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Small Steps to a Greener future

Crystal Palace Park & A town in transition


We go foraging for stories from our past, present and ... Books • Music • Food • Gardening • News • Shopping • Kids Fashion

Easy work Andy Pontin Hard work Annette Prosser

WELCOME to the Spring issue ...

Sort of work Simon Sharville Drawing’s not really work Karin Dahlbacka Alex Milway Gary Northfield Taking pictures of other people working is not very hard work James Balston Louise Haywood-Schiefer Jackie King Viveca Koh Jimmy Mould Andy Pontin Writing’s kind of work but not like lorry-driving work Jess Allen Laura Jane Clark Justine Crow Sarah Edmonds Mike Fairbrass Clare Goff Lucy Hopkins Ali Howard Jessica Johnson Jonathan Main Howard Male Chris Phyto Finola Tennant Rachel de Thample Laura Thomas Manish Utton-Mishra Sarah Walker Sue Williams Printing Contact Transmission Publications PO Box 53556, London SE19 2TL 07530 450925 @thetransmitter Cover Photo Alice on the steps of Crystal Palace park wearing handmade dress from Vintagehart. Photo by Jackie King

As the first green shoots struggle through the sodden soil of SE19, our first 2013 issue welcomes spring and celebrates a burgeoning spirit of ‘greening up’ our district. What Crystal Palace lacks in maypoles and Morris dancers, it makes up for in its embrace of new local projects and community initiatives which place green issues firmly at the top of the agenda. Beyond mere concern for the local environment, there’s a shift in the way people are coming together and organising themselves around single issues, rolling up their sleeves and becoming physically engaged in learning and passing on skills. The shape of things to come? A new pattern for local politics? As authorities withdraw from providing services, are we looking for ways to fill the gap? Does local food production and distribution provide a potential alternative to a food supply chain that has lost the confidence of consumers? The Upper Norwood Library Campaign and the new library trust, the Friends of Norwood Park, and The Transition Town movement are all good examples of this trend. We will report on their progress throughout the year. Stirrings rustle in the undergrowth of our neglected Crystal Palace Park too, with Bromley Council, the GLA and English Heritage joining other interest groups on a new Park Executive Committee. New sources of funding, a range of regeneration projects and new forms of governance are being explored. At last, hallelujah, the Crystal Palace Park is being viewed not as a problem but a social and environmental asset. These pages celebrate our beloved urban green space’s diverse interactions with the community, via volunteers, fitness fanatics, campers and dog walkers. We recount its rich history, reminisce about its live music and discover clever stuff about those guardians of the terraces, the sphinxes. Favourite regulars – food and drink (we know these topics are never far from your thoughts) – introduce foraging, local microbreweries and local food supply initiatives. Whether you enjoy ecology or history, activism or eating, exercise or ale-quaffing we hope we’ve provided something to intrigue and inspire. When you’re out and about supporting your local economy, please mention The Transmitter. Without our lovely advertisers’ support, we’d be reduced to a fleeting footnote in Crystal Palace history. We really want to keep The Transmitter a FREE publication but it’s not easy. Contribution tins are dotted around cafes and shops here and there: please drop a quid in if you can. Or maybe subscribe via our little shop site Every little alps. Enjoy Ed

Disclaimer The views expressed by contributors are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect this magazine’s editorial policy or the views of any employee of Transmission Publications. So there.

Contents Features Regulars Brown & Greens Our cafe in the station in the park


Take a Walk on the WILD side 10 Church Road comes of age Your Park Needs You 12 So get off your complacent backside


Save the Sphinxes 14 They won’t save themselves you know

Fancy a Forage 18 You don’t actually pay for food do you?

A Brief HISTORY OF PARK 20 Get educatid about you’re local histry

52 Crystal Palace Cookbook Don’t buy it, make it! Simple spring snacks 54 Palace Patch Heady aromas in Sue Williams’ bush 58 The Bookseller Jonathan Main really likes books 60 There’s a World Out There Change the record, Howard

Back in the Haze 22 When hair was long and health & safety ignored

Carry on Camping 24 Five years, that’s all they’ve got (Matron)

Young@Hart 26 Togs for sprogs


Ready, Steady, Go Go Go 32 Keep fit, live longer (more time for beer)

A Dog‘s Life 36 Pictures of dogs (and their owners)

Paws for Thought 40 Pictures of knees (and their dogs)

CHOOSING CHANGE 44 Eco-worriers


To Market, To Market 46 Foodies to the fore

Brewers droop in the LBA? 48 No way. We photograph some proud members

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By the end of March a group of youngsters aged 8-13 will be about to start editing their second film, having taken part in the Crystal Palace Film School, a course run by Catherine Eaglestone. The short has been written, acted, directed and filmed by the children, and includes their own musical compositions, as well as props and costumes they designed and created themselves. As if that doesn’t sound exciting enough, we’re told they have used real bows and arrows (under the supervision of local district Scout leader Liam Campbell) and even managed to shoot scenes at the old subway tunnels thanks to the Friends of the Crystal Palace Subway Group engineering permission on their behalf. ‘The course will be about the process as much as the finished product,’ says Catherine. ‘The aim is to develop independence and confidence by giving the kids the real experience of making a film themselves, using their own skills and imaginations’.

Crystal Palace Mumpreneur Suze Cook has created The Neo Practice, a new venture offering antenatal courses. Local classes run regularly throughout the year with bookings now being taken for April’s Welcoming Baby Number Two and First Time Parents. Alongside classes and webinars – which include First Aid, Sleepy Time and Baby Play and Development – sleep-deprived parents can also find support and advice immediately after baby’s arrival from Neo’s crack-team of specialists including midwives, maternity nurses, sleep specialists and feeding experts.

Next time you reach for the kitchen radio searching for something intriguing or informative to listen to as you chop the Sunday veg, go for the laptop instead and tap in it’ll be 20 minutes well spent. Devised and produced by freelance journalist Roxanne Escobales, this smarterthan-average community-led project aims to document SE19’s changes, through the varied lenses of its diverse inhabitants. ‘Audio storytelling brings an immediacy to a subject without the distraction of visual cues,’ explains Roxanne. ‘You get right up close to someone, their voice in your ear. It’s an honour to be part of that process of discovery for my neighbours – this area is perfect, full of characters and history.’ Drinkers in particular will enjoy the first in the series: The Publicans. Each subsequent podcast will focus on the voices of three residents. None will have a particular axe to grind (it’s not about campaigns or politics), just ordinary people telling extraordinary stories. The next subject will be The Rebels. Following that (and with The Guardian and the BBC both biting at her heels, time can be hard to find) Roxanne’s attention will turn to The Worshippers. Is that you? Do you visit the Greek Orthodox Church, or wear flowing white robes? Answer honestly, are you a Druid? Get in touch with Palace Stories to find out more about getting involved with any aspect of this affectionate new series. Volunteers with appropriate skills are most welcome.

For details of future courses or holiday clubs go to

SWINGING INTO ACTION If you love South Norwood Lakes as much as we do (and yes we do) you’ll want to help the newly-formed Lakes Playground Action Group sort out their rather under-loved playground so all our little people can enjoy it a bit more too. A survey is being conducted to determine how it is currently being used. You can tell the group how you’d like to see it develop by visiting @lakesplay @se19kids @PalaceStories 4

ALE IN A GOOD CAUSE Justin Hutton, manager at Westow House, mover-and-shaker with Antic pubs and regular triathlon and marathon man is driven. Just talking to him makes you feel a bit lazy. Currently considering buying and rebooting The Cambridge pub, he is about to run a 15k event and participate in the Tough Mudder (a 13-mile, 22-obstacle run of punishment devised by the British Special Forces): all to raise money for research into Parkinson’s disease (in memory of his grandmother). He set his sights initially on raising a grand, but the massively successful Westival event at a packed Westow House in January turned punters away at the doors and raised just under £5,000. Acts including The Love Birds, Herb Phelps, Mariachi Doritos (yes, them off the TV ad) performed to a most appreciative crowd. To help him raise more cash for this excellent cause, all you have to do is drink beer, have a laugh at some comedians or get some pals together for a quiz team at his Ale Festival at Westow House during Easter Weekend. No reason not to go folks. Helpline: 0808 800 0303

Anyone for Tennis? Sydenham Tennis Club is holding a free open day on Bank Holiday Monday 6 May from 11am to 2pm.



The Crystal Palace Overground Festival will be back with a bang this summer following last year’s fantastic success, when around 4,500 people turned up to enjoy the heady mix of food, drink and great live music. This year’s Festival will be from Thursday 27 to Sunday 30 June: the main events taking place in Westow Park on Saturday 29 June and around the Triangle on the Sunday. Fringe events will be held around Crystal Palace in the run up to the big Festival weekend. Head honcho Noreen Meehan wants to hear from anyone keen to help: ‘The Festival has more and more visitors and volunteers each year, but we need help to ensure its future. Our local businesses have done an amazing job of support so far but funding is getting tight’. As a free event the Festival relies on volunteers, sponsorship, fundraising and the support of the local community. Submissions are now being accepted and the full programme will be announced in May. It’s an event to make us all proud: if you want to bask in reflected glory - get involved!

In partnership with Bromley Council, Capel Manor College are working to improve Crystal Palace Park for the future. The largest land-based college in Greater London, Capel Manor is within reach of anyone with a passion for the great outdoors, offering nationally accredited courses and apprenticeships in subjects like gardening, arboriculture (the study of trees) and animal care/ management. Students benefit from hands-on practical training at their base within the park (ten minutes from Crystal Palace station) and on the farm (also open and free for public visitors every day except Wednesdays). Graduates go on to set up their own businesses or have fulfilling careers in the green sector. The college is also part of the Thyme Out Too project, in conjunction with the London Borough of Bromley and Bromley Mencap, running free gardening, life skills training and work experience for people with learning disabilities. Advice Evenings take place at the Jubilee Stand in April, June and July or there’s an Open Day on Saturday 18 May (12-4pm) where you can look around, get advice on courses, meet the resident animals, buy plants and get some gardening advice too. Find them on Facebook @SE19festival 020 8778 5572 5




Jam-packed full of original paintings and prints of all sizes and styles, Inaspace Gallery, run by friends and long-time art collectors Bob and Jason, is likely to keep you busy if you’re browsing for something to go on the walls in your new Crystal Palace gaff. There’s a big mix of genres, including modern British and urban art, and pieces are sought out from artists directly as well as from exhibitions and auction houses. Their aim is to demystify the buying-of-art process and hope their friendly approach will allow customers to find what they want in a relaxed environment. Prices from £20 to £2000.

Rosebery’s, South London’s Fine Art and Antiques Auction House, has teamed up with a local charity to run an Antiques Discovery Day at Herne Hill Baptist Church on Saturday 20 April. For just a fiver, you can take along an item to be valued by a Rosebery’s expert: pictures, ceramics, jewellery – in fact anything you’ve gazed at, wondering what it might be worth, is welcome. A further two items may also be valued at a cost of £2.50 each. All the proceeds go to Dulwich Helpline and Southwark Churches Care which provides friendly volunteer support for isolated older people. Refreshments available!

