Archive for the Streatham Category

Memories of the 2010 General Election…

Posted in Change We Can Believe In, Commune, Decadence, FreeSouthLondon, General Election 2010, Protest, Revolution, South London, Streatham with tags , , , , , on May 11, 2010 by Wolfgang Moneypenny

…Or, rather, my dramatic impact on on it.

The Liberal Democratic electionerring machine and I clashed eight days ago in my hometown of Streatham. Here’s a photo diary.

As you can tell, the police almost immediately lost control of the situation as soon as I turned up. That would be the combination of revolutionary potential & charismatic leadership..

I bravely threw myself into the throng of media sucklers and mainstream party political droogs.

Two Great Men of History: As I held court with the confused national media, I met Clarence Thompson MBE, local poet, scientist, Race Relations Act architect, housebuilder & first-class self-publicist.

As soon as Clegg arrived, he was surrounded by media, supporters & the terminally curious. I set about demanding information on the Lib Dem position on the growing demands for transpontine independence in South London... But then! Oh, reader! Then I met his wife, Miriam González Durántez. Struck by her beauty, I found myself speechless halfway through a complicated request for a structured roadmap to a referendum on independence. I found myself shouting the words ¡Miriam es guapa! She smiled at me, blushed even. For a brief moment of intense hunger our eyes met through my aviator sunglasses. And she was gone...

Miriam is clearly caught up with me. She can't even look at her husband. Their marriage is clearly on the rocks. This is what a charismatic revolutionary can do when he swaggers into your life...

And, so, Miriam my sweetest rose petal. How about it? You. Me. My three other wifes. The top secret Anarcho-Situationist Commune. Candlelit debates about tenuous technicalities of European law, followed by passionate, grinding, Jupiter-moving Love Making. I know you read this blog Miriam. Take me. Take me NOW.

I guess, in a way, I should feel sorry for Clegg. He swung into Streatham on a wave of Cleggmania, but limped out – his wife in love with a heroic revolutionary type, his poll ratings crashing from close to 30% to Thursday’s 23%, and now he finds himself in a bit of a no-win situation regarding the difficult coalition negotiations…

Advertisements

I’ve Been Moonlighting… For The Revolution

Posted in Art, Change We Can Believe In, Elephant & Castle, FreeSouthLondon, General Election 2010, Indigenous Culture, Revolution, South London, Streatham with tags , , , , , , on May 9, 2010 by Wolfgang Moneypenny

Word up, my cherry-cheeked transpontine comrades!

Had two barely-contained-within-the-cage-of-written-prose truthblasting articles published last week.

Firstly, the second half of this post on StreathamPulse about the Nick Clegg electioneering machine’s visit to my beautiful hometown of Streatham.

Secondly, an article about the regenerbastardisation of Elephant & Castle – particularly the wonderous shopping centre – published in The Other Side magazine. Yes, a real paper magazine. I’m in print. Here’s the rather complicated digital version. My article is on page 14. AND PAGE 15.

Eat it. Beat it. Treat it. But most of all…. revolutionize it.

Peace & War

Tesco Villages: The New Wave of McDonaldized Invasion?

Posted in East London, FreeSouthLondon, Greater South London, Postmodernity, Protest, Revolution, South London, Streatham, Tesco, Woolwich with tags , , , , on April 27, 2010 by Wolfgang Moneypenny

Yesterday, reports emerged of plans by Tesco to set up four purpose-built supermarketcentric mini-villages in south-east England. Two of which would be in innercity South London (Streatham & Woolwich) and a third in Greater South London’s Dartford.

It’s a bit early to comment, The Times article that was mainly responsible for heralding this information to us Great Unwash’d was criticized by some on Twitter for being poorly researched.

However, in terms of defining the mood and patterns of our contemporary era, I will say this much: It is very noteworthy that this report is so plausible, so believable. It seems typical of both Tesco and the generic behaviour of successful business models in the post-industrial period.

