Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Are London's best bloggers south of the river?

An article appeared in Time Out just over a year ago asking why South London's bloggers were better than North London bloggers:
"...if we are looking at north against south, one thing stands out: when it comes to blogging, the south wins hands down, and the south-east in particular...Over in the Kentish corner of London we have Greenwich Phantom, Brockley Central, Transpontine, Deptford Dame, Blackheath Bugle and Charlton’s 853, while in Stockwell there’s the excellent Onion Bag Blog. There are dozens more such locally focussed blogs in this extraordinarily fertile area of London."
As you can see they name-check a number of well-known South London blogs. As to reasons why, they speculate:
" it because south Londoners (who are all, one notes, located firmly east of the centre in all these cases) tend to be younger so are more in tune with technological developments. Do south Londoners have more pride and interest in their local area? Or is it because south Londoners feel they aren’t properly served by mainstream media so have to forge their own communication networks."
Hmm. "...younger so are more in tune with technological developments" - I like it  (though not wholly accurate in my case at least). "Do south Londoners have more pride and interest in their local area?" This seems to ring somewhat true. What do you think?

It made me wonder what exactly is a 'South London blog'? Do you need to have a South London name-place in your blog title or a SL nom-de-plume? It think that it is not merely that you are based geographically in South London but that you choose to make a feature of it in your posts. And so I think I can call myself a 'South London blog'. Though actually, I think Time Out has it right - lots of us would more specifically identify ourselves as 'South-East London' bloggers.

But, but - that's not all we are, are we? We all have multiple identities.  This is how Bob from Brockley, a well-known South-East London blogger, described me in a recent post of his:

"London Masala and Chips is the blog of a Labour-supporting British Asian mum who lives in South East London. Her election coverage has been good, and touches on lots of the same issues as we have here."

It is fascinating which of our identities others, and we ourselves, choose to preference. Bob had it pretty right for me - I'm interested in writing about social and ethnic identity issues, current affairs, living in London and South-East London, and family life. This does make for a pretty wide-ranging blog (and not very good for Google Adsense which I've bee thinking about). People arriving here for a post about Eltham elections might be puzzled to also find an article about British-Asian festivals. How much would I have much in common with other South London bloggers?

This is precisely a question which has come up in relation to a recent meet/drink-up organised, co-incidently, by Bob from Brockley for his readers. Unfortunately I couldn't make it, but it's been fascinating reading the discussion around the 'preliminary report' of the drink meeting. These are exactly the questions which would occur to me.

Anyways, I must break-off now and carry on looking after FOUR children for the day - I kid you not. It's a reciprocal holiday arrangement we have with my sis-in-law. I think they've probably had their TV allowance for the day (oh dear). I must now go and do something 'developmental yet fun' with them. Roll on reciprocity....


bob said...

Thanks for this Raven. Really interesting points. I've lots to say on it, but will probably do so in time at my own place!

Transpontine said...

... because there's f.all else to do? Seriously one aspect is that SE London is historically very under-represented in London media (e.g. how many SE London stories do you see in the Standard), so as soon as a mean came along to cheaply/freely redress the balance - i.e. blogs - we all rushed into the breach. Or something.

Raven said...

Hmm, identities and categories; bloggers creating their reality and then writing about it - one could go on for a long,long time...I shall follow the debate on your site.

On SE london blogging - is it any less represented than NW or NE London? I'm not so sure. I prefer the theory that we're just young, cool and with-it...(ahem, though that last word kinda gives me away)

Transpontine said...

I don't think SE London blogging is under-represented - if anything the opposite - but I do think SE London has historically been under-represented in pre-internet media. Lots of books which purport to be about London for instance barely cross the river apart from the occasional reference to Greenwich and Southwark.

bob said...

I buy T's theory: we're neglected by the MS~M so we make our own.

I can't imagine we're younger and more with it than, say, East London.

Is SE London more convivial than elsewhere? I read somewhere Lewisham had a record number of Big Lunches this year.