‘Concrete Soldiers UK’: Screening of the Housing Documentary I Narrate at the Rio Cinema in Dalston, Tuesday February 26

15.2.19

Poster for the screening of 'Concrete Soldiers UK' at the Rio Cinema in Dalston on February 26, 2019.Please support my work as a reader-funded investigative journalist, commentator and activist. If you can help, please click on the button below to donate via PayPal.




 

Tuesday February 26, at the Rio Cinema in Dalston, will be the first screening of 2019 for ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the documentary film about the housing crisis, directed by Nikita Woolfe, which I narrate. I’m very pleased to note that, recently, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ was awarded ‘Best Documentary Film’ in the European Cinematography Awards for 2018. You can also now watch it via Amazon Prime.

The Facebook event page for the screening on February 26 is here, the listing on the Rio’s website is here, and if you’d like to attend for a reduced rate of £5, quote “£5 Tuesday Deal” when you get to the box office (it can’t be used to book online).

Focusing on the struggles against the cynical estate ‘regeneration’ industry, using examples in south London — the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark and Central Hill and Cressingham Gardens in Lambeth — the film demonstrates the scale of the problems faced by those living on estates, which councils want to knock down in deals with private developers and dubious housing associations. Crucially, however, the film also offers hope to campaigners, suggesting that people power can triumph.

The trailer is below, via YouTube:

At the screening we’re also launching ‘Inspire2Resist’, a handbook for anyone resisting ‘regeneration’, or who wants to know more about it, which we’ve compiled from the feedback received since the film came out, and through our own research. Niki and I spoke about it on Dissident Island Radio this week, in an excellent interview for this fortnight’s show, which is broadcast at 9pm tonight (Friday February 15), and which will be available as a podcast next week.

We launched ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ just over a year ago, and last year took it on an unconventional tour, showing it to housing groups and other interested parties, and travelling as far as Scotland, where we spent an inspiring weekend with the activists of Living Rent — primarily seeking to rein in rip-off private landlords — in Edinburgh and particularly in Glasgow. It also had resonance in Lewisham, where I live, and where I’ve spent the last year and a half involved in the Save Reginald Save Tidemill campaign, a struggle to save a community garden and a block of structurally sound council flats in Deptford from destruction by Lewisham Council and the developer Peabody.

Niki describes the event at the Rio as “an evening of films about regeneration and people power”, and I’m pleased to confirm that some very interesting short films are also being shown, as well as ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, and that Niki and I will take part in a Q&A session following the screening.

The schedule is as follows:

7pm: A short film about Ridley Road Market, a vibrant street market just down the road from the Rio Cinema, where developers are circling like vultures.

7.10pm: Screening of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK.’

8.10pm: A work in progress by Tom Cordell, the director of ‘Utopia London’, about Macintosh Court, featured in ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, a sheltered housing project in Lambeth whose residents saved it from destruction in 2015, but are now faced with a new attack by Lambeth Council.

8.30pm: Q&A with Nikita Woolfe and Andy Worthington.

Further information is below:

About ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’

An exhilarating and inspirational journey which reveals the battles being fought against the big developers and local councils who are splitting apart communities in the name of progress. Against all odds, these campaigners are winning and showing the way for people power. Interspersed with surprising facts about the UK housing crisis and the Grenfell Tower disaster, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ shows how it all feeds into the ethnic and social cleansing of cities.

‘Concrete Soldiers UK’ is produced by Woolfe.Vision, a film collective working to inspire social change.

About Macintosh Court

For the last 15 months, the tenants at Macintosh Court, a sheltered housing scheme for retired people in Lambeth, have been subjected to endless shoddy building work. In despair they called in the building’s original architect, Kate Macintosh (herself retired and 81 years old) to help them fight to save their homes. But at each stage the building’s owners, Lambeth Council, seem more interested in covering up what has gone wrong than fixing the building. What could they be hiding? This film is a journey into the bizarre world where private business is remaking London, and where nothing is ever what it seems.

See you in Dalston on February 26, hopefully!

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from six years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London. For two months, from August to October 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody. Although the garden was violently evicted by bailiffs on October 29, 2018, the resistance continues.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

51 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, promoting the first screening this year of ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, the documentary directed by Nikita Woolfe – which I narrate – about the destruction of council estates, and residents’ inspiring resistance to the proposed destruction of their homes. It’s at the Rio Cinema in Dalston on Tuesday February 26, in a bill that also includes some interesting short films, and it’s just £5 on the door if you quote “£5 Tuesday Deal” at the box office. We’re also launching our Inspire2resist’ handbook, based on feedback from those resisting the juggernaut of the ‘regeneration’ industry.

