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The Ragged School Blog Deptford

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Louise House listed

Forest Hill has been granted a minor victory in the battle against the trend of 'disposable heritage' - the blight which has seen historic London disappearing.
Louise house next to Forest Hill Pools has been Grade II listed.

Minor historical buildings are being systematically targeted in areas of London under-represented by conservationists and historians. Typically a building which falls through the listing system because of its insufficient architectural merit will be used by councils and developers 'working together' to create new plots, the building being written off as 'disposable heritage'. Often in a pre emptive strike the landlord will allow the building to fall into disrepair first and then tell the planning committee that it is better to pull it down and build something which will benefit the councils targets for housing, retail and public landscaping. In extreme cases (which are nevertheless common) the landowner will actively neglect the security of the buildings fabric so that it will become dangerous and 'irreparable'. Another common tactic is to draw up plans for a bland building and compare it to the greater expense of refitting the existing site, a fait accompli as a minimally specified bland building will necessarily cost less than a well restored and upgraded high quality building. The landowner/developer will implicitly threaten the council planners that they can only afford to demolish and rebuild their unsound/uneconomic building and if they dont get permission they will leave the site rotting.

When there is insufficient representation by local historians of the buildings historical merit, and pressure to put in its place a new build which is superior in facility, permission is granted for the building to be replaced, even by a bland building. Again due to the general ambivalence about architecture the outer London boroughs will accept proposals for bland buildings. There is a general trend that in order to avoid delays of controversy and debate that proposals must be bland, the blander the better. However more buildings do not equal better quality buildings.

So why is this happening all over outer London when boroughs in the centre use architects to reuse similar Victorian and industrial buildings with innovative refits which retain (at least) the shell and essential features whilst installing state of the art facilities such as energy efficiency, security, safety and accessibility ? The answer is demographic, the developers outside the centre are exploiting the fact that there are less active conservationists cataloguing and appraising the historic landscape.
This means there is an opportunity to try and rush through schemes before the conservationist community has ENOUGH time to react (by warning the public) and gather together all the evidence needed to properly appraise the cultural and historical significance of the site.

Much of inner London has been (and still is being) redeveloped whilst retaining many remaining historical features (even celebrating it), whereas in South London there has been an ever decreasing stock of 'historical remainders' which although as individual examples of building or history are small, they are disproportionately representative of the areas historical landscape. It is this fact - that they are more scarce which elevates them from being evaluated individually as 'minor'.

So how can the conservationist community work together in this particular situation to create a sufficient early warning system ? The answer is right here under your mouse pointer.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

6th Lewisham Blogger's Meet Up

To celebrate the 6th Lewisham Blogger's Meet Up I would like to reflect on the trends that have taken place since our first meeting on 18th November 2006. Firstly thankyou to Andrew Brown, and great to see The Dame, Clare, Michael, John, Andrew M, Claudia, Helen, Neil, Bob, Rob, and Max.

  1. More civic societies and local groups use forums or have a website.
  2. Bloggers and website creators have embedded dynamic content to keep a live overview of related content.
  3. Peoples expectations means they will persist in searching for local content, which is then shared through social networking.
  4. Bloggers study the source code of blogs which do something useful they could deploy themselves.
  5. Help forums for bloggers have demystified how it all works.
  6. TV, radio and newspapers have blogs and podcasts and discuss this on air.
  7. People who still aren't sure what this blogging is 'all about' suddenly realise they have been reading blogs without knowing it.

In the old days getting access to people with 'know how' was sometimes off limits to people outside certain spheres. Bloggers and readers can access people and expertise. We are evolving so quickly in this area we must not overlook this historic turning point.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Aggregating the hyperlocal

I'm glad to see the superb online growth in newsflow about South East London. Now everyone knows they can set up a webpage about a project - or they know someone who can show them. One interesting phenomena is the Wikipedia effect which has promoted the consolidation or aggregation of existing web content thus saving us time combing search results. The spin off has been beyond encyclopedic. Whole swathes of urban geography have been placed in Wikipedia, even if only to create a stub article which is like a seed to be cared for by adding content gradually, lovingly. This is the cult of the amateur, which in a cooperative environment creates societies of mind, societies of interest. By sheer collective effort the amateur is elevated to 'gentleman scientist'. To think this is the tip of the iceberg, we are thrilled by the speed of this Morse Code, unable to survey the colossus of a beast so cosmic, so amorphous.

