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FREE

ISSUE 5 APRIL 2009

THE MAGAZINE FOR SE LONDON

ART

AT THE DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY

COMPETITIONS INSIDE! Win books! photoshoots!!

BUGS LIFE RADIO 4’S RICHARD JONES TALKS CREEPY CRAWLIES

BEESINES PAGES How to make honey in the city

FOOD

With Celebrity MasterChef Winner NADIA SAWALHA

GARDEN GLAMOUR DRESSED TO KILL ON THE ALLOTMENT


ISSUE 5 APRIL 2009

CONTENTS 8

LET IT SNOW.... YOUR PICTURES OF THE BIG WHITEOUT

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LITTLE MISS VINTAGE THE NEW OLD TEEN LOOK

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B FEATURE KIRSTY GORDON TELLS US WHAT IT MEANS TO BEE

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STINKING HELLEBORE THERE’S SOMETHING LURKING IN THE SOUTH LONDON BOTANIC AL INSTITUTE

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THE BUGMAN COMETH WHY DOES RICHARD JONES SPEND ALL HIS TIME WITH NASTY LITTLE BUGS?

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OUR BRIEF ALLOTTED TIME JUSTINE CROW VISITS TWO GINORMOUS LOC AL SPACES CHOPPED INTO LITTLE ONES

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PALACE PATCH SUE WILLIAMS TELLS YOU HOW TO HAVE YOUR ALLOTMENT AND EAT IT

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ALLOTMENT AT HOME C AN’T GET AN ALLOTMENT? USE YOUR GARDEN THEN, SAYS RICHARD HILL

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GARDEN GLAMOUR TRANSMITTER LADIES IN ALLOT OF TROUBLE

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A BOUT DE SOUFFLE BREATHLESS NADIA SAWALHA SWEARS BY HER MUM’S *!!!??@ RECIPE

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ROSENDALE REVIEW TRANSMITTER FOODIES TASTE THE LOC AL HIGH LIFE

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SHERRY BABY MICHAEL EYRE IS B ACK AND THIS TIME IS SHERIOUS

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THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS HOWARD MALE TRIES TO UNDERSTAND ART FOR US AT THE DULWICH GALLERY

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THE BOOKSELLER WOW! WE HAVE SO MANY GREAT LOC AL WRITERS AROUND HERE

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THERE’S A WORLD OUT THERE HOWARD MALE LISTENS TO A DONKEY’S JAWBONE (HE REALLY DOES NEED HELP)

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CATHY’S COLUMN WIN A PHOTOSHOOT WITH YOUR BEST FRIEND!

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ABOUT US Editorial Editors Andy Pontin Sub Editors Jonathan Main, Annette Prosser Regular Contributors Digging the Garden Sue Williams Digging the Music Howard Male Making the Food Nadia Sawalha Eating the Food Justine Crow Drinking the Beverages Michael Eyre Retail Therapy Liz Clamp Design & Production Smash Bang Wallop Printing AD Print Services Ltd Contact Advertising sales@thetransmitter.co.uk Listings listings@thetransmitter.co.uk Editorial editor@thetransmitter.co.uk The Transmitter is published by Transmission Publications Ltd Registered in England 6594132

PO Box 53556, London SE19 2TL

WELCOME From the Editor(s)

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pringtime... admit it, how many of you finish that sentence with "..for Hitler and Germany....". God bless Mel Brooks, eh?, but lets not go there, (we do not keep pigeons on the roof, here at Transmitter Towers, honest) let's instead consider the possibilities: you'd love an allotment but are at the end of a ten year queue at your local society. Let Sue Williams (p22) and Richard Hill (p24) show you how to make the most out of your own green space - and for those of you who don't have a garden, well, we've got some pictures of allotments you can stick on your kitchen wall. Sue Williams then takes off her gardening gloves to visit an intriguing architectural gem down in West Norwood (p14). Kirsty Gordon has been creating a buzz around the Transmitter office with her talk of how to start your own apiary - if you want to have a go yourself, everything you need to know is right here in these pages (p10). I imagine keeping apes is quite expensive though, so you can count me out. Then Justine Crow meets Radio 4 celebrity Richard "The Bugman" Jones who believes that flying things are aesthetically perfect (p16). Before the mud dries on her boots, Justine is back outside touring the astonishingly industrious Spa Hill Allotment Society with the versatile Jack Dudley Swale as her guide, then adds to her mileage by walking round the Rosendale Allotment Society with a local resident (p19) and finally gets rewarded for watching all the spade work with a very satisfying supper at the nearby Rosendale restaurant (p32). Michael Eyre proves that sherry isn't just for gargling in the greenhouse (p34) and the normally lovely Nadia Sawalha has turned rather rude this issue, we feel. We had to forgive her though, after scarfing down the wonderful lemon soufflĂŠ she gave us to photograph (p30).

COVER Transmitter Girls Styling: Liz Clamp Hair & Make up: Willie Smarts Photography: Smash Bang Wallop For stockists see centre spread p26/27

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Howard Male finds the devil is in the detail at the Dulwich Picture gallery (p36) and listens to a donkey’s jawbone in his regular review of whassup in the world of world music (p41). Our land girls are dressed in locally sourced fashion amidst the potting sheds (p26), Georgina skips around the triangle in vintage gear (p28) and our very own (vintage?) bookseller Jonathan Main recommends some local grown reads (p38). And if all these burgeoning buds have you longing for the simplicity of winter, take a short trip back to Snow Day (p8) to appreciate the warmth in your fingertips today. Is it any wonder they call it the fresh air suburb!


WORD ON THE STREET Crystal Palace Easter Festival - Saturday 28 March Markets Crystal Palace Easter Festival will be happening on Saturday 28 March with all sorts of goings-on around the triangle including great food, great music and how about a bit of shopping......

The Alma Garden Market

Bring the family! Have a great day!

Haynes Lane Market

Music venues • • • • • • •

Antenna Studio Patrick’s Bar The Royal Albert Westow House The White Hart The Alma The Cambridge

Great food, great crafts, great gifts..

Church Road Market

Vintage jewellery, leather goods, artworks, books, records, anything!

Intriguing and curious stuff at a flea market the likes of which are hard find in London these days. Records, books, vintage clothes, antiques.... You name it; you’ll find it here.

current Palace boules champion

With music from • • • •

The Effras Mendicant Franck Alba The Lovebirds

Boules on the Green Crystal Palace Village Green (outside Sainsbury’s) Turn up from 12 noon onwards. Bring your own boules if you can, but don’t worry if you can’t!

Other treats include : • • Church Road Market

Palmist at Los Toreros Chocolate Bunny decoration at the Library (kids only!) tel 020 8670 2551

Antenna Studios Open House We popped in to the Antenna Studios Open Day on saturday 28 February for a quick kir royale and to see the exhibition of paintings and drawings by Dylan. The kir was not quite to one’s taste, but the pictures were fantastic; that nice Dylan boy is so talented, and sensitive, and clever, and a bit French - you know you love him girls! The inhouse jam band with Jimmy Hipster livened things up and the place was heaving with talented youngsters plus a few old gits like us. Check out antennastudios.co.uk. Antenna Studios, Bowyers Yard Haynes Lane SE19 3AN 020 8653 5200

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trading places WHO’S NEW IN TOWN?

What: Brazillian café and Deli. Where: Westow Hill Word: Open for a little while and seem to be doing OK. Will soon have Spanish wine in barrels soon, so you can take empty bottles in for a refill. We like the sound of that a lot.

Dan and Junior are partners in new venture Guatama Bar, a welcome addition to the choice of drinking holes on the Triangle - let’s give it a whirl.

GUATAMA BAR

What: New Drinks Bar Where: Westow Street Word: Looks like a nice place for a snifter, and there is talk of middle eastern nibbles too. Bit big though?

EVAN What: Mens Barber Where: Anerley Road Word: If you’re a man and you need a barber then, hey! it’s a marriage made in heaven.

THEN AND...NOW?

TRAINING POINTS What: Training for your body Where: Church Road Word: The nice lady has been offering massage to shopkeepers. Plus she’s got a pink shop.

This picture has us stumped; we’d like to take a ‘NOW’ picture but we can’t work out where it was taken from...