    If you’re in London and haven’t seen it, I do hope you’ll come along. It’s a powerful account of how councils are cynically destroying their own housing estates, working with private developers (or housing associations increasingly behaving like private developers), but also how residents are fighting back. It also remains hugely relevant. As 2019 settles in, it’s clear that the struggles for our homes, our land and our future will continue to be one of the biggest – but also one of the most under-reported – stories in Britain today.

  2. Tom says...

    I’ve been homeless twice. One of the worst things about it is that literally hundreds of people can walk by you and to them you’re invisible.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    I haven’t had the misfortune myself, Tom, but I understand that not having one’s existence recognised at all is one of the worst aspects of homelessness. It is so sad to see it becoming an epidemic in Britain again, on a scale not seen since the 1980s. Our leaders are no longer worthy of even the slightest shred of anything resembling respect. They have become heartless.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Annette Townsend wrote:

    What I find very interesting is that they are doing the same thing in Denmark – “the destruction of council estates” (we call it ‘social housing’). Are they trying to get rid of ‘poor people’ – I mean what is the point? Where are people going to live? And why is it happening at the same time in many European countries? People tell me I am a ‘conspiracy nut’ – but I think they are nuts if they don’t think there are ‘plans’ for us!

  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Annette, and I think the blunt message is that people everywhere need to wake up and understand that predatory international investors are everywhere, seeking to buy up land cheaply (from cash-strapped councils and even governments) and that housing is what they’ve turned to for their profiteering since the global economic crash of 2008 (which, of course, they caused in the first place). It really is all connected, and people need to get together to fight back.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    I also think, Annette, that their greed and their mania for privatisation is blinding them to that problem you highlighted – where are poorer people going to live? Simply put, poorer people can’t afford private rents, so either central government subsidises them, or we end up with higher and higher levels of homelessness. I fear the latter is where we’re headed, and I can see it directly on the streets of London right now. Unfortunately, when the Tories got in in 2010, I recognised that they were the first government in my lifetime who didn’t even pretend to care for the poorer members of society, and we’re now nine years into seeing what that callousness means in real terms.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Annette Townsend wrote:

    Andy, you do such great work! Thank you. And yes – it’s the same with this government we have now, in Denmark – they’ve never been this openly callous before. And either you are with them – or scared senseless I guess. We need big change – everywhere.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    We certainly do, Annette – and as we’re learning here in Lewisham that means direct action in the first instance, challenging sell-offs, and challenging the destruction of people’s homes – through occupations, for example. I remember when the Occupy movement was crushed thinking that taking public spaces had been an interesting way of starting important conversations, but that what was really needed was to take empty buildings. That remains true, and when people are being evicted prior to estate destruction and redevelopment, for example, it also means that, if people move out when they’re decanted, squatters immediately move in instead.

  9. Damo says...

    The council’s and developers don’t care were poor people live out of sight out of mind crocked corrupt incompetent ealing council was has is trying to dump people as far away as Durham Durham around the cathedral looks very nice but that’s not were people will end up they will end up in multiple occupancy slums and starve on universal credit.. Torie, labour their as disgusting as each other

  10. Damo says...

    Labour better get their act together sharp because their collapsing right now.. Good ridden to the blairight garbage but all the bullwhip swilling around within labour are a gift to the tories and condem us to another decade of tories cruelty and post brexshit those with no money or crocked. It’ll be like skid row in la.. God help us

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I realised when the Tories got in in 2010, Damo, that they were the first government in my lifetime that didn’t care any longer about the people at the bottom of the economy. To be fair, new Labour weren’t that much different, and now with austerity Labour councils are largely indistinguishable from the Tories – and sometimes they’re even worse. They claim there’s no money for the poor, so now the poor have to be got rid of. So the questions, I suppose, are: will workhouses make a return, or will more and more people end up on the streets, and end up dying on the streets, without anyone in authority lifting a finger to do anything about it?

