Carnegie Library Herne Hill: Plight goes viral as councillors faced with resignation

As the community asserts a stronger desire to keep their local library open, the local council employ more draconian measures to close it. 

Access to people who rent space in the library is now being blocked in an attempt to put pressure on the seperate "occupy Carnegie" effort. This action brings into question the legality of the action taken by Lambeth council against the local community and also the police who are tryig to manage access to the building.

For councillors to take on a local community is obviously very brave. This issue is spreading, not just across London and the UK, but from even traditionally neutral countries like Switzerland where knowledge is prized above cries for austerity.

It would appear the Carnegie Library protest is the canary in the coal mine. The people of South London are not willing to have their beloved library taken from them by uncompromising, high-handed officials.

The question is not so much whether the Occupy movement will sustain, but rather should the councillors resign over this issue. Being wrong is one thing, being hopelessy out of touch with the people you represent is quite another!

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‘The Revenant’ feels the St. Valentine’s love at the   ee british academy film awards in 2016 scooping 5 awards

The Revenant received 5 BAFTAs last night at the EE British Academy Film Awards at the Royal Opera House, including Best Film, Director, Cinematography, Sound and Leading Actor for Leonardo DiCaprio. Mad Max: Fury Road also picked up four awards for its return to the big screen: Costume Design, Production Design, Make Up & Hair and Editing. Brie Larson won the Leading Actress award for her role in Room and Outstanding British Film went to Brooklyn. Sir Sidney Poitier was awarded the Academy Fellowship, BAFTA's highest accolade, in recognition of his outstanding and exceptional contribution to film.

Champagne Taittinger, official Champagne Partner to the British Academy for the 14th year running, once again added extra sparkle to the proceedings, not least through the attendance of Vitalie Taittinger. Vitalie is the Marketing Director at Champagne Taittinger and daughter of President, Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger.

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Yashim, Jason Goodwin’s Ottoman Detective, Decadent Sleuthing On The Edge of Your Seat

Having been to Istanbul twice in the last 18 months I must admit, the city’s wealth of charm, history, noise, vastness and perpetual motion kept me enthralled for the entire visit. The first trip was to attend a conference a couple of hundred metres away from Taksim Square during the 2013 June protests. Myself and other delegates were unintentionally caught up in the throng and ended up being teargassed by police and running the back streets, identity badges bouncing in the furore. Thousands of young secular Turks challenged brutal police behaviour in an emotional, yet peaceful uprising against the conservative corruption of then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Elderly people banged empty cooking pots with utensils from first storey windows in solidarity with protestors and the adrenaline pumped to the sound of ear splitting chanting.

The second visit was more subdued to the Patriarchate to discuss a potential interview with His All Holiness Patriarch Bartholomew. It didn’t materialise but the next few days lost in the Grand Bazaar and surrounding streets were very memorable. Sitting out on roof top terraces looking over the Golden Horn, or towards the Sea of Marmara, watching the passage of endless ships, felt splendid in the February sunshine. We then took a boat across the Marmara towards Izmir at the behest of the wine bureau to meet up with two leading wine producers and taste their produce. The experience was titivating and rounded off nicely with a trip to the ancient city of Ephesus, home of Socrates.

Why all these memories? Well because retrospectively they felt like a small bit of time travel. I wanted more though. I wanted to experience more of Istanbul, ancient Constantinople. It’s been on my mind and I hope to return this year. 

With these latent desires existing just beneath the surface I couldn’t help finger off the shelf a paperback by an author unknown to me, called Jason Goodwin. I was in the Carnegie Library in Herne Hill Road (where I am often!) and the book for some reason caught my eye. I read front cover idly, ‘The Jannissary Tree’, then the back cover and thought, “I’ll have some of this!”

The central character is the decadent eunuch Yashim, humble servant of the Sultan, who is the first call of anyone in the city seeking discreet solutions to problems that often involve affairs of state, life and death, extremely fine Ottoman cuisine and plenty of Polish vodka. 

It is hard not to like Yashim, his integrity is faultless, his will weakened by beautiful, either aristocratic or partially nymphomaniac ladies, described in such a way that makes them the envy of Ottoman society (if not slightly dangerous). The edginess from my visit is echoed in Goodwin’s stories as the people, ever risible, present an ongoing threat to the authorities in both the first two stories. 