If the old problem was the inaccessibility or invisibility of information the new problem is the sense of orientation in that cosmic amorphous 'space'. When everything is around you, and I mean everything, you need the map that shows 'you are here'.

So I was delighted to happen upon a new phrase - hyperlocal. Before a neologism can settle it needs to be pulled about and rattled to stress test its utility. So here is my definition: hyperlocal gives your search a point of view.

I think the trend is towards a division of labour between content creation and editing/assembly. More people will make crap videos, but more people will categorise that crap and when aggregated make it more useful. I dont want to know about a random journal of a random person, but I do want to know more about something thats on my mind and in my search results. If the best result comes with an option to search clusters of similar and related content then for that time my attention is all on randomsubjectalpha I can mine your crap and suddenly for that second its not crap its that total absorption you get when you are 'in the zone'.

Thats starting with a topic and 'zooming into' the field via search, but how about starting in a real field and zooming outward into a neighbouring field. Google Maps has made annotating real geography a way that helps us start with a tangible point in Cartesian space and moves in a proximity that defines the context and grounds us, it really does pin down information. For as long as there are people putting push pins into the map with exactitude we can stop searching and start finding.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Deptford X 2007

Last year Deptford X ran for a month in November, this year it was brought forward to coincide with Deptford Design and the London Design Festival. However this also clashed with Open House Weekend. But as I noticed the fair weather I realised this shorter 4 day event closer to summer was logical. Doing less, but the right things helped even though this years fold out guide was as difficult to comprehend as previous years. Once I had worked out how to process down Deptford High Street without double backing on my route I set off to arrive at the train station for the 16 panels by artist Maggie Higginson and the pupils at Addey and Stanhope. I then headed over to Bearspace SE8 to see '4 emerging artists' stopping to talk with one of the Goldsmiths MA students
Florin Ungureanu and ask about the general mood.

Next I proceeded to Giffin Square to see Desire Lines by Helen Pailing which played to the festivals subheading Intervention with its subtle transformation of the market pergola structure. Red cord had been rigged to created two pagodas so simple and elegant and recalling the creative cleverness the festival has been entwined with since its inception. I turned around toward the Albany and was delighted by the stall showing an assemblage of found objects transformed. I told Leila Galloway who with Wayne Lucas had helped the students of Haberdasher Askes to create the pieces that I had been a former pupil and was now curious about the position of art in its curriculum. I was relieved that she had been very impressed by it. 60 year 10 students had taken pieces from Deptford Market and reworked them as sculpture, the resulting display able to delight the market shoppers.

Onto the Albany itself to 'Dear Nan' - pieces by Sam Jones and Kate Murdoch which again borrowed from the market both materials and a vernacular aesthetic. It was at this point I began to see a departure from the previous years satirical references and an emerging gentle and genuine sense of self acceptance which always accompanies a switch between Moderne and folk whenever this major battle in art flip flops every mini epoch. Off next to the anchor at the end of the high street, an intervention by Katie Gilman back from last year. She had beatifully wrapped the anchor in soft fluffy wool. Could this gesture represent a desire to treat Deptford with more care and attention than it has seen ?

I crossed over the Broadway to Deptford Properly the new cafe gallery to see
Stephen Molyneux whose work located in the small basement allowed my first visit to this charming oasis. People ate delicious cakes and salads from unmatching porcelain plates surrounded by a sense of intelligent sensitivity I havnt seen since Hales gallery cafe before it moved to Shoreditch. This place however is more intimate - more bijou. The actual installation in the basement struck a chord with my feelings that the festival had always been a cabal to enfranchise fellow artists with a private pep talk, a matrix of secret symbols coordinating a takeover of Deptford.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Haute Povera

I have chosen to update the term Arte Povera coined by Germano Celant in 1967. Its a neologism to describe the massive outburst of furniture and decorative objects exhibited and sold since the millennium characterised by experimental forms. These pieces clearly celebrate lowly objects being repurposed as 'designer', only just stopping short of fine art in order to retain a sense of utility, a sense of fun . Some are practical to manufacture only because new fabrication techniques have come about controlled by computer aided design. Other 'one-off' pieces like those made by the Campana Brothers are hand made, unique and costly to assemble like couture hence the term Haute.