Inaspace Gallery Open every day 11am-5pm 16 Westow Street Crystal Palace SE19 3AH 07960 281037 or 07974 737753

GIMME SHELTER We were sad to see Soulcialize leave us, but are heartened that in its place is a shop with a worthy aim. Shelter has around 100 shops throughout the country, raising money so the organisation can provide warm support and solid advice to those who have found themselves without a roof over their heads. Volunteers for their shops are always needed and very welcome: call in to talk to the manager if you’d like to donate a few hours of your time each week to help raise vital funds. Shelter 11 Westow Hill Crystal Palace SE19 1TQ 6

Saturday 20 April 10am-2pm Herne Hill Baptist Church Half Moon Lane SE24 9HU (corner of Winterbrook Road)

Crystal Palace CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Don’t forget the Breakfast Clinic is every 2nd Tuesday at Salvation Army Hall at 7.30am and the Business Bagel is every 3rd Wednesday at Casa Cuba at 7.30am

RUMOUR HAS IT ?? NOT A PEEP SHOW If you’re one of the brave who dared to look through the tantalising portholes on the windows of the erstwhile noodle shop at the park end of Church Road, you will have seen comic strip posters a la Lichenstein revealing that a brand new food retailer is on its way. Much refurbishment seems to have taken place and we spied industrial bright & shiny tiled surfaces aplenty which seems to bode well. Rumours abound of a fancy restaurant with a fishmonger on one side and a butcher on the other. Better dust down the poshometer. Foodies of SE19, hang on to your hats. INGLORIOUS BURGERS Traders’ gossip also abounds concerning another new eaterie on its way. Due to open in June, Westow Hill should see a fun and enticing range of high-end burgers and American fries in a setting we haven’t quite managed to pin down. The 50s have been mentioned, the 60s have been mentioned and Miami Vice has been mentioned. Sounds like it could be a bit of a Quentin Tarantino-style cultural mashup. And that may not be a bad thing at all.


So-NE AR-the-Park-It-Might- As-Well-Be-IN-the-Park Cafe


the Ed told us this issue’s theme was to be Crystal Palace Park, well, we simply couldn’t resist writing our bit. You see we now feel that we are at one with the park: we already owe it a lot and simply would not be who (or where) we are now without it. We are Laura & Jess Tilli: very proud owners of the new Brown & Green Cafe in Crystal Palace train station. Since opening in September we have welcomed all sorts of park life through our doors: soggy dog walkers with even soggier dogs (plenty of room for a well- needed canine lie-down & a slurp from our water bowl); over-enthusiastic joggers/runners/ sprinters who pop by for a bacon buttie and a chai latte (what’s the point of all that hard work if you’re not going to treat yourself afterwards?!); ramblers aplenty in their waterproofs, compasses swinging, who neck a swift espresso to kick start their tramp around the dinosaurs; and finally the park pushers, the buggy strugglers who JUST CANNOT MANAGE A STEP MORE without a mug of tea and a giant wedge of squishy carrot cake. Fact: this combo will make anyone feel instantly better. Our beloved park does, as you can see, deal out quite a chunk of our returning customers. In return, during the summer months, we will be giving back some park love. All those ugly building-site offices and temporary units currently positioned on the courtyard-style area – where the station backs on to the park – should


be gone by June. This means we can have some rustic outdoor sunshine-catching tables where locals and visitors can grab some refreshment and watch the park world go by. Hands up who fancies a sparkly Saturday morning or a lazy hazy Friday afternoon with an endless pot of Earl Grey? We know that this side of the park has been a continuous stretch of essential building works, dumper trucks and noisy (if lovely!) workmen and so we can’t wait to restore some of its former beauty, giving it back some thoroughly-deserved attention. We’re currently contemplating a Sunday Summer Sizzle – bringing a bit of Australia to the Palace! Watch this space for al fresco alerts ... PS: The word on the path is that the old birdcage ticket hall area is being transformed into a gorgeous piazza. It is an absolute sun trap, ideal for reading a chapter or two, catching 40 winks at lunchtime or even a farmer’s market at the weekend …



Brown & Green Café Open Monday to Friday 6.30am-4.30pm Saturdays & Sundays 10am-4pm @browngreencafe 7


Church Road Market



Photos by JAMES BALSTON 10


search for more elbow room and a local, village feel brought me to Crystal Palace from Finsbury Park, over a year ago. Like many Crystal Palacians, I fairly quickly fell into a routine of weekend strolls around the Triangle, the social hub on the top of the hill. Although I still do this, I find myself gravitating to Church Road, described by many as the poorer relation to Westow Street and Westow Hill. So what’s the pull of the scruffier side of the Triangle? Church Road is noticeable in its vibrant collection of vintage clothing and furniture stores, including a specialist coffee shop within Bambino, with ever-evolving café furniture according to what’s been bought and sold. Formica tables; a school desk; leather Chesterfield and vintage Star Wars figures, you never quite know where you’re going to rest your cup. Then there are the wide pavements, which at weekends, particularly as the sun makes tentative forays into the heavens, host a growing outdoor market of vintage and retro clothes and furniture stalls on the shop forecourts. I sounded out some fellow coffee-goers at Bambino on the draw of Church Road and the merits of a street market. Jeff and Mark said they came to Church Road because they loved the idea of a café inside a junk shop and were looking for a place with good coffee, a good atmosphere, where you can meet different people. They welcomed a growing market that creates a ‘sense of community coming together’. Michelle and Rhiannon similarly came to Church Road for coffee, Rhiannon saying, ‘You’re sitting at a 1960s Formica table instead of a uniform brown wooden Caffé Nero number and you feel you’ve dropped into a different world’. They would also like to see the market grow, to support independent traders and the local economy.

My next stop was Belle Coco where I chatted with owner Ains Phillips (the man to speak to if you want to know your retro from your vintage and antiques). Belle Coco specialises in lighting from 1950 to 1979 and art deco and is complemented by neighbours ID (midcentury furniture) and Cartwright’s. Although Ains has run Belle Coco for four years, he’s lived in Crystal Palace for many more and described Church Road as ‘a zone for mid-century and vintage furniture, lighting and clothes’. He’s behind the growth of quality outdoor, weekend trading that complements this and has plans up his sleeve for a stall on his forecourt, so watch this space. This brings me neatly on to Watch This Space proper. A new workshop/store being opened by Jim and Jake, veteran carpenters making bespoke and upcycled furniture and Victorian front doors. Besides offering a one-stop shop for housing restoration, the most enormous woolly beast, the resident dog, can be found slumbering among the sawdust; that’s the kind of place Church Road is. With the bulbs shivering under frozen earth, the start of the year hasn’t been the most clement of times for an outdoor market, but nonetheless, I had a good time browsing stalls selling vintage and designer clothes, ceramics and glassware. I discovered that many of the traders ran stalls at Portobello and Spitalfields, but enjoyed the feel of this South London village-on-the-hill enough to brave the elements and set up stalls here. Tony the Table has been selling post-war and retro furniture, ceramics and glass on Sundays for a year and feels the market makes the street more vibrant and contributes to the pull of the place. Other traders echoed that sentiment and would like to see the market expand to provide more choice to customers. Jamie from Manchester runs a jacket stall selling military surplus, from dress and

ceremonial to practical Gortex and waterproof. He enjoys the edgier feel to Church Road, which he says is ‘a bit rougher round the edges’ in comparison to the other sides of the Triangle. This Sunday, Jamie had invited his friend Mal, a fellow-trader at Spitalfields, to Church Road. Mal sells branded shirts; Fred Perry, Paul Smith, denim jackets and designer and handmade kids wear. His favourite items that day? A 1955 American officer’s trench coat and a 1970s leather jacket. If you can’t find what you want to wear on the market, go to Bambino for vintage clothing, old biker jackets and leathers; Crazy Man Crazy, specialising in 40s and 50s men’s clothing; and D Solo’s across the street for contemporary designer. With the cold beginning to pinch, I take myself back to Bambino Coffee for a flat white (no Latte’s or Mochachino’s to be found here), made by Anton, aka Anarchista Barista, on his beautifully renovated 1963 Italcrem coffee machine. Not only is the coffee made on a vintage machine, but roasted in Bristol on a 1955 drum roaster named Betty. Andy (Bambino owner) and Anton are drivers behind the growth of the market, which they believe attracts a lot of people to the street and consequently the rest of the Triangle. Anton also says ‘it’s free and anarchistic; banks aren’t lending to start-up companies, so this market is giving traders a foothold’. The line between customers and staff blurs, as conversation flows across tables and drifts around the coffee shop. Outside, customers sit at trestle tables under the canary yellow canopy, tables and wares blending. It’s this mix of inside/outside shopping and socialising in markets that I love. And so, I hope that others too are drawn to the poorer but no less fair relation of the Triangle, to visit its unique shops and support the growth of Church Road Market. 11

Sowing the seeds of regeneration in our parks: Palacians, get your green on! says Finola Tennant

YOUR PARK W ho knew there was so much going on in our parks? Whether you fancy yourself as a horticulturist or a historian, or have an urge to dabble in nature conservation or statue restoration, Crystal Palace Park has something to offer. And with an army of passionate volunteers at the ready, we’re certainly set to see a number of new and exciting projects and community initiatives flourish this year. If you love spending your weekends in and around SE19, but find yourself looking for ways to fill your Sundays with meaningful and worthwhile activities – before indulging in a Sunday roast down the pub of course – why not join the Friends of Crystal Palace Park (FOCPP) and dedicate a couple of hours a fortnight to some park improvement activities. From butterfly surveys, to pond clearance and hedge planting, it seems there’s never a dull moment when it comes to maintaining the wonderful flora and fauna of the park. Regardless of whether you’re an experienced gardener or simply enjoy the outdoors and want to get out and about and meet new people, the FOCPP group is very much of the opinion that many hands make light work. And much work calls for many cups of tea and biscuits! I’ve recently come to learn that the park has its very own secret garden, a mysterious nature conservation area which has been locked away for a number of years and kept out of sight from public view. With the help of volunteers, and with fundraising activities in progress, the FOCPP have been working hard to get the area ready for its public debut. Who knew? Over the past year, a team of green-fingered helpers has


been clearing the area, weeding out ivy and dead hedging. They’ve even tackled an overhaul of the pond, carefully taking stock of the existing wildlife by carrying out activities such as a newt survey. So from newts to roots and green shoots… you may not have noticed as you walk down Anerley Hill from the Triangle towards Crystal Palace station that there’s another little garden ripe for regeneration. Sitting around the Crystal Palace Museum, until last year the area lay untouched and was, as a result, overgrown with weeds. But with a little love and care and a dash of creativity from Crystal Palace Park Community Stakeholder Group (CSG) the area has been transformed to create an edible garden. Now stocked full with aromatic lavender, fruity figs, winey vines, rippling raspberries and some beery hops, all that remains is for spring to reveal the fruits of the group’s labour. Like all gardens it needs constant care and attention, and volunteers are sought to help keep it well-groomed. If you’re a keen jogger, or enjoy the occasional stroll round the park, you’ll have seen the sphinx statues that once adorned Paxton’s masterpiece itself. These are some of the last remaining parts of the structure and an important part of our heritage. Now well over 150 years old, the sad fact is that these beautiful and intriguing sculptures are in dire need of restoration, having endured the elements for so many years. The Save the Sphinxes campaign is an initiative designed to do just that – to restore them completely and ensure that people can enjoy them for another 150 years. Working jointly with English Heritage and the Crystal Palace Museum, Crystal Palace Park CSG

NEEDS YOU! has taken the first steps to clear the undergrowth and weeds that were largely responsible for the deterioration of the statues. The group is now seeking enthusiastic volunteers to help put a case together to secure funding and have them restored to their former glory. If you’re not the physical grafting type, however, never fear. Helping out doesn’t necessarily mean getting your hands dirty. If you have a skill you can offer, be that website maintainance, marketing, or even fundraising, there’s an opportunity to get involved. Or perhaps you’re a keen historian and would relish the opportunity to share stories about the park’s heritage … To ensure people have the opportunity to share this enthusiasm and to get in touch, whether it’s to find out more about initiatives, projects, plans and proposals, and volunteering opportunities, or to simply find out how you can enjoy everything the park has to offer, the FOCPP is working to keep the Visitors’ Centre open and staffed during weekends. People are invited to give a couple of hours of their time on a Saturday or Sunday. What all this tells us is that there’s a huge amount going on at the park that we may or may not have known or heard about, and perhaps this article has inspired you to find out more and to explore new ideas for how you might like to see the park evolve in the future – and most importantly, help to keep the projects moving. So roll up your sleeves, get gardening, feed your hunger for history, and have your say in how you’d like to see the park transform over the coming years. It’s as simple as visiting the Crystal Palace Park facebook page, emailing or visiting



