Park. Teachers from two local primary schools told how the space, which was designed as a secure area for children to play, is no longer safe. Janine Naylor, deputy headteacher at Oliver Goldsmith, said: “The reason Oliver Goldsmith

became involved with Peckham Citizens was so the children in our school could experience being able to change their community in a positive way. “They need the chance to see that they have the power and skills to influence and make positive contributions to society. The children are the next generation so if we want things to change we need to start with them. “Kelly Avenue is our neighbourhood park and our children are not safe. It is both our right and our responsibility to take control of the situation and make the park safe for all our children to play in.” Peckham Citizens will hold a founding assembly later this year to look at progress made on all four issues. Relevant people from the council and other organisations, who have the power to deliver real change, will be invited to the event. Rev Paul Collier, vicar and manager of the Copleston Centre, said: “We spoke to 1,000 people as part of our 1,000 Voices campaign to find out the real hardships that local people are facing. Now we know what’s top of the list for people, and can start taking real, tangible action to make a difference to people’s lives in Peckham.”

securing safer streets Peckham town centre has been selected for a multimillion-pound pilot scheme to make London’s streets safer for pedestrians. Transport for London will invest between £2-£5 million in Peckham and Tooting to redesign junctions, streets and pavements that will result in “major pedestrian improvements” in both areas. The project will begin this autumn, with an action plan in place by the end of the year. Following consultation and feasibility studies in late 2015 and early 2016, the scheme is expected to be delivered in 2017/18. TfL wants to encourage more people to walk around London, which it says will result in significant health benefits, reduced congestion and a boost to local economies. Peckham was chosen as a location for the scheme following data analysis of pedestrian casualties. Councillor Darren Merrill, Southwark’s cabinet member for environment and public realm, said: “We welcome any improvements that benefit our town centres and make our streets safer.”

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let’s get writing The Literary Kitchen Festival returns to Peckham and Camberwell this autumn, with more than 170 writers and performers taking part in a diverse programme of events, workshops, walks, talks and forums. The dedicated festival for writers and readers, which launched last year, aims to nurture new talent and celebrate creative writing practice. It also promotes the avant garde, embracing interdisciplinary and multimedia approaches. The festival secured Arts Council funding in June, meaning this year’s event, which runs from October 12-18, will be twice the size. The varied line-up is described as “dynamic, edgy, fun and highly participatory”. Highlights will include curated reading events, such as the popular Goldsmiths’ Lit Live and spoken word event In Yer Ear, 15-minute author talks, writing and drawing workshops and an expanded two-day independent publishers’ fair. There will be a daily flash-write that will encourage people to write spontaneously, and a daily walk and talk to help foster a writer community. The agent-led dog walk will be back

kids perform macbeth “By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes,” goes the famous line from Macbeth – and last term students from John Donne primary school put on a brilliant production of the Shakespearean tragedy. Year six pupils made their own costumes and props for the play, which touches on themes including death, greed and betrayal. Their performance infused Shakespearean language with modern-day stage effects and technology. Isaac Anibijuwon, 11, played Macduff, the hero who ultimately saves Scotland. He said: “Taking part in the production of Macbeth has made me feel powerful. I feel confident on the stage and want to show everyone

what I’m made of. “I would rate the performance as a nine out of 10. We’ve all worked so hard to make

by popular demand. A series of forums will address issues including how to overcome writer’s block and procrastination, and the universal themes of sex and death will be discussed at two dedicated salons. The festival is collaborating with Lit Crawl London to produce an exciting 15-venue event with buskers in-between on the evening of October 16. It will also link up with the Goldsmiths Prize to champion innovative fiction. Award-winning local writer AL Kennedy will give a reading from her brand new novel, which is published in 2016, and the festival will produce a limited edition writing map for Peckham. The festival’s first writer-in-residence, Thomas Darby, will establish a dialogue with the public using social media, outdoor hoardings and readings. He will create a new work inspired by these conversations that will be disseminated via the same channels. For the full programme of events, visit literarykitchen.co.uk/festival

peculiar fact it happen. I hope that our production of Macbeth becomes popular and that we can take on bigger stages in London.” Joshua Ellis-Carty, 11, was King Duncan. He said: “The most difficult part about the production has been remembering stage directions. I didn’t feel shy or embarrassed. I would advise anyone thinking about joining a production to just go for it!” Teacher Stephanie Davis added: “The teachers at John Donne are really proud of all of year six. They have done phenomenally well and worked very hard to put on this Shakespearean production. Taking on Shakespeare isn’t easy but they managed it!”

Golf legend Henry Cotton began his career at the local Aquarius golf club.

Pictured: the children in rehearsal

on the run a pet project Warwick Gardens is a popular park with dogwalkers – and now an artist has immortalised their pets in woodblock print. Abi Heyneke, who moved to Peckham in 2004, was inspired to create the series when she got her first dog, a shiba inu called Hachimitsu last year. “Having a dog has changed my life,” she said. “I had no idea she would open the doors to a whole new community. When you have a dog you can strike up conversations wherever you go and we have made many new friends, both human and canine. “We spend a lot of time in Warwick Gardens – the other owners are very friendly and it’s one of the best parks to meet other dogs in. It’s a safe August/September 2015

place for dogs to socialise and I love watching them all play – there are so many different characters.” Each print takes about two weeks to make and so far Heyneke has completed portraits including Ruby the wirehaired vizla, Woody the lurcher and Roxie the standard poodle, whom she described as the “grande dame of the gardens”. The Dogs of Warwick Gardens will go on show at Studio 73 gallery, 73 Brixton Village, alongside works by Heyneke’s friend and fellow artist Kaylene Alder. The exhibition takes place from September 1-13 with a private view on September 4 that is open to all.

Peckham Rye Parkrun celebrated its one year anniversary this summer. The first run was held in June last year and since then 1,674 people have taken part, running a combined distance of 25,520km. Parkrun is a charity that relies on volunteers to organise more than 500 weekly runs across the UK. The free, timed run is not a race and caters for all abilities. Those taking part can bring a dog or push a buggy round, and under-14s can run if accompanied by an adult. On June 21 Peckham Rye Parkrun held its 55th event (the group puts on extra runs on Christmas and New Year’s Day). More than 160 runners attended, with some baking cakes for all the finishers. Kevin Chadwick founded Peckham Rye Parkrun after training for the London Marathon in Peckham. Southwark Council funded the set-up costs after other Parkruns in Herne Hill and Dulwich proved a hit. The run begins near the Colyton Road

entrance of the park every Saturday at 9am and consists of three anti-clockwise laps of the gardens. The course is 5km long and takes in all the park’s best features including the lake and the Japanese garden. To join the Peckham Rye Parkrun, register first at parkrun.org.uk/peckhamrye. To volunteer, email peckhamryehelpers@parkrun.com.

