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Old Crystal Palace Vs New Crystal Palace


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#1 Rikaitch

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:18 PM

Ok, so for the first time in 23 years, I spent some time in the area and lived like a local. I wanted to share with you all my experiences.

The Transport
I remember most of the local routes in the area. The 68 or the 157 would take you to Croydon. The 196 from Brixton to Norwood Junction. The 249 from the Parade to Streatham, and the 2b and 3 toward the West End. Now, you have loads of buses. The hour wait for a bus up Anerley hill meant it wasn't worth it. Now you can get a 249 direct from Anerley to All Saints (!), something I wish I could have so many times in my youth! Oyster cards are an amazing and convenient idea, and I didn't see one person buying a bus ticket. The trains aren't very clear in the Crystal Palace Station, we missed one because we didn't know which platform to go to. Mind you, it was more often then the hourly service to Victoria we had in the past.

Social life
What has happened in the pubs in the triangle??? Past mistakes with local pubs (who remembers the White Hart becoming O Neills?) meant that people shouldn't mess with something that's working. Want proof...
We started off our little walk in the Sportsman, what used to be a very sports orientated pub with big screen Sky and lots of football fans on Saturdays. What we got was the Grape and Grain, with a strict "we don't serve any alcopops" policy, many posh lagers and unknown real ales for beardy types, live caberet from a bloke with his casio keyboard and warbling partner. We left before the pain set in.
We jumped on the bus (see previous paragraph on transport) to the other end of the triangle at Church Road. First was the White Hart, which is still called the White Hart. One half would appear to have been sacrificed for the view of the frantic chefs working on people's lunches and for the people to eat said lunches. The other, friendly side with leather settees and table for drinking, was occupied with young professionals sharing a bottle of muscadet and comparing poems. There was a 'garden' outside, and being pleasant, we tried and failed to get a seat amongst potential poets so retired to the view of the lights at the junction outside. We glanced at the menu, and decided against the arty fayre only found on Masterchef because surely somewhere else had pie and chips, burgers or chicken in a basket. The Alma won't have changed much, so we popped over there instead.
Ah, the Alma. Home of the public bar on the right, with sticky carpet and toilet smell and lounge bar on the left, occupied by story-telling war veterans. No, now all open, with bright high ceiling, more tables for 2 or 3 to sit at and occupied by people leaning back and reading the wirelessly downloaded Sunday Times on their iPad2s. The menu was even worse, including the gem "grilled octopus, new potato aioli, tomato coulis and carrot julienne." No steak sandwich here then. I will say, the backgarden was lovely, right up until the kitchen ventilation system started to fill the entire area in thick black smoke, and we left whilst we still had a chance.
We popped into the Wetherspoons Postal Order. I know I would get normal food in there, and it would seem so did everyone else craving non "ham hock", "pheasant" or "wild mushroom" based menus. The place was heaving. Nowhere to sit, stand or loiter in the whole place. This should tell publicans something... So, we moved again to the Hollybush.
Sparrowhawk? Where's the Hollybush gone? More well lit, high ceiling pale painted trendy furniture, with more iPad readers and Muscadet quaffing couples. We sat in the alley down the side, on a picnic table, and guffawed with glee at the mention of Confit Duck, like they're almost parodying what they'd become. Well, I know one of the first places to change name was the Queen's Arms, which had changed from the dirty, smelly old man's pub to the new style of Black Sheep cocktail bar. We were greeted with a friendly young chap at the empty bar. He couldn't believe someone was in his clean, well stocked bar, looking for a bag of crisps at this point if need be. He couldn't do enough for us! The back contained a real haven, a colourful seating area with well made graffiti adorning the walls, bright coloured cushions thrown onto wide and comfy seats, lighting (now needing to be turned on) and the most amazing atmosphere. A couple of groups came in, all of which were friendly and joined in the encouraged banter from the staff (now a delightfully polite Hungarian guy and a another colleague), locals were popping in for a quick one before heading home. It was what we needed. We looked no further, and stayed for 2 or 3 hours.
We dropped into the Ponto Nuovo for a bite to eat on the way home. The head waiter was a chatty salesman, who did oversell himself a couple of times. The pizza was not the taste sensation in a true italian style, but a burnt edged disc of soggy bread dough drizzled with too much oil, and the "Irish coffee you've never tasted like it before" was lukewarm and laden with half a cow of cream. Dejected and disillusioned, we got a cab home.