The Snake Stone by Jason Goodwin

Goodwin’s real charm is to share his infinite and passionate knowledge of a city he knows so much about, right down to inhabitants taste and mannerisms. He does this effortlessly without leaving the reader lingering on the page. The city is brought to life in many forms from the layers of culture to hidden gems such as the ancient colonnaded cistern beneath the old city that is a gem to behold. I had visited it myself but had no real idea of its complexity until reading the sequel to Goodwin’s first book titled, ‘The Snake Stone’. 

The books are fast paced, Yashim’s apartment is an envy, his recipe’s inspirational (I think there maybe a book on the way just to present these fine dishes to a wanton fan base!), the colour in every page undeniable and the adventure insatiable. 

If you are not a Yashim fan yet, step up to the plate… you soon will be! I am about to start number 3!

 

*Please note that the carnegie Library’s copy is no longer available as the copy I borrowed was lost during a mugging incident in Zurich at the beginning of December 2014. I will replace the copy but haven’t had time.

Reviewed by Nick Breeze (Twitter: @NickGBreeze) 

Buy the books:

The Janissary Tree (Yashim the Ottoman Detective)

The Snake Stone (Yashim the Ottoman Detective)

 

 

 

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Queen of Norway In Dulwich to open 'Painting Norway'

her Royl Highness Queen Sonja of Norway oficially opened the new exhibition, "Painting Norway" by Nikolai Astrup (1880-1928), at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. The exhibition is filled with beautiful prints and paintings that define the interactions between light and landscape, expressed in striking memorable colours.

HM Queen Sonja said: "Nikolai Astrup has contributed significantly to shaping our understanding of Norway. In that sense, the title of this exhibition is indeed fitting: Nikolai Astrup. Painting Norway.  He transformed his own, private visions of the natural environment into scenes of universal relevance...Astrup visited London in 1908, with the main aim of studying the paintings of John Constable, an artist he admired greatly. In a sense, we could say that he has now returned, with the fruits of his studies."

Visitors to Norway are always notably struck by the force of nature upon the psyche. This exhibition of over 90 works of Astrup's work, brings that personal experience to life in a timeless way and this show is another must see for visual art lovers in London. 

Exhibition runs until 15 May 2016.

Address: Gallery Rd, Southwark SE21 7AD
Established: 1817
Hours: Open today · 10am–5pm
Architectural style: Modern architecture
Phone: 020 8693 5254

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Orientalist Art Works From London Gallery - Darnley Fine Art

The orientlaist period is one that we at InDulwich find quite ethereal and fascinating... full of opiatic wonder. Here is a small selection from the gallery collection at Darnley Fine Art in Chelsea. If you can't get over to Darnley then at least visit the Dulwich Picture Gallery to get a dose of the treasures that lie within. Everyone needs art therapy now and again!

 



Enjoy!

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Lambeth Council scheme will see loss of historic Carnegie Library as building handed to Greenwich Leisure Limited

A demonstration against the closure of the Carnegie Library is planned for 6:30pm on Monday 12th October at Dunraven School in Streatham, South London. Individual councillors can also been contacted (information below).

One of south London’s most beautiful and much needed libraries is to be gutted and refitted as a gymnasium under the running of Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL). The Carnegie Library in Herne Hill is a landmark with much more than architectural and natural beauty to speak for it. 

Community hub

The library is also a well used community space where mothers are able to bring their children each week to play and learn in a safe environment at no cost. The Carnegie Library currently has a large room where children can play, gain their first experience of reading, with access to hundreds of children’s books, and even play in safety in the secluded outdoor area that has it’s own fruit trees, seating and herb patch. These are all free and invaluable services the Carnegie Library now offers to the local community and that also contribute so much to its unique character.

As one of the people who hire desk-space in the upper rooms, it has been a rare opportunity to get to know other businesses and creatives who are both living and working in the area. The Carnegie Library has its own peaceful atmosphere that is now being threatened by plans to gut its interior and redevelop the space as a gymnasium. 

Part of being in the Carnegie Library building everyday means that we see local faces on a regular basis. In the last few weeks the expressions of visitors have turned to distress as news of the planned loss has filtered through. One elderly lady stopped me by the Ferndene road entrance and after lamenting the Carnegie Library plans for closure, said, “we must do all we can to keep this place going!”. This place is more than just a well stocked and friendly library, it is a community haven with a unique history that has played an important role in the lives of thousands of residents over many decades. It is a vital component in the lives of all the people who come here each week.

The Carnegie Library also contributes creatively with gallery spaces, music sessions, reading groups, free internet usage and study space. This kind of public space is irreplaceable and must be protected for the very young and the elderly who are often not represented in the statistical analysis presented in council reports that call for change. It has been dutifully guarded for many years by the ‘Friends of Carnegie Library’.