Whats really interesting is the UK scene which has gone into overdrive ever since design students have been graduating with our recent eco crisis conciousness. Aided and abetted by the far sighted impresarios Designersblock. Anything that was thrown away now seems like a blank template to design over and reinvent. It helps if you live near a flea market, but areas in London that have shot up in value have squeezed out cheap markets to be replaced with antiques and tourist tat. Luckily Deptford still has its cheap as chips, 'cheap and chipped' junk market which is its best badly kept secret. Clare Page and Harry Richardson from Committee at 198 Deptford High Street have been master exponents of Haute Povera gaining particular recognition with their elegant lamp stands made from items which look like 50p bargains that when assembled in a knowing way looks like the latest thing in a chic and hip hotel.

To mark the Deptford Design Weekend within the London Design Festival 2007, (and coinciding with DeptfordX) the local based design agency Raw Nerve have created the Deptford Design Market Challenge. The website there amply demonstrates 27 objects bought from the market and transformed in the Haute Povera style and their use of the charming appellation 'Deptford Thrift Market'. The objects will be on display at the Royal Festival Hall between the 15th and 20th September, with plenty other design festival treats.

If that hasnt whetted your appetite, how about upping the stakes by adding more luxe and visting TrashLuxe at Liberty from the 20th to the 30th September when the finest exponents of Haute Povera with their oh so good luxe will tease and delight your aesthetic taste buds, sore eyes and tender flesh. If you cant wait read this stomping blog posting about it from Dezeen.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Deptford Lives

At the last episode of 'The Tower' on BBC1, the programme announcer said 'Deptford Lives' will appear on the Community Channel. Watch them online or if you have digital TV here are the programme numbers Sky 539 • Virgin TV 233 • Freeview 87 (6-9am) and show times.

The programme is billed as - "A series of short films set in one of London's most diverse boroughs: Deptford. Four very different characters celebrate the area while exploring the tensions as the developers move in." The short films will show Patricio and Julian from Artmongers, recycling hero Chris Carey, Ernie and Barrie from Witcomb Cycles and Caffy St Luce from Music Tourist Board.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Britain's Bad Developers

I have tried hard to understand why so much bad building is 'allowed' ever since my architectural tutors began to educate me in the matter 16 years ago. Back then the subject I pondered was an aesthetic one about the built environment as 'fit for purpose'. This naturally was economic, ergonomic and visual in nature. Since I had been labouring under the impression that historical and ecological sites of importance were 'protected' I had not at that time taken a serious interest in the 'politics' of urban development, I was then too naive to realise that building had politics, my fault for studying Interior Design rather than Architecture. This situation was subsequently rectified at The University Of North London where the Interior Design course was a subset of the Faculty of Environmental and Social Studies. This resulted in teaching of both architecture and design as a social act first albeit within the context of an engineering or technological framework. This distinction will provide social historians with plenty of research material about the changing role of universities (in transacting an ethical purpose above and beyond an immediate strategic and economic one).

When Polytechnics were able to become universities they widened the range of courses available so they could net more students to capture any available funding. This radically altered the demographic intake of students, and the subject matter being studied. Without sufficient forward planning there has arose a chronic lack of science graduates and skilled trades people, which has had terrible consequences on the building industry, and a brain drain on scientists - a heavy price to our economy, but the new (easier to get into) universities have created a massive shift in social mobility. It is now possible (perhaps necessary even) for traditional demographics to implode as institutions and positions of responsibility are now peopled through an idealistically meritocratic system modelled on the American one. In an interview for a top job today you are more likely to be ruled out after a psychometric test than for wearing the wrong school tie. This is not yet proportionately reflected in the ownership of wealth, despite gradual shifts in Britain's top 100 rich list, if anything the subject of wealth ownership has shifted from individual ownership to complex transnational ownership as the worlds richest people devise ever more complex tax avoidance schemes. This in turn has created a new dimension in social class in Britain, go to Chelsea today and your more likely to find the Russians !

At the other end of the spectrum the lowest paid and most unregulated work is being snapped up by economic migrants who are 'grateful', whilst Britain's 'traditional' lower and middle income families who have relied on lesser and semi skilled work (but once semi secure) jobs which are disappearing all the time are busy numbing themselves - forgoing financial planning, nutritious meals and exercise to pay for flat screen TVs, ready meals and expensive clothes and cars with credit, and if they can get a mortgage, one that may not ever be repaid.