As an anarcho-situationist dedicated to protecting South London from the homogenising anonymity of postmodernity and/or contemporary capitalism, these plans worry me deeply. I therefore extend an olive branch to the people of Bromley-by-Bow in East London, the fourth planned site of this potential Tesco-ization.

(Oh, by the way, Tesco Value cheesecake is absolute crap.)

NEXT GOAL WINS: Childhood Memories of Sport #2

Posted in Football, FreeSouthLondon, Indigenous Culture, Revolution, South London, Sport, Streatham with tags , on April 8, 2010 by Wolfgang Moneypenny

(Yesterday I started exploring how three separate and seemingly unimportant childhood experiences of sport went a long way to forging me, both politically and as a man. Today, the second in the series, I look at a vital game of playground football…)

When I was in Year 5 of my Streatham primary school, 9 or 10 years of age, we were challenged en masse by the cocky self-assured ONE YEAR OLDER Year 6 to an epic game of football that would episodically navigate many playtimes. Aside from the chaotic semi-selective interpretation of official Association Football, there was one rule: first to 100 goals wins.
Now, I was never an adept footballer. Too clumsy, lacking grace. Even my boundless enthusiasm couldn’t plug the gap. But this was Year 5 v Year 6. A year group rivalry. Like all good playground and park football, player numbers mattered not. If you were in the Year you were in the team.

Year 6 were The Favourites. Age, Strength, Cleverness. That was and still is the Natural Order of things. Phrases like “the Year Above” and “the Year Below” showcase a hierarchy so bluntly obvious – and ingrained – that it’s almost impossible to consciously notice! But still we indulgently imagined winning. I for one pleasurably fantasized the outraged faces of certain Undesirable Types in Year 6. The win would have been worth so much more presicely for its being unlikely, incorrect, unnatural.

And so, without pre-season training, without transfer window wheelerdealer-ing and agonised television contract negotiations, the game started almost immediately.

The “formation” would make a Opta Index machines explode. The self-defined star players of each side hovered ball-hungry up front, dreamingly certain of their starring role. Meanwhile a herd of lesser mortals camped in the background, a defensive crowd, a legitimized pitch invasion, or rather the medieval mob from the folk games of Association Football’s distant antiquarian origins.

Goals would be scored with almost basketball regularity, each team swarming into alternating counterattacks after the quickfire post-goal instant “keeper starts” restart of play. Goal. Goal. Goal. Goal. Miss. Goal. Goal. Goal. Miss. Goal. Miss. Goal. Goal. Goal. It was the failures to convert chances that were most noteworthy. Most memorable. If normal association football ritualises the heroic penetrative symbolism of The Goal, we children had built an alternative version that anti-celebrated the erectile dysfunction of The Miss. Playground embarrassment ritualised in real life real-time theatre. This had the potential to be A LOT worse than kiss chase…

Although the goals rattled in, the race to One Hundred spread out over more than a week of playtimes. Long enough in/a high enough proportion of our little short conscious lives to be well worthy of the obsession we had quickly lavished The Event with.

And so, about six school days later, we had finished playtime with the scores tantalisingly balanced at 98-98. The cockiness of Year 6 was rocked, their audacity reeling. Each side was two goals from a literally Vital victory. They desperately hoped to save themselves from profound shame. We were wild eyed in our eagerness to stick our snouts in the euphoric Champagne of this impossible victory.

As the clock ticked down teasingly to playtime it was obvious that the match would be decided there and then. Two goals. Only two goals.

It was to be decided there & then, in an anonymous South London arena of primary education, but to us a cathedral colleseum of unbearable drama…

We ran out to the concrete playing… er, field. We found Year 6 already there. Waiting for us. The episodic match started its final chapter with tangible intensity, both physical and emotional. Year 6 attacked immediately, but their play was broken up, and we counterattacked with the speed of Llewellyn, a kid who rumour had it was once run over playing football BUT HAD CARRIED ON. He skipped past The Year Above enemy and shot impressively… beyond the goalkeeper… GOAL! 99-98. One more goal! One more!

Glory on the streets of Streatham was within our grasp.