Where was this picture was taken? We are offering a £10 prize to the first one who sends a correct ‘now’ picture

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Competition! In the last issue, Jonathan ‘The Bookseller’ Main wrote about Shena MacKay’s collection of short stories The Atmospheric Railway. Her publishers Jonathan Cape have kindly given us two copies of the book as competition prizes – to enter please answer the question, what year was the Atmospheric Railway in operation? And complete the tie-break question, I like living in Crystal Palace because… Email your entries to books@thetransmitter.co.uk or post to The Transmitter, PO Box 53556, London SE19 2TL

Beautiful Beaulieu We were pleased to hear about a volunteer group of local residents with a mission to reclaim and revitalise Beaulieu Heights, a beautiful but under used mix of grass and wooded area immediately adjacent to the 'other' transmitter The area has become a bit of a no go area for various reasons, but the group have plans to reduce bramble, clear and define paths and generally help to look after this space which ought to be a popular local resource for everyone. If you would like to help out, contact: Mike Weiser Community Partnership Officer 020 8726 6000 ext 64952 biodiversity@croydon.gov.uk Sergeant Baxter (South Norwood Safer Neighbourhoods Team) 020 8649 1323 southnorwood.snt@met.police.uk

LETTER(s) Dear Ed, I have noticed in your esteemed publication a distinctly anti Eastern Mysticism bias, notably in your philosophy pages. The latest edition of your magazine will have alienated with your “if it smells like old Sanskrit” cheap jibe the many Sanskrit speakers in the magazine’s catchment area- there must be at least three of us. Eastern mysticism asks many profound ontological questions about the insubstantiality of material things and the illusory nature of reality. You will surely be aware of the huge debt that Plato, the father of Western Philosophy, owes to Eastern mysticism, particularly to the philosophy of Vedanta. More recently, the Scottish philosopher David Hume wrote about the imperceptibility of the Self, a notion first aired in the Upanishads. This in the 20th century was taken in extremis by Ludwig Wittgenstein to a universal theory of the illusion of reality which is similar to conclusions reached in Eastern mysticism. All of this leads me to wonder if your magazine is for real.

they can be asked in a coherent way, in English, with clear arguments supporting the various approaches available to answering them. Why would anyone prefer to have these questions ‘asked’ and ‘answered’ in a ‘mystical’ and barely intelligible format deriving from ancient Sanskrit documents? Such a person seems to be wilfully choosing a fog of confusion over clarity and straightforward discussion and argument. This person surely attracts the suspicion that they have motives other than the direct purpose of examining the relevant ontological issues clearly and dispassionately. They might be suspected of being ‘into’ mysticism for other reasons. Plato believed all kinds of things that really do not stand up in the context of a modern approach to thinking about the world. The claim that he owes a ‘huge debt’ to Eastern mysticism, even if true, would not in itself make much of a case for anyone believing any of it.

Dear all, I would like to send my apologies and sympathies to all the Sanskrit speakers in the Southeast London area. It must be terrible having to listen to this guy drone on in your native language.

David Hume’s problem about the ‘imperceptibility of the Self ’ was a highly empirical concern, i.e. Hume approached the subject by actively applying his full critical faculties in a rigorously open minded manner rather than seeking mystical ‘insights’. He found,by observation that he could not detect any separately existing ‘self ’ over and above the flow of thoughts and sensations he experienced. This is closely related to the modern philosophical discussion of personal identity (see Transmitter #4).

But seriously folks, we do freely admit to a bias against mysticism, our problem being that it relies on the unsupported claims of ‘insight’ by a special class of mystical folk who offer no coherent arguments to support their claims.

Hume, like others before him, missed the need to make reference to bodies in order to sustain a viable notion of a person. If you look for a ‘self ’ or a ‘person’ purely in the mental realm, good luck, because you won’t find one.

You say that “Eastern mysticism asks many profound ontological questions about the insubstantiality of material things and the illusory nature of reality.“

As for Ludwig Wittgenstein’s ‘universal theory of the illusion of reality’, if you know someone who understands what the hell that is all about then you are moving in very exalted circles indeed and, for that, hat’s off to you sir!

Yours mystically

These questions can also be asked by western philosophy and science and

Ed Send your pointless ramblings to letters@thetransmitter.co.uk

or send by carrier pigeon to The Transmitter, PO Box 53556, London SE19 2TL

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sn w business

YOUR PICTURES FROM THE BIG SNOW

© Simon Sharville

Oh the weather outside is frightful,

HAMISH

AXEAN

ANDY

But the fire is so delightful,

IMOGEN

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IMOGEN

MARIO


ANNETTE

ANDY

And since we’ve no place to go,

GILL

MATT

DONNA

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

ANDY

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Feature

B FEATURE

KIRSTY GORDON ASSOCIATES WITH BEES

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he wardens found a colony of bees high up in a tree in Crystal Palace Park, last summer. Usually, with a swarm, you’ll get a few thousand bees huddled together, hanging from a branch like some strange kind of fruit; this lot had built up combs of wax 18” long and had obviously been squatting in the park for some time. Four of us spent a slow Sunday afternoon sitting by the Bowl in un-zipped bee-suits, drinking tea from a thermos and

waiting for the bees to decamp into a cardboard box that we’d knocked half of their nest into. The normal Sunday park-goers gave us a wide berth. Beekeeping. Back in the day, everyone was at it: keeping a skep of bees on your little patch of land was once as common as growing your own veg or rearing chickens. At some point, however, things changed, and most people now view beekeeping as the preserve of bearded eccentrics (see picture - Ed)

or faceless commercial suppliers. With blended honey cheaply available from every supermarket, why bother running a hive? Lately, though, there’s been renewed interest, partly due to the growing trend for digging & dreaming, partly due to an increased concern over the provenance & sustainability of our food (especially relevant for honey, given the local stuff’s rumoured efficacy against hay-fever and other allergies). Sainsbury’s own-brand ‘produce of several countries’ suddenly seems pretty bland, compared to honey from a colony of bees who’ve been foraging in your own back yard. Surprisingly, perhaps, bees do very well in London. Once you get off the main drag, there’s a lot of green space in this city, with a wide variety of plants flourishing all year

Photography Janie Airey

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© Janie Airey


Feature

© Janie Airey round – much better than endless fields of brief-flowering rape. It’s not just flowers, either: some trees, most weeds, even ivy are good sources of nectar and pollen, and city beekeepers swear that their honey tastes all the sweeter for the mix. Bees are very clever at foraging - in the summer, each hive will have tens of thousands of workers, each scouting up to three miles and each pointing the others in the right direction – they can thrive in the most unlikely of places. In fact, there’s a fine urban tradition of keeping bees on balconies or rooftops: Fortnum & Masons has an apiary up amongst its chimney pots (all the hives are painted eaude-nil, of course); in the concrete sprawl of the South Bank, the Royal Festival Hall boasts a scaled-down replica of itself, in the form of a modified long-hive on its roof. All you really need for a hive is a secure, secluded spot where your bees will be safe from curious passers-by (and vice versa); and, of course, you’ll need understanding neighbours. Unfortunately, in

densely-populated London, this set-up can be hard to find, which is why so many London beekeepers end up housing their bees in fenced-off corners of parks and community gardens; or - better still - on allotments. Allotments provide an ideal environment for bees: interesting plants, water-butts, a lock on the gate, not many people about. Plus, if your bees do decide to swarm on to a neighboring gooseberry bush, it’s a lot easier to deal with than if they end up in next-door’s kids’ Ikea wigwam (and a lot less upsetting for all concerned). Different councils and different allotment committees have wildly different policies towards bees. Some welcome them with open arms, while others class bees as ‘livestock’ and apply the same rules as they would towards chickens and goats - trying to get bees on to these sites is a logistical nightmare. There’s public safety to consider too: you can do your best to choose a docile strain and good-natured bees will only sting

when threatened, but there will always be some bad-tempered apis out there. That said, bees are great pollinators who help fruit and veg to thrive: gardeners and beekeepers are natural allies. The Secret Garden stocks local honey, when it’s available, and you can even buy beekeeping equipment from specialist gardening catalogues - check out the Wiggly Wigglers’s starter kit, including a basic National hive, along with a hive-tool, feeder, smoker & fuel for a reasonable £250 (wigglywigglers. co.uk - just be careful not to buy a pretty Beehive Composter, by mistake!) If you’re thinking of buying a hive, you should also visit Thorne, the biggest online supplier of beekeeping supplies (thorne. co.uk). They sell a similar starter kit for £260 (their National comes flat-packed, but they do include a short jacket, veil & gloves). Bee Basic (beebasic.co.uk) is good for additional protective gear: jackets & veils start at £35, whereas a full astronaut-style suit will set

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you back some £60 or so. For equipment, stop by Park Beekeeping Supplies, a tiny but comprehensive industrial unit in Blackheath (parkbeekeeping.com) - the owners are helpful and what they don’t have, they can usually order. And the lovely Hive shop in Clapham is always worth a visit, for inspiration (thehivehoneyshop.co.uk). It’s not cheap, and many novice beekeepers choose to work in pairs – it halves the cost of setting up, and it’s always useful to have a second pair of hands. Also, beekeeping is seasonal. During the winter months, it’s quite lowmaintenance; the bees stay huddled in the hive and you only need to stop by every few weeks, to make sure they’ve got enough stores to keep themselves going. Once they start flying again in the spring, you’ll need to work through the hive more often; during the summer, you should be checking once a week for signs of disease or swarming. With 60,000 insect souls in your care, you’ll need a bee-keeping partner to fall back on, if you ever want to go on holiday with a clear conscience again. Before investing in a hive, though - along with all the extra kit you’ll need, from super boxes and frames, to odds and ends that you’ll only use once in a blue moon, but which you’ll have to beg, borrow or buy nonetheless (queen-marking kit, anyone?) - before investing in a hive, it’s worth making a few forays into the beekeeping community. You can learn the theory from a

book - Bees at the Bottom of the Garden by Alan Campion (Northern Bee Books) is the standard text; Beekeeping by Andrew Davies (Collins & Brown) is also good but there’s no substitute for hands-on experience. Keeping a colony of bees happy & healthy always was a tricky business, and it’s trickier than ever now, with seemingly strong colonies dropping at an alarming rate: even the most experienced beekeepers are struggling, and there’s a sense that beginners, like the bees themselves, need all the help they can get. For general advice and information, check out the British Beekeepers’ Association (britishbee.org.uk). The London Beekeepers’ Association, based in Kennington, hold one day ‘Taste of Beekeeping’ workshops, as well as a series of free lectures and disease-control seminars which run alongside their popular 10week ‘Introduction to Beekeeping’ course (see lbka.org.uk for details). The Bromley Beekeepers also have regular meetings and lectures at their apiary on the Kent House Road allotments in Sydenham (kentbee.com/bromley - you can

