Thursday nights around Brixton are usually my favourite. Thursdays are civilised and fun.
Come Friday and Brixton invariably groans to wobbling hordes of braying pissheads, ‘collars-up’ laaads on the pull and over-confident. excessively loud moneyed types up from the suburbs.
That’s not to say that there’s not some great nights to be found over the weekend – what can be better than 30 samba drummers playing tonight for free?! – but Thursdays are often where it’s at for socialising with locals.
Here’s a few photos from last night.
First stop was the Prince Albert, and then I popped next door to check out one of Brixton’s undiscovered gems: the live ska/jazz nights at Club 414. Here’s where you’ll find some fantastic musicians in an old-school Brixton atmosphere.
On the small stage was some superb steel pan playing, evoking a warm Caribbean vibe on a chilly November evening.
The 414 live music nights on Thursdays are not for well-oiled all-night party people though – at this club you’re expected to listen to and appreciate the bands, not shout over them or stand in front of the stage updating your Facebook status.
It’s one my favourite nights in Brixton.
It has to be said that weekends at the Dogstar can be a bit much for some, with the place jam-packed with people keen to extract the maximum party potential out of every minute of the night. It’s not my kind of crowd, but I really like Thursdays here.
The staff are lovely and the DJ plays a good mix of tunes, although I wish he’d lose his annoying predilection of cutting out the bass EQ for eight bars of almost every single ruddy track he plays.
It may sound suitably dramatic when the bass comes roaring back in, but the preceding bout of screeching treble is not a lot of fun.
On Thursdays at the Dog, there’s room to move on the dance floor, and you get served quicker too. And that’s a win in anyone’s book!
Heading down Coldharbour Lane, looking back into the centre of town. On the right is Brixton Village (formerly Granville Arcade).
It’s acquired the nickname of ‘The Villaaage‘ amongst some locals, on account of its rapidly changing, upwardly mobile clientèle on weekends.
The depressing face of nu-Brixton.
Bedecked in a ludicrous ‘edgy’ typeface, this Barratt Homes development called ‘Brixton Square‘ implies that it’s going to contain some public space. It won’t. It’s a gated community.
Designed like a bland office block and of no architectural merit whatsoever, the cheapest one bedroom flat in this development will set you back £265,000, putting it way out of reach of most locals. The cheapest rent is likely to be £16,000/year for a one bedroom flat.
There was supposed to be an affordable housing provision in this new build, but there’s been some unpleasant wriggling going on. Read the full story here: Barratt Homes, Brixton Square and the fight to retain affordable housing in Brixton. Please sign the petition.
The Angel pub, thankfully now repainted after being covered in unsightly graffiti as part of an ‘art’ piece.
Bought by uber-rich property developers Lexadon, most of the building will be turned into upmarket flats and there’s little prospect of anything remotely resembling the original pub coming back. Another sad loss to Brixton.
20 Comments on “A Thursday night in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton – Albert, 414, Dogstar and more”
That really brings Brixton to life for someone like me who lives in a different country, terrific photos and atmosphere!
I don’t know what’s so wrong about the changing face of Brixton and its process of gentrification- 10 years ago it was a real shithole, lots of scumbags selling heroin outside the tube and drunks taking over the square outside the library – if gentrification has pushed away these kind of activities from my area – Maybe you lot of edgy middle class white peeps on Urban75 feel threatened about your edgy Brixton not being edgy enough?
I don’t give a fuck about “edginess” and I’m not much bothered about class or colour, but I do give a fuck about locals being priced out of their own neighbourhood.
It’s always a fine line between playing devils’ advocate with the aim of sparking debate, and trolling. I think this just falls the right side of that…
What you call a ‘local’, Mike? Most Brixtonians are incommers, whether from the Windrush, the valleys of South Wales or wherever…
So called ‘gentrification’ isn’t perfect. but it’s a hell of a lot better than simply leaving the inner cities to go to the dogs whilst allowing mass flight to the suburbs. How does £16,000 a year compare with rents elsewhere in London? It sure is a hell of a lot of money, but would it be impossible for say a couple one working as a teacher and the other a nurse to set up home there?