Year 6 surged forward like a wounded beast. I think I shouted at some still celebrating Yearmates “DEFEND! DEFEND!” But it was too late. Wham! They shot from (relative) distance to equalize. 99-99. You couldn’t write this script and all that bollocks. I was struck with horror at the delicateness of the situation, on a knife’s edge above ecstasy and misery. I dreamed immediate sorrowful hypernostalgia for the 99-98 comfort of only a few seconds previous.

With a mixture of luck and panic we broke forward. With zeal I galloped in front of the play. One kid was tackled hard in midfield and the ball rolled into my path. Thomas, a kid whose parents were involved in the local Labour Party, was (appropriately) on the left, SCREAMING for the ball. “PASS!! PASS!!” But I was in a better position, I was closing in on the goalkeeper. The goal was so big. So wide. So gaping. I realised we were going to win. I realised I was going to taste the pinnacle of rapture. I was going to score the 100th goal!

Glory on the streets of Streatham beckoned me.

I swung my foot at the ball with rare, beautiful certainty… a feeling of a such joyous conviction that I am still yet to re-experience such deep clarity. Every dance move I’ve ever pulled, every girl I’ve ever kissed, NEVER has it felt the way it did as I kicked the ball goalwards for number 100…

Ready to explode with roaring passion and throbbing self-worth, I looked ahead at the ball as it flew into the goal.

Erm… Except… it wasn’t there. Where the fuck was it?! My eyes darted in dread, up, left, right. Where’s the ball?!? To my left I began to hear Thomas erupt with the inaudible words of utter rage. And then I saw it. The ball. Still trickling along its path. I hadn’t just near-missed a shot. I had completely failed to connect. I had clumsily swiped my foot through thin air. The ball was collected by a grateful Year 6 before I could move. Thomas descended on me. “When I say ‘PASS!’ you FUCKING PASS!!!” His speckled scream-projected saliva shimmered wet on my hot shamed face. I turned to make amends, but within a second of running back to defend I saw Year 6 strike at our underbelly: our goal, so big, so wide, so gaping. Omar, the cricket-loving goalie, bravely saved one shot but was powerless as the rebound was scuffed into the top right corner. Year 6 had won. First to 100…

I can see it now, the way the football bounced off the brick wall inside the white paint right-angle of the goal “frame”. And the feeling. My heart dropping into my gut. The miasmatic air expelling from my lungs. The weakness overcoming my knees. The stooping of my back. The frantic wish for the ground to swallow me up and vomit me out anywhere else.

The aftermath was, frankly, vicious. Thomas didn’t stop screaming for ages. Everyone blamed me. I was the proverbial scapegoat, true. But I was also Judas The Clown who had utterly fucked up when heaven was before us (and most of all before Me.)

There was no glory for us on the streets of Streatham.

For what seemed like an eternity of cruellest purgatorial punishment (but in truth probably only lasted a few days) The Mob, my former teammates, banned me from playing football. I had to stand on the side and cheerlead with a bunch of proto-bitchy J17-aspiring girls.

What small confidence in the little footballing ability I had never ever recovered. I became a goalkeeper by choice. Well, “choice”…

But I’m not unhappy about this. This is Sport. I think. I was involved in a glorious drama. Exciting. Unpredictable. And, at the time, so very meaningful. Sure, I was the loser. I ended up as this drama’s Clown, Joker, Jester, Fool, Village Idiot, Comedy Villain, Unknowing Judas. And there are the famous Tears of a Clown, I can assure you. But… this is who I am. I’m not normal. I have been forged in the strangest but most exhilarating of furnaces. Why bother being sad? Live! (I try…)

The one sadness that I allow myself is political: the missed opportunity of the age-revolutionary upset using the cultural vehicle of Sport. Alas. Alas. Arse!

