27 March 2013 Mary Howell
South London's hottest kid on the block has lots to offer south of the river. London Calling finds out more...
London’s just one of those unique cities in its ability to ever change and ever evolve. With the advent of the overground reaching further into the south east, it’s no surprise that an unsuspecting area such as Peckham, yes, we said Peckham, is the new focus of London’s cutting edge mavericks. Long gone are the days of Del Boy and Rodney Trotter. Now a cultural slice sandwiched between Goldsmiths and Camberwell College of Art, Peckham has been pulled full force into London’s cultural landscape. It’s the fusion of energy, music, colours and cultures lining the streets that makes you question whether you’re really still in London. Are you feeling like it’s time for a holiday at home? Well lucky you as here’s the low down on the newest hot spot this city has to offer.
A HUB FOR CONTEMPORARY ART?
A plethora of innovative small and large independent art galleries and studio spaces may come as a surprise to those unfamiliar with Peckham. Unsure of where to start? Help is at hand in the form of Last Fridays, the South London Art Map led cultural initiative. Headed by local curators and artists, the tour explores a selection of the galleries open late on the last Friday of each month with an opportunity to catch events, talks, private views and performances, all accompanied by fellow art enthusiasts. All free of charge with a complementary glass of wine or beer thrown in for good measure.
TOP TIP - If you’re the adventurous type, abandon the tour and meander around the range of galleries open late.
THE ONE STOP SHOP
Down an indistinct alleyway off Rye Lane lies another of Peckham’s gems. Whether you’re in the mood for a matinee or a late night boogie, The Bussey Building has to be your first port of call. This industrial, illustrated, multistory hub of day and night life plays host to fresh music nights from live Jazz to internationally renowned DJs. Whilst it’s alter ego The CLF Art Cafe presents highly acclaimed theatre productions from Shakespearean classics to cabaret musicals! Whatever your age or taste, it’s likely you’ll find a little something for everyone here.
TOP TIP - Strapped for cash? Check out their range of free events such as the funk and soul phenomena, Soul Train.
TIME TO WIND DOWN
Tucked underneath the arches of Rye Station is one of the cornerstones of Peckham’s revival. Bar Story has the music, cocktails, food and decor to rival the best of the east’s watering holes, but with a relaxed, easy-going vibe. We think your south London holiday just got a touch ‘au courant’ so grab a cocktail, take a seat and watch the palm trees (there are a few) blow in the breeze; easily the best way to whittle away an evening under soothing beats and over long drinks.
TOP TIP - A combo of happy hour two-for-one cocktails between 6pm and 7pm every evening, and two-for-£10 stone baked pizzas on Tuesdays, never disappoints.
A VERY HAPPY ENDING
Once upon a time in a land far away (from Oxford Circus) lay the beginning of a curious red line painted upon the pavement of Rye Lane. Following the line, around corners and past the aged roots of trees, you’ll find yourself at the door of a vast concrete car park. After prising open the door and wind up the stairs, a strange series of events is sure to unfold...
Trust us, this one’s a show stopper. Persevere with our illusive directions and you’ll first reach the summertime sculptural project, Bold Tendencies, spread over the top four floors of this disused multistory car park. Not convinced by international contemporary art in a uniquely surreal setting? Try heading up to the roof and you’ll be enveloped by the unbroken panorama of London’s skyline, complemented by the Paloma Gormely designed Frank’s Cafe. So if you’re game for an amble around international sculpture, joined afterwards by a cocktail and a breathtaking view of the city, this is sure not to disappoint.
TOP TIP - Frank’s says RELAX, but only for a short window of time between June and September so be sure not to miss out.
If you’re not a convert by now, then perhaps you’ll be soon as there’s an awful lot yet to come Peckham’s way. Watch this space!
THE END...for now.
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