buy Bromley beekeeper Peter Bashford’s excellent honey in the Blackbird Bakery!). Most Associations have open days, and it’s worth trying to visit as many hives as possible, over a season. There are bees everywhere, if you know where to look: from city farms hidden away on council estates, to walled-off church gardens; from Brockwell Park in Brixton, to any number of allotments and back gardens. In the summer, when the weather’s good, it’s possible to forget that you’re in London at all. Once you know your way around a brood frame & have mastered the essentials of disease control, once you’ve realised that bees can somehow manage to sting you even through protective clothing and decided that getting stung occasionally isn’t really that bad, then, at last, it’s worth getting your own bees. You can buy a nucleus from Thorne for around £175 - this consists of a laying queen, with five or six frames of workers. Alternatively, you can try and source your bees locally - there’s generally someone looking to sell. a nuke or off-load a spare colony. One of the most satisfying ways of getting bees, though, is claiming a swarm. Most Associations run a swarm list and, in the summer, once they’ve been notified of a cluster of bees, they’ll phone the nearest available person who’s in a position to collect and house it. Which brings us back to Crystal Palace Park, last summer, and the bees in the tree. It was dark, by the time they’d all settled into the cardboard box: the proud new owner tied it shut with string, wrapped it in a sheet and drove the bees off to their new home, a hive in a garden in Nunhead. And the honey they produced that autumn was delicious.

Kirsty Gordon

© Janie Airey

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3 e f c s 1 According to fossil records, bees first appeared on earth about 150 million years ago.

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Bees are the only insects that produce food eaten by humans. © Janie Airey

The oldest known record of human interest in honeybees is a drawing on a cave wall in eastern Spain which is around 9,000 years old.

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There are more than 2,000 species of bee in the world, but only four of them produce honey. Only female bees sting. Infertile female bees (workers) do all the honey stuff and have a sting. Male bees (drones) exist solely to mate with virgin queens to produce new colonies. During mating the drone bee dies.

The queen can mate with up to 17 drones over a 1-2 day period of mating. Once mated, a queen lays about 2,000 eggs per day; five or six per minute.

A queen bee has to eat 80 times her own weight to produce all those eggs.

The honey bee’s wings beat 11,400 times per minute, making the distinctive buzz. Bees cruise at about 15 mph but can fly at speeds of up to 20 mph.

Bees never sleep.

Bees have no knees. (saying “it’s the bees knees” is therefore rather strange) Honeybees have hair on their eyes. About 1,100 honeybee stings are needed to be fatal.

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Honey is the only food that includes all the substances necessary to sustain life, including enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water.

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A bee produces about one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey during its lifetime. It takes nectar from 2 million flowers (about 550 workers) to make 1lb of honey. A single bee would have to fly almost 3 times around the world to make 1lb of honey. It would take 3 ounces of honey to fuel a bee’s flight 3 times around the world.

A worker bee couldn’t fly 3 times around the world (90,000 miles) as it wears out and dies after about 500 miles! Honey never goes rotten. A jar of 2,000-year-old honey found in an Egyptian tomb was said to taste delicious.

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HIDDEN GEM

Sue Williams visits the South London Botanical Institute

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or many years I’ve driven past this imposing double fronted Victorian pile in Norwood Road with its beautifully inscribed Botanical Institute sign, but have never ventured in – until now.

since it was first founded. It’s no surprise it is part of London Open House weekend. It has echoes of the old Horniman Museum - one man’s vision from a more considered eclectic age.

In these days of packaged, slick museums – in all their interactive glory – Allan Octavian Hume’s institute is a refreshing blast from the past. It is clearly a haven for committed botanists who want to explore the hundreds of Hume’s plant folders but for the far less specialist visitor, it is an intriguing architectural gem – largely unspoilt

If you’re free on a Thursday between 10 and 4 take a stroll down memory lane in this lovely old house & garden, and savour a genuine rarity.

Sue Williams

South London Botanical Institute is a double-fronted Victorian house at 323 Norwood Road,Tulse Hill. It houses a library, herbarium, meeting rooms, a conservatory and a botanic garden and celebrates its centenary next year.


Roy Vickery, SLBI Chairman

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the bugman cometh JUSTINE CROW INTERVIEWS RICHARD ‘THE BUGMAN’ JONES


Feature

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hey say it’s bad form to talk about health problems when meeting a doctor out of hours, but the conversation turns inexorably, over the cocktails, to the dickie knee. I don’t know if the same protocol exists with an entomologist but I am certain that whenever I meet Richard “The Bugman” Jones - our kids go to school together - I can’t help talking about insects. Curiously enough, we have more than kids and headlice in common – the Bugman started off as a bookseller, albeit antiquarian. So how come, I ask, you end up as the author of a number of books and with a regular slot on the compelling Home Planet show on Radio 4, and I’m still just er.. a.. bookseller..? He removes a hat that wouldn’t look out of place on top of Indiana Jones himself and says that it was all down to “disinspiration.” “I was supposed to be a maths whiz but whereas some cite a teacher as the inspiration behind their success,” he smiles ruefully, “my maths teacher was so boring that he disinspired me.” It is hard to imagine him being thrilled with a slide rule; as the progeny of a botanist, Jones grew up rambling about the Sussex countryside. He ended up doing a biology degree and via secondhand books -“I spent so much time at tedious bookfairs sitting among collapsible shelving that I quickly learned that the guaranteed way to get customers was to stand up and pretend to be one yourself” - found himself in medical publishing. Soon he was involved with insect surveys and found that publishing mattered less and bugs more. “I’ve done surveys all over the place, including dear old Crystal Palace when they were refurbing the dinosaurs..You don’t just count bugs, you also advise on how to improve the environment for them,

Palomena (picture courtesy Richard Jones) such as denser planting or shallower water.” His interest is profoundly rich: we see a park with some interesting concrete statuary, a few ducks and some rusty swings, he sees jungle ripe for exploration.

on science and the environment at its contributors. “The Bugman regards me kindly as if I am a slightly underwhelming specimen, a weevil missing a leg perhaps. “We are..” he laughs.

I ask what a survey involves, expecting him to describe state-of-the-art software and satellites. Instead the answer is pleasingly Victorian: “Basically it is me, and a big net!” He is, it seems, also a bit of a specialist in green roof surveys, clambering up high to get to the action. “We use something called a suction sampler.” Which sounds suitably technological until he puts me right. “It’s a leaf blower vac thing with a mesh. Mind you, it looks a bit like a rocket launcher and when I was 100 metres up in Canary Wharf just after 9/11, I kept expecting the anti-terrorist squad.”

“It is pretty much recorded in one take and it’s a great formula; there is a certain tightness to the production company’s approach (Making History is another) that makes for brilliant listening. I mean, they edit out most of my ‘ahs’ and ‘ers’, though the last time they seemed to leave them all in.” “May be they were short of material?” I suggest and he gives me an Indy twinkle, as if that could ever be the truth.

We turn to the safer activity of broadcasting. “There’s something remarkably comfortable about Home Planet that makes it sound like you are all sitting around a table chatting.” I venture on the subject of the famous weekly show that invites listeners to throw intriguing questions

Here’s a man never short of a project given the number of creepy-crawlies in the world, and as well as stunts on rooftops and a book and radio career, Jones writes regularly for BBC Wildlife magazine and blogs on the Gardener’s World website. He is also a keen allotmenteer with a spot on the coveted Dulwich Woods site. I belie my Jackie upbringing by blurting out: “What’s your fave insect then?” He is briefly flummoxed by my

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Feature

Who the hell are you looking at?

Rhagium (picture courtesy Richard Jones) naivety but politely offers up: “Er.. the hover fly? It is just so aesthetically..” and his big hands shape the air “.. so perfectly..” and then he realises that he is dealing with a primitive life-form. Thankfully he is doing his bit to ensure a more enlightened generation than ours (my son pointed out a spider to his grandma and was gutted when she took off her slipper and smacked it) by running a natural history club at Ivydale School, Nunhead, close to where he holds his famous bug hunt at the picturesque

I belie my Jackie upbringing by blurting out: “What’s your fave insect then?”

brownfield sites, more set-aside; people will put fewer chemicals on their gardens and less will be spent refining them. Habitats will be more natural.” And with that our hero puts on his hat (I look around hopelessly for his bullwhip) and strides out, back into the fresh air where he belongs. Phew, the future doesn’t look so bleak for the humble bug after all.

annual Nunhead Cemetery Open Day. I feel the need to make up for my stupidity by asking something sensible. “Any insects for a recession?” Calmly, he tolerates my continuing foolishness before licking his lips and saying: “I think that it will be better for everything. There will be more

Nano Nature by Richard Jones, Harpercollins rrp £20.00 is out now Extreme Insects is due to be published in Autumn 2009. The Bugman blogs at gardenersworld. com Nunhead Cemetery Open Day is on Saturday 16th May 2009 11-5pm