THE COUNTER REVOLUTION: Childhood Memories of Sport #1

Posted in FreeSouthLondon, Indigenous Culture, Postmodernity, Revolution, South London, Sport, Streatham, Tooting with tags , , , , on April 7, 2010 by Wolfgang Moneypenny

“Now in the summer, I could be happy or in distress, depending on the company…”

(Today I have started exploring how three separate and seemingly unimportant childhood experiences of sport went a long way to forging me, both politically and as a man. First up, it’s a brilliant memory from a school sport’s day…)

A hot South London summer’s day. Such heat (for we are closer to the equator than the rest of London), oppressive midday rays only partially apologized for by mild evenings. I am nostalgia-visioning what for many people must be an abiding seasonal memory of childhood and adolescence: school sports days.

The chaotically edited highlights of my memory have these institutional rituals taking place always in body-cooking heat and nuclear blast blinding brightness. Every year. And I remember sports day being… boring. And a little embarrassing. Which amounts to a damning verdict coming from someone like myself more interested than most in sport.

In retrospect I can say that sports days were formulaic and sterile. Nothing interesting would happen. Or at least the events weren’t designed in order to facilitate such things. But one day, one glorious sports day, in an act I shall tentatively label ‘symbolically rebellious’, something very interesting (even profound) did indeed happen.

It was, I think, the sports day at the end of Year 9, so I would have been 14 years old. A hot furnace of a day – of course. I remember taking a big frozen bottle of water (for the heat) and an archaic Walkman with a cassette tape of the Sex Pistols and Public Image Ltd. (for the boredom). It was the usual dreary sports day. Mind-numbing… until two school friends from my default social circle of geeks and oddballs lined up for the 1000 meter race. Their names: David and Mustaffa.

Whilst not exactly lacking in physical prowess, they were distinctly definable as part of the ‘boffin’ set. Their appearance at the starting line in all-white PE kit was immediately uncomfortable on some level (and I perhaps felt a certain lost camaraderie for some of us oddballs had deliberately wormed our ways out of competing).

But they exploded from the start, running an unexpectedly fantastic race, accelerating into an early lead against the chasing pack. They continued, careering their way along the curved oval athletics track.

Already, by the halfway stage, they wre too far ahead to be challenged. But suspiciously they ran side-by-side – as a unit the pair were competitive against the rest, but not individually against each other. A thought struck me – are they going to subversively finish joint first on purpose? Such a thing caught my imagination, and the simple fact two boffins were absolutely hammering the race had captured the attention of many others.

Their legs trumbled thunderous ploughing poundations against the dirty orange track. An ungainly prowess, but it made handsome progress. Nearer and nearer the finishing line, still together, clearly conspiratorial in this neck-and-neckedness. Comrades. I found myself convinced that they were indeed going for the seditious joint finish, and I began to worry that some arsehole cultural arch-conservative of a PE teacher would tenuously/fictionally declare one or t’other as The Winner by a nobbly knee or unchewed finger nail. Just to, y’know, fit in a bit with what is expected… what is “traditional”… what sport (supposedly) is and should mean. Sport’s deeply ideal (and ideological) claim of binary simplicity. The cherished winner/loser dichotomy, an old imperial duality oh-so-worshipped within the cathedral of St. It’s The Taking Part That Counts.

Now, the end in sight! Only a few feet away from the finish… But they suddenly slowed down. What the…?! Within spitting distance of their supposed goal their winning running motion jams for a heartbeat and with a gust of uneasiness springs into reverse. Rewinding what had been only seconds earlier but with mad goggle-eyed laughing faces superimposed. THEY WERE RUNNING BAKWARDS. They were running backwards AWAY FROM THE FINISHING LINE. Running backwards away from the finishing line AND LAUGHING THEIR HEADS OFF AT THEIR REBELION.

Gloriously, confusingly unsharklike… whilst a PE teacher howled a banshee harpoon of unaccepting rage. Everyone watching was for a brief delicious moment most befuddled and shocked. And then many of us laughed. I especially laughed, roaring a Henry VIII thigh-slapping aeroplane take-off of a loud cackle. I delighted in their micropolitical two-fingered salutation of disdain to teachers and ‘normal’ kids alike.