SAVE THE SPHINXES Not only stunning adornments to the landscape, these statues have a greater significance says architect Laura Jane Clark 14

campaign to save the three remaining pairs of sphinxes goes beyond a gesture of preserving the history of the relocated Crystal Palace from the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park to Upper Norwood in 1854. These beautiful statues, built especially to guard the entrances to Paxton’s palace when it was moved here, are much more than simply a remnant of the area’s past or the fashionable Egyptian style of the time. The sphinxes themselves are not only fundamental to the history of the park, but also a manifestation of the influence of Egyptology on the progress of Modern Architecture. Commonly known by their Greek name sphinx, these Egyptian creatures have the body of a lion and a head modelled on the king or queen at the time: a symbol of their close relationship with the Sun God Ra (from whom it was believed all rulers descended). The recumbent sphinx sat as guardian to royal tombs or temple entrances, a representation of great strength. These statues, now sadly decrepit and decaying, are a physical reminder of the fundamental influence that Egyptian symbolism and mysticism had on the great men of the European Enlightenment. Symbolism and designs distilled from Masonic lore are still prevalent today through the architecture of Wren, Hawksmoor, Soane and the Neo-classicists that made the transition from the rigours of the Classical, Rococo, Baroque and Gothic architectures to a more sublime, crisp and thoroughly modern style. The legacy of the Egyptian style is seen throughout Western Society and is the seed of Modernism. The designer of the original Crystal Palace, Joseph Paxton, was an eminent glasshouse and garden designer. He was highly influenced by his early work at Chiswick Gardens and also Chatsworth House where he was employed as head gardener from the mid-1820s until 1858. Both the extravagant gardens of these stately homes have acknowledged Masonic Egyptianbased symbolism, with the existing Chiswick Gardens being designed by eminent landscape architect William Kent in the 1730s. Notably there are three handsome sphinxes at the rear of Chiswick Villa, tended to by

Paxton, symbolically protecting the house from its supposed function as a Masonic Lodge. The remedial clearing work identified by the Crystal Palace Park Community Stakeholder Group and undertaken by volunteers is the start of the project to Save the Sphinxes. It is one of a number of initiatives proposed by the group, with the backing of English Heritage, to survey and assess the work required to save and maintain the sphinxes. This work will bring much-needed improvement to the area, starting with the restoration of the original Crystal Palace steps and sphinxes closest to the Museum. These steps, with the park as a backdrop, have great potential for cultural events and performances such as pop-up theatre, readings or film presentations. The restoration and regenerative work of the sphinxes is vital so the park can be opened up, maintained and rejuvenated for generations to come. The Crystal Palace sphinxes are the only kind in Britain today. Their construction is of brick and mortar covered with a composition material (believed to be ground-up Portland stone). They were moulded from the original marble Great Sphinx of Tanis brought from Egypt to France by Napoleon in 1825. Tanis now sits in the Louvre Museum in Paris. Originally there were six pairs of sphinxes located at the entrances to the Crystal Palace. Now only three pairs remain and it is imperative that the future of these wonderful statues is secured. The conservation of our sphinxes is crucial work, not only to protect these remnants of the 1854 Crystal Palace or for the public enjoyment of the park, but also for their wider importance in the history of Western Architecture and Modernism.





first glance, it seems absurd to state that the origins of Modern Architecture stem from the practice of Freemasonry. Yet with a closer look, it seems equally absurd for the influence of Freemasonry to be ignored. Philosophers, scientists, philanthropists and architects such as Inigo Jones, John Hooke, Nicholas Hawksmoor, John Soane and Christopher Wren have shaped Western society. These, the forefathers of Modernism, were all, at some level practising Freemasons. Seeds of Modern Architecture can be seen in the work of these architects and designers who were fundamentally influenced by Masonic lore based on the ancient geometries of Egypt. The rise of this secret society in Britain can be traced back to 1348, when the population was decimated by the Black Death. The limited numbers of surviving skilled workers could therefore bargain for pay over wage limits set out by the government of the time. Freemasons, originally cutters of freestone, were building the Nation’s cathedrals and their skills were highly desirable allowing them to negotiate payments far in excess of the law. In order to retain these high wages, their craft became highly secretive, working in code passed down to master masons alone. Over the centuries these Masonic circles began to accepted non-masons; despite having no actual building skills, these men would have been highly respected in fields of architecture and antiquity. The practices of this closed, yet non-denominational fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons were steeped in traditions of symbolism and secrecy. Their ultimate ambition was for enlightenment through the Truth, Light and Beauty of God. The Egyptian god Thoth was said to have invented hieroglyphics, arithmetic and geometry holding the key to ‘lost Egyptian knowledge’. Pythagoras was heavily influenced by Thoth and the Greek god Hermes, and Freemasons associated their pursuit for knowledge of the sacred geometry binding the Heavens and Earth through these ancient teachings. It was these esoteric, Hermetic ideas of enlightenment that swept Europe after the Reformation. A society was produced that had an intellectual ferment seeking spiritual renaissance with a thirst for ancient, secret knowledge. The strong Egyptian style of Masonic practices and traditions would have influenced leading architects in the early 18th Century. Buildings such as Hawksmoor’s Spitalfields Church show stark and basic geometries in reaction to the traditions of the Classical. The rigorous symmetrical Classical style was giving way to more simple and clean designs, which hint at the origins of Modernism in Western Architecture.


Fancy a forage C Foraging is fantastic, says expert CHRIS PHYTO, but best not to try it alone at first ...

Chris Phyto finds his lunch

The Fellowship of the Forage


rystal Palace Park will always be a spiritual home for me. It was here during 1998/99 that I first stayed in London, met some fantastic life-long friends, and helped in the successful battle to save the top of the park from development. Once the park offered me political food for thought; now it provides a wonderful source of wild food. When beginning my professional foraging adventures, I returned to Crystal Palace to host wild food and medicine foraging walks. I owe the park a deep gratitude and one way of showing this is to introduce people to the multivirtuous wild plants living here, plants which not only offer us so much in the way of healthful foods and powerful medicines, but provide a connection to a slower, more natural way of life. The park has undergone numerous transitions in its time, most notably after the great fire in 1936. Fast-forward to 2013 and we are in the midst of another tumultuous change, this time a global shift from our reliance on fossil fuels to a low-carbon economy. One of the major issues we face when dealing with this desperately-needed transition is our food supply. Foraging for food can be quite a revolutionary step. It slows life down, bypassing all regulations and negating all conventional food procurement structures; it helps to reclaim some personal autonomy. What, when and where to forage are predominantly personal choices. The plants I regularly harvest and eat are some of the healthiest and tastiest available. If you forage you know the provenance of your food. Wild plants are, of course, naturally pesticide free, and are the best in locally grown, seasonal foods. They are typically far higher in nutrients than cultivated vegetables, and are fresher than anything you can buy. Many may have previously seen the park only as a place for recreation, somewhere to relax and escape


the pressures of city life. I hope people will come to see it as a great place to forage lunch, dinner or medicines, and will be champing at the bit to sample the many delights on offer. Here’s a whistle-stop forage tour of the top of the park, as experienced recently with the hardy members of the CPTT group. It’s fair to say that the top of the hill is now a reasonably unremarkable place. Essentially formed by rubble from the Second World War blitz bombs, these days it explodes with a range of edible and medicinal plant life, full of vitality – if you know where to look and what to look for. On the top ridge, rows of London plane trees (Platanus x hispanica) offer welcome summer shade, and if you head to the old fenced-off brick stairwell by the parade, you will come across the distinctive form of the lime tree (Tilia species). This plant is perhaps most famous for its medicinally-powerful flowers, used for all manner of nervous related ailments, such as anxieties, insomnia, and nervous digestion disorders. The creamy white and yellow flowers are displayed from late May and their alluring fragrant scent will often be noticed before you reach the tree. Foragers can also take advantage of their edible buds and leaves. Because some of the lime trees produce suckers at the base, the harvest is often easy as the parts we want are at easy picking height. Their red buds break leaf in April, and these leaves can be picked, often quite quickly, bagging you a great ‘bulking’ salad ingredient in just a few seconds. I always take foragers to the edges, be they fences, hedges, walls, or other edges, such as bases of trees. In terms of productivity and diversity edges are very important. Here you will often find the widest range of plants to harvest, the ones which escape the strimmer and the mower. If you want easy-to-find salad leaves, edges are usually great places to look.

Bush of the year: The hedgehog rose (Rosa rugosa)

Strolling down the great tarmac driveway from the top of the hill to the first level of terraces, keep your eyes peeled on the left hand bank, for there are a great number of edibles and medicinals here. You can easily find: yarrow (Achillea millefolium); plantains – including ribwort and greater plantain (Plantago lanceolata, P.major); the pleated leaves of common mallow (Malva sylvestris); sweet and spicy tasting daisy (Bellis perennis); dandelions (Taraxacum officinale); sow thistles (Sonchus species); chickweed (Stellaria media); dead nettles (Lamium species); peppery, perennial wall-rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) and the small but powerfully-tasting hairy bittercress (Cardamine hirsuta). From spring onwards you really only need to come here in your lunch hour and you can quickly harvest enough salad for lunch and dinner. All will probably even be within arm’s reach of where you sit ... Turn left at the bottom of the sloping driveway to find masses of wild chervil (Anthriscus sylvestris). This plant is Britain’s most common member of the carrot family. It looks superficially like the deadly poisonous hemlock (Conium maculatum) which also grows on this bank. The similarity of these plants and others in the carrot family found in the park – such as the tasty hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium), the aromatic wild carrot (Daucus carota), and the parsleylike ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) – are reason alone to enrol on a foraging course with Ipsophyto and the Town and Country Forager! Safety is paramount, and my 14 years’ experience in using wild plants ensures you are in safe hands. If you’d like to learn more about foraging, our next walk is planned for April. 19

Words by Ali Howard


In its rich and varied history, Crystal Palace Park has seen triumphant highs and catastrophic lows. A major London public park, now steeped in mythology, it remains much loved by locals and visitors alike and never fails to impress the wow factor on those who first encounter its sprawling charms