Move across the block to Imperial Wharf (previously Fulham Gasworks) and you will find the central focus of an excellent documentary by Andrew Gilligan broadcast on Channel 4's Dispatches entitled Briatin's Bad Housing, Monday 30th July which appeared in The Evening Standard the same day, of which I can refer. A story about Imperial Wharf written in The Evening Standard in 2002 captures the schemes ambitions to create a sort of super complex which got planning permission by creating 50% 'affordable' housing where a two bedroom flat could cost £425,000 instead of the cheapest 'market housing' side where a 2 bed flat is £600,000. In the current market these preposterous sums still represent speculative investments and many will be purchased as houses to be sold on later. Remember the couple in BBC's The Tower who had purchased with the help of the brides mother a new 'luxury' apartment. The camera caught their concerns about whether the area was right for them when they dismissed Deptford 'not regenerating fast enough' by saying "don't worry we will be selling the flat and moving in 2 years".

It turns out that a PR company little known outside the building industry called PPS has carved out a highly successful niche in winning developers planning permission for unpopular schemes by lobbying councils in the same way the American political system allows the lobbying of politicians. Except here in Britain its all done in a very British and discreet way. They have infiltrated local campaigns with a brief to neutralise antipathy towards controversial schemes. The Channel 4 programme and article in the Standard detail specific evidence which is too long to quote verbatim for this already long blog posting, and for liability reasons I cannot paraphrase it. When the Standard contacted PPS about their work to help the developers St.George win planning permission from Hammersmith and Fulham Council, they claimed to have destroyed their files from 10 years ago 'in accordance with normal company practice'.

As much as I was repulsed at this expose I can at last rest that my initial hypothesis about 'Stealth Developers Stealth Campaigners' was in the right ball park.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Aragon - The Tower

In order to focus my critique of 'The Tower' on BBC1, I am writing this without first reading the specific comments people are making in the local press and forums. The series on the conversion of Aragon Tower into 'The Z Building/Apartments' is a grand piece of cinematic provocation. By selectively following the very contrasting circumstances of families on the Pepys Estate the documentary creates a chiaroscuro with very few developed grey tonalities. If the intention was only to compare different ways of life then so be it, but the best productions in this genre create tension through more complex ambiguities. The sheer sterility depicted of the 'new residents' who are afraid of 'the real locals' is tangible like cold stainless steel. The action is not contained uniquely inside the Pepys Estate but spill out onto John Evelyn pub, whose storyline is the most ideologically unselfconscious, nostalgic and heart tinkering. Given the fact that the film as social document is not delineated by the estate boundary, why wasnt footage taken from other proximities which would reveal the rainbow hues across this complex and historically important village. I believe the editing of this series should have taken greater account to incorporate the range of economic and social activity which shows that Deptford has always been a bellwether area. I believe that Deptford needs to take back control of its own image and I appeal to readers to continue to blog about this complex and fascinating confluence. The Deptford.tv project was an extraordinary intervention in this sense and perhaps one day for this reason we will no longer need the trickery of big budget TV. To the series producers I say chutzpah is your forte but not a successful parachute for the death of old media. We all have our own cameras now and were ready to shoot.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cutty Sark

cutty sark

Monday, April 09, 2007

East Greenwich Pleasaunce

East Greenwich PleasaunceThe Friends of East Greenwich Pleasaunce on Sunday led a walk around the this little known secluded park - a former orchard before being acquired by The Admiralty in 1856. The ground was needed to expand the old naval hospital cemetery (beside what is now The National Maritime Museum) and later move parts of it when the railway tunnel to Maze Hill was constructed. The Pleasaunce is situated close to Westcombe Park train station where there is a modern but obscure small entrance on Halstow Road.

East Greenwich PleasaunceThe main entrance on Chevening Road is no more visible from the very busy Woolwich road but for the curious original entrance which I have passed many times and wondered about. I must have read about it first in Open House several years ago and remained unaware that it was connected to this fascinating entrance. Because the park is on a gentle slope, the back affords a view of Canary Wharf.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crossrail Woolwich

On Thursday March 22, Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for Transport, made a statement to the Crossrail Select Committee concerning an additional provision to the Crossrail Bill of a station at Woolwich. He said:

' ... The key to this has been Greenwich Council's recent proposal for a major revision to its spatial plan, to allow a significantly higher density of development at Woolwich. This, in turn, has prompted Berkeley Homes to offer a means of enabling a station to be built at Woolwich but, crucially, without adding to the current cost of Crossrail.