However, it is only now, some thirteen years later that I come to remember this cultural artefact  and begin to think of it as something profound, something genuinely rebellious, something thoroughly interesting and not merely whimsical…

I have suffered a lack of appreciation for the powerful potential of aesthetic/spectacular rebellion for far too long. I blame it on a rather amateur 6th form hangover productivist bias. I am now coming to understand the significance and meaning of consumption. Thank the Lords!

David and Mustafa played with sport. Which is apparently what we all do. Okay, okay, we play along with the rules of a particular game (dare I say language game?! Ha ha ha!) and we most definitely buy into the cherished simplicity-claim of sport idealists – winners & losers. But by teasingly subverting this game (both the race and the whole sports day event), by making a spectacle of unsport, they established a very established and popularly consumed order. It was like themost successful postmodernist architecture. It was like Situationist pranks. Small-scale, yes… But! It was brilliant. It was revolutionary. It was very exciting. And I’m glad I was there.

So… what does this mean for wider sport. I enjoyed an anonymous South London sports day having one mere event… mocked. What about everything else? Well, to put it generally… The logical conclusion is thus: I, the subjective Me, Wolgang Moneypenny, wants to see sport deviated, abused, convulsing with self-doubt and hedonistic experimentation! But not totally. These wild chaotic abandons – the unsport – can exist only with the context of sport. The ideal of sport. The ideology. The rigid institution. The Hobsbawmian invented tradition so passionately defended by the stupid PE teacher.

Thus, the loneliness of my voice is appropriate. To an extent. There is room for countercultural manoeuvre within what would remain a believably sporting-ideal framework. And, I believe, a necessity. Sports greatest moments are often entwined with some aspect of unsport, ranging from the gloriously remembered sporting-failure of the 1970s ‘Total Football’ Dutch teams to the mid-race ecstatic celebration of Usain Bolt. By adding such things as Eric Cantona attacking the Crystal Palace fan and the attractions of football hooliganism to this list, I merely consider myself the extreme avant-garde of something already discernable.

And to put it specifically… If the final of the 2010 FIFA World Cup came down to a penalty shoot-out, and the final penalty was clearly and deliberately missed with a wild 45 degree miscued hoof into the crowd – a bravely audacious act of cultural terrorism – I for one would cry with joy at the profound heterodox glory of it.

(He, the footballer-terrorist, would of course have to go into hiding as his country would issue a worldwide sporting fatwa. I would happily be the Bono to his Salman Rushdie…)

Why Do I Change My Location So Often?

Posted in British Empire, Brixton, Commune, Indigenous Culture, Lewisham, Revolution, South London, Streatham with tags , , , on March 24, 2010 by Wolfgang Moneypenny

First thing first, comrades, I never change my location in the most important of senses. I am always repwezentin South London. So glorious, and (one day) so free.

But I periodically alter my precise location. The eagle eyed amongst you will have no doubt noticed that the I have – in what I like to term an Orwellian Turn – changed the location of the Anarcho-Situationist Commune from Lewisham to Brixton. This is not the first time I’ve changed the precise part of South London I have claimed to live. Before Lewisham it was the Wandsworth Anarcho-Situationist Commune. Earlier still, the Bugsby’s Marsh Anarcho-Situationist Commune. Next it could be Streatham, Lambeth or anywhere else.

Why?

There are a number of reasons. One is security. MI6 Would love to know my exact whereabouts. The British state’s distrust of the revolutionary potential of the collective South London hivemind is one of the main reasons they set up shop in Vauxhall.

But the most important is – as alluded to earlier – Repwezentationism. I want to – indeed, have to – represent ALL of our beautiful half-city. I live in the abstract sense of a homogenous, revolutionary, united South London. The grey reality of specific location would hamper the revolutionary cause. Our unted identity should be our weapon.

Wolfgang Moneypenny’s Mothering Sunday Video

Posted in Clapham, Football, FreeSouthLondon, Garratt Lane, Indigenous Culture, London Underground, Revolution, South London, Streatham, Tooting, Video, Waterloo with tags , , , , on March 15, 2010 by Wolfgang Moneypenny

This one goes out to ALL the mums of South London… but most of all my own dear mum.

Peace, Respect, Revolutionary Love xxx