Lambeth Council’s case for closure

The long report produced by the councillors (download here: http://goo.gl/sWZEYj) states that the Carnegie Library will be renamed ‘Carnegie Healthy Living Centre’ and contractually licensed to Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) where it will be gutted and then reopened. The reports states: “There will be an increased emphasis on income generation..”. 

This last point highlights the true intention of the councillors actions. Put simply, the views of the community do not matter. No one wants this option but it is being forced through simply because the council do not have the creative capacity to closely look at other sources of revenue that could both secure a functioning Carnegie Library as well as make it sustainable in the face of future cuts. 

This document is presented as a consultation but ignores many of the proposals of community members to assist in the generation of income to keep the Carnegie Library going. 

Instead they are happy to sign away this historic treasure to GLL who currently hold no less than ten other council leisure contracts in Lambeth alone, under their subsidiary brand ‘Better’ (http://www.better.org.uk/). The point being is that this is an easy option for the council as it requires no effort.

Do we need another gym? 

Lambeth council cite many statistics in their report as evidence why a gymnasium is needed. A quick search on the internet reveals that Lambeth is awash with such places, not to mention the amazing parks with tennis courts, football pitches, swimming pools, specialised classes etc (The Carnegie Library does currently offer pilates and yoga which are also well recognised as contributors to wellbeing in modern life).

The conclusion really has to be that far from not being able to afford to keep the Carnegie Library open, we simply cannot afford to see it closed. Access to free unfettered educational space is very limited in Lambeth. The Carnegie Library offers space to work, read, think, relax, to a community that is represented by all ages and all walks of life. 

The loss of one of London’s great working spaces due to the short sightedness and weak will of the councillors who decide that fate, ensure once again that a community is about to hand a much prized jewel to a private enterprise whose mantra is  “increased emphasis on revenue generation”.

Key points

1. You can make your voice heard by emailing the councillors directly: Herne Hill ward councillors:

Councillor Jim Dickson (Jdickson@lambeth.gov.uk), Councillor Michelle Agdomar (MAgdomar@lambeth.gov.uk), Councillor Jack Holborn, (JHolborn@lambeth.gov.uk) Councillor Jane Edbrooke (jedbrooke@lambeth.gov.uk)* 

*all email addresses are in the public domain

2. The final decision will be made on Monday 12th October, at Dunraven school in Streatham. http://moderngov.lambeth.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=225&MId=9359

3. A demonstration will take place outside the meeting at 6:30pm.

4. The full report can be downloaded here?: http://goo.gl/sWZEYj

Nick Breeze is a writer and filmmaker who currently rents desk-space within the library.

 

 

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Most important movie of 2014? ‘Cowspiracy’ explores the darkest driver of environmental destruction on the planet.

By Nick Breeze 

As someone who spends a great deal of time interviewing climate scientists and writing articles on what climate change really means for us in our lifetimes, I have often overlooked the minutia elements in my own daily routines that are unnecessarily contributing to the destruction of the Earth’s life support system.

 

cowspiracy

 

For parents striving to do the very best for their children in every aspect from education to exercise and social mobility, there is now the greater understanding by scientists that the challenges they will face in the next few decades alone will be driven by the impacts of climate change, only currently visible in the form of weird weather or remote extreme climate events.

 

However, the IPCC conservatively estimate a 2 degrees centigrade rise in temperature by mid century if we continue polluting as we are today.  At 2 degrees centigrade we will have already triggered other warming processes within the Earth system that will accelerate the heating further. The predicted impacts on regional climates and other factors such as agriculture, mean that we will see an exponential rise in conflicts, food price spikes and shortages, mass immigration on a scale never before witnessed (and certainly not on UKIP’s radar!!), and much more.

 

Words like “sustainability” or “global warming” are now so tired, we tend raise our eyebrows in mock fatigue when ever they’re mentioned as if their relevance was a matter of yesterday, as opposed to today. However, our problems have never been more severe and one of the biggest drivers of climate change and environmental degradation, is virtually omitted from the national and even international discourse.

 

What is this hidden driver? I’ll give you a clue: Cowspiracy! 

 

 

I am not a vegetarian and neither have I considered any radical shift in my dietary make-up. Over the last few years I took a lead from the McCartney’s ‘Meat-Free Monday’ campaign and started eating much less meat, trying to buy better quality meat and seeing its consumption as more of a treat. Earlier this year I was made aware that eating meat accounts for between 30-50% of a persons carbon emissions. 