Justine Crow

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Feature

A BRIEF ALLOTTED TIME JUSTINE TAKES A TOUR OF TWO HUGE URBAN GEMS

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hey are everywhere; you can’t crack open a Sunday supplement without tripping over them; but you can’t get one for love nor money. Allotments. After years of sniffing at the doublediggers, we’ve finally discovered these city oases are the jewels of our sooty boroughs, and everybody wants one. Jack Dudley Swale, Spa Hill Society stalwart and jack-of-all-trades it seems, waited patiently for me at the gates as I struggled into my walking boots. No doubt he had a million things to do that didn’t include trudging around muddy plots with the chippy possessor of a tiny paved courtyard who has had her name on a waiting list for centuries. However, clearly proud and rightly so of the society’s achievements, he showed me round the site and by the time he shut the gate behind me, I felt as if I’d been out to the country. Which possibly I had, as the path from the gates crosses over the London

postal border into dear old Surrey. Not that the landscape resembled your typical pastoral scene in anything other than mud. But, I swear, as we walked around the twenty-four acres watched over by the twin masts and the wise steeple of All Saints, the air smelled as fresh as snapped stalks and there was the sense that nature is champing at the bit. Despite the historical evidence that stretches from an ancient hedge line probably dating back to the middle ages, through to WW2 with the pig sties still visible, this astonishingly diverse space has one welly in the present and the other striding out into the future. In every direction, on the “roughly” 350 ‘ten rod plots’ – that’s gardener-speak, to us pavement grubbers - I see signs of familiar “British” fruit n’ veg and I also see plants I’ve never heard of, grown by a membership of over a thousand typical Londoners, speaking around twentyfive different languages; pensioners, bus drivers, shift workers, families… And

while I merely dream of the possibilities, these practical magicians are already wheelbarrowing around me, staking out the season ahead. Jack nods to some lads in fluorescent jackets: “Community payback boys,” he says and goes on to detail the community service projects Spa Hill is involved in with including making space available for a local care home to cultivate, plus links with schools and many training courses open to members and non-members. We stop beneath the wind turbine that provides the energy for the site (any surplus is sold back to the National Grid, should they be so lucky). The organised recycling is a necessity - the scale is extraordinary with Jack talking in tons when he describes anything from hardcore to horse poo to potatoes. And with a stream flowing through the landscape, the ecological imperative has seen the re-development of an old pond, happily squatted by wild ducks. He takes me along a secretive border to

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A BRIEF ALLOTTED TIME continued a quiet town of hives where one or two bees are nipping about the February morning. He reckons there are around eighteen to twenty colonies producing the precious Spa Hill honey with five beekeepers, some like himself “the wrong side of sixty-five,” another young ‘un “only in his fifties” and for the first time, “a girl!” Standing amidst the chatter of sparrows thriving in the insect-rich environment, where elsewhere they are in decline, I look out at the hotch-potch of sheds, some traditional, some ingenious, one with a live roof, many in a state of, let us say, charming weathered-ness, I remark that I can’t believe that Croydon has not whipped the green rug out from under them all and built a glistening shopping mall. “They tried to turn some of it into playing fields back in the ‘90s,” he replies with glint. “The reaction was colossal…”

Hmm, I pity the poor councillor who came up with that bright idea. With his big bunch of keys, Jack unlocks a workshop housing a nest of lawnmowers beside an elderly restored dumper, and a well-equipped hut used as a base for the volunteer squads. It goes without saying that everything must be kept secure though sometimes it is not tools intruders are after, but the plotholders’ biscuits and a warm floor for the night. However, he keeps the best to last; there is a militarily clean kitchen and well-appointed café (where has all the mud gone?) that doubles comfortably as a lecture room which, with a tidy lawn aching for a bouncy castle, is ideal for children’s parties, and then the big bunch of keys unlocks a wonder, the jewel within the jewel: a most

fantastically stocked, pristine garden shop.You don’t have to be a plotholder to enjoy this incredible community facility: 10p to join and £2 a year to be a member buys you an astonishingly broad selection of seeds, onion sets, sixteen different types of spud, grow bags, grit, hooks, twine, secateurs, you name it, all at unbelievably reasonable prices… You can shove your B&Q bamboo canes where the sun doesn’t shine through the fruit nets and purchase locally produced hazel sticks here instead. I ask Jack how the society can afford to be so competitive. “Volunteers,” he replies. “We are not proud.. We accept


volunteers from everywhere!” - they buy in bulk and bag up for England. I look out at the grapevines, the silver cardoom crowns, the Portuguese winter squashes scattered like lost footballs in the long grass, and my mind is spinning with the numbers involved to keep this vital place going. Later, I climb a quieter hill on the other side of the ridge towards Dulwich at the Rosendale Allotments. Apparently even bigger than Spa the atmosphere here is calmer, artistic, soothing. It seems a much more private place, albeit with stupendous views. A green woodpecker keeps an eye on us while Virginia, a local garden designer and musician, shows me how she recycles using materials salvaged from skips to furnish her two picturesque plots, bursting with the promise of fruit. We walk among painted sculpture fashioned like Native

American totems, by schoolchildren; there is a lavatory estranged from an avocado suite (naturally…) frothing foliage; a wire bedhead marks a boundary; a 1920’s clock face whiles away time wistfully in a shed window. Earlier, I grumbled to Jack Dudley Swale that I had a Victorian semi with a wretched small yard measuring twenty-foot by twenty-foot that I could do nothing with, but the plots I have seen today are a testament to diversity, tolerance, innovation and, importantly, hard graft in very small spaces. He grinned and said, pointing out a house beside the hives: “I too have a Victorian semi. But my garden has twenty-four acres..”

Spa Hill Open Day is 15 August 2009, all welcome for a fairground atmosphere. For all information regarding training courses, children’s parties and Spa Hill Society membership: 07879 007156 spahill.org.uk The shop & café are open at weekends, 10am til noon. The Rosendale Allotments Association Annual Show is 23 August 2009 Rosendale-Allotments.org.uk

Justine Crow

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Gardening Romanesco is particularly beautiful with its light green buds tinged with purple at the ends and it is also noted for its flavour.

A veg for all seasons I’ve never had much luck growing vegetables. However, urged by the current ‘batten down the hatches’ and my Dad’s persistent nagging (he supplies most of his Lincolnshire village with produce from his 30’ square plot) I’m going to have a go. Easy does it to start with. I will focus on perennial vegetables which earn their bed and board looks-wise and return faithfully next year. I’m aiming to create an interesting vibrant plot (a bit like the Elizabethans with their knot gardens) which weaves happily into the main patchwork of the garden.

Artichokes don’t like cold, wet soil and need to be sited in a sunny sheltered position. They will thrive in well composted soil and in the early months feed them with liquid seaweed every few weeks. Once established this fabulous plant will multiply year on year providing a touch of glamour to the veg plot and tasty veg for the table. I have had success with my next plant Helianthus tuberosus or the Jerusalem artichoke. Plenty of space will be required for this champion vegetable and it is ideally suited as a screen or wind break at the back of your plot. This artichoke is also related to the sunflower from where it derives its name – girasole – but it is very different from the Cynara.

The tubers are planted in early spring about 4-6 inches deep and by late summer they resemble sunflowers with their tall green stems and ovate mid-green leaves. After the first frost the tall stems are killed off and the tubers are ready to be dug as required. Do clear the ground in spring of any tubers you do not require as they can become invasive. My final plant is not strictly a vegetable but has culinary and medicinal properties and is often found in the herb garden. Angelica archangelica is a stunning architectural perennial which can easily reach 5 or 6 feet. Again it probably needs to be at the back of the veg. plot but it adds drama to any garden with its tiny luminous green flower heads arranged in ten inch globes. Angelica needs a deep, moist soil in full or partial shade.

Artichokes seem to have it all. The globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus) is in effect a giant thistle from the sunflower family. It has large silvery leaves and throws up the most splendid architectural bloom which bees love. It is an ancient Mediterranean plant, very easy to grow, with flower buds which range from dark green “Green Globes” to deep purple “Violetta”.

The vegetable is the root, a knobbly, creamy coloured tuber which is notoriously difficult to peel but only needs a good scrub in my view. These artichokes are delicious in soups or steamed as an accompaniment to the roast dinner but they do induce extreme flatulence if consumed too avidly – beware a second bowl of soup!

Also worth a mention is Angelica gigas which has dramatic dome shaped heads of plum purple flowers on deep red stems and it flowers later in the summer. Both types will self-seed freely. Happy Gardening

Sue Williams 23


Gardening

AN allotment IN EVERY HOME RICHARD HILL FROM LUSH GARDEN DESIGN TAKES US THROUGH THE STEPS

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he allotment has become the most fashionable accessory and growing your own veg has got to be the best panacea for the credit crunch era. The allotment is no longer the reserve of grumpy old men growing giant marrows, now everyone is doing it. However with a waiting list of thousands in each London borough, the chance of getting a plot at your local association is slim. So if you want to join this veg growing revolution right now, what can you do? Welcome to the home allotment. From a humble window box to a full-scale vegetable patch, with raised beds, composting area and shed, now everyone can grow something for the kitchen and taste the sweetness of fresh produce. The reason for the sweet taste of home grown fresh veg is to do with sugars. The natural sugars in a courgette, or any vegetable, will start turning to starch within minutes of it being cut from the vine and the very fast process that converts the sugars to starch, robs the courgette of its beautiful sweet flavour. This is true for all fruit and veg so the closer the veg is grown to the kitchen the better ‘Cut and cook.’ Home allotments are easy to get going and now is the perfect time of year to start. To kick off your fork to fork experience, you will need a growing area. This can be a few large pots or a couple of grow bags. If you have the space, build a raised bed using timber. We build raised beds for our clients using untreated French oak railway sleepers, which are bolted together. Do not be tempted to use reclaimed sleepers- as these have been soaked in creosote. Raised beds built from railway sleepers are normally 480mm high by 2.6m long by 1.3m wide, but they can be any size. If sleepers are too pricey, then

