Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Spike forever

I had a fascinating day in the library about a month back. The John Harvard library has temporarily moved into Peckham library and the documents were finally available. They had more recent stuff than the London Metropolitan Archive. What most intrigued me were the newspaper articles about the Spike just after it closed in 1985. I was seeing familiar headlines: “Save the Spike campaign launched”. That was in the Mercury on November 21st 1985. Local residents were suggesting that the entire site should be converted into a mixture of flats, studios, workshops and community facilities. There was a gorgeous chapel on the site back then that would have been perfect for performances. There was a quote from the campaigns leader, Dave Cannon, saying that “Southwark seems determined to bulldoze the lot”. We asked John Beasley, a wonderful historian if he still knew of him, and he did. He still lives on Consort Road! Me and Donna went to visit him. He said he’d been supporting us from a distance. He seemed a little scarred from his battle back then.
There was a report in the Planning Newsheet winter 1987. The proposed redevelopment had received support from the Government funded North Peckham Taskforce. Then it seems it all went wrong. The majority of the site became housing association in 1992. Dave said all they could keep hold of was 39b, where the Children’s Scrap Scheme was based until they lost their funding.

So. There you go. A dream has been dreamed many times before. The nuns had a desire to have positive effects on Peckham. I read about their mission after JD did some research on the Sisters of the Holy Retreat. I’m sure the wayfarers dreamt of a place that they could be.

Lately I’ve been running samba workshops with Cardboard Citizens at a day centre for the homeless. The first week I showed up I joined the back of the queue as the men filed in. My thoughts immediately flashed back to conversations with Frank – I mentioned him in the first blog.. the queues down the road of colourful souls. I met another recently who had stayed at the Spike in the 70’s. His name is Jimmy and I met him at a Groundswell visioning day (I got some of the garden funding from them). He’ll come for an interview soon, but from what I could gather, he didn’t think much of the place back then. He said he couldn’t believe they made you shower to get in such a louse ridden bed!

Future wise at the Spike, things are still looking hazy. We are waiting to hear back from lenders. The Council are still being impossible to talk to. We’re having a clear out as someone making bio-diesel is just about to move in to one of the workshops. So it’s perfect timing for the Peoples Republic of Southwark mini eco fair which is taking place at the Spike on Sunday. It includes a bring and take event, invisible (wild) foods talk, music, food…
ecofair square

Dawit (AKA Smallmoney) has been working away and has come up with our first podcast…

And the thing that I’m most excited about is the launch of the Yoda Room. It’s the post production studio at the Spike, and for the last year me and Josh have been working towards getting it up and running. The tracks are sounding really fresh and people are truly so keen to get in here.

So things are feeling really positive anyway…

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