When I was invited to write for Plats, aside from being pleased to accept the invitation, the most immediate effect on my brain was one of confusion. With so many different subjects on which to scrawl down a few words, it was hard to know just what to concentrate on, given the time and the space in which words could indeed be scrawled down. And then after a good deal of pondering on the matter, it all of a sudden seemed an obvious enough thing not to complicate matters but instead, begin by writing about something that influences my life in myriad ways - the corner of south east London, that I currently call home. This might at first glance appear to be a strange decision as this is not somewhere that has been neglected by the media, with journalists coming from as far afield as Manhattan to wonder at the current goings on here, a correspondent for the New York Times asserting that, "The coming of Deptford has been predicted for some time. It won’t be an easy ride. But with the unpolished location comes that most heady of urban ingredients - an edge." What might however, be considered an edge to those from elsewhere, could be thought of as something more prosaic to the people who were either born and raised here or who moved to the area in search of a lower cost of living, a job or a course at Goldsmiths College – the New York Times again, "art students with asymmetric haircuts, a boisterous concoction of blue-collar aesthetics and intermittent hipsterism." All of which is not without interest, it just seems to lack a certain curiosity about the notion of change and what it means; though, yes, of course, all the markers of urban renewal are much in evidence and these are hard to ignore. As is so often the case, the arts are in the vanguard in the form of galleries, studios and cafes such as Bearspace, the Deptord Project on the high street ( a former train carriage ) the Laban Dance Centre, which was designed by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron; and the Art in Perpetuity Trust (APT) gallery and studio space to name but a few. And earlier still, the Albany Theatre, a community arts centre with a tradition of radical community arts and music has its roots in a charity established in 1894 to improve the social life of Deptford's deprived community. In addition, the local council has plans to regenerate the riverside and the town centre northwards towards the river. Much of the area along Creek Road has been redeveloped, with the demolition of the old Deptford Power Station and Rose Bruford College buildings. Amongst all of this however, there is still a sense of continuity which is an essential element when the developers move in. The high street is one of London’s only remaining authentic thoroughfares, with fishmongers, butchers, habersdashers, ironmongers and bakers lining the street; not to mention the Chinese, Vietnamese, African, West Indian and Turkish shops, restaurants and cafes that are also to be found. There is a market too on Deptford High Street which, as well as being one of London's liveliest, is also a genuinely local affair catering for local people. That much of this will change as gentrification gathers pace is a given as this has been a recurring pattern in the social fabric of London for two thousand years, the city continually changing and slipping though the clutches of whomsoever would seek to pin it down. And yet, there are other patterns which continue to reassert themselves, such as original street plans emerging from demolition sites and used again after a thousand year long interruption. While this might seem inexplicable, it is nonetheless welcome, demonstrating as it does, that no matter what plans are drawn up for imposed rather than gradual change, sometimes the essential character of a place will survive against the odds. The question of where character comes from is an interesting one, reliant as much on imagination and perception as on ( supposedly ) more objective criteria. With regard to my own experience, I had a vague, peculiar sort of understanding from reading about Deptford long before moving here, most notably from the diarist John Evelyn who with the ( soon to be ) Peter the Great as a guest for about three months in 1698, writes about riding horses drunkenly through the streets in the early hours and firing their pistols with abandon, leaving bullet holes throughout the house. There are also references to the area in Gullivers Travels, one of which mentions "a very decent man from Deptford." That this man was the captain of a ship ought not to come as a surprise, given that Deptford's population has been mainly associated with the docks since the sixteenth century – and there are still echoes of Jonathan Swifts novel in Albury Street, where houses once popular with sea captains and shipbuilders still stand. Consequently, it is no accident that close by is the church of St. Paul's, designed by the architect Thomas Archer as part of a commission for building new churches with the intention of instilling local pride to encourage people to stay in London rather than emmigrate to the new world. In the current context, this could be seen as a reminder of the transitional nature of societies across the globe and the continual waves of immigration, emmigration and change in communities like this, in which the local become universal and brings the world to our door. It seems appropriate to leave the closing words to Giuseppe Tomasi Di -Lampedusa, who wrote, "If we want everything to remain as it is, it will be necessary for everything to change."

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