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 13


SPORT

achieving goals SINCE GAVIN ROSE TOOK THE HELM AT DULWICH HAMLET FC IN 2009, THE TEAM HAS CLIMBED THE LEAGUE TABLES AND ATTENDANCES HAVE SOARED. The manager, who grew up in Peckham, tells us why he’s driven by the idea of social and educational improvement as much as sporting success

WORDS LUKE G WILLIAMS PHOTO LIMA CHARLIE

Away from the overblown circus of the Premiership, a football revolution has been quietly taking place for the past six years amid the unlikely environs of a small stadium adjacent to Sainsbury’s supermarket on Dog Kennel Hill. For much of their 122-year history, Dulwich Hamlet have been just another football club existing amid the cloak of anonymity that envelops most non-league teams. However, since the arrival of Gavin Rose as the club’s manager in 2009, they have enjoyed a meteoric rise, both in terms of sporting success and their local and national profile. Rose, 37, who was born and bred in Peckham, maintains a vision of football as a tool to aid community cohesion and drive social change. It’s a powerful model and one that puts many better-financed clubs to shame. Rose’s principles were forged during the countless hours he spent playing football as a youngster at Peckham’s Leyton Square adventure playground, an inspiring environment 14 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

that has positively shaped the lives of many a local youngster, including Rose and former England international Rio Ferdinand. “My family always guided me to think not only of myself but of others,” Rose explains, a sense of fierce and determined compassion evident in his voice. “The senior play leader at Leyton Square, Michael Charalambous, really encouraged me in terms of my career. He gave me an opportunity as a volunteer and then the chance to work officially at Leyton Square. He was an inspiration.” Rose’s experience in youth work was the spur for an ambitious social improvement project – the foundation of a local football academy named ASPIRE (Academic and Sporting Inspired Routes to Excellence), in 2002. The aim was to provide local 16- to 18-year-olds with the opportunity to pursue their dreams of playing professional football, while also furthering their academic or vocational education. “At the time, I was involved in Sunday league

football with the kids at Leyton Square,” Rose recalls. “A lot of them went pro from the ages of 12 to 16, but there were a batch of players left behind who were also very good. “I thought it would be a waste for them not to continue their football just because they hadn’t gone professional. I couldn’t see any other avenues for them, so we formed a partnership with Southwark College, the council and a local football club, and that’s how ASPIRE began.” By targeting players aged 16 to 18 – a demographic often neglected by professional clubs that usually sign or reject players before their 16th birthdays – Rose believes that ASPIRE, which is still going strong 13 years later, caters for a crucial and often unfulfilled need within the local community. “When I was 16, there were a lot of guys my age who would have flourished in a scheme like this, which combined sport and education,” he points out. “Maybe then they wouldn’t have ended up on the wrong side of the law, as some

did. Boys in this area are vulnerable and need as much inspiration and hope as possible.” Rose admits that the aims of ASPIRE have gradually evolved. “Our outlook on success is quite varied,” he explains. “When we started out, getting players into league football was the aim and we have produced quite a few Premiership footballers, for example, Albert Jarrett and George Elokobi, as well as various players in the lower leagues. “However as we progressed, we started to realise that getting guys through college and university, or giving them opportunities to work in the City, was just as much, if not more of an achievement.” While ensuring that ASPIRE thrives, Rose has also seen his own career flourish since he moved into football management. It wasn’t, he admits, something that happened by design. “The original idea was to help young people and their development in sport and education, not necessarily move into management,” he August/September 2015


explains. “But eventually it became clear that there was an opportunity to further my career and embrace a new challenge.” Dulwich Hamlet, for whom Rose played for a while, came calling in 2009, after educative spells managing Beckenham Town and Fisher Athletic. “Funnily enough, I remember going to watch Dulwich Hamlet about four months before I got the job,” he recalls. “At that point I had no idea I’d end up managing them! Anyway, it seemed like the club was just there, but nothing much was happening. I remember thinking, ‘This could be a great club, but it lacks direction.’” Rose and his team focused on establishing a long-term vision for the club. “It took a while to change things,” he admits. “We had to blood young lads through the academy and enable the players to grow. We also had to convince the supporters we were here to stay; that we weren’t just passing through like the wind.” Greater cohesion – with all elements of Dulwich Hamlet pulling in the same direction – was identified as vital in transforming the club’s fortunes. “There were a lot of different groups who all wanted the best for the club, but were trying to do it in their own different ways,” Rose says. “Collectively, the club wasn’t growing, so I mentioned at board meetings that we had to start working together. Meanwhile, my team concentrated on improving the playing staff and, as we attracted better players, we started to become more competitive.” Community development fuelled the club’s growth, both on the pitch and at the turnstiles. “We started a football in the community scheme aimed at five- to 11-year-olds,” Rose elaborates. “This helped us get a lot of parents to watch games, which in turn swelled attendances.

DUNCAN PALMER PHOTO

SPORT

“Once everyone could see what it was like with more than 200 spectators shouting and screaming their support, people began to like the atmosphere. I was told that when I started here attendances were an average of about 150, whereas last season I think the average was around 1,100. For two games last season we had about 3,000 and 1,500 was a regular attendance.” Statistics provided by the Dulwich Hamlet podcast Forward The Hamlet underline the value of Rose’s spell at the club. Since he assumed the managerial reins, Dulwich Hamlet have won 119 out of 216 games, while moving

up to the Ryman League Premier Division (six tiers below the Premiership) and finishing in an average position of fourth. Like every Dulwich Hamlet fan I’ve spoken to, the Forward The Hamlet team are unstinting in their praise of Rose. “Every single DHFC player who has spoken to us has highlighted two things,” they told me. “The quality of the training they receive, and the fact that Gavin is calm, thoughtful and incredibly knowledgeable.” Rose is also a football aesthete, with Forward The Hamlet pointing out: “He won’t sacrifice a passing game for points, which is extremely

uncommon at this level. You see that same style of play right through from the youth teams to the first team – many of whom are ASPIRE academy players and graduates.” Rose himself is disarmingly modest when asked to evaluate his successes. He admits that it felt “incredibly sweet” to win promotion to the Ryman Premier in 2013 after two near misses, but when pressed about his own abilities he emphasises: “I’m still learning and my style is still evolving. “I err on the side of discipline with players. Talent for some of these boys is second nature, so we have to zone in on aspects such as responsibility, reliability and being disciplined. The environment we are in shapes the way we have managed.” Having secured sixth and fourth-place finishes in his first two seasons managing the club in the Ryman Premier, Rose has been rewarded with a new two-year contract extension that makes his commitment to the club clear. Although he has admitted in the past that the prospect of management at a higher level appeals, for the time being, to the relief of Dulwich Hamlet’s growing fan-base, Rose seems content to reside at Champion Hill – an appropriately named workplace, if ever there was one, for a true local hero. Info: dulwichhamletfc.co.uk and aspirefootballuk. com. Listen to the Forward The Hamlet podcast at forwardthehamlet.com. You can follow local writer Luke G Williams on Twitter @boxianajournal. His latest book, Richmond Unchained: the biography of the world’s first black sporting superstar, is published by Amberley on August 15.