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use new or used scaffold planks, however these will need supporting with sizeable wooden pegs to prevent sagging. We prepare the raised beds by first adding 20mm of grit or pea shingle for drainage. The raised bed is then filled with a good quality organic landscapers loam. We top off our raised beds with a landscaping fabric, which is stapled to the timber edge, this stops the soil from drying out, reduces watering and helps maintain an even soil temperature. Choosing the right spot for your growing space is essential. Avoid overhanging trees and dry areas, like the base of fences,

Home allotments are easy to get going and now is the perfect time of year to start walls and hedges. Try to find the sunniest, most accessible spot. The principles for large pots, grow bags and window boxes are the same as those for a raised bed, just remember that the smaller the container the more watering it will

picture courtesy Richard Hill


Gardening need. One watering tip for containers is to stand them on a tray or saucer filled with gravel or horticultural aggregate. This helps stop the soil from completely drying out, while the gravel stops waterlogged soil from drowning and rotting the roots. With your planting area prepared, you can now choose what to sow and grow. With modern seed catalogues, the choice before you is vast, from exotic pak choi to the humble spud. My choice for the first time home horticulturalist would have to include courgettes, French beans, strawberries and sweet corn. You could also try an apple tree or why not be adventurous and give blueberries a go. If you have space plant Jerusalem artichokes they are fabulously easy to grow and once you have them, you have them for ever. Another possibility for allotment space is at schools. Last year we built three large allotment beds at a local junior school. The project, funded by the national lottery, has been a great success. This year with a full year of growing, the pupils, staff and parents are expecting to see a large amount of produce coming from the plot. I would urge everyone with children to persuade their schools to find space for growing fruit and veg it’s educational, it’s fun and it’s relatively cheap! Before you get stuck in, here are a few hot tips. • Rotate your crops. Don’t plant the veg from the same group in the same place each year! • Try to collect rainwater in a water butt, it’s better for the plants and if you are metered, will save you money • Establish one or two compost bins and chuck all your uncooked vegetable waste in them. Turn the compost on a regular basis and then add this to your patch each spring. • Turn the soil in autumn and spring and dig in organic material each winter. • Dry out and save seeds from squashes and beans for use the following year. Now pull your wellies on, get out there and have fun!

Richard Hill

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GARDEN GLAMOUR

Philipa (Pylon Design) wears blue brocade dress coat from Vintagehart, The White Hart, 96 Church Rd SE19, pink satchel at Smash Bang Wallop, 85 Church Rd SE19, own jewellery & wellies. Elaine (owner of Eclipse) wears red silk trench coat and net skirt from Eclipse, 92 Park Hall Rd, SE21, own jewellery & wellies Sue (Sue Williams Gardens) wears cashmere cardigan by Cash Ca at Eclipse (as before) bag and jewellery from Smash Bang Wallop. Own dress and wellies. Catherine (Allbone & Trimit) wears skirt designed and made by Catherine at Allbone & Trimit ,Coopers Yard, SE19 cardigan by Cash ca at Eclipse, belt and gloves from Vintagehart, jewellery from Smash Bang Wallop, Sea boots models own. Hair & make up by Willie Smarts, 1 Westow Hill, SE19. Location: thanks to Spa Hill Allotments

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LITTLE MISS VINTAGE Lane Hopping

Georgina shows how to mix up vintage with new and borrowed gear. Dress from Vintagehart, bag & jacket borrowed, own shoes.


Dress & shoes own, bag from a charity shop, jacket borrowed. Hair & Make-up Heather @ fortyseven. Any teenagers visiting the Crystal Palace Childrens’ Book Festival, might like to pop into the Church Road Pop-Up vintage shop, open that weekend only, to try out mixing vintage pieces with your own clothes.

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Food and Drink

Mum’s *!!!!??@ Soufflé NADIA SAWALHA SWEARS BY HER MUM’S RECIPE

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’ve learnt all my favourite swear words from my mother. This is mainly due to the fact that every now and then, whenever she goes into the kitchen, something very scary happens to her.

Now don’t get me wrong, for the most part my mum is a real ‘lady’, it’s just that certain desserts can cause an unnerving metamorphosis in her. A little like that scene from An American Werewolf in London, in which the lead actor transforms into a bristling baying wolf; so too, my mother, upon deciding she will make a dessert, becomes a whiskwielding, foul-mouthed, cursing maniac. When I was little, on occasions, me and my sisters would arrive home from school, only to be stopped in our tracks at the garden gate, as we were met by our mother’s blasphemous screams of frustration emanating from a rattling letterbox. As we heard a range of f words, s words, b words - and some swear words that we could only marvel at, that seemed to begin with v, p, and even d, we would look at each other and in unison mouth

30

rather nervously, SHE’S MAKING DESSERT ! Like one of those horror movies where everyone screams “don’t go into the house”, the three of us would tentatively turn the key in the lock, mindful the whole time that at any point, as the door edged open, we could be hit by sweet sticky shrapnel OR an entire recipe book. So, how strange it is to acknowledge that one of the desserts that was single-handedly responsible for so many demonic episodes in my mothers life, is a pudding so light, gentle, serene and seductive in its lemony loveliness that everyone who tasted it could be forgiven for thinking that it was actually cooked and baked by an angel (rather than someone more akin to Norman Bates from Psycho!) Once we had stepped into the kitchen, dispensed with our school bags and eaten our main course this truly magical creation (a dish of sublime citrus calm-after-the-stormness) would emerge straight from the blaspheming hands of our now exhausted and slightly perturbed looking mother. As we speedily dispensed with the soft silky smooth (sometimes slightly fizzy) joyfulness of this dish - we would (with our mouths full) try and

remember some of our mother’s best swear words in order to shock our school friends the following day. Usually - as we ate our final mouthfuls - mum would be found somewhere in the house benignly mending our school uniforms; all evidence of her recent Friday the 13th Part IV impersonation having gently evaporated along with her Lemon Souffle. So - if you’re hoping to improve the money taken by your swearbox, read on ... I have added my mother’s more colourful moments to the recipe, in such a way so that her most crucially venomous explosions can be re-enacted alongside those more complex moments in the cooking process. By the way, my mother (who lives next door) has just walked in and read this - she wants me to make it very clear that the only reason she ever had any trouble in the kitchen was because of ‘The continuous bleeding* racket she had to put up with in the mad house that was our family home ‘ *NB - I took the liberty of inserting the much more diplomatic word ‘bleeding’ for the sake of our younger readers.


Food and Drink

THE RECIPE Lemon Soufflé INGREDIENTS

METHOD

4 medium eggs

Separate the eggs and beat the yolks together in a large bowl with sugar, lemon rind and juice until very thick and creamy

225g/8ozs caster sugar Rind and juice of 3 lemons (“good grief - it’s totally %@!!!!** gone in my eye!”) 10g/ ½ oz gelatine soaked in 5 tbsps cold water - do not stir (“why do I always @*:!!!!! forget the amount of water”) 275ml/ ½ pt double cream Browned almonds finely chopped Extra double cream whipped for decoration Large basin of iced water to cool and set the soufflé serving dish - I don’t try to get clever with soufflé dish and paper collar, but use a crystal bowl.

Whip the cream until the ribbon stage - do not overwhip ! (“Easier @**% said than **** done!”) Whip the egg whites by hand until just standing in peaks - do not allow them to become too stiff (“ *@.**!! stiff to one person isn’t *!!!!??@ stiff for someone else!”) Stir the gelatine into the cream then stir into the egg mixture Lightly fold in the egg whites with a palette knife until well mixed

Place the bowl into the bowl of iced water and put in fridge. Give it a stir every 20 minutes or so, reaching well down to the bottom, until you feel it is thickening. If you don’t mix well at this stage, (“@!x@!!!!!”) you will end up with a lemon jelly at the bottom of the bowl and a lemon foam on top (“*@**!!!”) Pour into the bowl of your choice and, just before serving, decorate with whipped cream (optional) and browned almonds sooooo easy to burn. (“@@!!****”). And there you have it possibly the most foul-mouthed Lemon Soufflé in the world!