So how has this great, green space evolved? Situated at the top of what was Sydenham Heights, stood a quiet, country spot named Penge Place. With breathtaking views of both the capital and the Kent and Surrey countryside, the site was considered the perfect place to relocate the Great Exhibition’s Crystal Palace. And with 200 acres to play with, Sir Joseph Paxton’s celebrated building could now be bestowed a justifiably grand landscape. And so it was that in August 1852, work began on moving the enormous glass and iron structure south. With the arrival of the Palace, the site was transformed into a vast, Victorian pleasure ground, which, according to early documents, consisted of ‘a broad, tree-lined centre walk, a series of great terraces, lawns, flower beds, fountains and statues’. The predominant features of the park were ‘two immense basins of water, incorporating fountains, each of which was intended to throw its jets to a height of 280ft. Beyond the formality of the Palace’s adjacent gardens lay ‘serpentine paths, woodland groves, various ornamental lakes, a maze and an educational section with full-size replicas of prehistoric animals’. For local residents, the huge construction and its expansive grounds must have been the most magical place on earth, especially for the area’s young, enquiring minds. In 1990 the Crystal Palace Foundation published a collection of first-hand accounts from wide-eyed children of the time. J Parslow recalls: ‘I used to love going to the grounds, which were all beautifully laid out. The fountains were lovely, they had peacocks up on the first landing of the steps. I used to love going down these sweeping steps – I’d feel like Lady Muck’. Eileen Gillham’s memories are not quite so pleasant but are nonetheless awe-inspiring: ‘I was petrified by the pre-historic monsters which I came upon suddenly one day. I think my very real fear of water goes back to that 20

day. The great lake, so calm and still, and those great monsters rising up, as it seemed, out of the water!’ For most of the Crystal Palace’s 82 years in South London, the park served as its enchanting playground but it wasn’t without struggle and change. Despite its enormous popularity, the Crystal Palace Company twice went bankrupt – in 1887 and again in 1909, resulting in some creative fundraising schemes such as the spectacular Brock’s fireworks displays and a thrilling exhibition of Maxim’s Flying Machine. Not so great for the park was the ensuing selling-off of fringe lands alongside Thicket Road and Crystal Palace Park Road in order to offset debts. And in 1894 the north and south basins with their immense fountains were filled in, making way for a racing circuit, sports ground and football pitch: the site of Aston Villa’s victory over West Bromwich Albion in the ground’s first FA Cup Final of 1895. 1911 saw the Festival of Empire, marking the coronation of King George V. The park was duly dug up and transformed into a magnificent British Empire in miniature. But despite its outwardly ostentatious façade – a hangover, perhaps, from the buoyancy of its Victorian predecessors – bankruptcy loomed once more. During the Great War, the Crystal Palace was used by the admiralty as a naval training depot and by 1919 the site had become a demobilisation station, which left the park in a state of decay and dereliction. A renewed enthusiasm emerged during the post-war years: the 1920s and early 1930s saw a period of restoration with an Imperial War Exhibition mounted. And with a new motor racing circuit, more and more areas of the park were opened up again for public recreational use, much of it sporting. On the fateful evening of 30 November 1936 a small fire took hold in a staff lavatory. It spread rapidly and resulted in the complete and unrepentant destruction of

Head for the park

the Palace, the inferno so huge its glow could be seen from Brighton. The fire’s devastating aftermath left the park’s future in question. World War II saw the surviving structures of the north and south towers destroyed because they were deemed potential landmarks for German bombers. The park was by now in a state of neglect with no public access. It was not until 1952 that activity gradually returned to the park, when plans were put in place to restore the area around the lower lake. Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins’ famous ‘monster’ statues were restored and the idea of a children’s zoo developed. Slowly, areas of land were leased to the BBC and to the Caravan Club of Great Britain. But perhaps most glorious of all, came the construction of the National Sports Centre, the park’s phoenix from the flames (albeit a tardy one). Opened in 1964 and winning a Civic Trust Award that same year, its Olympian spirit brilliantly mirrored the park’s original Victorian ideas of grandeur, innovation and ultimate triumphalism. In 1976 a beautifully landscaped site (fronting Crystal Palace Parade) was opened up, increasing flexibility and access to the park. In 1986 the London Borough of Bromley took ownership of the site and continue vital restoration work to this day. Unlike many other sites of ruin, Crystal Palace Park maintains a strange sense of optimism. The large, stone sphinxes proudly guard the missing palace, adding weight to its unique mystery. The ghostly, Victorian remnants of a bold and forward-thinking age hold their own next to the ultra-modern architecture of the sports centre. And those anatomically questionable but muchloved dinosaurs are still making little mouths drop open with surprise. The park is not just an historical site, but one which functions like a palimpsest: its past, present and future written and re-written without contrition. It is indeed a national treasure, but best of all, it’s ours.

Hmm! Pointy


Beck Bogert and Appice onstage 1973. Photo: Raoul Seeman


Once upon a time the park was alive with music reveals SARAH EDMONDs


could barely keep my jaw from hitting the ground the first time I stumbled upon the Crystal Palace Concert Platform in the bowl. I wondered for a moment if I had accidentally strolled on to the set of a sci-fi movie. The huge oxidised monster of a stage, flanked by its upright speaker towers at either side like guard dogs and surrounded by a murky pond, wouldn’t look out of place in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ian Ritchie designed the ‘Rusty Laptop’, as it is known locally, in 1996. It was intended to discreetly blend in with the ‘Paxton landscape’ and, despite its unmistakeable impact up close, I suppose it does: another hidden gem to be discovered, like so many of our park’s quirks. The first Laptop concert took place in 1997, but the (very) high point of the park’s musical legacy was during the hippie-saturated 70s, when the Crystal Palace 22

Garden Party festivals brought the likes of Elton John, The Beach Boys and Bob Marley to our leafy little corner of South London. It’s strange to think that Crystal Palace was once the site of a music festival, but at a stretch (and with considerable help from I can just about imagine those musical gods rocking out on stage while far-out fans clutch ‘stop the Vietnam war’ flags and roll endless joints. The stage which would go on to host the Garden Party performances was built in 1961 by the Greater London Council, on the same site as the Rusty Laptop. Originally it was a just a temporary platform, but managed to last long enough to see the park through decades of legendary musical performances. The first Garden Party was staged in May 1971 and

The Journey 1974. Photo: Hubertus Duwensee

Bob Marley onstage at Crystal Palace 1980. Photo: Tankfield

got off to a flying start, boasting Rod Stewart’s The Faces and Pink Floyd among others on the first bill. Rod strutted the stage in a pink corduroy suit and the bravest – or most inebriated – fans began what became an unofficial Garden Party tradition of clambering into the pond to watch the gig waist-deep in sludge. The pond was most probably the talk of the festival after Pink Floyd managed to kill all the fish with underwater smoke bombs and a giant inflatable octopus – but who cares about fish when rock and roll history is being made? In the same year Elton John, Fairport Convention and Yes made an appearance at the second Garden Party. The Beach Boys followed in 1972, but obviously forgot to pack the Californian sunshine, as the festival was a complete washout. In 1973 the moody man in black, Lou Reed, made the trip to Crystal Palace before a three-year stretch when all the good musicians must have gone into hiding: Leo Sayer was an … interesting choice to play in 1974. Thankfully, the music returned in 1977 as Elvis Costello took to the stage. The cherry on the cake came in 1980 when Bob Marley and the Wailers sauntered on to the stage to perform to what I can only imagine was a crowd completely obscured by marijuana smoke. After hearing tales of the Wailers handing out spliffs backstage to fans and drugs being as easy to buy as ice cream, I’m surprised anyone could actually remember the gig. This was to be one of Bob’s final performances before his untimely death in 1981. During subsequent years the Garden Parties were slowly waning. Big concerts and festivals had begun to move to bigger stadiums to cope with demand – either that or the organisers were tired of replenishing the

pond’s fish stock. The bowl still welcomed big names throughout the 80s – Depeche Mode, Madness, The Cure, Level 42 and Ultravox all played on the not-sotemporary stage during the decade. The summery haze of the Garden Parties may have long gone, but the bowl was not ready to be buried in the recesses of musical history just yet. In 1991, The Pixies came to town. The Pixies are undoubtedly one of the coolest and most underrated bands in recent history, although they are probably best remembered as Kurt Cobain’s biggest inspiration. Once again the audience took to the pond, as their forerunners had done 20 years earlier for Floyd, to hear the psychedelic Where is My Mind: a song, coincidentally, about scuba diving. After this, the big concerts were shifted into the brand new sports centre; a less atmospheric venue, but no doubt the crowds were easier to control. Unbelievably The Sex Pistols, Bruce Springsteen and Coldplay all played there in the Noughties; I can’t help thinking they might have been legendary performances had they been at the bowl. Nowadays the bowl is still used for events, but the audience of picnicking families couldn’t be further removed from the pot-smoking hippies of the 70s. Last summer a Garden Party revival was cancelled after the stage was deemed too dangerous – I guess that’s what happens when you leave a laptop out in the rain. Hopefully, in the future, the bowl will be returned to its former glory and crowds of youngsters will once again be wading into those hallowed waters. Otherwise I may have to fill my iPod with Floyd, Bob and The Pixies and jump in myself. 23


Y R R ON A C CAMPING ? ou think you know your neighbourhood but suddenly find yourself tailgating one of those hulking great motorhomes as it bounds off the mini roundabout into Old Cople Lane like a giant white rabbit disappearing down a burrow and suddenly you emerge in a pristine environment that you’ve never set foot in before. And why would you? After all, it’s for outsiders only. But, after years of idle curiosity, this insider has pitched up to learn why our lofty suburb was once synonymous with camping, enough to support a well-known, indeed ‘destination’, camping equipment shop just off the triangle on Central Hill where the now defunct Mexican restaurant pines for the cactus plains. I bought my first and only Coleman cooker there in the 80s and it still works. When I park up, I am astonished by how familiar it all is, even though I’ve never been here in my life. It has the neat charm of all organised bivouacking the world over and while beyond its big gate traffic is baying on the Parade, here under the towering gaze of our signature iron giant, the birds are going bonkers in the copious mature trees, paths are laid out with a polite nod to humour ‘Elf and Safety without ever compromising a traveller’s right to perambulate freely, and the fire-points and matronly signs ensure that though we are quite clearly amidst a wilderness of sorts, we are never savages. The micro-world of a campsite is both a comfort and a necessity to those whose temporary roots need to be sunk as instantly as a metal tent peg in order to endure


their outdoor billet. I would go as far as to say that if you haven’t camped on a designated site somewhere in the universe and taken pleasure in the orderliness and security that officialdom offers, you have been deprived of a measure against which to compare all other camping experiences, including festivals, the back garden, the Antarctic … I meet assistant wardens Mike and Sue in a tidy reception area that resembles a miniature ranch complete with a red pony express post box out front and, despite the bullying winter showers, the hardy pair are wearing shorts. I’d have been gutted to find them decked out in anything else. They are effusive in their respect for the site and Mike says it is nigh on the perfect job. The wardens work in pairs with overlapping rotas, moving around the country and managing different sites through the seasons. ‘We are country bumpkins from the Wirral so when it’s our turn to come here, we also do London and go to the museums and shows. Everyone on the planet should try the top deck of the number three – it’s the most amazing ride’. Sue adds that when they aren’t working, they too are off caravanning. Talk about a busman’s … As such, they are experts in their field, ‘scuse the pun, and they and their colleagues – hi Patsy! – run a pretty spiffy operation, speaking as someone who has languished at a fair few duff ones. First stop is the true marker for quality on any campsite – the main toilet block. And on inspection, it is so much more than that. Writer Kaz McLeod has joined me and ever resourceful, has managed to blag a key to look inside. ‘Quick,’ she

hisses, ‘it’s beautiful!’ With warm air, piped music and a floor you could eat a freeze-dried Vesta curry off, it compares extremely well with the seaside prefab arrangements I’ve encountered previously in my pjs and bobble hat, bog-roll under arm. Suddenly blessed by a brave splodge of sunshine, we walk down to an apron of pitches that Mike calls Builder’s Bottom and spy the park laid out tantalisingly through an archway of elderly railings. Crisply-worded signage dotted around the place is translated (the phrase ‘vegetable preparation area’ is handy in any tongue) for the many tourists who we regularly welcome to the sports centre and to events around the palace foundations. Lots of them visit the shops and restaurants on the Triangle and beyond, some still expecting to see a fully-functioning glazed Victorian greenhouse straddling the bus terminal (I kid you not). The site attracts many others too, temporary workers from all walks, including the aforementioned loose-trousered construction engineers, lawyers, actors, surgeons, nurses on city shifts and people in town for hospital treatment. In fact, Mike says, the site ‘runs full most of the season,’ with eighty-one mainly hard-standing pitches, and a grassed tent corner hemmed by the old wall on Westwood Hill open during the summer months. There has been a proper campsite in the area since the Fifties when, according to official cabinet papers, the Festival of Britain threatened an influx of more than 700,000 badly-needed visitors to a post-war London with a severe shortage of accommodation. Originally situated behind the now demolished L.C.C

Fire Brigade Station, the old access lane is still visible from the Parade where more recently well-meant ecowarriors camped in the trees to prevent the infamous multiplex. The campsite was supposedly destined for the covered reservoir beneath the transmitter but controversially ended up at its present Rockhills spot in ‘Paxton’s back garden’. Overlooked by what was reputed to be the German embassy in days gone by – look up for the stone eagle – it has proudly worn the smart Caravan Club badge since 1988. There have been itinerant campers on the slopes of Norwood for more than two hundred years – Gipsy Hill being named thus – but the reality is this invaluable economic asset to the five boroughs that vitally attracts hundreds of people to the area all year round, this convenient, secure, clean and unbelievably picturesque stopping off point, this tidy jewel nestled in the woods in the midst of our community has only got, in the immortal words of our golden Beckenham boy (now, now – no cheap camp jibes here), five years. So if you, your friends or indeed your customers, are yet to experience the freedom of a holiday that begins the moment you park up or delight in washing up the dishes and chopping the veg alfresco or enjoy kipping under canvas to listen to rabbits nibble the grass four inches from your ear first thing in the morning, we’ve got until 2018 when Bromley Borough Council fully intends to take back the lease. And then concrete it over. With many thanks to 25

Alice wears original vintage cotton turquoise dress, with full skirt and rose-print bodice (age 3-5) £25 Cardi Alice’s own.