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DANCE

she’s the greatest dancer EVERY MONDAY A GROUP OF WOMEN GATHER AT A NUNHEAD PUB FOR A CLUBBING SESSION WITH A CATCH: THERE’S NO BOOZE, NO BOYS AND NO JUDGMENT. Our writer, a regular at the nights, explains how to stop feeling self-conscious and shake your groove thing WORDS KATIE ALLEN PHOTO LORNA ALLAN

Music is blasting out, the disco lights are flashing and people are dancing… but it’s 6.30pm on a Monday and everyone’s swigging water. Welcome to Dance Dance Party Party, the “freestyle dance session” that began in New York and has now arrived in Nunhead. Just like other exercise events such as No Lights No Lycra, or pre-work club session Morning Gloryville, which helps you “rave your way into the day”, the emphasis is on experience, community and letting go rather than doggedly burning calories. However, Dance Dance Party Party has a twist – it’s for women only. Simply put, a bunch of girls get together, plug in some disco lights and dance like mad, on their own, to a booming soundtrack that can vary from Mel and Kim to Destiny’s Child and Fatboy Slim. It’s like a club, but there’s no booze, or any other kind of stimulant. It also resembles a fitness class – everyone gets hot and sweaty – but there are no routines or shouty instructors. And there are no men. “If boys came it would change the feel,” says organiser Laura Brannagan, 31, from Brockley. “I would feel more self-conscious if the opposite sex were there – but that’s me talking as a straight woman. “There’s an ‘all girls together at the school dance’ feel that I like as well,” she adds. “It does feel weird to have no boys, but maybe you’re more likely to let go.” Regular attendee Sophie, 23, from Nunhead, agrees. “I thought the idea of dancing in a womenonly, alcohol-free environment sounded really fun. My sister and I have now been to about four August/September 2015

sessions and we love it. “It feels very liberating as all the women are different ages and dance in different ways, which makes me feel less self-conscious than I would in a club. It’s also great because you exercise without realising it and have fun at the same time, and I normally find exercise really boring.” Dance Dance Party Party was founded in 2006 by New Yorkers Glennis McMurray and Marcy Girt with the catchphrase “No boys. No booze. No judgment.” The idea was to replicate that feeling of dancing with your mates at the disco but without getting chatted up or the next-day hangover. Music of all genres is chosen by guest DJs, with requests taken from attendees. It now has chapters all over the world. Laura first attended the Vauxhall and Dalston DDPPs. “I always wanted to go to an exercise class with good music,” she explains. She first held her own DDPP night in an unused club space, and then in a New Cross community hall. However, the yoga class next door objected to “Lionel Richie blaring out” and they also set off the fire alarm after “making the room too hot”. Now they are based in a room above the Old Nun’s Head and no one complains about the music anymore. The organisers take requests via the Facebook page – and they will play anything you want, from 1940s swing to 90s hip hop. Laura says she tries to “build the pace” towards three good dance songs at the end of the session “so you feel sweaty and joyous”. She also tries to inject a little quirkiness into the mix – music can range from Tom Jones

to Iron Maiden and even Benny Hill. At my first-ever session, the soundtrack included Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins. The result was a roomful of women doing their best Dick Van Dyck impressions with huge smiles on their faces. On other occasions, they have played feminist anthems such as We Are Family by Sister Sledge and Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off. “We try to use tracks with empowering lyrics,” Laura says. The result is a communal endorphin rush you might not get while jogging round the Rye with your headphones on. A self-described “music snob”, Laura admits: “I didn’t expect I would dance to Abba in a room because I’m an indie kid, I never used to like pop music. But you lose your inhibitions, you realise how fun it is to dance to the Spice Girls.” And it is fun; more fun than you might think when faced with the initial terror of dancing in front of people. Without booze. Where they can see you. Admittedly, at my first DDPP I did feel like a massive, well, berk. It’s hard to shed that stiff upper lip when your dancing limbs are normally only loosened up by half a bottle of white. I found myself running out of ideas and falling back on half-remembered aerobics moves or Do the Loco-Motion-style arm gestures not seen since school discos circa 1997. But then, slowly, I stopped self-consciously shuffling and started experimenting a bit more. Before long, I was pogoing to Blue Monday and I didn’t care who saw me. There might have even been some “pushing the ceiling” and singing along to S Club 7’s Reach for the Stars. For someone who loves to dance but feels too

old and/or lazy to go to actual clubs with the young people it was fun, liberating and an effective way to forget about daily worries. I’ve been back nearly every week since. Gemma, 30, who travels from Clapham each week, says: “The whole experience is amazing. The group of women who come to DDPP are really friendly. No boys, no booze and most importantly no judgment is what’s it’s all about. “I love being able to dance however I want, whatever mood I’m in and come away from the class feeling brilliant – if a little hot and sweaty.” So what’s the best way to tackle the selfconsciousness? Laura suggests: “First, prepare to be really hot. Bring water. Wear any old rubbish, it doesn’t matter what you look like. Second, see how other people are cutting loose. “If you feel really shy, turn to the wall or look at the floor. Or come with a friend and suggest songs you both like via the Facebook page. Just remember, anything goes: don’t be afraid!” Radhika, who comes to DDPP from Bethnal Green every week, agrees: “Everyone feels like they’re being watched, but it’s not true. I think it helps if you’ve requested a song because then there’s something else to focus on, and you really do feel great when it’s playing.” Each class costs £5, with all profits going towards a fundraising cycling trip Laura is making for three charities: Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Breast Cancer Care and Ovarian Cancer Action. Dancing, music and it’s all for a good cause. What’s not to like? Dance Dance Party Party takes place every Monday from 6.30-7.30pm at the Old Nun’s Head, 15 Nunhead Green. Info: tiny.cc/ddppnunhead THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 17


LORNA ALLAN PHOTOS

PECKHAM IN PICTURES

18 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

August/September 2015


PECKHAM IN PICTURES

let’s get together WORDS JACK ASTON PHOTOS LORNA ALLAN AND LUCY HUNTER

Summer in Peckham means street parties, and this year we visited three local events to capture the community spirit on camera. Saturday June 6 dawned fair, something that Wendy Rother and the other party organisers from the Astbury Road Area Residents’ Association (ARARA) had been hoping for since they fixed the date for this year’s event. The party (pictured on these two pages) featured a bouncy castle, face-painting and bags of sweets and bubbles for children. There was a fancy dress parade, which saw Wendy come dressed as The Peckham Peculiar, a bake-off and disco music. Residents were invited to bring an international dish for their neighbours to share, and the food table was piled high with homemade food from Israel, Iran, the West Indies, Germany, Ghana and other countries. Wendy thanked Southwark Council and local companies Glassbuild and Guidetti for their support, adding: “The event helped our community cement new friendships and a wonderful feeling of cohesion. Residents are already asking when the next party will be.” On the same day residents from the Livesey ward in north Peckham welcomed 650 people to their Big Lunch in Leyton Square (pictured on

August/September 2015

page 20) – including the new Mayor of Southwark, Councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle. Barbecue food was cooked by local Jamaican restaurant JB’s Soulfood, East Peckham Children’s Centre provided entertainment for the under-fives and Montage Theatre Arts performed an electrifying dance routine for the crowds. Local resident Laura James, who organised the event with Nicholas Okwulu from PemPeople, said: “We would like to thank the residents and organisations who supported the Big Lunch, making it into one of the biggest community run and led events in Peckham. “The day went exceptionally well and was a success again this year. Some learnt new skills, some got life-changing information and for others, it was a day where local people met neighbours old and new.” On Sunday June 7 the residents of Choumert Square opened their street to visitors for an event that attracted some 520 people (pictured on page 21). The afternoon raised about £4,500 for charities including St Christopher’s Hospice. Highlights included a Pimm’s stall, quirky games, a tombola and a cake and plant sale. There was also a gospel choir, jazz and classical music. Organiser Rebecca Wilmshurst said the event was “the most perfect summer afternoon”.