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    I can no longer see anything clearly when it comes to politics, Damo. Brexit split us down the middle – we’ve got Tory remainers, Tory leavers, Labour remainers, Labour leavers. Corbyn’s not electable, apparently, but nor is anyone else, and this shower of deserters are an embarrassment. And meanwhile the Tories remain inexplicably buoyant in the polls, as the last journey for the battle bus – the battle to restore our isolation – begins, and we accelerate towards the white cliffs of Dover, where our collective suicide will be transmitted around the world on March 29th.

  13. Damo says...

    I am personally sick of the sight of all the mp s be they tories or labore I think their all career politicians most of them they seem like a bunch of me me me narcissists fgs Andy you couldn’t make their stupidity up it’ll be alright for them the thing is people have no idea what a disaster brexit is going to be were all ready seeing the effects

  14. Damo says...

    Chukka and those creeps make me wanna chukka up, the only positive that will come out of brexit is the total iviseration of the tories but not establishment turds like Cameron, Osborne Rees-Mogg and Johnson they will and have been allowed to scuttle away 10s of 1000s of jobs will be lost we know whats going to happen it will be the poorest and most vulnerable who will be crushed.. Have we ever ever ever seen a bunch such as these in parliament left right the lot of them their not fit to run a bath let alone a country

  15. Damo says...

    Labour are a joke I have to say brexit supporting corbyn is a liability all this labour infighting treachery and squabbling is the gift that keeps giving and giving and giving to the tories and right wingers they see us as weak snowflakes impotent..

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I thought Honda closing down was significant, Damo – not just a Brexit problem, of course; also a Tory idiot problem, in that the Tories hadn’t been thinking properly about the changing nature of the car industry. But I think we all need to focus on the Brexit aspect. And I wonder how much we’re not being told. It’s all gone quiet on news about the financial institutions, even though we’ve been warned that over 30 are planning to leave taking up to €800bn in assets with them, primarily to Frankfurt.
    See: https://www.businessinsider.com/brexit-damaged-city-of-london-2018-11?r=US&IR=T

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    “Not fit to run a bath let alone a country” – great assessment, Damo! 😉

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, it was looking pretty bleak for Labour, Damo, with all the bad news heaped on them – until the three Tories quit as well. Hopefully that’ll cause them some damage. What we need is people who can metaphorically punch the Tories in the face!

  19. Damo says...

    The tories need more than a punch in the face Andy for what theve done are doing. through Cameron idiocy cowardliness are literally going to fuck the lives of millions in this country. I’m amazed that Cameron and his ilk aren’t being paraded though the streets on the back of a cart. the fact that the mail had the nerve to feature Cameron back in November saying I’M BORED I WANT TO GET BACK INTO POLITICS.. My god does he live such an indolent carefree existence that he’s.. Bored.. People who are working to make ends meet haven’t the time to be.. Bored. they unlike the likes of Cameron have to work.
    This country is a laughing stock and a corrupt one get rid and ban from any position of power or influence every mp be they left or right.. Start again

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, we are rightfully a laughing stock, Damo, putting up with the betrayer Cameron, and his ‘advisory’ referendum – without any of the vital safeguards that accompany referendums of huge constitutional significance (i.e. the requirement for a two-thirds or 70% majority) – that the far right of the Tory Party then treated as equivalent to the word of God, and that no one opposed to it, who has power and influence (hello, Labour), has done anything about.
    The two-thirds of the MPs who supporting staying the EU should have discredited the result because of its crucial shortcomings (mainly the fact that it was only advisory and that a two-thirds majority should have been required), should have killed it off in Parliament and then should have gone back to the country in a general election, but no. They have put their jobs and their party before the country, and should never be forgiven for it.
    And so, instead, we have the “decent” British people calling for a “people’s vote”, seemingly unaware of how hugely insulting that is to the slim majority – out of those who could be bothered to vote – who voted leave in the 2016 referendum. So what was that, then? A troglodyte’s vote?
    Sadly, I fear that nothing will fundamentally change until people, in significant numbers, realise that they’re being shafted by politicians, and that showing mildly disgruntled dissatisfaction changes nothing.
    Wakey-wakey, as we’ve been saying for so many years …

  21. Damo says...

    We have a corrupted main stream media pro torie pro right wing the mail the vile BBC pushing pushing pushing the torie agenda coupled with constant demonising of labour and corbyn smear after smear Andy as harsh and as unforgiving as this may sound only when the people are going hungry will they wake up but knowing the climate of toxicity in this country the immigrants the gays the blacks the Muslims the poor the disabled the disenfranchised will be blamed first our so called politicians will slink away into the shadows and flee…