In light of this, agreement has been reached in principle with Berkeley Homes under which they will build the basic box structure of a station at Woolwich and then construct their own development overhead. This will all be done at their own risk, using their own money, to the specification laid down by CLRL, with a payment back to Berkeley Homes of the saving CLRL will make through avoiding other works at Woolwich, when it constructs the line there.

In due course, Berkeley Homes would then arrange for the completion of the station box to full operational status. Both they and Greenwich Council recognise that the completion of the station would be conditional on receiving sufficient funding contributions from those developers and businesses that stand to benefit from a Crossrail station at Woolwich. The contributions would be in addition to any London-wide Crossrail funding arrangements that may be agreed and no additional public sector debt capacity would be made available. Fit-out of the station could take place only once sufficient private sector contributions had been received.

More work needs to be done to flesh out this deal but the House can now have sufficient confidence that Berkeley and Greenwich Council have the commitment and the right incentives to do that. This is a very significant change from the position last October as there is now a clear way forward that can deliver a station at Woolwich without adding to the costs of Crossrail already identified.'

The Chairman of the Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill, Alan Meale, remarked: 'We are delighted that the Department has seen sense and accepted the Committee's decision. This is an enabling step and moves towards the Committee's strong view that a station at Woolwich is an essential part of the Crossrail Bill. We must move forward on this important matter.'

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Walking Forest Hill

When the Forest Hill Society organised a walk led by Steve Grindlay in February I braved the rain and had a lovely day out. On the walk I overheard somebody mention his new blog and we talked about the subject.
The blog Walking the Streets of Forest Hill is thoroughly recommendable. Rob McIntosh has packed it out with photos and commentary about his mission to walk every street in SE23.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

stealth developers stealth campaigners

Issue 1 of the Forest Hill Society newsletter has come through the door and proves that through a systematic and rigorous response to planning applications we can build strong community dialogues around defending the quality of the built environment. The article by the embryonic society showed how using existing expertise from the neighbouring Sydenham society raised clear, appropriate and focused objections to the 'Finches site' plans. The article debunks the jargon and sheds light on what significant efforts are required by local people to respond in a timely manner.

In recent years developers have been exploiting a cultural loophole which means that because the planning process is so complicated they can speculate on land and buildings whilst stealthily planning to 'dawn raid' a sleepy public with planning applications using crack teams of planning sycophants. These 'consultants' use the same ram raiding tactics of predatory financiers (who break up portfolios of assets) to rush through a legally valid programme which 'ticks boxes' but is lacking in vision and ethical initiative. Because the window of opportunity to submit 'valid' objections in such a short time frame many applications are insufficiently opposed. In many ways the situation is analogous to a dispute between a multimillion pound company with full time lawyers and a 'man on the street'. After losing again and again, the man on the street begins to give in feeling outnumbered. We must reverse this travesty in planning and set the expectation of these developers to meet fierce resistance to any second rate designs. Instead of a cynically drawn up plan which perfectly complies to laws about what planning committees must accept, (and by corollary what people cannot legally object to) we must reshape this process and in so doing put outstanding design and environmental responsibility into the heart of an enforceable screening process. As we cannot rely solely on governmental and council procedures to act with such initiative we need as a community to turn the tide in the way local people respond to the planning process.

All across London other civic amenity and campaigner groups are building expert case material about ongoing campaigns on which cultural and legal submissions were needed to persuade the developers and the local planners to agree meeting higher quality outcomes. Many of these campaigns were pre emptive and involved raising awareness of local community assets before they came under threat. The Qwaggy Waterways Action Group for instance continuously monitor threats and opportunities to the highly scarce resource of a natural waterway weaving through dense conurbations towards Deptford Creek. Their acute success in re naturalising the water channel through Chinbrook meadow (behind Grove Park Station) will undoubtedly bring much needed gravitas to planning objections/suggestions around the path of the waterway through the proposed 'Lewisham Gateway' - a potentially embarrassing project to turn Lewisham into a small version of Croydon.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Albany Utility Room

Artist: Richard Crow

Title: Imaginary hospital radio

Location: Utility Room at The Albany

Deptford X 2006

Description: Utilising recordings made in situ, 'treated' environmental, ambient and 'medical noise', poetic narratives, archive recordings and audio contributions from invited collaborators and guests, IHR subtly mimics and 'subverts' (through ironic appropriation) conventional Hospital radio and its supposed aim to pacify its patients. IHR creates experimental radio broadcasts, in which the hospital, its "unwanted" sounds and noises become the sound source par excellence. IHR both inhabits the psychological and physical space (of the hospital), rather than offering an alternative space outside of itself.