Betsie wears 1950s-print handmade olive green soft cotton dress with pale blue ric-rac (age 12-24 months) £20


Bay wears mix & match 1950s-print and 1970s-print handmade pink stripy/blue bubbles crisp cotton dress (age 12-24 months) £20

It’s not only jams & chutneys that are being created in Crystal Palace. Vintagehart has been foraging too and are now hand-making their own range of sweet little frocks for the under 5s, using vintage and recycled fabrics, to accompany their selection of (really cute) original children’s vintage wear. Get those cool babes & pre-schoolers down the pub … MODELS: Thanks to our gorgeous girls Alice (3 years), Bay (15 months) and Betsie (10 months). PHOTOGRAPHY: Jackie King LOCATION: Crystal Palace Park and Brown & Green at the Station. ALL DRESSES : Young@Hart at Vintagehart, White Hart, 96 Church Road, Crystal Palace SE19 2EZ


Alice wears white 1970s-print white/floral cotton-mix handmade dress (age 3) ÂŁ22


Betsie wears 1970s-print handmade white floral cotton-mix dress (age 12-24 months) ÂŁ20

Bay wears 1970s-print handmade cream/brown floral cotton dress with pink ric-rac (age 12-24 months) ÂŁ20

Bay wears 1970s-print handmade cream/brown floral cotton dress with pink ric-rac (age 12-24 months) £20 Betsie wears 1950s-print handmade olive green soft cotton dress with pale blue ric-rac at front (age 12-24 months) £20 Knitted dinos from Smash Bang Wallop £10 each





Ok, own up. Who’s already let their New Year keep fit regime slip? Who’s regretting that expensive gym membership taken out in January? Who’s wishing there was An Easier Way? Let us introduce you to … another reason to love Crystal Palace Park. It’s like a free gym. And not only free, but handsome and full of fresh (and way more fragrant) air; it boasts a variety of terrains, gently undulating landscapes and an urban beauty that reminds us all that living in South London is the best of all worlds. Whatever you’re looking for fitness-wise, the park can probably help: whether you choose a gentle stroll or a full-on, hardcore workout, it’s an inspiring environment in which to soothe away the anxieties of the day. Perfect for strollers: The path which loops past the laptop, along the edges of the fishing lake, taking in a gentle incline back up to the top of the grass in front of the stage, is just over half a mile and is the perfect circuit for those wanting to start easy. One lap, two laps, three, four, five. You decide. Listen out for the parakeets. Perfect for joggers: For the more nimble on their pins, the loop can be extended to take in the path around the old cricket pitch, passing by the café, toilets (handy), swings & ship’s bell. This route travels through the splendid wide tree-lined avenue next to the playground too. Perfect for power-walkers: If you really want to get a speed up and some miles on the clock, add on a further loop around the boating lake, waving to the dinosaurs as you spy them through the trees. This circuit will take you (at a brisk pace) around half an hour to walk. For those who feel the time is right for some serious commitment, a personal trainer (once an appendage to A-listers only, not now) is a sure way of getting your fitness level to where you want it to be. We spoke to Andrew Thomas who likes to include a sweaty trip to Crystal Palace Park with his clients: ‘we’re just so lucky to have such a cool park’ he says, ‘it’s well looked after, the staff are excellent and it’s just a beautiful place for a 7am run’. Got that? Yes, a 7am run. Well, that’s Andrew himself mostly, doing his own training, but if you sign up with him, either to join a group or for

one-to-one sessions, he’ll find out what it is you want to achieve and he’ll help you get there. Andrew has clients in their mid-20s to 50somethings, all ordinary bods (yes, just like you and me) who choose his style of training over pounding the streets alone or the sometimes intimidating environment of a gym. No worries about lack of motivation or not understanding how machines work here: the park’s natural beauty provides a perfect environment for a workout. You’ll see him using the glorious steps on the terracing (what a backdrop) and yes you will see the steep grassy inclines being used for those gruelling but vital hill sprints too. Go on. Give him a call. You can do it. If you feel you need the lure of the word ‘bootcamp’ to get you going, fitness company Miracle Fitness are also big fans of Crystal Palace Park (though they have camps all over southeast London). Their programmes concentrate on Cardiovascular Training, Strength Training, Co-ordination, Endurance and Nutrition which comes in the form of drills and resistance exercises (you’re loving the sound of it already, aren’t you). The camps are, however, ‘designed to be enjoyable’ and there are plenty who will sing their praises. Military they are not (we are assured) and anyone can take part. They pride themselves on helping recruits to create the mindset to maintain a healthier, fitter lifestyle. And that, after all, is what this keep fit malarkey is all about. AT Fitness 07544 370264 33




From dusk until dawn and every time in between, the all-weather local dog-walking crowd creates a unique social rhythm to Crystal Palace park life. We meet a few owners out with their four-legged friends ‌

Words: Jessica Johnson Photos: Louise Haywood-Schiefer


Lourdes Costa, Lola and Sam After nine years of living in Spain, Lourdes Costa moved back to South Norwood with her partner 18 months ago, along with Spanish rescued stray dogs, Lola and Sam. The golden pair have become familiar faces in Crystal Palace Park, and owing to their unique appearance (Lola is a sheepdog cross from northern Spain while Sam is a hunting Podenco cross from the south), Lourdes regularly gets stopped by dog-curious owners. ‘We come here about once a week,’ says Lourdes. ‘This park is nice but they go mental for the squirrels! Before we left Spain we sent them to a six week residential training camp with a champion dog trainer. Prior to that they would do whatever they wanted!’

Ashley Griffiths, Scout and Boo

It’s not the best weather to be out in the park with a cold, but Ashley Griffiths, owner of Scout (right) and Boo, believes dog walking to be one of the best tonics for blowing out the cobwebs. A resident Palacian of 12 years, Ashley and husband Chris originally got the dogs to encourage their ‘lazy, nearly-teenage kids’ to start doing more exercise. Five years on and Chris has the early shift of walkies at 6.30am with Ashley taking them out on most days off from her job as Shops Manager for the local Blackbird bakeries (also producers of fine doggy biscuits for future reference). Scout – a rather handsome blend of Husky and Poodle – is quite happy to play fetch ball (or twig in this case) as the cameras start to roll. His sidekick, Boo, a creamy cross of Lassie dog and Hungarian Puli (famous for their corded, dreadlock-style coats) displays many of his typical guarding traits, staying glued to Ashley’s side and letting off intermittent barks of protective concern. ‘Scout is totally chilled out and a complete food monster but Boo gets very anxious if he goes anywhere else for his walk,’ says Ashley. ‘This is their park, they know their friends and the best thing about is that it’s just so social for the owners. It’s gossip central – the best way to find out what’s going on in Crystal Palace!’

James White and Bobby

Bobby is a 20-month-old black Labrador and lives with owner James in Streatham. ‘He’s a gun dog from working stock so thinner than a typical Labrador but still massively puppyish with a lot of energy,’ says James. ‘My girlfriend usually walks him here two to three times a week – he prefers this to the [Streatham] Common as he can swim in the lake.’ 37

Phil Tooher and Dotty After losing his beloved Blue Greyhound in an attack two years ago, Phil Tooher was on the lookout for a ‘Scout’-like replacement when a local dog walker in the park told him he had a Lurcher that was bound for Battersea Dog’s Home. Enter Dotty – half Bedlington Terrier and half Whippet cross – who looks and acts more like a feisty grey lamb you want to put in your pocket and take home. ‘I soon realised what a little psycho she was – she thinks she’s a blinkin’ wolf!’ says Phil with a laugh. He’s quite clearly besotted by Dotty and, in the summer, walks her up to three times around the park every day, now fuelled by a good cup of coffee from Brown & Green’s in Crystal Palace station. ‘There are some days you think you’re really sick of Crystal Palace Park but that’s only once or twice a year, which is pretty good’ he says. ‘Most dog owners will at least say good morning and most of the regulars know each other and each others’ dogs’ names, so if you see a dog off the lead you usually know who it belongs to. We all look out for each other and let each other know if there’s a new idiot dog on the block.’ As part of a scheme with Southwark Council, Phil works with autistic children as a mentor. ‘A dog helps massively with autism’ enthuses Phil. ‘I also had a couple of operations on my back and walking the dog has been a huge help in building up my strength again. If I don’t walk I seize up so having a dog is brilliant exercise. She’s off the lead within about half a minute of leaving home and terrorising all the squirrels. That’s something we all have to be mindful of in this park!’

Chrissie Kelly and Dexter

Bounding about the grass but remaining ever close to owner Chrissie, four-year-old Dexter is a mongrel of about six different breeds. Chrissie and Dexter are based in Streatham but owing to mud and boggy patches, they’ve come to Dexter’s ‘preferred’ playground of Crystal Palace. ‘I’ve been coming here for about a year and he loves it as it’s a lot bigger,’ says Chrissie, who’s delighted to be sporting her new leopard-print wellies for an impromptu photoshoot. ‘My favourite time for walking has to be around 7.30am, but today I’ve had a nice lie in!’

Sally Davies and Spike At the grand old age of 11, Spike – a Yorkie Jack Russell cross – is generally a bit grumpy with a dislike for other dogs and small children. His owner Sally Davies has lived in Penge for over 50 years and has acquired a lot of ‘friendly acquaintances’ around the park as a regular dog walker. ‘I’m usually out here for an hour and a half, depending on who I see and who I stop and talk to,’ says Sally, who returns to the park again each evening to allow Spike to stretch his legs again. ‘Once the clocks go forward in the spring I sometimes go further afield’. 38


Tess Breed: Border Collie Owner: Jean Best thing about walking in this park? It’s nice. Plus handy for me as I’m local. What Tess likes best: All her friends are here and she likes the space. And there are no roads.


Photographer Viveca Koh pays homage to renowned picture-smith Elliott Erwitt in these beautiful portraits of a few handsome Crystal Palace Park pooches All photos were shot with an iPhone 4S using the Hipstamatic app, GSQUAD lens and D-Type Plate film. For more iPhotos by Viveca Koh ARPS go to

Lily Breed: Bulldog Owner: Owen Best thing about walking in this park? Other dog walkers. It’s a like-minded community of friendly people. What Lily likes best: The space to chase after her ball.


Dolly and Dora Breed: West Highland Terriers Owner: Matthew Best thing about walking in this park? I’ve lived all over London but this is the best park. No roads to worry about so the dogs are safe. What Dolly and Dora like best: Plenty of squirrels to chase!