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, that’s my worry too, Damo. We’re now nearly nine years into this permanent Tory austerity programme, in which poverty has increased massively, public services have been slashed, the NHS is struggling, schools are struggling, and yet people aren’t sufficiently up in arms. 17.4m people voted for Brexit, which was an act of extraordinary cowardice and hubris on David Cameron’s part, and yet what a wonderful distraction it has opportunistically turned out to be for the nutjob isolationist far right of the Tory Party. Only a few of those 17.4m voters were left-wingers with a considered argument against the EU, while the rest continue to have their xenophobia and racism fuelled by a cynical media and politicians who must be over the moon that no one seems capable of understanding anything about the collapse of civil society and the imminent collapse of our entire economy. These Tory opportunists and lunatics deserve to have this disaster bounce back on them and destroy them, but I simply don’t know if people are capable of properly assessing reality anymore.

  23. Damo says...

    The thing that’s so sad is when the news reports on brexit they never report from London because people are more clued up here it’s always from a cash starved De industrialised no opportunities ghost town somewhere and the real tragedy is the people and places.. Who have lost.. And who will loose what ever left they have voted to leave.. Rees-Moggs got a plan they shout.. Yes he has and it in no way includes them.. Ever.. These poor sods are useful idiots.. Rees-Mogg Osborne Cameron Johnson May the tories don’t give a fuck about those people they are completely invisible to them unless they are useful idiots and if you point this out woe betide you just get it in the neck.. 29 years ago I remember going on the poll tax protest… WHAT HAPPENED

  24. Damo says...

    It’s funny or sad if you watch any of the old reclaim the streets videos or rave videos or critical mass videos we were all so fierce we all believed in a better world and wasn’t it such fun going to those protests, the crustys the cyberpunks the ravers the brewcrew lol the old London pre corporate gay prides.. Where did all that go??

  25. Damo says...

    29 years ago there no way on gods earth people would have allowed the tories to do and get away with what these done been doing and are about to do.
    There would have been mass protests rioting

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    I think you’re right that the Tories don’t care about so many of the people who voted leave, Damo, because they weren’t Tory voters. All they care about is the 30% or so of the total electorate who keep voting them in every time there are elections – last time it was just 29% – 13,636,684 votes out of a total registered electorate of 46,843,896. So we get all this sh*t from them based on the support of just 29% of the registered electorate.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s a good question, Damo, and I think the answer is greed, selfishness and complacency. People got jobs in the New Labour heyday, got on the property ladder and then Labour had an elite just like the Tories. Do you know that roughly half the population are owner-occupiers, while the other half rents, but that of those owner-occupiers, 27% of households own their homes outright?
    Now I’m pretty sure that most of us who led interesting lives in the 90s didn’t end up enriched, but sadly what happened is that, with wealth as the definer of all value and success, we also got that stupefying dullness that passes for our ‘culture’ nowadays. I do genuinely find it quite sad how dull so much of modern life has become. I cycle around the West End with my camera but there’s really nothing going on beyond the dullness of shopping and the aspirational eating and drinking.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    It’s true, Damo, but although the poll tax led to riots because it was so monstrously and chronically unfair – taxing everyone the same regardless of income – the replacement bands in the council tax really weren’t much better. The richest people only pay three times as much as the poorest, which is insulting. Simon Jenkins recently wrote a pretty savage column about how unfair it all is, and how it deprives councils of essential funds ‘ ‘Why is the tax on a London mansion a tiny fraction of that in New York?’: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/feb/08/london-mansion-new-york-local-council-tax-billionaires

  29. Damo says...

    Aspirational eating shopping and living puuuuuuke lol the West end soho is…OVER..
    Radical freedom London is/has faded away my 70s cheap/free London of adventure playgrounds no longer exists all those Londons through the various stages of my life now no longer exist 70s Fulham 80s soho 90s hackney freedom radical creative cheap.. Gone

  30. Damo says...

    The council tax is nothing more than the rebranding of the poll tax people rioted against the poll tax yet were bamboozled into paying the council tax for dwindling services or no service and if you live in a corrupt crocked banana Republic borough like ealing where does your council tax go oops silly me backhanders building hideous trophy towers all along the Uxbridge Rd demolishing and socially cleansing all the estates and the vilest vilest vilest thing persecuting the poorest and most vulnerable low income on benefits with demands for 30% of the council tax on squalid rented dumps in one of the highest council tax areas hounding them and dragging them to and through the courts incuring fines everytime demanding money from people who have.. NO.. Money intentionally and deliberately forcing them into debt.. Debt is a very lucrative business.. And yet as the guardian article points out billionaires only have to pay a few thousand.. It’s just so corrupt so disgusting

