Deserter presents: Today South London, Tomorrow South London

By Andrew Grumbridge and Vincent Raison

A humorous guide to the less beaten paths of London, south of the river

Humour | London
116% funded
325 supporters

Publication date: Autumn 2018

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Leading slacker website, Deserter, publishes unique portraits of South London neighbourhoods, alongside its libertarian lifestyle pieces. Today South London, Tomorrow South London will be a collection of these excursions - with new and updated material - capturing the people, places and unlikely pleasures below the river, at a remarkable point in the area's history.

The authors, under their noms de plume, Dulwich Raider and Dirty South, explore South London’s ignored, unfashionable marvels on urban adventures and off-beat days out, often in the company of ne’er do well pals, Half-life and Roxy.

The reader will inadvertently learn of the history underpinning the place, meet the characters that lend it colour and discover secrets that can only be gleaned from many years of dedicated messing about. With trips to cemeteries, galleries, hospitals, pubs and the Old Kent Road branch of Staples, Today South London, Tomorrow South London is not only an (alt) guide to the area but a snapshot of a pivotal period for it, a time of regeneration and gentrification. It will explore how, despite these changes, the magic, the shit and the glitter endures.

South London features - albeit mainly tangentially - in generic guide books like The Rough Guide to London, collections of various writing like Walter Besant’s South London, primarily photographic books like Shit London or London Villages, or in weighty tomes like Ben Judah’s This is London or Peter Ackroyd’s London: A Biography.

None offer an insight into contemporary South London, particularly one from the point of view of its slacker inhabitants. No one is considering South London, the playground, nor offering a guide to the area through the experiences of real South Londoners. Until now.

Click the banner above for a short promotional message from Heather-in-Marketing.


Quick select rewards

$30  + shipping
193 pledges

Quick Half

1st edition paperback, ebook edition and your name in the list of Super Patrons in the front of the book.
$25  + shipping
49 pledges

Quick Half (Early Bird)

An Early Bird discount. 1st edition paperback, ebook edition and your name in the list of Super Patrons in the front of the book.
  • Andrew Grumbridge avatar

    Andrew Grumbridge

    Vincent Raison avatar

    Vincent Raison

    Andrew Grumbridge

    Born in Kingston-upon-Thames, Grumbridge’s parents cruelly removed him from the capital aged 8, to which he returned in his 20s to work as a script editor, writer and production editor (Smash Hits, NME, The Guardian). He accidentally landed a job in television when the Internet came along and saved his career. After rising suspiciously rapidly through the ranks to become Managing Editor at Channel 4, he was poached by Virgin Radio to become a director at the company, where he introduced such innovations as biscuits at board meetings and free passes for directors to all music festivals. Eventually he grew tired of even this and sold the business in order to spend more time with himself. He co-founded Deserter in 2014 and writes for it under the nom de plume, The Dulwich Raider.

    Vincent Raison

    Born in Plumstead, Raison comes from many generations of dubious South London stock. Coming out of retirement at the age of 28, he found his ideal job was yet to be invented. Raison decided to bide his time by making people laugh writing for Channel 4, Sky, ITV, Virgin Media and Comedy Central. Sadly, after 15 years of this, it came to resemble work and he gradually reduced his hours until there were no more hours left to reduce. Raison then wrote for The Guardian and published a collection of his columns, Lies on Girls, in 2012. Today, he works in his pants. He co-founded Deserter in 2014 and writes for it under the nom de plume, Dirty South.


    “Would you like to do anything special for your birthday?” my mother would ask and, as always, I was ready with my answer.

    “I wanna go on the London trains, Mama!” I said. Her face registered the merest flicker of disappointment – I was 24 years old at the time, to be fair – but then broke into a brave smile.

    “Of course, darling, the trains, again,” she said.

    And so it is that I am able to reach back in time and introduce you to one of the world’s great train journeys: London Bridge to Charing Cross. And back.

    London is re-fashioning itself into a glass and steel any-city and while this particular route showcases many of these changes, there are still plenty of the sooty, Dickensian brick edifices of Old London Town to be seen along the way. Catch them while you can.

    And what better way to get the feel of a city than a rickety elevated ride through it at five miles an hour? Slow enough to see people’s expressions or what they’re having for tea, brief enough to leave plenty of time for messing about at either end – even if you are forced by Capitalism to make the trip during your lunch hour.

