It's great to see that this year's Made in Deptford festival is moving a little further north; instead of being centred round the Albany/Giffin Square and the south end of the High Street it is extending right up to the northern end of the borough, with quite a few events in Evelyn Street and surrounds.
Of course this is largely due to the fact that on Sunday morning, a gaggle of muscley blokes in Lycra will be cycling along Creek Road to Greenwich for the start of the first stage of the Tour de France. Whatever the reason, we think it's something to celebrate - Evelyn and Pepys estates make up a huge chunk of Deptford's population and often get sadly neglected.
I have been researching some facts about Evelyn ward, which I will post in due course, but in the meantime, the Deptford Dame's preview of this weekend's Made in Deptford festival has the following recommendations (in no particular order):
1. Made in Deptford Market/Deptford Market. Saturday 9-5/8-4. Let's face it, Deptford wouldn't be Deptford without its market. Flash 'Arry tells me that when his mum first came to the UK, she used to travel all the way from the upper reaches of Lordship Lane to shop at Deptford Market on a Saturday, as it was the best place to buy West Indian ingredients. Now, of course, Peckham Rye is a rival to Deptford in terms of shopping opportunities, but in my opinion, Deptford wins for its sheer range. Where else can you get your hands on ingredients for English, West Indian, Asian and African foods in just a kilometre of high street? I still mourn the absence of good cheese and the miniscule range of wines available, but this inconvenience is more than made up for by the fact that you can ALWAYS find ripe avocados and the bundles of fresh coriander, mint, parsley and so on are about five times the size of the supermarket packets. This weekend, as well as the regular market and the junk market, there will also be the chance to buy limited-edition 'Shop Local in Deptford' bags and Tour de France/Made in Deptford T-shirts. On Sunday there will be a local arts and crafts market.
2. Feast your eyes, Laban Centre. Saturday (11-1 and 6.30 onwards) and Sunday all day. The cafe at the Laban Centre has recently been taken over by the Ethical Catering Cooperative, whose food is as wholesome as their name. I've lunched here a couple of times - they offer a small but daily-changing menu of sandwiches, meat and veggie main courses, soup and salads, as well as cakes and a good range of organic fruit juices, teas etc. The light and pleasant cafe area is a lovely place to sit and muse, never too crowded but always with a good buzz. They are promising sculptures, music and performance (fire-eating on Sunday evening) and market themselves quite imaginatively as 'the only cafe by the river in the whole of Deptford'. They do have outside picnic tables too.
3. Wavelengths Library Celebrations. Saturday 9-4. I will be mostly avoiding this, as it involves 'a full day of fun for all the family'. However it does feature multi-cultural craft making and food, and makes no mention of face-painting, so it can't be all bad! They are offering books of recipes by local residents, which I am keen to obtain.
4. Deptford Creek Experience. Saturday at 12.30, Sunday at 2.30. Booking advised.
Another chance to don thigh-length waders, grab a big stick and slosh along the Creek.
5. A Taste of Deptford. Saturday and Sunday from 12 onwards. More food - have you spotted the theme yet? Ahem! Anyway, this is a chance to check out various restaurants along the High Street and sample traditional food from England, Malaysia and Nigeria, among others, for £1 a go. Look for the posters in the windows.
6. The Tour! Sunday from 8.30am! Have your breakfast at the Albany from 8am, or the Laban Centre from 10, or just skip the baguettes and cheese, and nip down to the Harp of Erin or the John Evelyn pub for a front-row seat and a French beer. The Albany will be screening the Tour in the cafe, if by any chance it rains and you don't fancy being outdoors.
7. Dr Bike/Company of Cyclists. Hamilton Street, 11-3. Come along to the Dame's front yard to continue the bike theme - get your own bike checked out by the doctor, or try out some of the weird and wonderful bikes owned by Company of Cyclists. The Dame is personally hoping they bring along the amazing 8-seater she tried several years ago at another event. Believe me, it's freaky!
8. Find out about plans for Deptford. Galliard (Sat/Sun 10am onwards); Deptford Station Market meet & greet (Saturday 12-2); Recycle it! (Saturday 10-2); Emergency Deptford (Sunday 9-4); East London Line Information (Sunday 9-4). With any luck we'll be able to find out what's happening with the new market. Apparently due to launch 'this summer'. At last year's event, the developers told me that work on the station/carriage ramp/live-work units was set to start later that year, so don't believe everything you hear...! You also get chance to meet your local plod, find out about progress on the East London Line extension - north to Dalston and south to Croydon - and whine to the council about how badly their recycling facilities compare to those in Greenwich....For those who don't know, Galliard is the developer working on the Old Seager Distillery. Have a look at their site for a laugh. See if you can find any pictures of Deptford.
9. Punk band Chet at the Bird's Nest, 8pm. I've no idea what the band are like, I'm jut fascinated by the thought of a smoke-free Bird's Nest! In the past I've done my best to support this pub and its live music (of hugely variable quality, it has to be said!) but it was always the worst-ventilated, most smokey bar I know. I suspect it will still stink, but perhaps it might prompt a bit of a refurb...! If you've got your dancing feet on later, there's 'Out-Dance' at the Albany from 11pm-4am - a new club night for the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community, but welcoming all with open minds. And if you've got the energy, your ticket will also get you into the after hours party (2am till 8am) at Two 8 Six on Lewisham High Street. Phew, I need a lie down just thinking about it...
10. Grand Finale: Mimbre; The Bridge. Laban Centre, Sunday 7.30pm £7/£5 concessions.
With this story of three women and a bridge, 'the performance and impressive set will transform the open air amphitheatre into a world of humour, energy and visual poetry'! Best bring your brolly as it's outdoors.
A few other things that are worth a mention.
Open days at Creekside Artists at the Faircharm Trading Estate (Sat and Sun 12-6), the APT studios on Creekside (Sat 12-5 and Sunday 9-5); 21 Tanners Hill (Charlotte Pearson and Robert McLeod); Deptford Arts Network (shops on the High Street - see what you can spot!).
Deptford Lives at the Albany. Showings throughout the day Friday, Sat and Sun. See a 15 minute film by the Community Channel about some of the characters of Deptford, from our very own crazy Artmongers to the rag and bone traders.
There is much, much more - lots of kids stuff, jazz and other music events, there's even face-painting, karaoke and tombolas if you want it, so check out the festival website for full details.