NADIA SAWALHA

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Food and Drink

Everything’s coming up rosen MUCH BETTER THAN AN AFTERNOON AT THE PICTURES IN ROTHERHITHE

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t was quiet for a Friday night but the accommodating head waiter, Mourad, assured us that on Sundays The Rosendale is packed with families and children and stuff. Great, I say. Right now, having spent the afternoon in a cinema with roughly a thousand half-term gnomes, I am utterly relieved that the only people kidding about are the thirtysomethings in the bar area. And, thanks to a quiet pint that stretched into three the evening before with our dear friend Al Skeletone, we returned home to find the cupboard bare and had to settle for a blank omelette, so now we were in calorific deficit and absolutely ravenous. The dining space was high-ceilinged and comfortable but I couldn’t work out what the chocolate paintwork, stripy-backed seats and weathered veneer reminded me of. Then on glimpsing the old BT sign on the telephone exchange beyond the handsome pub windows, I realised it was my late grandad’s teetering rented house in Norbury. With a bit of luck, dinner wouldn’t be corned beef and tinned peas though I was beyond worry because, as Grandad Crow would say, I was so hungry I could eat a dead horse between two old mattresses. Along with a minerally Macon and some fresh baked bread with an egg of peppered butter, what a relief it was to be brought a menu busting with confidence, not to mention being a little on the naughty side. The saffron risotto with parmesan ice-cream starter was tempting as was the homemade ricotta and ravioli, but I needed meat and it was a toss up between me and the bookseller as to who had the veal (told you it was naughty) and who had the carpaccio. In the event, we

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THE ROSENDALE Address 65 Rosendale Road SE21 Telephone 020 8670 0812 Email dine@therosendale.co.uk Open Bar/A la carte menu daily from 12pm-10pm PLEASE NOTE Fine dining menu Fridays and Sturdays only Friday 7pm-10pm Saturday 12pm-3pm, 7pm-10pm Sunday Roast 12pm-4pm Private dining rooms available

shared. It echoed as it went down. I seem to recall possibly too much rocket on the plate but I munched through it regardless to get to the rewardingly dense flesh of the beef beneath. The veal meanwhile, was in-your-face comfort food. We took a breath but it wasn’t long before I was indignantly marching through that day’s experience at Surrey Quays attempting to find something palatable to eat: one great big cinema and you’d


Food and Drink

crab croquette and asparagus, the latter double naughty-naughty as it is out of season. But how pretty it looked. Like it had been lifted from a delicate Japanese garden. It tasted pretty too. Hurray! I still had room for pudding! Perhaps it was the memory of the clicky hallway at Norbury Cres, or maybe I’d been with too many children. But my heart was set on the rice pudding. No, it didn’t arrive with a leathery nutmeg hide to fight over, and the advertised ice wasn’t raspberry as promised but pistachio. No matter. The upturned flowerpot of fragrant rice was exactly the right side of cleggy to be irrigated with the excellent, repeat excellent, glass of Sauternes that the enthusiastic Mourad sorted out for me when I couldn’t decide. The bookseller found some interesting cheese to go with homemade oatcakes, the best he’d eaten since we’d been to Skye and been served by exactly the same bloke that plays the pipe on Little Britain. “Tricky things, sharks,” he had commented after we’d waited more than an hour for our fish steaks.

think it would be possible to find something that wasn’t a revolting combo of pap and crunch. As the lights went down, my stomach was clearly heard to gurgle over the roar of the additive-filled infants. Once again we’d chosen our main courses delectably, and with attention to detail. Size. Pork belly, lentils and celeriac nearly swayed me and there was even a well naughty fillet of beef and wild mushrooms with foie gras, but as

I’m still after a place in heaven I went for the pleasantly pink and substantial duck breast perched on a nest of red cabbage. It came with a generous smear of smooth potato purée that resembled Grandad’s Smash in appearance only, and tasted as rich as an allotment on a plate. The bookseller briefly dangled the idea that we would have the Semental fore rib between us but, when he realised that he’d have a job wrestling it off me, went instead for sea bass and

There was nothing tricky about The Rosendale; they offered us peace, comfort and with a frisson of grown-up mischief, filled us up royally. And at a flat rate for three courses, it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Which is more than can be said for an afternoon at the pictures in Rotherhithe.

Justine Crow

33


Food and Drink

sherry baby

MICHAEL EYRE FORTIFIES US WITH THE AMBER NECTAR FROM JEREZ

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his time around, as we emerge out of the mire that was winter and stare myopically at the bright freshness of spring, we all feel in need of something that is both fortifying for the blood and also cleansing for the soul. This, of course, has to be a glass or two of fine sherry. I have four excellent examples of different styles of sherry to suit all occasions. To start: Elegante Dry Fino Palomino 15%. £6.50 Waitrose This little number will get the gastric juices flowing. There is a delightful yeasty, cheesy nose. Swiftly followed by a taste that is both crisp, off dry and unexpectedly

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creamy. The finish being just a tad short. All in all a bit of a crowd pleaser. Perfectly suited for all types of Tapas and makes for an excellent aperitif. Lustau Dry Amontillado Los Arcos 18.5% £9.75 Oddbins. Fabulous fresh, nutty and wood polish nose sliding effortlessly into the dark residual sweet alchoholic warmth which contrasts sublimely with the lively acidity. Rounding off with a lovely long finish. This truly delivers the goods. Another tapas orientated piece of work erring more towards the richer side of things. Lustau Anada 1990 Rich Oloroso 20% £21.00 Green and Blue What we have here is a bit of an anomaly. A vintage sherry.

Nonetheless another superb drink from Lustau with a volatile nose of old wood varnish and nutty orange peel. Descending into a welcoming pool of lovely rich caramel, marmalade and vanilla tastes. With a finish that goes on forever. As for food, I gave this a go with Nadia’s curried parsnip soup (last issue -Ed). A most interesting combination. Osborne Pedro Ximenez 17% £12.00 Longford Wines A deeply dark and sensuous drink, instantly assailing the senses with molasses and burnt caramel, library leather and smoke. Hugely sweet and deliciously decadent. Will have those blood sugar levels steaming through the roof. Another long and luxurious finish. Exemplary stuff. Perfect with a pasties de nata, or two. Hasta lo.

Michael


Spring Cleaning

Pink dusters from Glitter & Twisted, Method Cleaning Sprays at La Planta, eco-friendly brushes & galvanised bucket at Macdonalds’ Discount Store. Loofah on a stick by Sefgrove Chemist. Le Compagnie De Provence, soap and foam bath from Smash Bang Wallop.

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Arts

The Devil is in the details

HOWARD MALE HAS HIS OWN UNIQUE TAKE ON THE DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY’S EXTRAORDINARY REASSEMBLING OF A RENAISSANCE MASTERPIECE.

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irstly, a confession. However impressive the Petrobelli Altarpiece is, and however fascinating its background story, as I stood before it for the first time, I found it hard to connect with, either emotionally or intellectually. The 4.77m high, recently reassembled masterpiece teems with blissed-out angels, porcine cupids, heavily bearded priests and a misty-eyed archangel. And then when I looked up I saw a greyly dead Christ sitting on top of a plump duvet of white clouds, and I felt even more removed from this vividly conjured universe. What did a 16thcentury Venetian painting created for a family burial chapel have to say to a 21st-Century nonbeliever who was already distracted by thoughts of the pastries and excellent coffee calling to him from the gallery’s cafe? But I did what I always do when confronted with an immensely detailed, symbolically rich work of art from an unimaginably distant age: I looked for the tiny, seemingly unimportant detail that would give me a way into the painting. It’s usually there somewhere - in a shadowy corner, or maybe in the background landscape. In this instance it turned out to be a tiny naked man, loosely rendered and completely out of scale with every other figure in the painting. The man seemed to be rising up from one golden bowl of a set of scales held in the left hand of the mostlymissing centre figure of Saint Michael. Meanwhile Saint Michael’s right hand is busy slaying Satan with a spear, but that’s another story. The unfortunate thing is, that most of this scene where all the action is - takes place in

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the missing segment of the painting. But we’ll get to all that in a moment. I want to dwell on my little man for a little longer. The rest of the altarpiece is rendered in the typical Renaissance style with Veronese delightfully sculpting in paint every last fold of richly coloured drapery and every hair on the noble chins of his wise old men. So why does my ghostly, simian man look like he was painted by Goya or even Francis Bacon? It turns out that the man’s sketchiness is probably down to the fact that he - along with several other areas of the canvas was painted-over when the picture was criminally cut up into smaller chunks at the end of the 18th century. The reason for this unforgivable act of vandalism was that more money could be made by selling these smaller segments as if they were individual Veronese works, rather than trying to sell the picture as a whole, which was considered too large to attract a buyer. Many of the painted-over areas, along the inner edges of the left and right segments, were parts of the missing Saint Michael, such as his arms and hands. If these hadn’t been painted over, it would have been obvious that the left and right segments were once part of a larger work, and this would have made them harder to sell. When all these hidden details were revealed in the 1950s by restoration to the left-hand, Dulwich Picture Gallery-owned section of the picture, it immediately prompted a cleaning of the right-hand section, which was owned by the National Gallery of Scotland. The strange details which were exposed - my enigmatic monkey-man amongst them - were all the clues needed to


Arts

inform the experts what and who had occupied this mysterious missing central section. Previously it had been thought that the missing figure was The Madonna, or even just an empty stretch of sky and clouds. The more I read about the altarpiece, the more fascinating its background story became. My strange little man was apparently a symbolic figure representing the weight of all human souls. What was in the other scale, acting as a counterweight, remains a mystery. Even the image in the exhibition catalogue - in which a contemporary artist guesses at what the missing figures of Saint Michael and Satan looked like - doesn’t hazard a guess as to what was in the other golden bowl of Saint Michael’s soulweighing scales. Once it had been established that the central figure was Saint Michael it still seemed extremely unlikely that any part of this final missing section would ever be found. But then Xavier F. Saloman, the Curator at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, had his eureka moment. He simply imagined himself as one of those mercenary 18th-century art dealers, and then asked himself, what would have been the best way to maximise profits from this missing section of the painting? As the figures of Saint Michael and Satan had lost limbs to the cut-off right and left segments, the obvious answer was to just take Saint Michael’s pretty blond head and sell it as a portrait of an angel. For who would be able to tell - looking at the angel’s calm, beneficent features - that, in his original context, he had been about to plunge a spear into the Devil himself? As soon as Xavier had this thought, he remembered seeing such a head at

the Blanton Museum in Austin, Texas. It had to be the missing segment! And within weeks it was proven to be. Two centuries have passed since this masterpiece was hacked to pieces by mercenary art dealers, but now at least most of it has been reassembled, and after doing my homework I feel much closer to its vital energy. But it has to be said that, ironically, it’s the missing part of the painting that makes the work so enigmatic. Because only a sinister claw or two remains of Veronese’s Satan, we’ve been left to imagine for ourselves what that sulphurous beast looked like. And what lurks in the darkest depths of our minds is always going to be more horrifying than anything even this greatest of renaissance painters could ever have conjured in paint.

