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Deptford. Toffs & Junkies and...?

Eddystone House. Deptford.

So now we know. Another documentary telling us that Deptford is populated by heroin addicts, alcoholics and other dysfunctional derelicts; all rummaging in skips, getting into fights and looting local shops.
Needless to say, this is a complete travesty and an insult to the tens of thousands of decent hardworking people who live in the area and on Pepys Estate. Even the gallant Les Brooks, who fought a long battle with Lewisham council to stay in his home, was made to look like a crank. I mean, circus skills - what do you expect?
This orgy of gritty camerawork completely overwhelmed the serious issues of why, if this block is good enough for the rich, why it is not good enough for the people who have made their homes there for decades; and why was the money not available to maintain the estate for the local community when it is readily available to dislocate and divide the community; and how those buying apartments in the new 'Z block' for the view and to impress their business contacts will manage to get in and out of their barracks without being pelted with half-bricks.
As for the famous 'trickle down' effect promised by the developers, that will largely be felt in picturesque Greenwich, which is only 2 minutes by Porsche.
Aragon Tower may seem attractive as a lofty
pied a terre for the refined to sneer from, but there will be few if any families living in it. And without children, it will serve as just another dormitory for Canary Wharf, no doubt with its own gym, swimming pool and restaurant. And surrounded by razor wire to either keep the natives out or the inmates in.
We might get to find out which in the course of the rest of this series. But somehow I doubt it. The lure of lots of lovely squalor will be too much for the camerateam and director to resist.


There's Only One Shirley Bassey

Comparisons aren't fair. Nefarious even. Fun too, so here goes.
 It was a big week for women at Glastonbury. The lovely Lili Allen dinked delightfully, and was a triumph when helping out The Specials in their prophetic masterpiece 'Gangster'. The 2Tone revival is overdue. and necessary.
If Lili Allen follows, can Amy Winehouse, or as the BBC presenterine knows her, Lili Allen, be far behind? Growling out her current brand of retro Fats Domino and Berry Gordyness. The opening to 'Back To Black' is the first 8 bars of 'Baby Love', in case you were wondering, but without the snap.
And if Her Sleaziness wanders abroad in the mud, then leaping from tree to tree in the nearby magic forest must be her alter-diva, Bjork. And so it was. And she too was obviously aware of the competition, and yet strangely oblivious, as she always is, and stormed out her weirdness with her usual guts.
A veritable confluence of serious female talent, then. Anyone who is anyone 2007. Well almost. Because these young hopefuls had to sleep with the knowledge that a performance was due which would either anoint or exile them. Shirley Bassey was playing Glastonbury.
 The Bass is no singer-songwriter examining her complexes in public. She is the ultimate performer, and much despised as a result. Not that she cares. And she's old. So against the hottest young talent around, what chance does she stand? After all, this was the token Oldie slot at Glastonbury. The Sunday tea-time Antiques Roadshow, Songs of Praise, Last of the Summer Wine concession to faded legends available at reduced prices.
 Anyone who saw her show yesterday will know the answer to that one. The pride of Bute Town gave an object lesson in how to grab an audience by the throat. And also showed that youth and marketability are not everything, which must have been a consolation to the gathering of young pretenders left to gaze upon the magnificence of The Bass as she rode by. A revolution in pink organza.
There's only one Shirley Bassey. Youth and cheek will always be defeated by age and talent.


Sir Salman Rushdie.

Anti-Rushdie March London May 1989
Both staunch U.S. ally Pakistan, and bitter enemy and dark heart of the Axis of Evil - Iran have condemned the Rushdie Knighthood, announced today.
We could hope that at some time, The Satanic Verses 1989-2007 will be seen to bookend a relatively brief period of religious medievalism. That the Fatwah of 1989 merely represented the last gasp of a doomed ideology in the face of the explosion of global telecommunications.
Sadly the combined effects of information technology and a dwindling supply of oil will guarantee that religion is used as a battering ram for some time. And the potential liberation of thought and expression offered by the wider access to the means of production, distribution and exchange of information is instead threatened by C9th theological propaganda spread by the same media.
If this were only true of one religion, we might breathe a sigh of relief. As it is, the terrified reaction of religion under threat spreads from the Taliban of Afghanistan to the Scientologists of Los Angeles. And as a result, many people are suffering far more than Salman Rushdie.

I'll never forget Michael Ignatieff, from the safety of The Observer, calling for 'A Trade Union of Intellectuals' to confront the Fatwha. Inconveniently disregarding the principles of unity which underlie all unions.
If he meant business, he would have committed a correspondingly blasphemous act to match Rushdie's. And all his 'colleagues' would have joined in. Spartacus style. The entire liberal publishing industry from Mills & Boon to the OUP should have commissioned a pan-blasphemous logo or masthead, offensive to all religions and superstitions, and emblazoned it on all their publications.
But nobody was ever knocked off their feet by intellectuals storming into action.
The only trouble was that the gutter press were even bigger Quislings in the affair.