Category Archives: celebrities

Newport Street Gallery

Those of you who follow us closely on Twitter will know that our invite to the opening of Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery (NSG) got lost in the post despite months of blatant solicitation. Nonetheless, we picked ourselves up and dragged ourselves along on the first day it was open to the public.

Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.com

NSG is a great building – lighter and more inviting than the Saatchi Gallery to which it has been compared (both having been built by rich people to show their huge collections of contemporary art).

Newport Street Gallery staircase - kenningtonrunoff.om

Well done to Damien who has certainly not skimped on this, and architects Caruso St John who were also behind the revamp of Tate Britain. The Guardian recently published an interesting article about the building and NSG’s issues with community outreach.

people at John Hoyland's Power Stations at Newport Street Gallery - kenningtonrunoff.om

The first exhibition is Power Stations by the late John Hoyland, whose huge, colourful but foreboding canvasses suit the space so well that it’s hard to imagine how smaller works will fare.

John Hoyland's Power Stations at Newport Street Gallery under skylights - kenningtonrunoff.om

If you don’t like Hoyland’s stuff then you have a long wait for something else – this exhibition runs until April of next year.

John Hoyland's Power Stations at Newport Street Gallery with sloping roof - kenningtonrunoff.om

Damien’s involvement in NSG is relatively inconspicuous until you enter the shop where there are eye-wateringly expensive skulls and jewellery galore. Newport Street Gallery’s shop is not the much-needed replacement for Kennington Bookshop as a place to buy a present a tenner – more like ten grand.

Newport Street Gallery skulls in the shop - kenningtonrunoff.om

The first day crowd was large and varied, and Beaconsfield, further down Newport Street, was the busiest we’ve ever seen it. We have no doubt NSG’s arrival will spark a new level of boom for the once-neglected area we call North West Kennington, others call Lambeth, and, in a blatant land grab of which we would have been proud, Vauxhall’s developers have decided is called Vauxhall. We’ll see about that:

Correction to Vauxhall sign outside Beaconsfield - kenningtonrunoff.com

The first floor of NSG is taken up by a restaurant named Pharmacy 2, a sequel to Damien’s Notting Hill restaurant that was open from 1998 to 2003. Whatever next – Fat Les reforming to play the opening party? Just as long as we’re invited that’s fine by us – and we mean now, not next year when Pharmacy 2 finally opens to the public. Altogether now: “Where on earth are you from?/We’re from Kennington”.

It’s competition time! Win a super limited edition vinyl album by The Maccabees

The Maccabees’ no. 1 album Marks To Prove It is a tribute to North Kennington (or, as The Maccabees rather quaintly still call it, Elephant & Castle). The album was recorded at the band’s own Elephant Studios, the videos are set in North Kennington, and the cover features a photo of the Michael Faraday Memorial.

We’ve managed to lay our hands on an extremely limited edition vinyl copy of the album. Not only is the vinyl blue like the Elephant & Castle shopping centre but, in a tribute to the wind turbines at the top of the Strata building, the sticker has been placed so as to make the A side completely unplayable!

Maccabees limited edition vinyl - kenningtonrunoff.com

To win this unique item which has North Kennington written all over it, just tell us why the Strata’s turbines don’t turn anymore. Leave a comment below or email kenningtonrunoff@gmali.com or tweet us.

Kennington: Land of Letterpress

Kennington, epicentre of the London letterpress scene, has played host to many a typographic luminary.

Berthold Wolpe, one of the greatest names in type design, lived at Kennington Park Road until his death in 1989 and his Albertus typeface is used in street nameplates throughout our very own borough of Lambeth. Eagle-eyed Kennington Runoff fans may also have spotted it employed in our social media creative identity.