Croydon
I loved Croydon as a child. Such a diverse range of shops, eateries and everything in between. We spent the first hour trying to find a greasy spoon for a spot of breakfast. They just don't appear to exist. We made do with the find of the century in Bar Ispana, where it was now gone 12 and we had to make do with Sausage, egg and chips. I think the whole bill was less than a tenner, and a darn sight better than a McDonalds or Burger King. We traipsed around the Whitgift Centre, looking in shop windows at the same products as every other high street in Britain, before crossing over North End (now bus, car and bustle less), avoiding the more than peckish pigeons swooping down on the old and infirm, into 'Centrale' to see more of the same shops. We then walked up through the now closing down Allder's Mall, to try and catch a bus on George St. No can do, we ended up walking all the way back down to Wellesley Road (my feet were in need of a large bowl of iced water at this point, not being used to walking so much). We sat there, waiting for the 410 to CP parade. All of them seemed to be going to Wallington, before I realised that the bus stop in the 'logical' direction was the 'wrong' direction. Thank God for the Paxton Arms to greet us and numb the stinging tootsies with friendly staff and patrons when we got back home.

And finally, if you're not bored and stopped reading 10 minutes ago, I have a summary. I'd hate to live in London, and this weekend showed why. The pretentious claptrap of one-upmanship is so tiresome. Be it the shops, the attitudes, the spending habits, it's all so boring! I agree that there are some things that need to be preserved, but for the right reasons. If the cinema is opened up again, will it be showing the new Total Recall or some French art picture with subtitles and extortionate price. I suspect the latter, which is such a shame. Can someone just shake the area, and tell it to please wake up!
Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Fart, and you're on your own.

#2 St. Lukes Railings

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:44 PM

This should stir a few on here....

Where do you reside now Rik?

I will categorically say this though. London is the best city in the world bar none. I'm very well travelled and still think that. The 'cultural melting pot' thing does get on my bristols though as that is just verbal garnish to say we'll accept anyone. (Someone on here (brilliantly) mentioned the relationship with the unemployed and the welfare state, which should have been changed)

As I've bored on here recently, it is with a very heavy heart that I'm leaving London. I still don't know how I'll react once I finally go. The M25 is my umbilical cord and begrudge losing my 020 status as it were.

I'm a very proud londoner and will not have it slagged off, even though I slag it off myself which is my birthright. I hate it when certain nationalities arrive here for their 'Gap Yar' to the mother country and don't stop whinging. I wont mention the nationality in question but I've many a time offered to take these people from Earls Court to terminal 3 myself if they don't like it.

2012. What a brilliant year to be a Londoner. Jubilee, Olympics, Paralympics............., West Ham back in the Premier League!. Showing the world what a [snip - profanity edit] brilliant place this is and how to put a show on when the chips were down, and a native population seemingly willing for us to slip up. I;ve got news for you England, we didnt!

Propping up the rest of the country, this city gets the [snip - profanity edit] end of the stick time and time again, but bounces back and reminds the provinces who's boss.

I'm truly gutted at leaving here but feel I have to (although I have to agree on the Croydon bit!)

Rik, no-one needs to shake the area. There's room for all types of pubs, cinemas, restaurants etc that's what makes London so great. but we shouldnt lose sight of the past and our heritage.

Jeez, where the hell have I gone off here? I havent even had a drink

Edited by Elmo, 05 September 2012 - 12:54 PM.


#3 Rikaitch

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Posted 04 September 2012 - 11:53 PM

I have moved slowly but surely more and more away from the London form, presumably for my own dislike. Do you know, in 3 days, I counted 5 times there should have been a very British Queue, but it sort of sank into a free-for-all. People bumped into me and didn't apologise, I held doors open for others and nobody thanked me. My parents taught me to treat others like I'd like to be treated myself, something that seems to be so lacking.

Oh, back to your question. I now live in Ireland, on the west coast. I moved from 15 years in SE19 to Reading, then Essex (*cough*), then Manchester, then Wales (for aaaaages) before moving out here. It was the best thing I ever did. At least people wave and say hi to strangers.
Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Fart, and you're on your own.

#4 St. Lukes Railings

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 12:09 AM

Funny you mention that about queues. I've noticed that A LOT in recent years. I think it's a 'cultural' thing but I get the impression I'd be pulled up on that on here. I notice for instance that once you enter the square mile we seem to revert to form.

As for doors, regretably I have all but given up on doing it. I did this for everyone but unfortunately some members of us looked at me in disgust when I did it (you know who you are)

Glad you are thriving away from town, really am. Hope I can do the same, but I'll need my fix every now and then. I'll still have my properties here in South London so I'll be tied in some way. Plus I have the benefit of being 30 mins by train away from Euston which sort of puts the 25 min train from here to LB to shame a bit

#5 Rikaitch

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 12:12 AM

If it's any consolation, the flight from Gatwick was only an hour and only €32 return!
Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Fart, and you're on your own.