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 19


LUCY HUNTER PHOTOS

PECKHAM IN PICTURES

20 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

August/September 2015


LORNA ALLAN PHOTOS

PECKHAM IN PICTURES

August/September 2015

THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 21


POLITICS

reporting from the front line KENNY IMAFIDON HAD A PROMISING FUTURE AHEAD OF HIM WHEN HE WAS WRONGFULLY ARRESTED FOR A CRIME HE DIDN’T COMMIT AND SPENT SIX MONTHS IN PRISON. Now, aged just 22, he has become an award-winning political commentator, producing ground-breaking reports about social issues and youth engagement WORDS EMMA FINAMORE PHOTO LIMA CHARLIE

We’re all used to hearing about political reports and academic research, but normally they come from stuffy government departments or the farflung rooms of universities. Kenny Imafidon is here to change all that. At just 22, Kenny has already produced a major body of socio-political research – a series called the Kenny Reports – and has become an award-winning, high-profile activist and political commentator. It all underpins his main goal: to make a difference in society. This could sound glib, even clichéd, but this young man knows what he’s talking about. A normal kid growing up in Peckham town centre, Kenny spent most of his time playing football and rugby and hanging out with friends. He soon became interested in social issues. “I just got interested in politics in general,” he says. “I decided I’d try and change the area 22 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

around me and increase opportunities for others – just find solutions. When I talk about politics, I mean causes, issues – I’m not into party politics.” While still at school, Kenny started taking on internships in places where he could see himself exacting a change: the Greater London Authority, the House of Commons and Southwark Council. He went from shadowing Jonathon Toy, head of community safety and enforcement at Southwark, to working with Harriet Harman: “It was pretty big, I was only a teenager.” He also worked with the director of regeneration at the council on projects such as improving Burgess Park. “I saw how actions can turn into results, even if it’s a slow process,” he says. “It was great to see things materialise.” Jonathon Toy was pivotal for Kenny. He says: “Jonathon was more or less my mentor – he gave me opportunities to meet the right people, like the home secretary, ministers, and let me share

my ideas. “We’d speak about employment, crime, challenging stereotypes. And he was paying me a wage, from his own pocket. It was really encouraging.” Then in 2011, just as he was finishing his A-levels in philosophy, politics, economics and history, Kenny was dealt a major blow. He was wrongfully arrested for a total of seven serious charges including murder. Four of his closest friends were also arrested. Kenny was held in Feltham Prison for a shocking six months. During his time there he fought for the right to sit his A-levels and became the first person at the prison ever to do so. Despite not receiving the top grades he’d been predicted at college, he successfully passed his exams. In November 2011, Kenny was acquitted halfway through the trial of all seven charges made against him on the directions of the judge.

Back in the outside world, his sense of social justice was understandably heightened, and he reconnected with his mentor, Jonathon Toy. He also met John Pitts, a professor, lecturer and author in youth crime, and began to expand his horizons. This was when the first Kenny Report began, which looked at how politics and economics affect gangs and youth violence across the UK. As part of it, Kenny used a case study – a young man called Harro whom society would perhaps identify as a “gang member”, but who would be described by his friends and family as a decent person. Kenny researched and analysed factors that would play a part in Harro’s life – over-crowded housing, unemployment, referral units, school exclusion rates, role models – and produced a series of informed recommendations. The results of the research were not surprising to Kenny. “I knew it because I grew up around it,” he says, August/September 2015


“but the academics proved it was real. “The idea was to bring academic research and facts together, and marry them with social research – helping people access information they wouldn’t normally be able to and giving it to them in a way they could understand. “The problem is that people do lots of research but it never gets seen. I want to inspire hearts and minds, in a real way – I don’t want to see my work just sit on a shelf somewhere. For me it’s about empowering people, giving them information, educating them.” The first Kenny Report was launched at the House of Commons in November 2012, almost a year after he was released from prison. He was just 19. Simon Hughes, then deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, hosted the event, and 150 people attended, including two chaplains from Feltham and Kenny’s proud family. “They were all really happy, especially my mum,” he remembers. When we met earlier this year, Kenny was just about to launch the third Kenny Report, entitled Personalised Politics. Thirty young people were involved, all writing different chapters on subjects including housing, health and education. Each young person worked with a mentor; experts in their field. YouGov supported the project by running a survey, and others offered help too, including filmmakers and website designers. “We had massive support; it’s great man,” smiles Kenny. “No one gets paid, they’re doing it off their own backs. They should all be proud of themselves, especially because none of them have written before – it’s a big deal.” Kenny says the thing that surprised him the most from this report’s research is gender inequality. “The way women are marginalised in

POLITICS

For me it’s about empowering people, giving them information, educating them Kenny Imafidon

our society, very subtly but in a massive way – the gender gap, abuse – that really stood out to me,” he says. “No one has ever talked about that to me before: that women are in the same jobs as men but not paid the same wage; that they’re not represented in the boardroom, not represented in parliament – everywhere. “I knew a lot about ethnic minorities and discrimination, but hadn’t seen before how women are often treated as second class citizens.” He says that’s exactly what the report is meant to do: open people’s eyes and become a catalyst for change. “The report is about changing people’s way of thinking,” he says, “and giving them a tool for campaigning. “A lot of us get shut down when we’re talking about issues and people ask, ‘Where’s the research to support what you’re saying?’ If your passion is gender inequality, then in that report there’s everything you need to start campaigning.” Speaking about young people and the vote, he says: “They don’t want young people to go out

and vote. I think it’s a conscious decision. I was never taught about politics, voting, registering, all that at school. “At private school, that’s normal. Why did no one ever tell me about voting? Why did no one ever tell me that I could be a politician – that it was an option for me? Education has a big part to play – politics should be compulsory. People should know their rights as citizens and as people to express their concerns.” As well as winning a steady stream of accolades and being named the UK’s top black student at the 2014 Rare Rising Stars awards, in 2012 Kenny won a three-year Amos Bursary scholarship to study law at London’s BPP University. “It’s SO much reading,” he exclaims. Not enough to put him off learning a new language at the same time though. “I learnt Mandarin, which was fun,” he laughs. “I chose that language because I really wanted to test myself, but also because it’ll be really funny in Chinese restaurants – a Nigerian guy speaking Mandarin. It’s nuts.” Kenny is also trustee and director of the British Youth Council, and a Bite the Ballot

ambassador. This year he set up ClearView Research – a consultancy producing accessible, inclusive, solution-focused reports, to enlighten and empower young people and marginalised communities. He has become a go-to political commentator, especially when it comes to issues around young people, featuring in and writing for mainstream media such as Huffington Post, The Independent, The Big Issue, the Daily Mirror and the New Statesman. Four of the London mayoral candidates have written responses to an open letter he published on Huffington Post. What’s more, in the run-up to this year’s general election he began a petition on Change.org urging David Cameron to take part in the televised leaders’ debates, which attracted almost 70,000 signatures. So what does the future hold for Kenny? “I take stuff as it comes, see what becomes topical,” he says. “The fourth report will probably be a long study, then I’m thinking of writing a book about prisons: I know how bad it is there. People think it’s a youth club or something, but the truth is so different.” Being able to look back on that glitch – his wrongful arrest and imprisonment – in his otherwise unstoppable rise to prominence, reminds Kenny of his over-arching ethos: “Whatever happens to you, you can come through the other side and be someone, do something with your life. “If you see something missing in the world then it’s your destiny to try and bring it. That’s what the Kenny Reports are about – turning big ideas into reality.” Download all three Kenny Reports here for free: kennyimafidon.com/the-kenny-reports