Dr Berthold Wolpe print

In the kind of tidy confluence of Kenningtonians that so delights Kennington Runoff, another SE11-based typographer, designer and letterpress practitioner Alan Kitching has created a print in honour of Berthold Wolpe (pictured above), and also one depicting the streets of Kennington (pictured below). Kitching’s studio on Cleaver Street is handily identified in this print, and they host a letterpress workshop there if you fancy joining the long line of Kennington letterpress creatives.

Alan Kitching and Celia Stothard Kennington print

Can’t make the dates for the typography workshop on Cleaver Street? Never fear, there’s a competitor round the corner at Iliffe Yard in the form of Mr Smith.

The Kennington Lane Press is the final stop on our tour of Kennington: land of the letterpress. They sell their hand-printed greetings cards at the North Lambeth Parish Fete as well as online, and will create bespoke thank you cards for all those local businesses looking for the personal touch when reaching out to thank us for our tireless promotion. Bribes always welcome alongside thank you notes.

Kennington Lane Letter Press stall at North Lambeth Parish Fete

Kennington Lane Press stall at North Lambeth Parish Fete

Earl of Bedlam, king and queen of Kennington

London 2015’s answer to Tommy Nutter, fashion house the Earl of Bedlam reside down a little mews off Walnut Tree Walk, having previously occupied a shop in South Kennington:

Earl of Bedlam flier - kenningtonrunoff.com

Tailors to some of Kennington’s slickest suited and booted (including Mark Hill of Antiques Roadshow and Counter Brasserie fame), they also dress musical luminaries from across the spectrum – Nile Rodgers, Simon Le Bon, Goldie, Bez and Roger Daltrey have all been spotted in Earl of Bedlam garms. Nile is such a fan that he had the Earl head down to the studio to give Bedlam t-shirts  to the band and Mark Ronson when he was making the most recent Duran Duran album.

Earl of Bedlam staff, clients, models, friends & family by Jill Furmanovsky for Jocks & Nerds in Bedlam Mews with horses from Vauxhall City Farm, (Mark in the hat front right, Lady C next to him)

Earl of Bedlam staff, clients, models, friends & family photographed by Jill Furmanovsky for Jocks & Nerds in Bedlam Mews, with horses from Vauxhall City Farm (Mark in the hat front right, Lady C next to him)

We are still waiting for our Kennington Runoff-inspired three-piece suit crafted from baby llama wool shorn off the latest arrivals at Vauxhall City Farm, but we are indebted to Lady C and Mark at the Earl of Bedlam nevertheless for their endless supply of local tips and information. More ferociously networked than any other Kenningtonites we can name, they are true pillars of the community. Running  social media for the Duchy Arms when they relaunched, creating limited edition Bastille Day t-shirts for the Boule-In, designing the uniform for Counter staff, hosting jazz gigs, and propping up the bar at the Royal Oak (otherwise it would fall over) – these are all in a day’s work for the Earl of Bedlam, and still they find time to field stalls at both the Kennington Village and North Lambeth Parish fetes.

Earl of Bedlam t-shirts at Kennington Village Fete - kenningtonrunoff.com

Read more about their interesting story here.

Café at Jamyang Buddhist Centre

There are three Buddhist Centres in Kennington (see also the Kagyu Samye Dzong Tibetan Buddhist Centre and the Diamond Way Buddhist Centre in the former Beaufoy Institute), but only one of them is worth visiting if you have no interest in Buddhism, yoga or meditation – that’s Jamyang, for its excellent Courtyard Café.

The counter at Jamyang Buddhist Centre Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com

All the food is vegetarian, much of it is vegan, and it’s delicious. They always have a selection of salads and cakes as you can see above. Their quiche is our favourite main but they’d run out last time we visited so we had bulghur wheat served with spinach, caper and artichoke for £4.80, or £6.80 with salads:

Bulghur wheat served with spinach, caper and artichoke sauce at Jamyang Cafe - kenningtonrunoff.com

Most of their products are organic, and they serve local sourdough bread from the Kennington Bakery.

Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

The building is an old courthouse dating from 1869, in its later days used as a maximum security court for special remands, including IRA terrorists, the Kray twins, and members of the gang who seized the Iranian Embassy. Despite that, when the sun is shining, Kennington has nowhere more peaceful to eat your lunch than the Jamyang courtyard:

The Courtyard Cafe at Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

and certainly nowhere else with a giant gold statue of Buddha surrounded by plants:

Golden Buddha in the courtyard of Jamyang Buddhist Centre - kenningtonrunoff.com

Glastonbury Festival are increasingly looking to Kennington for inspiration when booking their acts. When the Foo Fighters pulled out as headliner, they booked Florence & The Machine, clearly remembering the time Florence Welch stepped up to the plate at short notice at South London Pacific. Likewise, His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama “played” Glastonbury this year, but he appeared at Jamyang way back in 1999, when he blessed and inaugurated a new shrine.

Jamyang’s cafe is open Monday-Friday 10am-4pm (we wish they’d open on the weekend too). They have free wi-fi and takeaway available. Get there early for the quiche.

Address: Jamyang Buddhist Centre, The Old Courthouse, 43 Renfrew Road, London, SE11 4NA.

The Maccabees’ new video is set in North Kennington

Indie rock heroes The Maccabees have many ties with North Kennington – some of the band live locally and they rehearse and record in a studio there (formerly owned by The Jesus & Mary Chain).

Now they’ve shot their new video Marks To Prove It in North Kennington – the spectacular view of the North roundabout you can see below is shot from everyone’s favourite modernist Kennington tower block Perronet House. They got there in the nick of time, just before the roundabout was besieged by roadworks:

Here’s the new single from Kennington’s own Florence & The Machine


The song is about the time Florence Welch got drunk and had a water fight outside, then inside, her Kennington home so it only seems fair to recall the time Florence got drunk and performed at South London Pacific. Long may Flo continue to get drunk and do interesting things in Kennington.

Her album is is released on June 1st. It’s called How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, which is almost certainly a reference to Ovalhouse Theatre’s banner:

Ovalhouse Theatre - kenningtonrunoff.com

KENNINGTON NEEDS YOU to save Kennington Bookshop

It’s official – the “NEW SHOP LEASE” sign is up – Kennington Bookshop will be no more from Sunday May 31st 2015.

Kennington Bookshop with new shop lease sign up - kenningtonrunoff.com

Although it’s been a successful venture for eight years, the couple who run it have come to the end of their lease and are moving on, with talk of setting up a new bookshop somewhere out of London. They are winding down the new stock and plan to take the second hand stuff with them.

Whoever takes on the site will have big boots to fill, as the Guardian notes: “it quickly became a fixture in the local community, famed for its customer service and bright, peaceful feel. The range is eclectic and individual; carefully chosen books are laid out on antique tables, with Georgian-style bookcases holding all the major categories of fiction and non-fiction.”

The landlords will be looking for new, experienced tenants, with a strong business plan. How about Daunt Books? With sites in Marylebone, Chelsea, Holland Park, Hampstead, Belsize Park and the City of London, Kennington would be the ideal location for their first venture south of the river.

In many ways Kennington Bookshop felt like a branch of Daunt Books – they have a similarly well thought-through book edit, and even created their own version of that bookshop bag (the Kennington one is just as ubiquitous in Kennington as the Daunt one is elsewhere):

The bookshop occupies a large site across two floors on Kennington Road with plenty of passing trade. Regular customers include Will Self, Sarah Waters, and indeed us (we buy most of our gifts there and order books for next day delivery instead of using Amazon).

Central Kennington, AKA Kennington Village, is just starting to become a real destination thanks to recent arrivals like The Boule-In, Brocket Gallery and Sally White joining stalwarts like Windmill Flowers and Space Station Sixty Five. Now would be a great time for Daunt Books to join them.

If you’d like to see Daunt Books come to Kennington, please email them here or tweet them here. We’ll be giving them our full support.