FOR THOUGHT Dottie Breed: Jack Russell & Shih-tzu cross Owner: Nina Best thing about walking in this park? Watching the seasons, there’s easy access and good paths to walk on. There are lots of different trees and birds, plus great people, responsible dog owners, and lots of events too. What Dottie likes best: Running up and down the hills, chasing sticks, balls and the odd squirrel. She can carry a stick several times her body length. 41

Cracker and Rocket Breed: Schipperke Owner: Elizabeth Best thing about walking in this park? The view from the old palace terraces, and the variety of birds. What Cracker and Rocket like best: The huge space

Barnaby and Gemma Breeds: Cocker Spaniel (B) and Labrador (G) Owners: Dagmar and Dione Best thing about this park? The fresh air, walking and the exercise What Barnaby and Gemma like best: Gemma likes playing with her ball and Barnaby likes to chase other dogs. 42



quiet revolution has been taking place in Crystal Palace over the last two years. Residents have been coming together to turn our local green spaces into edible landscapes, our roofs into energy generators and our rubbish into something useful and beautiful. It began with a group of strangers meeting up in April 2011, united by a desire to do something positive about the most difficult issues the planet and our community face – the end of cheap oil and the impact of climate change – but not sure what that ‘something’ might look like. These strangers had heard about Transition Towns, a programme for community transformation and resilience that began in Totnes in Devon and has spread to more than a thousand communities across the world, from rural areas in Slovenia to cities in Brazil. In London alone there are now more than 37 Transition initiatives. Transition is a way of rethinking our local areas to make them more sustainable. Any doubts about the impacts of both climate change and peak oil have been swept away. 2012 was one of the worst years for food growing in recent history as weather systems went from drought to flooding overnight; energy prices continue to soar as cheap oil gets more difficult to source. These problems will get worse and will continue to impact individuals and communities for many years. Issues that seemed to interest only environmentalists and activists now feel very mainstream. We are moving towards a low energy future; rather than be swamped by doom and apathy when faced with the enormity of these problems, the Crystal Palace Transition Town team has found that preparing to adapt and taking positive action to change the future can be fun. Local people come together to work on smallscale local projects aimed at growing our own food, producing our own energy, re-learning old skills and perhaps most importantly, re-connecting our community. In the last year, four food-growing spaces have sprung up around the Triangle. An overgrown corner of Westow Park has been transformed into a prize-winning edible community garden which hosts regular workshops on, for example, composting, as well as Bugs Club, a nature club for kids. Upcoming events there include a visit from Hugh Fearnley44

Whittingstall’s right hand woman, Deborah Robertson. A museum garden is being created around the Crystal Palace museum and, in the Central Hill Permaculture Garden, a group of locals are learning the most sustainable ways to produce food for the future. A Tipsy Garden at The Grape & Grain (as well as numerous local gardens) will soon be growing hops to create a Palace Pint, helping revive the great British tradition of locally-brewed beer. In summer Crystal Palace Transition Town will bring a weekly food market to Crystal Palace (at the bottom of Haynes Lane), connecting us with local farmers selling their organic and sustainablyproduced food at fair prices. A Patchwork Farm is inviting local food-growing spaces to supply the market with lettuce, herbs and surplus fruit and vegetables, and Palace Preserves, another Transition initiative, will also be selling its wares. An energy cooperative, Palace Power, is in the pipeline and aims to create the first communityowned energy project in the area, helping to make Crystal Palace and its surrounds resilient for the future, with plans to turn the roofs of community buildings into solar energy generators. An upcycling project is also taking off, with a community litter pickup on 13 April, followed by workshops and plans to learn to use creatively what we usually throw away. Transition Town’s Local and Fair group has just completed a week of events to mark Fairtrade Fortnight, which began with a Food Fight discussion and culminated in Food Fest and the Foodstock concert, celebrating local and Fairtrade food and our own creative talent. The grand finale was a dinner at Domali, using only locally-sourced and Fairtrade products. All proceeds went to the Norwood and Brixton Foodbank. The revolution is getting louder. If you haven’t noticed our activities around the Triangle yet, you soon will. Look out for our stall at the Overground Festival on 29 June. Come and meet us at Green Drinks in The Grape & Grain every second Wednesday, or visit our Edible Garden in Westow Park every Saturday from 11-2.


Photos: Louise Haywood-Schiefer


zesty aroma fills the air and the casual buzz of chatter in this Crystal Palace kitchen is punctuated by sounds of a well-oiled marmalade production line. Knives are sharpened, oranges are pulped into a landing blanket of muslin while each hollow skin is deftly sliced into piles of razor thin strips of peel, emitting a run of methodical ‘studs’ from the wooden chopping boards in use around the kitchen table. Today is a citrus-themed Jammy Monday; a fortnightly meet-and-make group led by Crystal Palace’s resident foodie Rachel de Thample. Using Fairtrade sugar from the Triangle’s Planta health-food shop, locally-foraged fruit – including elderberries, apples and medlars – and guidance from a ‘stash’ of recipe books, volunteers have been boiling up jams, chutneys, jellies and syrups by the sticky vat-load for the last year. Many of these preserves have worked their way on to some of the area’s tastiest restaurant menus. A tweet from Bambino Coffee on Church Road, looking for local spreads to serve on toast alongside their electric cups of coffee, saw the start of an organic supply and demand process of local jam production last autumn. With orders from Casa Cuba and Local Greens vegetable delivery boxes hot on their heels, the group can occasionally be found decamped in the commercial kitchens of The Grape & Grain pub which helps facilitate larger batches of their fruity blends. ‘We’re helping local shops to know what’s seasonal and it’s great to be establishing new relationships with local producers, says jam expert Laura Phoenix. ‘Most importantly, it’s free. Sitting around making jam and chatting is a kind of non-confrontational therapy and now my housemates are constantly rooting through 46

the fridge to get a taste of my latest creation!’ The jam-making club sits under the umbrella of Edible Crystal Palace, which started life at Westow Park’s Edible Garden in February 2012. Nestled in the southerly corner, the patch sprouts everything from leeks, herbs and chard to cherry and pear trees. It is run by a sociable, snowballing group of volunteers who meet every Saturday between 11-2 (a Bug’s Club keeps little ones busy and runs later on the same day.) Mucking in, planting up and tending to the soils, the garden is open to anyone who fancies pitching in – last autumn the project scooped the Capital Growth People’s Garden award for its success in community involvement. And they’re not the only innovative seeds to be planted in these parts. The Tipsy Garden, based at The Grape & Grain, is championing hop plants in order to produce the first Palace Pint, while Fairtrade food initiatives and a permaculture course are all part of wider initiatives from Crystal Palace Transition Town (CPTT). Geared up to move Crystal Palace and its communities into an ethical and sustainable way of living, you can read more about CPTT on page 44. For any food lover happy to amble away an hour or three around the Triangle on a weekend, the exciting news is the launch of a brand new food market this summer. It promises to bring the side streets alive with delicious tastes and smells from an organicallyminded set of food stalls. From freshly baked cookies and raw milk, to local eggs, honey, biodynamic meats and specialist cheeses, the aim is for locals to be able to source the bulk of their weekly groceries in a considered and sociable fashion, harking back to the days of traditional specialist market shopping. Heading up Food and Growing for many of CPTT’s

concepts, Rachel de Thample is passionate about helping to re-ignite the forgotten connection of the ‘farm to fork’ food journey. ‘The contrasts between shopping in a brightly-lit, sterile supermarket and then pulling home-grown leeks and cabbages from the ground gives you a totally new perspective on the food chain,’ says Rachel. ‘Ideally, in a few years’ time I’d love to walk around the Triangle and see food growing, with the market being able to employ local people to work within local food production. We want it be a zero waste market so anything that isn’t sold can be preserved or sold on to local restaurants.’ Aside from stockpiling mouthwatering combinations of fruits for a jam and chutney stall, Rachel and the dedicated team of market volunteers are putting in the legwork at farms, fields and premises of potential local suppliers to establish new and fruitful relationships. The basic market principles will be based around fresh and minimally processed food using seasonal ingredients with a low carbon footprint – but, says Rachel, you don’t need to own acres of land to contribute. If you have a glut of fruit trees, or windowsill on which to grow herbs, you could soon be making a small profit as part of the Patchwork Farm, set in place to utilise the many hidden urban growing spaces of Crystal Palace. ‘Anyone can grow herbs and we’ll be running a series of workshops on window boxes and organic cultivation at the Edible Garden throughout the year to help support the Patchwork Farm,’ advises Rachel, who last year grew an abundance of Vietnamese coriander on her windowsill which she then supplied to a trendy pop-up restaurant in Herne Hill. ‘If in doubt, pea shoots are a great place to start – they look so lush, too!’ Rachel enthuses easily about all of the food ventures

to be rolled out during 2013. Her agenda includes a potentially novel way of producing mushrooms from ground-up coffee beans, a drive to cook up a record number of London-grown dinners and a welcome return to pig-rearing which would see customers involved with every step of the meat production process. ‘It would help people to understand the rising cost in food prices, appreciate the food chain and get away from eating horse meat!’ she adds with conviction. It’s equally heartening to hear of the many local partnerships forged between early market initiatives and local businesses in the Triangle. In exchange for space to hold CPTT meetings, local restaurant Mediterranea are often thanked in over-sized bunches of rosemary while The Alma pub, who provide free water for the local gardens, receive bundles of homegrown tarragon that in turn feature on its menus. With marmalade in the bag, Jammy Mondays have designs to branch off into dried teas and even sausagecuring which will, no doubt, be packaged up and sold at market. A taster event will take place on 11 May, at the bottom of Haynes Lane, with plans to roll out a series of weekly markets from early July. ‘From the moment we started the Edible Garden we’ve just had his wonderful sustained momentum,’ says Rachel. ‘But it’s more than just food – it’s about building communities – and food is the best way to unite people and make friends. After years of living in Crystal Palace, I finally know my neighbours.’ For more information about Jammy Mondays, helping out at the Edible Garden or growing produce for the Patchwork Farm, email rachel.dethample@ 47




Photos: Jimmy Mould

By the late 1990s London was at one of its lowest points in its brewing history, with only three breweries to its name: Young’s in Wandsworth; Fuller’s in Chiswick; and Greenwich’s new kid on the block, Meantime, which opened in 1999. Good news then that currently the newly-formed London Brewer’s Alliance has 48 proud members. Over the centuries London has given the world more new beer styles than any other city on the planet. London has an excellent claim to be considered the greatest brewing city in the world says Manish Utton-Mishra

Porter Created in the early 1700s and taking its name from London’s street and river porters; strong, hoppy and aged porters became an extremely trendy beer style that was emulated by brewers from North America to Russia. Stout The stronger forms of porter were known as brown stout, eventually shortened to just ‘stout’. London remained the epicentre of stout brewing until after the Second World War. Imperial Russian Stout In response to requests from the Russian royal court, in the late 1700s several London brewers developed stronger versions of stout for the Russian market, a style that eventually became known as Imperial Russian Stout. India Pale Ale The Bow brewer George Hodgson was the first to make a name for exporting well-hopped pale ales to India, from around the 1790s, and Hodgson’s was the first beer to be called ‘India Pale Ale’ or IPA. Brown Ale Brown ales were created in the early 1900s. After the First World War brown ale became increasingly popular, with almost every brewer in the country eventually producing one.

The last brewery located near to Crystal Palace closed for business in 1954: fast-forward to 2013 and there are now four local microbreweries. Between them you’ll find tastes between a great fruity pale ale at an easy 3.9% to the very modern style of black IPAs. Watch out for these names: Clarence and Fredericks Duncan Woodhead and Victoria Barlow set up Clarence and Fredericks brewery in Selhurst in 2012, naming the business after the road they live in (Clarence) and their son (Frederick). Some of you may have met Duncan recently when he came along to The Grape & Grain to meet his drinkers. Late Knights Late Knights brewery was set up by Steve Keegan (pictured left). Having brewed for a friend’s business in his hometown of Middlesborough, he’s now currently setting his new brewhouse up in the heart of Penge and beers are imminent. Shamblemoose Currently based in Haslemere in Surrey, Lera and Matthew O’Sullivan will shortly be brewing at the same location as Late Knights, so-called ‘cuckoo brewers’. And, yep, we shall have one of the country’s only Brewsters (a female brewer!)