#6 FitzRoy

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 12:43 AM

Rik - you were such a nice boy very into cycling as a child but i lost track of you after All Saints - Wales would change any man but Sligo - even Matt Molloys in Westport aside - would change a former AS man - embrace the changes in the Tri and Croy for our time is over , behold the time of the chavtastic Croydonians and brave the Gastroitis of SE19 - in short fair well and prosper in Paddyland , the SE19 you remember is long gone.......................

#7 Billy S

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 12:46 AM

I don't recognise The Grape and Grain you describe.

And I don't agree that pubs with sticky carpets was somehow more worthy than what we have now.

"pretentious claptrap of one-upmanship is so tiresome" - that's a perception, which can't be supported based on one weekend.

But an interesting read nonetheless!

Edited by Billy S, 05 September 2012 - 12:48 AM.

Love The Triangle...

#8 nikdevlin

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 02:58 AM

We moved to CP 10 years ago July, and, coming from another Triangle, one of decent pubs in Stockwell, we tried five of the CP Triangle's pubs the first weekend we were here; the Alma, O'Neills, the Albert, the Cambridge and the Hollybush. We found five dull, boring, moribund, awful pubs with stinking toilets, empty seats and crap beer served by disinterested staff through dirty beer lines. All of them were clearly dying on their 4rses, especially the Hollybush. Now, three of them have had, well, at least facelifts, if not entire transplants, and one is gone, and in their place we now have three vibrant, jumping pubs, full of mostly locals, drinking good wines and good beers, eating nice food, and being what a good pub should be, a hub of the community. Oh and the Albert. Just for balance, we popped in there last Thursday evening, and we found a dull, boring, moribund, awful pub with stinking toilets, empty seats and crap beer served by disinterested staff through dirty beer lines. There were nine, count them, nine customers in. Well, eleven, counting us, though the glass of ice cold fizzy p1ss I was served as bitter and the vinegar masquerading as white wine my wife had ensured that it reverted to nine very quickly indeed. We went on to the Sparra where I had a lovely pint of ale, served at room temperature, and my wife had a cracking Sauv Blanc.

A good old brown London pub is a very fine thing indeed; one with an industrially carpetted floor, beer from pumps and kegs, a dartboard, a pool table, a juke box and a limited selection of wine and pub grub. Sadly, we haven't had one of them up CPT for at least 10 years.

Also, why is it a shame if the new cinema shows a French art film rather than Total Recall? Why couldn't it make like the Rio up Dalston and do both? I saw Pixote, Brazilian art film, and T2 the same day there when I lived in Hackney.

Edited by nikdevlin, 05 September 2012 - 03:03 AM.

I make mixes, some of which are quite good. My wife and I cook things too.

#9 charlie

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:11 AM

If the cinema is opened up again, will it be showing the new Total Recall or some French art picture with subtitles and extortionate price. I suspect the latter, which is such a shame. Can someone just shake the area, and tell it to please wake up!


Sorry Rickaitch, but I can't let the cinema comment go unchallenged :) :) - I suspect, if we had a cinema, they'd be showing both versions of Total Recall (2012 and the original), and the Bourne legacy, and French art house pictures - Holy Motors looks brilliant 18 September, and Polish movies and live National Opera thrown in, and much much more - something and everything for everyone.

http://www.pictureho...al_Recall_2012/

Edited by charlie, 05 September 2012 - 08:13 AM.


#10 Summit Lover

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 08:58 AM

Hi Rikaitch,

Your post made me smile I have to say, especially as the bits you rated in the old CP are the ones I loathed.

I landed in CP over 26 years ago (26 and a HALF now SLR ;) ) although I had visited the area before that a couple of times. Yes the place has changed and Thank Gawd for that! :D The pubs that NikD mentions were indeed dire and have gradually died a death due to lack of custom/interest to be replaced by newer pubs/bars that are far better frequented, presumably because the folk living in the area prefer the latter to the former - I certainly have benefited from the change asI actually want to go into those places and feel comfortable within them as a female. As for your diatribe on the Grape & Grain it is a great addition to the area - a real ale pub full of locals and friendly/efficient bar-staff compared to the drug fuelled, often violent Sportsman with its blaring sports screens and plentiful drunks.

If you preferred the former pubs/CP though I can see why your experience of the latter day CP was a disappointment - horses for courses, and this horse is very happy with the changes to my area. Bring it on! Agree re central Croydon though, hellish place these days.