Howard Male

The Petrobelli Altarpiece is at The Dulwich Picture Gallery until 3 May 1. Paolo Veronese, Dead Christ supported by Angels, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa 2. Paolo Veronese, Saint Anthony Abbot and Antonio Petrobelli, National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh 3. Paolo Veronese, Head of Saint Michael, Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, The Suida-Manning Collection 4. Paolo Veronese, Saint Jerome and Girolamo Petrobelli, Dulwich Picture Gallery, London (By Permission of the Trustees of Dulwich Picture Gallery)

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Books

the bookseller JONATHAN EXPOSES AN EMBARRASSMENT OF LITERARY RICHES ON OUR DOORSTEP

The Devil’s Kiss (Puffin £5.99) the much anticipated new teenage novel by local author Sarwat Chadda opens on a moonlit autumn night in Crystal Palace Park. Fifteen-year-old Billi SanGreal is looking to kill a six-year-old boy. Except that all is not what it seems. The boy, Alex, sitting on a swing, has been dead since 1970 and Billi has been sent by her father Arthur, the head of The Knights Templar to rid the boy of the evil spirit that has possessed him and turned him into one of the undead. It is her Ordeal, and once passed she will be ready, even a year under the official age, to be the only girl initiated into the Knights Templar. Described by the author as Buffy meets the DaVinci Code (but it’s better than that). The Devil’s Kiss is a thrilling adventure story and is sure to be one of the most talked about young adult novels of the year - the minute I finished it there was a fight in our house over who was going to read it next!

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We are very proud therefore, to say that Sarwat Chadda will be at the Bookseller Crow on Saturday 25 April as part of the exciting Crystal Palace Children’s Book Festival when we will be hosting a day of readings and signings with various children’s authors. In addition there will be workshops running for the day at the library and an exhibition of children’s book illustration running for the weekend at Smash Bang Wallop.

From noisy dogs to playful cats. Shortly before Christmas Viv Schwarz author of There Are Cats in This Book (Walker £9.99) visited the shop and spent the day signing books and knitting cats. A couple of weeks later the book was deservedly named on Radio 4 and in The Sunday Times as one of the picture books of the year. If you missed Viv on her first visit, she too will be making a return for the Festival.

Another local author who will be making an appearance at the event is Sue Eves author of The Quiet Woman and the Noisy Dog (Andersen Press £10.99). Illustrated by Ailie Busby this is a great children’s picture book that tells the story of, you guessed it, a quiet woman who owns a noisy dog. One day they go for a walk in the park and meet a noisy woman who owns a quiet dog. Can you guess what happens next?

The Festival, incidentally, is the brainchild of, and has been almost single-handedly organised by shopfriend and local personage Alex Milway who will also be making an appearance to read and sign from his marvellous Mousehunter books ( Faber 6.99). Full details of the events and booking details for the workshops can be found at palacefestival.org. Naturally optimistic Laurence Shorter woke up one morning and was depressed and made


Books

anxious by the news on the radio. Feeling restive at the realisation that pretty much all he had to show for his life so far was a career as a comedy dancer, whilst at the same time listening to his father tell him that the entire capitalist system was going to collapse, that the world was going to run out of water, but that perversely, we were all going to drown, persuaded him that he should travel the world in search of optimism. The result is a journey that begins at the Eden Project and includes a visit to Archbishop Desmond Tutu before it ends with the (very) briefest of meetings with former president Bill Clinton. Along the way it is very funny indeed. The Optimist One Man’s Search For The Brighter Side of Life by Laurence Shorter is published by Canongate £10.99. South East London has long held a fascination for the writer and broadcaster Jonathan Meades and continuing my mission to mention a book set in this area

in every issue of The Transmitter I really couldn’t ignore his novel from 2002 The Fowler Family Business (4th Estate £6.99). Central to the book is Henry Fowler, heir to the family undertaking business much of whose work takes place at West Norwood Cemetery. The book is the first of a projected trilogy, (although seven years and counting does seem like quite a long time to wait for the second volume, Mr Meades, sir…) and begins with Henry as a schoolboy at the beginning of the 1960s. His stamping ground is a topographical tour of some of the most well-known landmarks of our surrounding area places like The Stanley Halls, Norwood Junction and Beulah Hill all feature prominently, as do Dulwich Village, Hamlet Road and Sylvan Hill. It should also be said that this being Meades whilst the book is very funny some of its scenes of high farce are also very rude indeed. You have been warned.

As I mentioned in the last issue, The Norwood Society have now re-published in paperback The Phoenix Suburb A South London Social History by Alan Warwick (£9.99). This is a fascinating book and, by some distance, the best history of our neighbourhood, starting in the mid-1700s and finishing around the beginning of the 1970s. There is certainly none more entertaining, and as the author states in his preface, ‘When one has lived in a South London suburb as long as I have, one has to learn to come to terms with it. Failing that, one would have to go and live somewhere else.’ If you are still here, and haven’t moved somewhere else, and haven’t read this book yet, then you need to do so, soon.

Jonathan Main

39


Music

THERE’S A WORLD OUT THERE! OFFAL-ORIENTATED SONG LYRICS, A DONKEY’S JAWBONE AND A LUTE MADE FROM AN OLD TIN CAN MAKE FOR ANOTHER GREAT BATCH OF WORLD MUSIC NEW RELEASES... AS FAR AS HOWARD MALE IS CONCERNED ANYHOW

O

ne of the pleasures of listening to world music is that you no longer have to put up with the almost inevitably banal lyrics of most western pop music. The trick is to think of the human voice as just another musical instrument, and imagine the wondrous things the enigmatic singer is expressing in his or her language. But once in a while a world music release is deemed sufficiently important for the record company to get someone to translate the lyrics and include them in the sleeve notes. And sometimes they don’t disappoint. Not only is the Malian diva, Oumou Sangare’s first album in six years, Seya (World Circuit Records) a musical delight which has prompted me to predict it will be the African album of 2009, it also boasts some remarkable lyrics. On Donso she half chants, half raps the words; Give me the animal’s liver so I can dedicate myself to humanity Give me the intestines too so I can belt them around my waist

Give me the animal’s skin so I can make myself a blanket Give me its heart because people always think that famous people are weak and flawed, and I want to prove the opposite. What vivid and powerful imagery! You would never hear Britney or Beyonce singing lyrics like that now would you? Musically the album is a perfectly balanced mix of the traditional and modern, which is also something achieved by the Afro-Peruvian outfit Novalima if not to quite the same sublime level. Their second album Coba Coba (Abstrakt Records) utilises a donkey’s jawbone as part of the array of things that are banged and strummed in order to create their compulsively danceable tracks. The end result is comparable to the Gotan Project at their best, so don’t be surprised if you hear snippets of their music on every other cool car ad and artsy TV show by the end of 2009. But if you think a donkey’s jawbone is an unusual musical instrument, Staff Benda Bilili are a wonderful Congolese group of paraplegic street musicians whose defining

sound is made by a one-stringed electric lute made from a length of electrical wire attached to an old dried milk can. Although this instrument’s sound lies somewhere between the kitsch cry of an Hawaiian guitar and a kitten mewing for milk, in the context of the funky brew of rumba-rooted grooves and ragged funk, it doesn’t sound out of place. In fact it’s what gives the band their sonic signature. Finally, for all you die-hard rockers who can’t quite get a handle on what my wife (only half in jest) calls “plinky plonky music” we have a collaborative effort which features everyone’s favourite dubby punk rock bass player, Jah Wobble. Best know for his work with Public Image Limited, Wobble has always been keen on widening his musical horizons. Now he has got together with a 22-piece Chinese orchestra and some Mongolian and Tibetan singers to produce an epic but discombobulating album called Chinese Dub (30 Hertz Records) in which the low growl of his ominous bass functions as perfect ballast for the more ethereal Chinese melodies and arrangements. And there’s not an animal entrail in sight.

Howard Male

41


Kids

Don’t miss out on the Kid’s Book Festival 24-26 April. One of the coolest things going on the same weekend as the Kid’s book festival is going to be a little Pop-up-shop called Little Miss Vintage. You can dress up in vintage clothes and have some fun. Find It!

Public Thought Write two paragraphs about your best friend. The lucky winner and their best friend get to have make-over, photo-shoot and interview which will be printed in the next Transmitter.

Last week I asked what you thought about not being allowed in Haynes Lane Market without our parents.

Send your best friend writing to Best Friend Competition The Transmitter, PO Box 53556 London SE19 2TL or email: cathyscolumn@thetransmitter.co.uk

A new discussion! I had a problem with Woolworths closing in Crystal Palace because I used to buy birthday presents from there. Now I don’t know where to buy them from. If you too had a problem with Woolworths closing, write or email

Please write your name and address so we can get back to you. Also, make sure you get permission from a grown-up in case you win!

