Friday, 7 August 2009

The bitter truth

An article by Lucie Greene in last week's Sunday Times quotes a squatter as he defends tactics to take over disused buildings and vacant lots: "We see it as recycling empty buildings. You do it with glass and plastic, so why shouldn’t we do it with property?"

I'm not really convinced. For one thing, the owner of glass or plastic recycles it when he or she is finished using it. It's not really the same when someone moves into your house and volunteers to "recycle" it for you. And I think appropriating language from the environmental movement to justify your desire to live in someone else's property for free is slightly disingenuous. 

On the other hand, what Frank Boxer is doing to an old Peckham car park is genius. Frank trained as a bar manager at the Anchor and Hope, then founded Italo Delicatessen in Vauxhall. His head chef Mike Davies used to work at The Fat Duck in Bray, St John Bread and Wine and the Anchor and Hope in Southwark.

Frank’s Campari Bar is a new pop-up in Peckham open Thursdays to Sundays until 30th September. Positioned on the 7th floor of a multi-story car park, the terrace sits alongside Bold Tendencies III, a new group show by the Hannah Barry gallery. We went last night and had insane views of the city skyline, cult Campari cocktails from Negronis to Americanos and piles of lip-smacking antipasti like lamb, hummous and gazpacho. 

I admire anyone who has the ability to find a space designed for one purpose but see its potential for another. If you do too, then go to Peckham Rye Station, cross the road and head left toward the cinema - the car park's behind the cinema and you'll find this smashing, dashing bar on the tippy-top floor.

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