Cronx Named after an area of Croydon which, if you look up, looks a little bit similar to parts of New York (it actually has been used instead of the Big Apple for location shoots), the Cronx brewery, run by Simon Dale and Mark Russell is the oldest of our four local breweries, having been there for a grand 18 months. Exciting then, that beers from our local breweries are all available to drink at several of our fantastic local pubs. London’s pubs are closing down at a rate of 15–20 per week. With this statistic in mind you would think SE19ers may have to travel far and wide to get a decent pint. But no. Crystal Palace offers a choice of about 30 beers (not including all the mass produced nonsense) all within five minutes’ walk of each other. The Grape & Grain Owners Rick (pictured right) and Angela offer a choice of 12 beers on the bar (and sometimes two behind the bar straight out of the cask) as well as a few ciders and properly-brewed lagers. During their beer festivals, you’ll find around 60 beers and 15 ciders. Westow House Manager Justin (pictured above), a self-confessed beer nut, offers eight beers on cask and five or so from kegs. During their beer festivals he offers around 40 beers and 10 ciders.


The Alma Being a tied house, owner Steve is chained to his landlord’s beer list, but he has negotiated a deal that allows him to offer four beers on cask. Away from the Triangle, The Paxton in Gipsy Hill also offers local beers brewed by one of its sister pubs, The Florence, in Herne Hill. Plenty of you reading this will have attended the recent wonderful spring beer festival at The Grape & Grain. If you missed out, Westow House has its own festival happening over the Easter weekend when they will be offering beers brewed only in London (including those from our prized local microbreweries too). Keep your eyes on The Transmitter and at your local for news of future festivals. CHEERS!



SPRING POTATO PICNIC-IN-THE-PARK SALAD This scrummy snack will serve 4 little picnickers say the Tilli Twins.


500g new potatoes (skins on, washed) 2 spring onions 2 tbsp mayo 1 tbsp natural yoghurt 100g frozen peas 3 hardboiled eggs (peeled) 2 carrots (peeled) 1 handful grated cheddar cheese cress (optional)

Method Chop your potatoes into bite-size chunks and boil for 15 minutes or until tender. Drain and cool. Cover the peas in boiling water, leave for 5 minutes and drain when defrosted. Chop the spring onions, carrots and eggs into tiny thumbnail-size pieces and place in a large mixing bowl. Mix all of the other ingredients into the bowl, leaving the potatoes until last so they don’t get too squashed. Tip into a tub with a lid and pack into your picnic bag along with disposable cups and forks. Just before tucking in, sprinkle on the cress. The best outdoorsy potato salad ever!


GROW YOUR OWN HOUMOUS DIPS Yes. You can. Sort of. Fearless foodie Rachel de Thample tells us how

At the beginning of March, Domali cafe put on a Hungry Gap Dinner during Fairtrade Fortnight to raise funds for the Norwood & Brixton Foodbank. These gorgeous dips featured on the menu and were inspired by locally-grown and Fairtrade ingredients

Houmous with beetroot, orange & poppy seed Roast 5 beetroot in a 200C/Gas 6 oven until tender. Either roast them whole (for about 1hr) and rub the skins off afterwards, or peel, dice and toss them with olive oil, salt & pepper and roast until fully soft (about 35 mins). Blend warm beetroot with the houmous. Add a squeeze of fresh orange juice and a grating of zest. Toast 1 tbsp poppy seeds. Fold through. Save a few extra seeds to sprinkle over at the end.

Houmous with squash & caraway seeds Peel and cube ½ small butternut squash. Toss with olive oil, salt & pepper and fresh thyme leaves. Roast until fully soft (about 35 minutes) before blending with your houmous. Finish with a squeeze of lemon and 2 tsp toasted caraway seeds.

Houmous with hearty greens & Indian spice Pull a handful of kale, cavolo nero or chard from their woody stalk. Finely chop the leaves like parsley. To a hot frying pan add a drop of olive oil, 1 small, chopped garlic clove, 1 tsp freshly grated ginger and a good pinch of chopped red chilli. Swirl it all through the oil. Add ½ tbsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp turmeric and a pinch of ground cinnamon. Fold in the greens. Cook till just softened, but still bright glossy green. Fold through the houmous, adding the lemon juice, zest and olive oil to finish.

HERE’S THE GROW YOUR OWN BIT CARAWAY : I find it incredibly exciting that you can grow spices in the UK. Caraway is one of the easiest of all, and it’s a beautiful, no-effort plant. You can find it in the herb section at The Secret Garden. Plant it now and you should have seeds by autumn. POPPY SEEDS : Last year poppies guerrilla-gardened themselves on my allotment patch. They were the tall common poppies whose seeds are black and much smaller than the fatter blue poppy seeds you get in the shops – but delicious nonetheless. Once the flowers are gone you’ll have a fun bulby seed head on the flower. Let it dry. Snip it off. Shake the seeds out. They’ll keep for ages. HEARTY GREENS : This includes kale, cavolo nero, rainbow chard. These wonderful greens are not only really good for you, they’re beautiful in the garden too. After planting let them grow a bit and then pick the leaves from the outside; they’ll just keep on giving for the rest of the year. CHICKPEAS : I’m told you can grow chickpeas in the UK, believe it or not. Plant expert Chris Phyto (see his feature on foraging on page 18) is coming to Westow Park’s Edible Garden on Saturday 20 April to show us How to Grow Unusual Things – like chickpeas and quinoa – right here in Crystal Palace. The course costs £5 and will run 11am-1pm. Places are limited so please email to book.

Classic houmous Serves 4-6

400g tin of chickpeas, drained 1 bay leaf 2 lemons 1 small garlic clove 3 tbsp tahini 3 tbsp olive oil sea salt & freshly ground pepper Tip your chickpeas into a saucepan and cover with fresh water. Add the garlic and the bay and cook till warmed through (warm chickpeas will give a much smoother consistency to your houmous). Remove the bay leaf and drain. In a food processor, blender or in a large pestle and mortar, blitz the warm chickpeas adding the lemon juice (and a little grating of zest), the tahini, the olive oil and a good pinch of salt & pepper until nice and smooth. Taste. Adjust seasoning as needed. You can add all sorts of things to this classic canvas to make it more exciting and give it a seasonal twist. Once you’ve whipped up your houmous batch, try adding one of these tasty combos.


“ Fragrance is an elixir to the soul after winter ”



t’s a funny old word ... shrub. Not as romantic as the herbaceous perennial or the half-hardy annual and a bit Pythonesque to be honest. The Victorians embraced the shrubbery and it’s still a staple in lots of gardens: forlorn-looking leathery old plants left to their own devices to grow shapeless and woody. Viburnum, spotted laurel and berberis, planted together in a nondescript border, is a particular favourite of the municipal park (obviously not counting our very own Crystal Palace Park with its imaginative swathes of grasses and perennials). But there are some shrubs which have the wow factor in spades – appropriately enough – and never more so than in these first cold expectant days of spring. In fact nearly all shrubs have wonderful qualities if sited and pruned properly: a topic for a future issue of The Transmitter. One of the most widely-recognised shrubs of real beauty is the Daphne. Not only are the flowers borne from late winter to early spring, but most of the species produce highly fragrant blooms. Not the merest whiff of a scent which some supposedly fragrant plants produce, but a real humdinger of a waft of glorious full-on perfumy smell. They are not plants to be sited anywhere as they thrive in a sheltered position where their roots may be kept cool and they are not subject to harsh winds and extremes of temperature. Most species of Daphne are also evergreen with many types sporting glossy variegated leaves. The flowers range from white and lilac, to reddy purple and vibrant pink. They do not come cheap. In fact they are downright expensive but beauty does come at a price as I’m sure some great philosopher once said. As always Roger at The Secret Garden will have a goodly supply and will always order in if a particular plant is required. Two favourites of mine are the Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ which has small tubular flowers arranged in clusters and the Daphne cneorum which bears abundant pale to deep 54

pink flowers above long dark green leaves. The Daphne does have a sting in its tail: all of its parts are highly toxic if ingested and the sap can irritate the skin so don’t eat it or use it as face cream. Fragrance is an elixir to the soul after the long gloomy months of winter especially as it is so unexpected in the garden at this time of year. Sarcococca (known as sweet box), although perfectly passable, is not a showstopper on the looks front: however it also has an intoxicating scent. Sited at the entrance to the front garden would be ideal for this plant as it releases its heady aroma when it is brushed past. It is also evergreen so provides year-round interest and carries small whitish clusters of flowers which are followed by glossy purpley-black fruit. It is a very undemanding customer and will tolerate dry shade and general neglect. It doesn’t like cold drying winds, however, so it is worth bearing this in mind when planting. I’ve never managed to comfortably pronounce the name of this plant, which undoubtedly marks me down in horticultural circles. Japanese Quince is much easier to say than Chaenomeles although, like Rumpelstiltskin, that is its name. This is a very common shrub and can be found in many borders straggly and unremarked. But if correctly sited and shaped, this quince can be a most stunning plant at this time of the year when it bears clusters of vibrant flowers in profusion. In autumn the fruits are produced; apparently these can be eaten when cooked – although I’ve never personally tried them – and I believe quince jelly is quite the thing in cheesy circles these days. I feel the Chaenomeles is best sited under a window or trained against a wall. Its woody frame requires regular trimming and shaping as the foliage is nondescript in summer although looks good if kept to a structured shape. The flowers come in all colours but the crimson and white are spectacular. Happy gardening




we finally, hopefully, ease ourselves into spring and what feels like the longest winter in living memory slowly wipes its feet and thaws, it feels a bit perverse to begin this review with a book that has South London snow on the cover. No matter. Clay by Melissa Harrison (Bloomsbury £14.99) is a story from our doorstep, set in Streatham, Tooting and Tulse Hill. It tells the story of a year in the life of TC, an eight-yearold bewildered by the absence of his father and at the mercy of his hopeless mother. He bunks off school to take refuge in nature, tracking animal footprints, hiding out in trees on the common and playing in pockets of overgrown, neglected, waste ground. It is also the story of Jozef, who mourns the loss of the family farm in Poland and who now works nights in a takeaway. And it is the story of Sophia, a seventyeight-year-old grandmother and guerrilla gardener, living on the edge of the park that both TC and Jozef inhabit. What binds these characters together is their fascination with the natural world, the observations of which are as consequential to the book as the plot itself. This is a book full of weather and seasons which, even if, like me, you can barely tell difference between a blackbird and an owl, a daisy and a rose, can’t help but make you look more closely at your green surroundings.