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, I know what you mean, Damo – the Brixton I lived in from 1985 to 1996 is long gone, and Brockley, where I’ve lived since 1999, is now full of the young, white and entitled.
    We were evidently trying to recreate the solidarity of the 80s/90s at the Old Tidemill Garden last year, and I have to say I think it was a remarkable success – until they evicted us But we haven’t gone away. There are rumours that a new company of tree-killers will be turning up soon, so we’ve been mobilising yet again – an extraordinary rainbow coalition of the young, the old, Deptford locals people from across Europe, renters, home-owners, squatters, environmental activists, artists, musicians.
    There’s nowhere quite like Deptford …

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for highlighting how debt is such big business, Damo, and, yet again, how vile it is that those on the lowest incomes are made to pay a percentage of their council tax, and are then made to pay an increased percentage if they can’t pay. That’s so monstrously unfair – and yet I presume that almost no one that it isn’t happening to even knows about it.

  33. Damo says...

    I went to Brixton for the first time last year in about 20years eeeeeuuuuuch it was so dry sooooo lame I just didn’t recognise full of the young white middleclass priverlidged beings.. Not edgy just as lame and as eeeeeuuuuuch as hackney now is gentrification eats everything alive and craps out the bland and mediocre the Brixton of ciao baby at the fridge and my squatting days is long gone

  34. Damo says...

    The whole making people with no money literally no spare money jsa or god forbid uc is if your lucky £144 a fortnight no in a place like ealing it’s working out at about £20 A month council tax if your taken to court it’s £160 fine which they take at source £6 Per week so your down £44 a month from £288 per month now if your struggling to pay that the council will sell the debt to bailiffs or debt collection company’s who then add £200 fee on top of the debt if they come to your door they charge a £1000 fee on top so a debt of £360 ealing council tax then becomes £1,580 so you end up juggling debts THIS IS A DELIBERATE POLICY because at ealing councils offices THEY HAVE REMOVED THE COUNCIL TAX ADVISER so your sent to the CIB where they see you regarding council tax your given a number to call.. And when you do finally get through a voice says why do you think your entitled to not pay council tax.. You couldn’t make this up THIS IS A DELIBERATE POLICY of raising the council tax every year for people on benefits to INCENTIVISE them into work… And I hate to say this its mostly labour councils doing this… There are no words Andy

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    I’m constantly thwarted in trying to figure out what it is specifically that’s been lost, Damo. Sometimes I think it’s a pre- and post-AIDS thing, so that collectively only those born and active before AIDS have experience of a time of widespread casual sex – something that was prevalent from the 50s to the 80s, essentially. Then there’s the drink and drugs, which seemed to be the driver of our times, but don’t have the same role now. Partly, we were more obviously f*cked-up, I think, and I was going to say the middle classes are now better adjusted, but actually I think they’re dealing with levels of anxiety that we didn’t have, because we were all so out of it! Of course, for those in poverty the lure of drugs has never been stronger, but it also seems a much darker time than it was in the 70s and 80s. The only constant seems to be our age group, who, apparently, are still merrily trying to smoke and drink themselves to an early grave in significant numbers: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/aug/23/baby-boomers-drink-and-drug-misuse-needs-urgent-action-warn-experts

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for spelling it out again, Damo. I see so little about any of this in the mainstream media. Universal Credit is getting a kicking, because it’s such a disaster – as everyone with a brain told Iain Duncan Smith in the first place – but the overall system of bureaucrats and private organisations leeching off the poor as you describe it above doesn’t get proper coverage – just those disgusting ‘reality shows’ about poverty and bailiffs that really shouldn’t be broadcast at all.
    All I could really find, during a search, was a report after initial resistance to the new regime of forcing the poorest people to pay some of their council tax was introduced – in 2013: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/oct/18/thousands-court-council-tax
    And an article from 2015 about a court victory by Rev. Paul Nicolson, who took Haringey Council to court for improperly adding costs to bills – something that should have had more impact than it did, it seems to me: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/06/anti-poverty-campaigner-wins-london-court-battle-council-tax