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COSTUME

dressed to thrill NEW CROSS COSTUME SHOP PRANGSTA IS STUFFED FULL OF SHOW-STOPPING OUTFITS, RANGING FROM CATSUITS TO CARNIVAL ATTIRE. Founder Melanie Wilson, who has dressed clients including Shakespeare’s Globe actors, Katy Perry and Prince Harry, says she’s passionate about helping young people break into the industry WORDS KATIE ALLEN

Halfway down the traffic-choked thoroughfare that is New Cross Road, there’s a door to a hidden world. Step through the rather forbidding, dimly-lit Victorian façade of Prangsta Costumiers and you are immediately whisked into a lavish fantasy. Chandeliers and a circus trapeze dangle from the ceiling. The walls are hung with mirrors, masks, helmets, wigs and glittering showgirl outfits. Wooden dressers and old sofas overflow with tutus, top hats, costume jewellery and pieces of armour. It’s like the court of Henry VIII meets Chicago speakeasy, with the ballroom scene from Labyrinth thrown in too. Through gaps in the floorboards I glimpse yet more piles of satin in the workshops below. Prangsta was founded by Melanie Wilson, who meets me for a cup of tea with events and showroom manager Amaya Dent. Their crew of costume designers, makers, apprentices and assistants turns out some of the most in-demand costumes in the business to hire or buy. The company has provided bespoke, handmade and made-to-measure costumes for events ranging from festivals and fetish nights to immersive theatre event Alice’s Adventures Underground at the Vaults under Waterloo Station. It also works with Shakespeare’s Globe on Bankside. The shop has attracted celebrities including Florence + the Machine, The White Stripes, Suki Waterhouse, Katy Perry, Daisy Lowe and the Branson offspring. Even Prince Harry has been dressed by Melanie and her team. Melanie recalls how when the young royal turned up at the shop with his bodyguards, he narrowly avoided disaster when rubble from building works above fell onto the pavement outside. “He was very nice,” she says. “He told me not to kneel down to do up his shoes. I do up everyone’s shoes!” A former trapeze artist, Melanie took over the shop 17 years ago, at first effectively squatting in the rundown building. A graduate of Central St Martins, where she studied fine tailoring, she came out of university disillusioned with the wastefulness of the industry. She’d already accumulated a vintage fashion collection and began making garments out of surplus fabrics and rags, market finds and gifted clothing – “crafting beautiful things out of scraps”, as Amaya puts it. Spotting a “gap in the market” for unique costumes, she began selling vintage clothes and outfits out of the shop. “It was just this shop, then two, then Deptford [a large studio where many of Prangsta’s creations are made]. Now people come from all over the world to work here,” she says. Prangsta’s costumes are unique in that they are all handmade, created from restored, reused and recycled vintage clothes and fabrics. “We pride ourselves on our craftsmanship,” Melanie says. Clients can be styled in Prangsta’s huge collection of costumes or have something specially made for them. Melanie’s own favourite styles include the 1920s (which enjoyed a huge revival following the 2013 Great Gatsby film) and 24 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

the “elaborate and ornate” costumes of the 18th century. She shows off a beautiful silk catsuit complete with a bejewelled corset, and pulls out a fabulous hand-beaded harlequin outfit with a horned headpiece. Designed for performance artist Le Pustra, it took “five or six people weeks to make”. Other popular costumes include the Midsummer Night’s Dream collection of forest fairies and animals; the Mexican Day of the Dead; Alice in Wonderland and, of course, Gatsby. For men, 18th-century frock coats, pirates and matadors are always sought after styles. Melanie, who wants to make more bespoke outfits for clients and has recently been working on a 1920s wedding dress, says she is “proud that our stuff is made by hand in England”. Prangsta is also dedicated to helping young people break into what can be an exclusive industry. “We’re creating a space for young people wanting to work in costume. We have an apprenticeship scheme, and we don’t demand [that applicants have] degrees, so we get a wide variety of makers,” Melanie says. “If you only have rich kids [in fashion] it’s less interesting.” The Prangsta team currently have four apprentices and also run 10-week affordable fashion courses in their Deptford workshops. They are considering trying to get Arts Council funding: “We do a lot that opens doors for the local community.” Melanie is also interested in setting up a social enterprise, inspired by the beneficial, meditative effects of sewing and “creating things, especially from something that’s been discarded”. There are further big plans for the future, she tells me. Prangsta has begun diversifying into different business ventures – boosting revenue outside of the boom periods such as Valentine’s Day, Christmas, festival season and Halloween (“when you can’t move in the shop”). They are taking their Travelling Boudoir to Oxfordshire’s Wilderness Festival this August to provide revellers with “a dash of wildness and a slug of opulent charm”. As well as festivals, they often provide costumes for events such as celebrity birthday parties and masked balls. They also use their own fantastical space to host life-drawing classes with the Bohemian Artists’ Studio, extraordinary music events and decadent hen parties. The space is always in demand for photo shoots, filming and pop-ups, and was recently used as the set of an adult film. “[The actors] had a lot to take off”, says Amaya dryly. The duo are at pains to add that “whoever they are we can dress them. We do high end events with celebrities but on World Book Day we get all the Lewisham kids in too. We have a very broad range of customers and that’s important.” While Prangsta offers complete styling and bespoke costumes for events, there is no need to feel shy if a full showgirl or Prince Charming outfit aren’t quite for you. “If you’re timid you can just wear a hat,” Amaya says, although she thinks that dressing up can be addictive. “Once people come here, they come again,” she explains. “Everyone needs an excuse to dress up.” August/September 2015


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KARAOKE

rocking the mic YOU’LL HEAR A WHOLE RANGE OF RENDITIONS AT CANAVAN’S LEGENDARY SUNDAY KARAOKE, FROM DOLLY PARTON TO JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE. But as Denisha Anderson discovered while making a film about the night, for some it’s a weekly ritual that goes far beyond just singing WORDS EMMA FINAMORE PHOTO LIMA CHARLIE

We’re heading off Rye Lane and down a narrow corridor familiar to many Peckham residents, young and old, with an impassioned (if ever so slightly out of tune) rendition of a 90s powerballad ringing in our ears. This is the opening shot from The Ballad of Rye Lane – a short film that documents and celebrates the weird and wonderful world of karaoke; specifically the regular Sunday night slot at Canavan’s. The mini-doc is the work of filmmaker Denisha Anderson, 26, and Camberwell College of Arts graduate Amy Garcia-Brooks, 25, who met while working at the Bussey Building just down the road. One night they went to Canavan’s to celebrate a friend’s birthday and chanced upon the Sunday night karaoke evening. “We just looked at each other and thought, ‘This is it!’” remembers Denisha. Something about the ceremony and ritual of people coming together every week, to lose their inhibitions and express themselves through song, caught their imaginations, and so began a series of visits to the karaoke night. Every Sunday, for months, Denisha and Amy would work at the Bussey Building until seven or 8am, head home to steal some sleep, and then get up in the dark to go to Canavan’s. At first these recces were camera-less, to get a feel of what they wanted to film and meet the regulars. Denisha says they came across “a few tough cookies”, but that they soon became part of the furniture. “It was like Cheers, where everybody knows your name,” she says. Mike and Linda, who run the karaoke sessions, are “literally royalty in the karaoke circuit”, says 26 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