I love this notion that poorer areas have to be “saved” by gentrification.
Ah come on. Are you seriously suggesting it is desirable for inner cities to become run down no go areas.
See Detroit for what happens when you take this to the extreme.
I can’t be arsed to respond that ridiculous strawman and your attempt to draw parallels with Detroit just shows how little you know about Brixton.
I’m not saying Brixton is anything like Detroit, just using that as an example of what happens when you take these things to the extreme.
And yes, I think we do need to attract middle earners and families back to inner city areas. For all sorts of reasons.
You need to do your research: Brixton’s *always* had a mix of poor and middle earners. And it’s the families that will get getting squeezed out by gentrification – that’s how it works, and that’s why Barrats is building 1/2 bedroom flats and not family homes.
Still no idea what Detroit has to do with this.
“I love this notion that poorer areas have to be “saved” by gentrification.”
It’s unfortunate because ideally a poor area should receive support in the way of investment for the community, allowing its residents to partake in the economy and contribute towards it productively for its growth and development. But who would want to throw money at a poor area? what’s the investment in that? and that’s why gentrification works – it’s not perfect though.
No, it’s not.
On reflection, Detroit was probably a bad example. It’s certainly an extreme one- what happens when you get truly mass movement of people to suburbia at the expense of the centre- but Detroit was over dependent on a single industry in a way London never will be.
Perhaps Harlem in New York was a better one. I know you’ve visited the area, editor. Are you denying it is better and safer now than at its seventies nadir?
I have to say your scattergun, decades-leaping, continents-shifting random comparisons are proving tiresome to keep up with.
But Harlem is not the same as Brixton, neither is the gentrification there seen as a universally good thing.
I’ll bet you wish you never started this! I can only repeat that the photos and your comments gave me great pleasure 🙂
Thanks Jane! There’s obviously pros and minuses to the changes in Brixton – no one wants it to go back to how it was 10 years ago – but there is a widespread feeling among a lot of my friends that the gentrification is starting to have a real detrimental impact on the unique character of Brixton.
And it breaks my heart seeing friend and families I’ve known for years having to move out of their own area while edgy typefaces announce gated communities like ‘Brixton Square’ where the cheapest one bedroom flat is £265,000 and they’re all being scooped up by buy-to-let speculators.
Why mention these things if you don’t want to debate them? Surely that is what blows are for? Anyway I’m fed up with this too so we’ll leave it there.
Blast! I was actually just going to add a comment about how many times I’ve been taken to task by the French (including my husband) about all the buy-refurbish-sell speculating Brits who’ve pushed locals out of the market … never mind, I guess this “blow” has blown!!
Love the 7th photo down. It’s beautiful and is now my desktop background. Thank you. Great article as well.
Cheers Dexter – I’m glad yo enjoyed it!
dear editor your report about the angel pub my dad use to drink there in the 50s we lived in Geneva rd and the angel was my dads local every xmas the staff put on a party for all the local kids no beer just jelly & ice cream and lots of tizer its sad that its not a pub anymore but at least its still standing thanks for the pic brought back some childhood memories
THIS IS MY BRIXTON I AM OF THE EARLY 1930S “BRIXTON BOY” MY OLD HOME FOR 40 YEARS MY CHURCH CORPUS CHRISTI OLD FATHER KELLY LONG GONE THE WAR LONG AND HARD MUCH OF MY TIME THERE UNTIL I WENT TO SERVE KING AND COUNTRY I N THE ROYAL AIR FORCE AND NOW TO LIVE IN ANOTHER COUNTRY AND SEE WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO DEAR OLD BRIXTON I LIVED AT 34 HAYTER ROAD BRIXTON HILL SE9 NOW A DIFFERENT SET OF HOMES THE CINEMAS GONE THE THEATRES GONE THE ASTORIA PRIDE OF LONDON DESTROYED GOD REST ALL THE FOLKS I KNEW SO WELL ALL LONG GONE. GOOD BYE BRIXTON :):):)