Dabbles in urban exploring

I would never claim to be an urban explorer. The thrill seeker end of the spectrum looks terrifying but the questing historian version seems deeply admirable. My dabbling tended to towards the latter, though in a rather unfocussed way.

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Crystal Palace; Mega City One & a Headless Helmet

Blogging for InDulwich, I like to wander around our beat from time to time. It’s not so much marking out our territory, lamppost by lamppost, as revisiting areas I don’t know well and treading streets I haven’t trod before. My last stroll took a winding path through West Dulwich, Gipsy Hill, Crystal Palace and Norwood. Through a chain link fence I saw a motorcycle helmet and couldn't help wondering whether it had a head in it. Add a comment

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Free Christmas Movies in Herne Hill

Herne Hill’s The 12 Free Films of Christmas kicks off in earnest today. They had a practice run yesterday, showing Dinner For One, a Christmas staple in Germany and several other countries. If you fancy one, just turn up. No tickets, no booking, just first come, first served.

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Hard, Soft or "Smart" Brexit?

Making sense

There is a growing disquiet on both sides of the Brexit debate over what the government should do and it is fair to say that one side's salvation is the other's catastrophe. Yet, when I speak to people about their views, usually strongly held, they seem to be more emotional than factual and founded on various spin created over the course of the referendum campaign and beyond. Add a comment

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John Singer Sargent at Dulwich Picture Gallery

In June 2017 Dulwich Picture Gallery will present the first major UK exhibition of watercolours by the Anglo-American artist, John Singer Sargent (1856- 1925), since 1918.

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Streatham Rovers centenary year

Dulwich Hamlet beat Hendon the other day, continuing a good run but my thoughts are drawn more to another local side, Streatham Rovers. Rovers’ last games saw them thump Witley Rovers 4-1 and then ease past Dynamo Catford by a goal to nil. The Catford game was interrupted both by a drunk Richard Branson and three minutes silence for people who had died at Rovers games in 2016. These incidents speak volumes about the club. Add a comment

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Suggestion for a spooky Christmas read

I was twelve when the BBC screened The Signalman as its Christmas ghost story and was hooked on the concept. This was my first exposure to this BBC tradition and the Beeb’s first Charles Dickens adaptation, following a run of MR James tales.

These programmes were an echo of the Victorian tradition of fireside ghost stories, best known of which is A Christmas Carol. A goodly chunk of InDulwich’s audience will have read it and seen film versions with Alastair Sim, George C Scott and the Muppets. I reread it last Christmas and then stumbled across it’s much less well known follow up, The Chimes.

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William Blake film in development

William Blake – mystic visionary, strainer against social convention and author of the leading contender for an English national anthem. A new film, Blake in Sussex, will explore his relationship with landscape, his personal life and his visions. The film makers are Matt Wilmshurst and Tim Day and InDulwich spoke to Matt.

“There is so much to tell about the Blakes,” he says. “Catherine was hugely important to him and without her he may not have survived and flourished”. These two Londoners left their home in Lambeth to spend three years in rural Felpham, near the Sussex coast. Add a comment

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Odd story for an odd day

Lucian of Samosata’s True History is a delirious read, with nary a true word in it. InDulwich has an interest in beer and wine (as well as literature) and Lucian’s story includes a cracker of a wine tale. But first, he makes a confession; “because I had no matter of verity to employ my pen in (for nothing hath befallen me worth the writing), I turned my style to untruths”. It seems the 2nd century has something in common with the 21st.

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