Denisha. The pair go out of their way to treat every singer with the same enthusiasm and respect as the next, and this democratic approach is one that comes across strongly in the film. “Mike makes everybody feel like a star,” says Amy. Singing in front of an audience is also seemingly a great tonic for the soul. “The thing about karaoke is you’ve already bared it all, you’re already open and honest,” says Amy. Denisha agrees. “There’s no judgement – people are just there for the craic.” In the film, Mike and Linda reflect on how coming to karaoke has had a real impact on some of the regulars. “You can see the change in people,” says Mike. One man, called Dave, has apparently come out of his shell since starting to sing. “I’m a romantic. Well, it’s to do with love isn’t it?” he tells the camera, after crooning away to Love is in the Air. Another regular, Blakey, performs All Saints’ Pure Shores. “It’s great, it’s a good feeling, you know? Good energy. People hearing what I have to say or sing,” he says. Blakey has obviously been through a rough patch, but has been helped by the Sunday night slot at Canavan’s. “For about five months after I came out of hospital I was a bit shaky at first, I was really nervous,” he says. “The old Blakey ain’t back yet, probably about 60 per cent back. It [singing] kind of helps get rid of all the stress… I can just let it all out on the mic.” Georgia, a young woman, enjoys the feel-good factor of karaoke. “Last time I came here was the first time I sang, and I met loads of lovely people,” she says. “It doesn’t matter whether somebody’s good or bad, there’s always dancing.”

Another singer says: “It’s a friendly atmosphere, and I don’t think anyone takes it particularly seriously here. Um, no, that’s not true. A great deal of people do take it seriously but it’s not so serious an environment: if you literally just want to get up and have a go, you don’t feel judged or mocked.” Julie, who comes to Canavan’s with her daughter – a serial Boyzone crooner – in tow, also sings at church. “Sunday’s the best night of my life, we have a lovely time hearing all the lovely voices,” she says. “Singing is my pride and joy.” Julie’s clearly a firm favourite with everyone. “She signs up for five songs a night, and she actually gets to do them; I don’t think anyone gets that treatment,” laughs Denisha. One of the messages that comes across loud and clear while watching the film is the way that Canavan’s karaoke nights bring together a diverse group of people from the area. Denisha tells me: “We wanted to get across the community of it all. Connecting, people genuinely asking how you are… it’s a little hub. There aren’t many places like that in London.” As one regular tells the camera: “I absolutely love how there’s no discrimination against age, you know? We’ve got people from four years old to 90. You go to a nightclub and people either feel too young or too old. You don’t get that with karaoke.” A friend interrupts her: “There’s no discrimination, against anybody.” Footage seems to back up this claim: shots of the crowd show a mix of people who would rarely be seen together at the same clubs – or anywhere, to be honest. Karaoke fans of all ages and demographics

laugh, dance, and drink together, while in one shot an elderly looking (but energetic) woman and a young guy clutching a pint take a group selfie. It provides a rare chance for people to get to know others they wouldn’t normally spend time with. Alex, who tells us, “I’m 72 you know!” used to hang out at Ronnie Scott’s: “No one takes any notice of me at this age, except when I’m singing – the best feeling in the world. I’m elated.” He loves the young people and the energy they bring to the club. When the documentary was finally cut, edited and complete, Denisha and Amy held a premier at Canavan’s. They admit they were a little nervous, as they’d become friends with so many of their subjects. But they needn’t have worried: “Everyone was so chuffed,” says Denisha. When we meet, both women are about to head off out of the country on separate projects, but there are plans to collaborate again. Denisha is also working on a follow-up to another film she made four years ago. She’s keeping the subject under wraps for now, but tells me it’s about “an element of British society that’s rapidly disappearing”. At least karaoke looks like it’s safe from extinction, and in south-east London, Canavan’s – along with the people of Peckham – is one place that’s keeping it very much alive. Watch The Ballad of Rye Lane at tiny.cc/canavans. Denisha (pictured above) is currently looking for filmmakers, poets and bands to take part in her Forum London event on September 9, 6.30-11pm, at Rye Wax in the Bussey Building basement. To get involved, visit facebook.com/TheForumLDN August/September 2015


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“STUDENTS IN ALL YEAR GROUPS ARE CURRENTLY MAKING BETTER THAN EXPECTED PROGRESS AND THEIR ATTAINMENT IS ABOVE AVERAGE.”

YEAR 6 OPEN MORNINGS The students and staff at HAB would like you to join us for one of our Year 6 open events this autumn, where you can find out how we can help your daughter… • Make a smooth transition from primary to secondary school. • Achieve her full potential and the greatest levels of academic success. • Set high expectations for herself as she develops into a confident young woman.

Open Mornings:

Open Evening:

Saturday Open Morning:

Every day from Monday 14th September to Friday 18th September. Tour at 10.00am and Principal’s presentation at 10.45am

Wednesday 23rd September from 5.30pm until 7.30pm, including Principal’s presentation at 6.00pm and 7.00pm

Saturday 26th September from 10.00am until 12.00pm, including Principal’s presentation at 10.30am and 11.30am

Your visit will include a tour with students, a chance to experience our lessons and the opportunity to ask me, my staff and our students anything you wish. There is no need to register, but please do contact me if you have any questions.

Alan Dane, Principal T: 020 7237 9316  @habprincipal E: principal@harrisbermondsey.org.uk

Also, please contact us if you are looking for a Year 7 space for September. 55 Southwark Park Road, London SE16 3TZ www.harrisbermondsey.org.uk


“Behaviour is outstanding.”

“STUDENTS ARE SPIRITED, ENERGETIC, COURTEOUS AND WELL MANNERED.” “PARENTS GREATLY APPRECIATE THE CARE THAT IS PROVIDED FOR THEIR CHILDREN.” “THE ACADEMY IS AN EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF A HARMONIOUS LEARNING COMMUNITY.”

OUTSTANDING IN EVERY CATEGORY

OFSTED, MARCH 2015


CULTURE

the world in one city RENOWNED PHOTOGRAPHER CHRIS STEELE-PERKINS HAS SNAPPED EVERYONE FROM PUNKS TO PRIME MINISTERS DURING HIS ILLUSTRIOUS CAREER. Now he’s working on an exciting new project to document London families from all 196 countries of the world, and is looking for local people to take part

WORDS KATE WHITE PHOTOS CHRIS STEELE-PERKINS

East Dulwich resident Chris Steele-Perkins has spent decades documenting changing Britain. His diverse subject matter has ranged from 1970s reggae clubs in Wolverhampton to Margaret Thatcher; and from women’s refuges to stately homes, rural life in north-east England, squatters in Belfast, Blackpool beach and portraits of centenarians. He has published books including England, My England, The Pleasure Principle and Afghanistan, which documented everyday life in the country just as the Taliban were taking hold. The Spectator described the photos as “astonishingly beautiful”. His latest project is all about London – recording the capital’s changing identity on camera by photographing families from all 196 UN-recognised countries. “Everybody is in August/September 2015