  37. Damo says...

    I know what you mean there’s an energy that’s lost a freedom a spontaneity I was part of the rave generation and had abandoned straight 9/5society by 88 I only lasted 4 years in it I left school in 84 we lived especially if you were a gay man like it was all or nothing like it was princes 1999 because we all thought we would die of aids so we lived for the moment didn’t think of the future it was live now

  38. Damo says...

    The 70/80/90s Andy you could live in the gaps live the cracks smoke pot drop acid take E we had a freedom that’s gone now.. The creeps and the squares are in control now

  39. Damo says...

    Technology has advanced but everything else has degraded there doesn’t seem the community in London anymore people of our generation if they weren’t eaten alive by the world they fled or theve seemed to become the walking wounded people have become very insular sticking to their clique or hiding indoors.. Behind a screen.. We were always out in the streets when we were young

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    I love the way you reminisce about the energy of those times, Damo. I still see some of that energy in Deptford, in our community that resisted the destruction of the Tidemill garden – locals, squatters, activists coming together to try and create a better world. Today the f*ckers cut down all the trees, but we’re still not giving up. We want this whole greedy materialistic culture to come crashing down.

  41. Andy Worthington says...

    I don’t think we yet have an overview of how tech is eating people alive, Damo. People are atomised, alienated, incomplete. It’s not healthy. I still live half-on, half-off the grid – on a laptop at home, but basically old school and offline when I’m out and about. However, even though this is fundamentally how I make a living, it interests me to think about a world without the internet and without mobile phones.

  42. Damo says...

    Sad to hear they cut the trees down sounds like their trying to go in for the kill keep fighting but we are all isolated now it feels over in London my community seems completely over apart from the extream sexulised /commercialised scene which fetishises the young only eeeeeuuuugh only gays with money /youth welcome yes we’re all dependant on the computer the Mobile

  43. Damo says...

    Technology enables good things like this site but socially I think it’s the great bring together and isolater I think people are living behind a screen rather than getting out there face to face in the flesh, we can’t imagine a world without this technology were hooked on it and you have to have it now for the simplest things everything is on line now could we go back to before could you Andy live without a mobile?? Could you live without a laptop we all did 20 odd years ago I leave my phone at home 90% of the time I don’t want to be contacted constantly people think I’m mad we seem to be shamed if we’re not in contact with our friends 24/7 like we’re social misfits if we’re not apart from our close friends who the fuck do we really know on Facebook who are these people? Do you know them do I know them are we ever going to meet them face to face it’s like some kind of harvesting of friends and when you say let’s meet.. WHAT. The digital world has connected people but I think the manual annolouge world was is MORE REAL and definitely more rewarding

  44. Andy Worthington says...

    I don’t know anywhere like Deptford, Damo. If it goes too I’ll be hard pressed to see the point of staying. Everywhere else it’s isolation and fatigue, while the gentrifiers breed and their special, special children get spoiled rotten. Deptford’s working class, and people know each other – and not in that competitive but insecure way the aspirational middle class has. I see pockets of it elsewhere – in Notting Hill, for example, even amid the obscene wealth – but it’s like true humanity is under threat everywhere.

  45. Andy Worthington says...

    I have a basic Nokia so my family can contact me, but my life away from the laptop is very old-school, Damo. When I’m cycling around I’m not part of the modern world – and I do that to preserve my sanity, as my online life of the website and the social media and the emeails and the endless hustling for attention is really intense, and would kill me if I did it 24/7.
    We all need to do more analogue living. It’s really that simple!

  46. Damo says...

    Aaaaaah the PEACE AND QUIET of the analogue world I cycle everywhere it’s the quickest cheapest way around London and you see everything Deptford sounds great the last of the old working class London sounds like Acton were I live

  47. Andy Worthington says...

    I need to get out to Acton again, Damo. I’ve only made three or four visits since I started cycling around the capital like a mad thing nearly seven years ago. It’s a loooong way from Lewisham! We should meet!

  48. Damo says...

    Yes we should Andy you must catch Acton before it disappears I don’t know your part of London at all

  49. Andy Worthington says...

    OK, so I’m coming out your way on a sunny day soon, then, Damo. We can cycle around and you can show me the sights! And then I’ll get you over to Deptford. Sound OK? If you want, send me your phone number – to andy[at]andyworthington.co.uk.

  50. Damo says...

    Yes will do

  51. Andy Worthington says...

    Cool, Damo 🙂

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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