 

The makers of Cowspiracy have been very brave in uncovering an industry that is so unsustainable and environmentally destructive that we have to take notice. If we really see ourselves as animal loving, community loving, good and honest people, then this is one issue that will not pass the viewer by without some serious consideration.

 

In the film’s journey we see exposed how organisations such as Greenpeace in the US are refusing to discuss agriculture despite the fact it is the biggest driver of rainforest destruction in the Amazon (1 acre every second cleared mostly for livestock grazing), also water depletion (staggering amounts of water that go into producing 1 kg of beef), and associated disastrous impacts from producing the feed required for all these animals. The facts keep pouring out of the movie at an alarming rate.

 

Aside from all this there is also the wellbeing of the animals. One of the lasting images is of the cows being marched around the industrial meat complex, resembling the images we have seen from broken individuals in concentration camps or such like environments. This is surely not the mechanism for how an intelligent and empathetic species sees itself in harmony with the natural world? 

 

I urge you to watch this movie and form your own opinion on the content. The more these issues are engaged with then the more we can encourage a change that will create a better world for the next generation.

 

Nick Breeze

Follow on Twitter: @NGBreeze

Review originally posted on Envisionation.co.uk

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Artists Mary Fedden & Katie Minoprio on show at Lena Boyle Fine Art

West London Art gallery, Lena Boyle has a been showing some stunning art works by a range of contemporary painters and sculptors, as well as by established Modern British greats. As far as we can tell, a contemporary artist becomes a Modern British artist by a process that includes shaking off one's mortal coil.

KATIE MINOPRIO, Night Sky, 120 x 120 cm, oil on canvas, Click to view artworks by Katie MINOPRIO

having been dealing in artworks for over 20 years, Lena Boyle is an established figure on the London dealing scene and has a broad stable of artists on display. Her works by Fedden are particularly attractive and seem to hark back to a world that once was, one that I would quite like to visit. In fast changing times, it does seem that keep a record of who we once were and where we are in the rapidly receding present is worthy and enjoyable exercise.

'Going Home' by Mary Fedden OBE RA

A larger list of artworks can be viewed on Lena Boyle's web site at www.lenaboyle.com. She will shortly be announcing her summer exhibition as will many other galleries. We will be reporting back on that very soon.

 

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The Monastery Of Saint Catherine - Out Of Reach & Removed From Time

A few years ago at the Royal Academy there was a show of Byzantine Icons, many of which had been sourced from the Monastery named after Saint Catherine 5000 feet up near the spot where Moses received the commandments from God. The Monastery itself is now a small fortress and the treasures within have survived their own existential threats including those posed by the iconoclasts where much art work of substantial beauty was destroyed throughout Byzantium. The monastery being so hard to reach was left alone.

Monastery of Saint Catherine

Image Source: Darnley Fine Art (Orientalist Paintings Specialist)

The British Artist, David Roberts RA spent a great deal of time traveling through the Holy Land circa. 1839. He produced a number of spectacularly beautiful works that bring to life the whole region. His journey started in the Egyptian capital and he traveled to the Sinai Peninsula and on to Petra in Jordan and on to what is now Israel. 

Roberts does perhaps epitomise the “orientalist” period and his pictures are as much a travelogue as they are great art. They bring the viewer in, offering a taste of the landscape, the period, even a chat with the local people of the day; a rounded insight that is cerebral in impact. 

Saint Catherine's Monastery
The Chapel of The Monastery of Saint Catherine (Source: Darnley Fine Art)

A few years ago I spoke to the artist Maggi Hambling about repeating David Roberts journey in a contemporary context. Maggi said, “Great idea but I am not a topographical artist!” She did however, suggest one of her students whom she described as “brilliant”. We contrived a documentary series in the footsteps of Roberts where Maggi would be the mentor and advisor, offering her own brand of sincere and charismatic advice. I still think it would have been a wonderful journey to take but sadly the Arab Spring was break out just at that time and the whole region became unstable. Trying to consider any documentary commissioner to fund such a project would have been a waste of time. 

Maggi Hambling - Oscar Wilde
Maggi hambling sitting on her Oscar Wilde Scuplture near Charing X, London (Source: Nick Breeze)

Provided the treasured icons survive this current period of tumult that is still lingering in the Middle East, we can but hope that one day we’ll be able to travel in the footsteps of David Roberts and taste the landscape and experience that he felt nearly two centuries ago. In these ancient landscapes nothing much seems to change, even conflict is nothing new!

Nick Breeze

@InDulwich

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