By Victor Ardern
And the winner is… Stoke Newington Church Street which, weighing
in at a whopping 26 letters, was in January awarded ‘London’s
Longest Street Name’ by Time Out.
It should sit well on the mantlepiece next to the Largest Bus Down
Smallest Street award won last year. The good old 73 ‘Happy
Bus… The best thing is it’s free’ (The Evening
Standard) again featured in several stories regarding fare dodging
and the proposed £40 fines. Most people questioned felt it
was excessive, but one rounded view came from a Stoke Newington
resident who told his inquisitor ‘provided the money goes
back into improving public transport I would be fine with it’.
Enfant terrible of the pop world ‘Potty Pete’ (Daily
Star) Doherty wins the award for most column inches in an N16 context
since Issue 28. The poor chap had plenty of unwanted press, in which
almost every story had the phrase ‘due to return to’
or ‘held at’ Stoke Newington Police Station within it,
The quaintly titled Montreal Gazette stated that he was ‘arrested
in the town of Stoke Newington’; everything’s always
bigger in Canada isn’t it!. The Irish Examiner reported that
‘his behaviour on Dunlance Road caught officers’ attention’.
Hang around any street in N16 for a few minutes and you’d
probably have a Black Maria full, if that’s the prerequisite
for being arrested these days.
Whilst Mr Babyshambles is reinventing himself as Oscar Wilde, N16
pop fans might want to get acquainted with Doloroso. Time Out’s
Future Sound of London Special enthused that ‘this Stoke Newington-based
bunch are turning heads with their impressive brand of dark, Bowie-tinged
If a good book is more your thing, Time Out had a look at ‘excellent
independent bookshops’. Stoke Newington Bookshops on the High
Street was included, although the testimony ‘one fan says
I always seem to see a book I want to read when I’m browsing’
was about as bland as a plate of Fresh & Wild brown rice. If
you happen to be in there supporting a local bookstore why not support
a local writer. The Evening Standard ran a feature on the ‘tall
thin and devastatingly pretty’ 19-year-old Catherine Webb
(daughter of N16 contributor Nick Webb. Ed) who ‘received
her first publishing contract, a two book deal worth £20,000
when she was 14’. She sounds just the sort of struggling artist
who needs all the help we can give her.
A final nod to London’s weekly listing. Last month saw their
semi-annual pointless North v South of the river issue, in which
Walworth Road was described as ‘like Upper Street without
the panzer sized pushchairs, Stoke Newington Church Street without
the hipsters and smugness’. Surely we’re the buggies
and N1 are the smuggies.
Our esteemed MP was as ubiquitous as ever in the nationals and
her regular Evening Standard column. However, it was in the Cornish
press, of all places, where she grabbed most print. ‘MP asks
ministers to stop Darkie Day’ headlined the Western Morning
News. Apparently our ‘prominent black activist’ has
tabled a Commons motion to ‘stop the controversial festival
in Padstow’ where ‘blacked-up townsfolk parade through
the streets to commemorate the end of the slave trade’. Locals
seemed to feel it was none of her business. I suspect the majority
of her constituents are with her on this one. though.
Finally, in an interview with The Independent, Lionel Blair stated
that ‘when I was eight I entered a talent contest at The Alexander
Theatre Stoke Newington”, Malcolm McLaren also told The Evening
Standard he grew up in N16 with his ‘theatrical and tyrannical
grandmother’. Anyone have an inkling as to what became of
either the theatre or the granny?