London,” he explains. “The whole world is in one city. The 2011 census found that 37 per cent of London’s residents were born outside the UK. We’re creating the city of the future and it’s extraordinarily exciting.” Chris was born in Burma in 1947 and moved to England aged two to a small seaside town in Somerset. “Over the years my work has looked at the broader issues of identity and what it means to be British,” he says. “I imagine it’s been driven by my own sense of wondering about that myself. Up until the 1950s, ‘English’ meant white Anglo-Saxon essentially, but in my lifetime there’s been this really quite dramatic change.” Many of his subjects identify themselves as Londoners, as opposed to English or British, he

says. “When you think about it, you’re talking about a city that’s bigger than a lot of countries, population-wise. “It’s almost like a return to the idea of a city state, which I thought was interesting. I kind of think of myself in that way to be honest – I don’t not see myself as British, but I identify more intensely with being a Londoner.” Each family is photographed in their homes and each experience is very different. “Everybody’s friendly because they’ve all agreed to the project, but some people want to feed you and ply you with drink, while others are more formal,” Chris says. “Some families like to pile in as many people as they can – cousins, second cousins, boyfriends and girlfriends, whereas others have just been two people. It’s a small snapshot into

all these little worlds that are linked together by this one big city.” Single families often hail from several different countries. He has photographed a Polish man and his Belarusian wife, and a Greek mother whose son is half-Nigerian. Chris himself will appear in one of the portraits alongside his Japanese wife. “It’s very mixed up and multicultural and it’s shown me just how deeply interwoven we all are,” he says. “It’s also a point in history. London is becoming the capital of the world and I want to make a record of it now, while it’s happening.” Chris has photographed about 75 nationalities so far and is looking for more local families to take part. Email newbritish21stcentury@gmail.com to get involved. THE PECKHAM PECULIAR / 31


FOOD

meet uncle charlie SIT YOURSELF DOWN AT UNCLE CHARLIE’S STALL IN COPELAND PARK AND ENJOY THE MOUTH-WATERING HOMEMADE MENU OF SMOKY JERK CHICKEN, RICE AND PEAS, FRIED PLANTAINS, GRAVY, SALTFISH AND MORE. You might even get to help him do the cooking, too WORDS HELEN GRAVES PHOTO LIMA CHARLIE

Uncle Charlie is, I think it’s fair to say, one of a kind. I turned up at his food stall in Copeland Park one afternoon, completely unannounced, to find him fully immersed in doing his “thing”. This is a man who knows a lot of people. Barely a few minutes pass between his calling out to someone walking past, or them shouting over to him, “Hey! Charlie! Sort us out with some food will ya?” or, “Charlie! You’re the boss! How you doing mate?” Regulars come and go, parking themselves on the collection of random chairs he has arranged at the front of his stall. I sit there myself, listening to Uncle Charlie’s reggae music as he busies himself amongst the pots and pans, stirring gravy, chopping salad and flipping chicken on the grill. When it starts to rain, he beckons me under the cooking canopy to take shelter. He is, in short, in the business of hospitality. He looks after people; he feeds them and then he makes friends with them. There is some confusion, at first, over the sort of food Uncle Charlie is cooking. The perimeter of the stall is decorated with Jamaican flags you see, but inside, there’s a string of others representing various European countries. I find out later that our Charlie is Congolese, so I ask him, is he serving African food or is it, as the flags suggest, Caribbean? “I cook all food!” he exclaims enthusiastically. “I can cook any food in the world. Mexican food, Italian food, French food, Indian food. “On this stall here I am cooking sea bass, 32 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

jerk chicken and saltfish. I have salad, I have everything. Here we have rice and peas, we have lamb curry. I am not picking this up from anybody, I am using my own imagination.” Eventually we agree that he is cooking food with some Caribbean influences, but he also leaves himself free rein to take things in whichever direction he wants. It becomes clear that Uncle Charlie is a man who marches to the beat of his own drum. “I’ve never seen nobody’s menu or recipe”, he nods. “I’ve been doing this job since before I came to this country. I’ve been up and down, up and down, and I have experience. That’s why my food is so delicious.” So when did he come to the UK and why? “I’ve been living in this country for 28 years. I’ve been doing this job [cooking] since before Mrs Thatcher, and I came here like anybody else comes, to look for life! To look for a better life, as simple as that.” Charlie started his food stall in Hackney before moving to Peckham. What does he think of it? “Peckham is very good, Peckham is becoming posh,” he says. “When you used to come up here in the street you used to hear bad boys. Now? The more I see good people. I really like it.” He asks me if I want to eat, which of course, I do. He sets down a table in front of an old leather armchair, followed by a box of paper napkins and a knife and fork. Pots are dipped into; first rice and peas, followed by jerk chicken, fried plantains, gravy and salad. The plate is absolutely piled with food – a

hugely generous portion, the like of which I have seen flying out to other customers. The jerk chicken, Charlie tells me, is marinated with a special herb. Obviously, he doesn’t want to tell me his secret recipe, so I ask him if it contains scotch bonnets and, unusually for a jerk chicken marinade, it doesn’t. “I put it in my rice and peas instead, although I don’t break it, because the people, they don’t tend to like it too hot.” The jerk chicken is well cooked, with tender meat and a very crisp skin. In fact it has a crust, which is intensely savoury. The gravy on top is sticky, sweet, dark and rich with onions. The rice and peas are satisfying and perfumed with thyme and chilli. He’s right though, it’s not what you’d expect from a regular Caribbean takeaway – the chicken is super-smoky, but it doesn’t taste like regular jerk. His hot sauce is different again. A vast pot of it sits to one side; bright orange in colour. It looks, I’ll be honest, slightly daunting, but Charlie encourages a taste from the tine of a small wooden fork. He’s right – it’s hot, but not help-me-now painful. “This one has garlic, spring onions, carrots, olive oil, tomato,” he tells me. “This is not a Jamaican chilli sauce, no no no, this is different, this is flavour. It’s not like RAAR!” He is keen to point out, too, that everything on the stall is made by him, from scratch. “I always cook fresh food,” he says. “It’s rare that you see people cooking in front of people.

“When you go to eat somewhere, it might be packed, they get it out, they give it to you. When I cook my food, everybody sees everything. From the beginning, from A to Z. They see when I cut my plantain, they see when I cut my salad.” It occurs to me that this is a huge part of the appeal of street food; the fact that we are enjoying the theatre of the experience, relishing the show as we see our food being prepared and cooked in front of us. At Uncle Charlie’s stall however, the action often goes one stage further. He tells me that when things get busy, the customers get involved with the cooking. “Sometimes I serve 15 people in one go. Sometimes I serve 30 people in one go! I’m doing this just by myself, I don’t have no help. I have these customers coming to jump in and help me. They jump inside. Why? Because it’s too heavy. It’s too busy.” Charlie remembers orders in his head. “Why don’t you write them down?” I ask. “I can’t!” he laughs. “I don’t have time! They keep coming and coming. Then when I bring the food out, everyone says, ‘Wow.’” He claps and smiles at the memory. “People should just come and try my food. You never know!” he says. “This is real. It’s just good food. Near Peckham Rye, let them come try! Yeah! Uncle Charlie!” Uncle Charlie’s food stall is open seven days a week at Copeland Park, 133 Copeland Road. Follow Helen Graves @foodstories August/September 2015


These cola nuts are the karma and the cola in Karma Cola. They grow in the Rainforest around the Boma and Tiwai communities in Sierra Leone. The people who live there still use cola every day for health, wellbeing and friendship. And for a boost, like coffee. They also benefit directly from the sale of every bottle of Karma Cola. That’s what makes Karma Cola taste good and do good.