For more details contact Helen web: www.pawslondon.co.uk email: pawslondon@hotmail.com tel:07813 664956

42

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43


Parents

monkey business IN THE FIRST OF A NEW SERIES ON STUFF TO DO WITH YOUR OFFSPRING, WE CHECK OUT SOME NOISY LITTLE CHERUBS

U

ntil now, I’ve always steered clear of music classes, for two reasons: first, I’m so tone deaf that I have to mime Happy Birthday at parties, and second, I’d always imagined that a roomful of toddlers, all armed with things that crash and jingle, would be a recipe for instant migraine. I’m all for self-expression, it’s just that they never want to express a nice sense of inner peace. But when Sprog #2 started showing signs of musicality (well, hitting his older sister with a stick and shouting about being a drummer) we decided it was time to check out Monkey Music. Our teacher, Louise Krupski, has been running classes in venues around Forest Hill and Crystal Palace for 10 years. The class we attended was Jiggety Jig, for two and three-year-olds. We arrived to find the half-dozen other kids sitting quietly and calmly in a circle with their mothers, so Sprog #2 bowed to peer pressure, sitting in shy silence as Louise, along with her assistant - a bright pink cuddly monkey - led the welcome song to an iPod accompaniment. Next came a dressing-up song, then rolling a beach ball around a piece of brightly coloured fabric. By this point, all shyness was gone. “I love this!” shouted Sprog #2 as we sat back down in our circle.

44

I’ll admit to a bit of trepidation when Louise produced a large box of musical instruments, but what followed couldn’t have been further from the nerve-jangling free-forall I’d been dreading. After a few minutes exploring the different sounds they could make with hand drums, the kids tried out hand bells, maracas and tambourines, but the emphasis was on playing them one at a time, listening carefully and learning to recognise the different sounds. Then it was time to sing our goodbyes. Classes are only half an hour long, with no one activity lasting for more than a few minutes, so all the kids were kept engaged, and the games seemed a great way to introduce children to the idea of making music, as well as to sitting quietly and listening to a teacher. And no headache pills required! Classes cost £7 each, paid termly in advance, plus a one-off membership fee of £16. For more information, or to arrange a free trial class: monkeymusic.co.uk 020 8699 0977

Helen Davies


Sunday 19th April Norman Park

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www.bromleymytime.org.uk/active-bromley.html Working in partnership to create a more Active Bromley


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Localskillswap has started a brand new group for the Crystal Palace area.

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A very

HAPPY EASTER from all the churches in Upper Norwood

46

Calling all enterprising individuals!

If you respond to any of the adverts in this magazine please please please mention The Transmitter!


If your job is threatened… Local, reliable design and build company covering Crystal Palace, Dulwich and surrounding areas

Specialising in: • • • • • •

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What’s On

WHAT’s ON Comedy

Gipsy Hill Comedy

Black Sheep Bar 23 Westow Hill, SE19 1TQ 07758 521 378 gipsyhillcomedy.co.uk

Every other Friday at 8.30pm Tickets £7adv/£8 on door Friday 27 March Nick Revell - “Satirically brilliant. Travel miles to see him” Guardian Pippa Evans - “The finest character comic around” Time Out. MC Terry Saunders - Time Out 9th Best Comic 2008. Plus 2 new acts doing short spots. Friday 10 April Simon Munnery, Seann Walsh, MC Terry Saunders Plus 2 new acts doing short spots. Friday 24 April Michael Fabbri, Danielle Ward, MC Terry Saunders Plus 1 new act Friday 8 May Phil Kay, Stephen Carlin, Fergus Craig, Mc Terry Saunders Plus 1 new act

The Ivy Comedy Cabaret The Ivy House 40 Stuart Road Nunhead, SE15 3BE karledrik.com 07538 796738

Friday 20 March Login Murray, Brian & Krysstal, Richard McDougall Friday 3 April Sol Bernstein,Trevor Lock, Robert White Friday 17 April Ava Vidal, Lewis Schaffer,Totally Naff Tarts Live bands at all shows: 24 Pesos & The Julian Burdoch Blues Experience Doors 6.30pm Show 8pm-10.30pm Venue to 12.23am Tickets - £10 Hot Food Buffet from 6.30pm - £6

48

The HOB Comedy

opposite Forest Hill station 7 Devonshire Road Forest Hill SE23 3HE 020 8855 0496 edcomedy .com

Saturday 21 March MC Marian Pashley, Danny Buckler, Steve Mould, Simon Brodkin as Lee Nelson Monday 23 March New Material Night! 7 headline acts from our pool try out their new stuff. Regular contributors include Daniel Kitson, Micky Flanagan, Rob Rouse, Jeff Innocent, Paul Sinha, Paul Tonkinson, Liam Mullone and Alan Francis. 8pm. £3 Saturday 4 April MC Mandy Muden, Frances Healy, Jeff Innocent, Rob Heeny. £9/£6. 9pm Bar till 2am Monday 6 April New Material Night! see above (23 March) for details £3. 8pm Saturday 11 April MC Paddy Lennox, Janey Godley, Ben Norris plus special guest. £9/£6. 9pm Bar till 2am Monday 13 April New Act Night - 7 new acts showcase their talents. £3. 8pm Saturday 18 April MC Simon Clayton, Windsor plus special guests. £9/£6. 9pm Bar till 2am Monday 20 April New Material Night! see above (23 March) for details £3. 8pm Saturday 25 April MC Charmian Hughes, Ben Schofield, Ronnie Golden, Matt Kirshen £9/£6. 9pm Bar till 2am

Music

The Alma Church Road, Crystal Palace

Saturday 21 March Sonny B Walker Sunday 22 March Damien Renouf

Thursday 26 March Open Mic with The Lovebirds Friday 27 March We Love South Saturday 28 March TBC Sunday 29 March Music Quiz - Cash Prize The Goose is Out! thegooseisout.com

Friday 27 March

The Goose is Out! Hoopers Bar 020 7733 4797 28 Ivanhoe Road,SE5 8DH

Danny and the Champions of the World Friday 24 April The Goose is Out! DHFC

020 7274 8707 Edgar Kail Way, Dog Kennel Hill, East Dulwich SE22 8BD

FAUSTUS, Jess Cahill, Jess Bryant

Jazz @ The Golden Lion 116 Sydenham Road, SE26 5JX

Modern Jazz last Tues of the month. Tuesday 31 March 8.30pm Spike Wells Quarter

Featuring: Christian Brewer

The HOB see comedy for contact details

Fridays Live Music Free entry 9pm. Bar till 2am Friday 20 March Strange Fashion Classic rock and originals Free entry 9.30pm. Bar till 2am. Friday 27 March Fifth Element 60’s and 70’s covers. Free entry 9.30pm. Bar till 2am.


Family and Fun

Westow House

79 Westow Hill, Crystal Palace 020 8670 0654

Mondays Salsa, Bachata & Kizomba classes

8-10pm. Dancing 10-11pm. dancebachata.co.uk 07946 620702

Tuesday 21 April

Virtual Norwood Reading Group

7.30 pm - Discussion of The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga and The Leopard by Tomasi de Lampedusa

Dulwich Picture Gallery Gallery Road, Dulwich Village SE21 7AD 020 8693 5254 dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk

Saturday 21 March Treasures Roadshow 1 to 4pm in the Gallery Come and have your treasures examined, explained and valued. £10 Includes Gallery entrance

Friends of Elm Wood Primary School, Carnac Street SE27 9RR Saturday 25 April Saturday 16 May Table Top Sale Open to public at 9.30am -1pm (Sellers to arrive by 8.45am) To reserve a table contact Lisa Pope 07960 718 397 or email friends@elmwood.lambeth.sch.uk

Sunday 17 May The Big One: MINI RUN London & Surrey Mini Owners Club’s London to Brighton Mini Run. Enjoy the spectacle of 2,500 Minis as they begin the 55 mile pilgrimage from Crystal Palace Park, to Brighton. london-to-brighton.co.uk

Sunday 5 April

Monday 4 May (Bank Holiday)

Easter Egg Trail 10.30 - 12.30am Book early to avoid disappointment £5 per child 3-7 years

66 Westow Street SE19 3AF

Dulwich Picture Gallery

Phoenix Centre

May Fayre “Special”

eclectic mix of crafts, toiletries, jewellery, clothes, children’s requisites, handbags etc etc Friday 10 April

Herne Hill Velodrome Burbage Road, SE24 9HE goodfridaymeeting.org.uk

The White Hart

Attention all Cyclists! The traditional Easter Good Friday International Track Meeting will be held at Herne Hill Velodrome.

thewhitehartse19.co.uk

Sunday 19 April

96 Church Road, Crystal Palace 020 8771 9389

Sunday 22 March Hair Of The Frog Classic Pub Rock Saturday 28 March “Hart Attack” 2am License Sunday 29 March Gengis Acoustic Stadium Rock

Bromley Family Fun Run

5k (serious) run starts at 10am with a 9:30am warm up 2k (family fun run/walk) starts at 11am with a 10:30am warm up Registration closing date 31 March See ad on page 45 for details


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149mm x 228mm:Layout 1

4/3/09

16:18

Page 1

Courses 4 Careers at Capel Manor College – Crystal Palace Park

APPLY NOW for courses starting in September in the following areas: Animal Care I Horticulture

Find out more…

N O I S S E S E C I V D A 1st APRIL, 5.30–8.00pm 2

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For a prospectus and an application form or further details contact Student Registry � 08456 122 122 � enquiries@capel.ac.uk � www.capel.ac.uk Capel Manor College Crystal Palace Park Centre, Ledrington Road, London, SE19 2BS

The Transmitter Issue 5  

Lifestyle magazine for South East London