Biography: Richard Crow is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses sound and noise in a performative way, for its spatial and subjective qualities and above all for its psychological implications for the listener. Over the past decade his solo and collaborative site-specific installations and performances have consisted of highly conceptualized interventions into base materiality, investigations of alternative systems of organization and research into a certain material decadence, most notably with the project The Institution of Rot. Recent works like Ancolie (South London Gallery), Speaker, stain, silence (for AGM 05, Prefix Gallery, Toronto), Aurélia (Sound Art Museum, RAM, Rome) consist of dense and unsettling soundscapes that oscillate around loss and displacement through disembodied voices and experimental transmissions.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Deptford X 2006

Today during a walk scheduled by the festival, I had a rare opportunity to talk with the first director of Deptford X - Reuben Thurnhill. I thought it would be an ideal chance to appraise the development of the festival. One theme apparent which is still evident this year is showing artists from outside Deptford or Lewisham.

We started at The Albany where I had already examined 3 of the audio works from graduates of the MA in Sonic Arts Middlesex of University (run by Deptford artist and composer Nye Parry). It definitely pronounced the concept of using the festival platform for artists not directly working inside Deptford, but instead 'connected'. Contrast this approach with the last 2 years 'international artists' theme which apparently upset local artists evidently unsympathetic to this strategy.

The first thing we saw was the Stark Gallery presenting 3 artists in an arch in Resolution Way. We spoke to ex-blacksmith Andy Baldwin who made these magnificent metal kinetic sculptures. These archways have previously been a much needed large space for exhibits - with a central off high street location. We commented how much fewer arches were now being used this year (just one!) an indicator of the areas diminishing availability of cheap or free spaces to show works.

Next up was a classic shop stalwart of Deptford High Street - Johnny’s DIY store, which boasts being the oldest building in Deptford according to this years Deptford X website. This space has always been the champion of art amongst the streetscape in the festivals history. Artmongers who made the work called Metaphor Sale are great protagonists of public art and are the creators of two of the locales most iconic imagery - the cow bins and the mural in Giffin Square. The Artmongers have also created an anamorphic 'welcome to Deptford' (cleverly referencing the anamorphic momento mori in Holbein's The Ambassadors) it can be seen from the eastbound staircase at the station, as can two cow bins on the adjacent roof. The effect of Metaphor Sale and the welcome image is very knowing and ironically reassures the initiated that Deptford X is deeply rooted in the idea of art situated outside a gallery setting. This is the festivals most clever crossover act, to interpret the programmes stated aims and question the complex applicability of bourgeois culture in an area least acclimatised to it.

We walked across the church pathway towards Sue Godfrey Park through Ferranti Park, past The Laban toward The Creekside Environmental Centre. Local artist Alison Day showed her botanical drawings and we discussed the availability of gallery space as Alison has been involved in Lewisham Arthouse (a splendid architectural asset of the borough). I spoke of the disappearing vernacular culture and particularly lamented the closure of Goddards Pie Shop in Greenwich. Reuben was devastated and Alison remarked that (the old Bosuns Yard site, now Cutty Sark DLR) mall could be Victoria station, a cutting and brutal critique of the high street in Greenwich. I think in Lewisham we must bolster our mission statement to safeguard the high street from loosing local character and underwrite the safeguarding of buildings like Lewisham Arthouse from possibly ever being lost to community use.

Next we headed to the Music Complex to see silkscreen prints by David Upstill, shown on a floor atop the music recording and rehearsing enterprise, another great exponent of how the festival integrates spare pockets to introduce visitors to spaces otherwise undiscovered. This has always been my favourite theme, the discovery of 'Deptford the invisible'.

Last on the trail was a visit to Live Bar an old bank building whose webwise owners are cleverly using Myspace to build an online groove and all without incurring expensive web design fees. As soon as I looked inside my eyes popped out my head as I hadnt been in before, the atmosphere is exactly the perfect balance between cool and comfortable - the perfect end.