We spent a holiday touring around the West coats of Ireland recently - a beautiful part of the world in many places and I can see why you moved there in many ways. It was a bit sad to see the plentiful, identikit new builds that have cropped up on many parts of the countryside though - virtually all of them standing empty as the financial crash hit hard. There were some great little towns that we visited but also some that seemed tired and virtually dead on their feet which was also sad - I guess the same can be said of much of Europe though. Friendly people on the whole indeed, although I find CP pretty friendly too, much of the reason I am still here.

I have lived in London for 30 years and am not ready to leave yet, I agree with SLR that it is a great city and I will miss it when I eventually retire to the West Country.

ps - you and our beloved Dazza weren't separated at birth were you?

Edited by Summit Lover, 05 September 2012 - 09:12 AM.
forgot stuff


#11 nikdevlin

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 09:09 AM

Yep, Rikaitch is pretty much totally off the mark about the G&G. It's a warm, welcoming pub that does superb beers and nice food surprisingly cheaply (and I don't now, and never have had a beard), not the sh1thole it used to be, with the regular flashing blue lights outside. The one time I did go in the Sportsman, I was asked 'the f**k you looking at, c**t?' when I did a double take at the two shell suited asbos doing a deal in the bogs.

Also Rikaitch, why on earth did you get the bus from the G&G to the WH? If you're going to see what the Triangle is like after all these years, why miss an entire side of it?

I have a very good mate who moved back here 8 years ago after leaving it 28 years ago, and he reckons it's a good 93 times nicer now than it was then. From the way he, and you, and others, describe CP as it was back in your day, I know which version I prefer, and it's not old CP at all...

In fact, hey, moderators, can we put up some sort of voting thing at the head of this thread? I'm sure you could customise the restaurant reviewing thing so we could see how the numbers go.

Edited by nikdevlin, 05 September 2012 - 09:10 AM.

I make mixes, some of which are quite good. My wife and I cook things too.

#12 RachelF

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 10:08 AM

Rikaitch, if you wanted skuzzy pubs, you should have gone to West Norwood. There are still plenty there, although this may change... We have a few in Sydenham too.
Lack of queueing was something that took me aback me when I first moved to London as a student in 1986 (feels like 1886 sometimes!) It still offends me... and I have to remind myself to queue up when I am out of town.
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#13 Rikaitch

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 10:10 AM

My whole point of the comments about the CP triangle was there wasn't one traditional pub found anywhere. I know the old and dirty ones would be unpleasant, but what about a clean, friendly traditional pub? We went up to the West End on Monday for lunch, and went to just such a place in the middle of Mayfair, and even had a nice ham and cheese toastie (Can you imagine the Sparrowhawk doing that?). Surely if they can do it, CP can. I'm glad to see nikdevlin gets my point about the brown pubs.

Re: The 2Gs. Everyone was telling me how nice it was, how good the drinks and food are, and how friendly the staff are. Well, in my experience, I can agree it was clean. The drinks were ok (my first pint of bitburger in 16 years), but the bar staff were most disinterested and rude. I said to the barman I hadn't been in the area for ages, and how much it had changed, and he just sniffed and said "life moves on." Hmmmm, friendly. And then the musician started up, and was just so bad. The missus loves live music, but even she was looking pained. OH, and I got the bus because there weren't any pubs along that side of the triangle, I'm old and my feet hurt from the previous day in Croydon.

And Fitzroy, I'm intrigued now... PM me your real name will you?
Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Fart, and you're on your own.

#14 Summit Lover

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 10:29 AM

There are some traditional pubs in CP, the Albert and the Bell being two that spring to mind. The others bit the dust because they didn't have enough custom. Simples. As the barman in the GG said to you, life moves on' (thank goodness in the case of CP), although I struggle to see how that is a rude comment.... The GG landlord made a conscious and determined effort to change the old reputation and clientele of the Sportsman - again thank goodness :) The Sundays afternoon jazz can be a bit hit and miss (from a personal perspective) but is popular with many punters.

Anyway, maybe just thank your lucky stars that you don't live here any more, just as I thank my lucky stars that CP has evolved to its present state.

Edited by Summit Lover, 05 September 2012 - 10:51 AM.


#15 RachelF

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 10:47 AM

I must admit I have been chased out of the G&G by the 'music'.
I wonder what the demographics are in the triangle during the day, midweek - have only ever really been there during the day at the weekend. The Golden Lion in Sydenham seems to keep ticking along as a traditional pub, presumably partly because there always seems to be a small group of regulars (not necessarily the same ones) whatever the time of day, who chat quietly and amicably to each other at the bar. At the same time they have their backgammon competitions, blues music and other surprising things going on.
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