Perhaps you listened to The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg being read on Radio 4 as the Book at Bedtime – perhaps you were one of the lucky ones who saw Jami (all the way from Brooklyn) and Mel (above – all the way from Streatham) read from their novels at the Bookseller Crow on a cold dark night in February. If not, well, you only have yourself to blame. The Middlesteins is the clear-eyed, beautifully-told story of a Jewish family in the suburbs of Chicago. Richard and Edie Middlestein have been married for thirty years, but Edie, now sixty and weighing three hundred pounds is killing herself with overeating. Richard decides that she is driving him crazy. Not normal crazy, but crazy, crazy, like it is going to kill him, and much to the consternation of their two grown-up children, Benny and Robin, he moves out. Grown-up they may be, but neither child 58

is close to being adult. Benny smokes dope nightly, suffers a neurotic wife and loses his hair. Robin settles romantically for a slacker friend, with the meanest thought of her entire life; ‘He’ll do.’ If this sounds like another story about another dysfunctional family, then perhaps it is, but disregard the (out-of-focus) cake on the cover that would never grace a novel by Philip Roth, and with its compassion and whipsmart sketching of everyday domestic surrealism it will be one of the best, if not the best book you will read this year. If you liked, for instance, The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen is a big fan) then this book is for you. Themes of brotherhood and friendship course through Heroic by Phil Earle (Puffin £6.99 published 24 April). Phil, who has twice before featured in issues of The Transmitter (the editor’s children think he’s fab, and what of it – he is fab) writes ostensibly for Young Adults, but Heroic is as grown-up and humane as anything you will read this year and indeed, by its closing pages even I found that I had a bit of dust, or something, in my eye. Two fatherless brothers, Jammy and Sonny, grow up on a council high-rise in a community where junkies line the stairwell and the fathers of their friends who have stuck around, sink into the bottle and hit out at anybody or anything with that moves. Metropolitan fiction this is not. Jammy at nineteen joins the army and is shipped, along with his friend Tommo, to Afghanistan, both promising to watch the other’s back. Sonny, at sixteen, stays home, a scallywag, working on scams and scrapes, dodging and sometimes not dodging trouble, missing his brother who the rest of the lads looked up to. The Afghan sections alone should give any Call of Duty-playing teen pause for thought, and the parallel between the drug use at home and its source abroad is very deftly done. Heroic is a fantastically strong book with a big, big heart. Lloyd Shepherd is another author who has previously appeared in The Transmitter. In The Poisoned Island (a sequel to the bestselling The English Monster) a ship returns to England from Tahiti, its cargo of botanical specimens destined for Kew Gardens. Within days

many of the crew have been robbed and had their throats slashed. It falls to Constable Charles Horton to investigate a chain of conspiracy that stretches all the way back to Tahiti Nui. As with his previous book, Shepherd once again manages to fuse and bend the historically accurate with the mystery story in a startlingly original way. Doppler by Erlend Loe is, as the cover strap-line, ‘An elk is for life ... not just for Christmas,’ would suggest, another wintry read. A Norwegian novel from one of that country’s bestselling novelists, it is the entertaining story of the titular Doppler, a man who once lived in a nice house with his family and had a nice job, but who, after falling off his bike and bashing his head, rejects consumerist society and goes to live in a tent in the forest. He kills an elk for food and is adopted by its orphan, a tenacious baby elk he names Bongo. This is a wonderfully rich, clever fable, a foreign language movie for a Sunday afternoon. Norwegian by Night by Derek B Miller (Faber £12.99) is an entertaining first novel, an American thriller set in Oslo. It features an eighty-two-year-old New Yorker and ex-marine named Sheldon Horowitz, who witnesses the murder of a woman by a Balkan war criminal and rescues her six-year-old child. These two flee down river hotly pursued by the Balkan and his friends. It is by turns, gripping, touching and funny. First Novel by Nicholas Royle is not a first novel at all – Royle has written six previous ones and numerous short stories – but first novels are very much one of the subjects of this fun, intricately-plotted book about a creative writing teacher and obsessive book collector, that may or may not be a murder story, that might or might not be true. It reminded me of a film by Nicholas Roeg, Bad Timing, say, and I was particularly taken by the first few pages, wherein our hero carefully takes apart a kindle piece by piece and then sweeps the fragments into the bin.


THERE’S A WORLD OUT THERE! Howard Male considers exciting new albums coming out of Mali, despite all the troubles there, as well as sounds from Zimbabwe, Scandinavia and Italy

he world music scene wasn’t looking particularly healthy towards the end of last year, with the number and quality of CDs dropping through my letterbox becoming severely reduced. But things have certainly picked up since then, to the extent that it’s been quite hard picking out just four new ones to recommend. But there really is only one place to start and that’s Mali. The country has of course been in the news a lot lately. It is a tragedy on many levels: Mali’s lifeblood is music so the idea of it being banned there beggars belief.


Ngoni master Bassekou Kouyate actually began recording his third album on the very day that war broke out in Bamako, just down the road from the studio in which he and his band were recording. Therefore Jama Ko (Out Here Records) is suffused with a bristling anger at the idea that Mali could be robbed of its heart and soul if these Islamic extremists get their way. It’s the band’s most intense – and in some ways most Western – album to date with Kouyate making full use of distortion and effects pedals to get a real biting sound from this ancient four-stringed instrument that is the size and appearance of a child’s cricket bat. Salif Keita may have lived in Paris since 1984 but his music is still suffused with the spirit of Mali, although his latest album is somewhat of a break from tradition. It combines traditional instrumentation with the use of samples and electronic keyboards and features American guests Esperanza Spalding and Bobby McFerrin, signalling a move into a funkier more hip-hop orientated area than he’s ever explored before. But the transmission doesn’t seem forced or affected. I’d even go as far as to say that Talé (Universal/Proper) is up there with his very best work despite the fact that quite a few world music purists have voiced their disapproval. Before leaving Africa let’s move south to Zimbabwe via Scandinavia. Yes, Scandinavia. That may seem like an odd geographical juxtaposition, but The Village (Discovery Records) by Monoswezi completely justifies it. Even though it’s only spring, I feel sure this atmospheric and innovative recording will end up being one of my favourites of the year. On the one hand you have Zimbabwean singer Hope Masike plucking out brittle, cyclical riffs and melodies on her mbira (thumb 60

piano) while singing traditional Zimbabwean songs, while on the other, there’s sturdy double bass, purring baritone sax and brushed snare provided by the Nordic group of smooth contemporary jazz musicians. The hot and cold alchemically combine to produce the inarguably cool. If you buy one world music album this year … etc etc. OK, so now we’ve partially landed in Europe let’s conclude this issue’s globe-trotting column by going south again, this time to Italy. If there’s one group I’d like to catch live sometime this year it’s Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino. Their album Pizzica Indiavolata (Discovery Records) explodes with intense turbocharged numbers driven by thundering frame drums, pumping accordion and throaty, impassioned vocals. I’m not the biggest fan of folk music, but if this is folk music (which the press release informs us it is) then I’m converted. The band come from the Puglia region of southern Italy and apparently they’ve been injecting new life into the traditional taranta dance form of Salento since the mid-1970s. Albums like this – which function as an introduction to a whole new genre or style of music – are one reason I stay excited about what’s going to land on my doormat next. World music is alive and well. It’s going to be a good year, I can feel it.

What's On GALLERY FILM Bar opens at 7pm Screenings at 7.45 pm Linbury Room £9 (£7 Friends)

Domali Cafe 9 April - 30 June 2013 Murillo & Justino de Neve: The Art of Friendship Until 19 May 2013

ARGENTINEAN TANGO EVENING Saturday 13 April 6.30pm St Barnabas Parish Hall 23 Dulwich Village With guitarist David Casswell and dancers Ivan Arandia and Tara Pilbrow. Themed food will be on sale for the interval, bring your own wine and soft drinks for supper. £18 (£15 Friends) inc glass of Argentinean wine (or juice) £10 for under 16s

Dulwich Picture Gallery FRENCH SUPPER AND JAZZ EVENING Wednesday 1 May 7 for 7.30pm in the Gallery Café La Caravanne Swing Quartet play swing jazz from the era of the great Django Reinhardt. Special French menu (and al fresco dancing, weather permitting) £10 per person inc glass of sparkling wine Two courses £16 Three courses £20

Trishna (2011) Cert 15/117 mins Monday 8 April 2013 Starring Frieda Pinto. Based on Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles transplanted to India. Directed by Michael Winterbottom. Babette’s Feast (1987) Cert PG/103 mins Monday 13 May Directed by Gabriel Axel and starring Stephane Audran. A mysterious French woman staying with two Danish sisters prepares a gastronomic feast, a symbol for the glory of life’s pleasures. A classic.

SOUTH LONDON THEATRE Over the Top / Birds Do Fly by Rodney Quinn Tues 19 to Sat 23 March at 8pm Over the Top : A tense tale of three soldiers in the First World War just before they go into battle. Birds still Fly : Hackett is a late 13th-century farmer whose son has been taken off to a foreign land with a Crusader army. Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare Tues 2 to Sat 6 April at 8pm Shakespeare’s rarely performed play is the perfect parable for our times. Money: what it does to us when we have it, and what it does to us when we don’t.

Bronte by Polly Teale Tues 16 to Sat 20 April at 8pm A fascinating play evoking the real and imagined worlds of the Brontë sisters. Fictional characters come to haunt their creators when alcoholic and disturbed brother Branwell returns to their household bringing chaos. Bent by Martin Sherman Tues 7 to Sat 11 May at 8pm Controversial, hard-hitting, ground breaking and one of the most powerful pieces of theatre of the last century. A gay man’s endeavour to escape persecution by the Nazis in 1930s Germany. DEATH DEFYING ACTS by David Mamet, Elaine May and Woody Allen Tues 21 to Sat 25 May at 8pm An Interview by David Mamet : A lawyer literally damns himself with his own words in Mamet’s surreal play about the subtleties of language and truth. But did he really bury the lawn-mower? Hotline by Elaine May A Manhattan suicide hotline welcomes Ken, a newly trained counsellor for his first shift on the phones. Central Park West by Woody Allen A classic New York comedy of a well -to-do psychiatrist who has just discovered that her best friend is having an affair with her husband. The Boy Friend by Sandy Wilson Tues 4 to Sat 8 June at 8pm Enjoyable spoof on old time musical plays. Two young people meet and fall in love on the Riviera in the 1920s. Hummable tunes, tap dancing and tangos. 61


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Mystic Mike Channelling the tragically unalterable cosmic blueprint of your life

Aries The Ram Mar 22 - Apr 20 Get a clear picture of your goals, print it, hold on to it for two decades then shred it. That’s basically how it will go.

Taurus The Bull Apr 21 - May 21

Sagittarius The Archer Nov 22 - Dec 21

Later this month a fat guy sat next to you in Caffé Nero quitely dies. You finish his caramel Latte, steal his blueberry muffin and leg it.

You notice a strange ugly blemish on your head. It’s your neck.

Gemini The Twins May 22 - Jun 21

Capricorn The Goat Dec 22 - Jan 20

Sadly, you find your wife’s body after spontaneous human combustion, but, through the tears, you can’t resist a bit of her crackling.

An overwhelming feeling of joy is experienced tomorrow when you attempt to remove a price sticker and it comes off in one go.

Cancer The Crab Jun 21 - Jul 22

Aquarius The Water Carrier Jan 21 - Feb 21

By middle-age the only status you achieve is having your own chair that no one else will sit in and full control of five remotes.

You are big on homeopathy as you are yourself a unique distillation of a thousand years of concentrated nothingness.

Leo The Lion Jul 23 - Aug 22

Pisces The Fish Feb 22 - Mar 21

Next Tuesday, your pet learns to lie and from that moment your relationship takes an odd turn.

Next Tuesday, the person sitting next to you on the Overground annoys you with the corner of their newspaper. Set fire to it.

Virgo The Virgin Aug 23 - Sep 22 The reason you have an extreme haircut and numerous tattoos is that you hate conventionality as so very many others do.

Libra The Scales Sep 23 - Oct 23 A turning point in life is felt this week the first time your expanding belly grazes the fridge door as you open it to consume yet another snack.

Scorpio The Hunter Oct 24 - Nov 21 As a typical Scorpio you are painfully conformist. On the 24th, at the pedestrian crossing of Church Road and Westow Street, you die waiting for the green man.

Mystic Mike is omnipresent but can be found here.... @mrmysticmike 64

Celebrity Birthdays Because...

They are better than you

Sir ALAN SUGAR 65 – March 24 Brillo Hair Billionaire

RUSSELL CROWE 48 – April 7 Antipidous Punchiness Maximus Paunchiness

HUGH HEFNER 86 – April 9 International Playgrandfather

VICTORIA BECKHAM 38 – April 17 Spiced Wag Stick

DAVID TENNANT 41– April 18 Was Who?

Asleep By Economy Custard Š Simon Sharville 2013

The Transmitter Issue 27  

A South London Magazine

The Transmitter Issue 27  

A South London Magazine