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ALL ThE CITRuS OILS ARE SquEEzED fROm ThE RIND, SKIN AND zEST Of ThE fRuIT TO ADD A zINg TO KARmA COLA. 12. BOTTLE 100% gLASS mADE Of SAND AND COmpLETELy RECyCLABLE. 13. wATER & BuBBLES. 14. CAp TO KEEp IT ALL IN. 15. fRONT LABEL fEATuRINg mAmI wATA ThE RIVER SpIRIT whO pROTECTS ThE pEOpLE IN BOmA whERE OuR COLA COmES fROm. ShE’S AN ANgEL AND A RASCAL. 16. BACK LABEL wITh ALL ThE ImpORTANT INfORmATION TO ShOw wE hAVE NOThINg TO hIDE.

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FOOD

ready, set, grow VOLUNTEERS AT THE BURGESS PARK FOOD PROJECT SUPPLY FRESH FRUIT AND VEG TO LOCAL CAFÉS, LOOK AFTER FIVE BEEHIVES AND HAVE JUST WELCOMED CHICKENS TO LAY FREE RANGE EGGS. They explain how working in the garden is a great way to meet new people – and everyone is welcome to join in WORDS ROSALIND KNIGHT

The honey from Glengall Wharf garden might be made in Peckham, but the air miles that go into each jar are astonishing. “To make one jar of honey the bees have to fly the equivalent distance of travelling to the moon and back,” explains Alastair, a volunteer at the community garden in Burgess Park. Seven colonies of bees buzz here daily, but jars of honey are few and far between. A small amount is sold locally but the bees are allowed to keep most of their hard-earned honey for themselves. The bees are thriving thanks to the garden’s many plants and flowers that are grown without pesticides. The greenhouses, tubs and beds overflow with everything from strawberries, tomatoes and salad leaves to pak choi, blackcurrants and courgettes. Some of this fruit and veg is sold to local shops and cafés including Persepolis and Café Viva. Other produce never makes it beyond the garden walls: “It’s always nice to have a wander and a graze,” says Alastair. As well as the bees there are butterflies, snails, frogs and birds making the most of the ponds,

wild flowers and forest garden. There’s also a resident goldfish, who’s actually a bit lonely and needs a fishy friend according to a sign at his custom-designed home – an old bathtub converted into a pond. The garden is tended by a team of dedicated volunteers who visit three days a week. They are armed with trowels, seeds and heaps of enthusiasm for this local food project. “It’s nice to spend time outside and I believe you should grow food locally,” says Annina, another volunteer. “But the best part is transforming places. Where there was once just soil and concrete, now there are beautiful plants.” Annina has been helping out at the garden since it was established four years ago, and now brings her young son to help plant, dig and weed. “It’s a really nice place for kids to play in,” she says. “It’s safe but it’s also quite wild and free.” For volunteer Nina and her family the garden is a way to meet new people: “I always loved gardening back home in Brazil. Now I have completely fallen in love with this garden – we come here every Sunday,” she says.

“We have lived in Peckham for 10 years but never really felt like we had a connection with others. Here we have met lots of like-minded people, we share ideas, make new friends – the garden has made us connect with each other.” The volunteers have a busy summer ahead. They’ve just employed the ultimate weapon against slugs: a clutch of 11 hungry chickens. The birds will be named and cared for by Peckham residents, who can in turn enjoy their free range eggs. The volunteers are also running workshops and events, from a children’s club to barbecues and sessions about wildlife, gardening and permaculture – the method of growing in harmony with nature that is used throughout the garden. Volunteers are always welcome and it doesn’t matter whether you have green fingers or can’t tell the difference between a herb and a weed. “Come along and get involved – it’s really friendly and open,” says Oli, who has just started volunteering. “At the end of each session everything is

divided up. Last week, we all took home some strawberries and baby potatoes and added them to our Sunday dinner – it’s so special eating something when you know exactly where it has come from.” Glengall Wharf garden is at 64 Glengall Road. To get involved with the project, visit burgessparkfoodproject.org.uk or email burgessfoodproject@gmail.com.

a piece of cake KHAN’S BARGAIN IS A PECKHAM INSTITUTION THAT IS FAMED FAR AND WIDE FOR THE SHEER VARIETY OF ITS GOODS. Here we show you how to make a Khan’s Afghan fruit cake, with ingredients that are all available to buy from the Rye Lane emporium WORDS JAMES FISHER

PHOTO GARETH SAMBIDGE

Khan’s Bargain on Rye Lane is the shop that sells everything. Its mass assortment of goods works because owner Akbar Khan, who originally hails from Afghanistan, has the magic formula for running a good shop. He is an excellent shopkeeper. Here at Peckham Refreshment Rooms, which I co-own, we make two or three trips to Khan’s every day, to buy ice, paint-brushes, printing paper, pens, plastic containers (my favourite aisle) as well as a long list of dry goods. Oh, the dry goods. It takes 20 strides to cover the spices aisle alone. There are four varieties of cinnamon, star anise from Sri Lanka, Nigella seeds from India and a huge range of curry spice mixes. As a chef, it is eyewateringly fantastic. I have been talking to Akbar about cakes and what they have in Afghanistan. There is a heritage of cakes heavily ladened with dried fruit, and the following recipe is inspired by that, with a strong nod to the British fruit tea cake. This recipe uses the best of Khan’s ingredients, including Medjoul dates from Palestine, Turkish apricots and Persian raisins. The dried fruit is soaked in cardamom tea overnight to give the cake a slight perfumed flavour. We serve this cake at the bar from 8am for

34 / THE PECKHAM PECULIAR

INGREDIENTS 200g dried dates, pitted and chopped 200g black raisins 200g golden sultanas 200g dried apricots 2 oranges, zest and juice 150ml of brewed cardamom tea 250g plain flour 1 tsp cinnamon 1 tsp ginger 200g soft butter 4 eggs beaten 50g golden syrup 100g dark brown sugar

busy commuters who grab a coffee and run, and in the afternoons with a pot of smoky Lapsang tea. Akbar is a fan, so it deserves its name. Here’s how to make it: PUT THE DATES, RAISINS, SULTANAS, APRICOTS, ORANGE ZEST AND JUICE INTO A LARGE BOWL. Make up the tea using two teabags and mix together with the fruit. Cover the bowl and leave overnight. PREHEAT THE OVEN to 140°C (fan) and grease a 26cm spring cake tin with a double layer on

the base and sides. Sift the flour and spices into a large bowl. Using a mixer with a beater, cream the butter and sugar together in a separate bowl until light and fluffy. GRADUALLY ADD THE BEATEN EGGS, whisking all the time. Beat in the golden syrup, then fold in the flour and spices. Stir in the mixed fruit and any juice. Pour into the tin and place two

layers of parchment paper, heavily buttered, on top of the cake. BAKE FOR TWO HOURS, remove parchment paper and bake for a further 30 minutes until a skewer can be lifted cleanly. Allow to cool completely in the tin. Once removed, wrap in parchment paper and tin foil. Enjoy!

August/September 2015


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Issue 10 of The Peckham Peculiar  

Read issue 10 of The Peckham Peculiar - a free hyper-local, community newspaper for Peckham and Nunhead. For all enquiries, email peckhampe...

Issue 10 of The Peckham Peculiar  

Read issue 10 of The Peckham Peculiar - a free hyper-local, community newspaper for Peckham and Nunhead. For all enquiries, email peckhampe...

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