    Incidentally, do not under any circumstances attempt this journey during the rush hour. You will spend it in a crush of ashen-eyed automata and will be lucky to escape with your soul. No, the ideal time is between 11am and 4pm on a weekday, when you can happily lay your hat on the seat next to you.

    (I would also recommend a Sunday, although this can be risky as Transport for London often chooses Sundays to do its so-called maintenance – a national disgrace. Why should maintenance be done on a holiday, the people’s day? The worker’s free day? It’s even Our Lord’s day, for crying out loud. Can you honestly see God cocking about with rail replacement buses? It’s not only rude, it’s fucking blasphemous.)

    Before your journey commences, leave sufficient time to prepare suitable clothing, sustenance and good company – the holy trinity of good travel cheer. Clothing should, of course, be appropriate for your destination as well as your departure. I chose a simple shorts and t-shirt combination, Poundshop cowboy hat and some flip-flops to put on in north London where walking barefoot is frowned upon. 

    Entertaining and knowledgeable company is a boon for any journey. Sadly, I was unable to find any so I had to make do with long-time Deserter associate, Half-life, who sported a gabardine suit with spats and accompanied me to Borough Market to pick up some supplies for the trip. I left him propping up The Market Porter while I elbowed my way through groups of tourists photographing cheese to purchase a Mrs King’s Melton Mowbray Pork Pie.

    Our preparation complete, we headed to London Bridge station.

    The good thing about this journey is that no interrogation of timetables is required. Trains leave for Charing Cross approximately every three minutes and journey time is either nine or 14 minutes, depending on who you believe.

  • Andrew Grumbridge and Vincent Raison have written 3 private updates. You can pledge to get access to them all.

    3rd January 2021 Today South London, Tomorrow The World!

    Hello and thanks again for backing our 2018 book, Today South London, Tomorrow South London

    As it’s now 2021, there’s even a chance you might have read it and be familiar with our mixture of pub talk, local insight, inappropriate humour and the frankly ridiculous characters we call friends. (If not, hats off.) 

    We hope you enjoyed it, indeed we have had wonderful feedback from many of you…

    8th December 2018 Do They Mean Us? Reactions to the book

    Well, it's a month since our book was published and we thought we'd post an update on how it's been going.

    We were honoured that Today South London, Tomorrow South London was listed in the Evening Standard's Best Comedy Books of 2018 (see below), as well as being featured in Londonist, Lewisham Ledger (also pictured below), South London Press, Southwark News and, Half-life's favourite, London Drinker…

    10th September 2018 The Final Chapter

    Warm and heartfelt greetings to all our pledgers! And a polite nod to the rest of you.

    This is likely to be the last update from us before publication, as Unbound has informed us they will be closing the door on new pledges this week. If you have not already pledged, you have until MIDNIGHT, THURSDAY, 13th Sept to do so, and get your name in the best book about South London since 1947*.


    2nd May 2018 Free at last

    by Dirty South

    ’Tis done.

    On Monday afternoon, the Raider and I emerged into the day, squinting at the light; our hair, beards and toenails hideously overgrown, our clothes mere rags, our aroma - ripe.



    We had finished our manuscript. It was now flying through the Internets to our publisher like mere data, albeit data containing hundreds of valuable swearwords and…

    5th March 2018 Thank you.

    Thanks to you, we've hit our funding target. This book is going to happen!

    What happens next?

    We're not sure, but first things first, a lovely pint. Then, we suppose, the arduous task of hiring half a dozen unpaid interns to start work on the writing.

    As long as our Unbound page is marked "Writing in progress", you can still pledge for the book, purchase a copy in advance and/or choose…

    26th February 2018 South London Facticles

    As well as longer pieces celebrating the less well-known opportunities afforded by South London, our book will also feature bite-sized facts that we were almost certainly too lazy to turn into full articles.

    We call them "Facticles", I'm afraid. And here's a sample.

    Early Doors

    Borough’s Market Porter would seem to have it all: a market edge location, a superb range of well-kept ales…

    17th February 2018 School Run Pub Crawl

    by Dirty South

    Contrary to popular belief, Deserter has been a hive of industry during our campaign to fund our book, Today South London, Tomorrow South London. Why only yesterday the Dulwich Raider leapt up from his desk and turned his music off so he could focus on the blank page.

    After a few excruciating moments of silence he turned it back on, exclaiming, “Do you mind? I’m beginning…

    12th February 2018 How I Write

    By Dulwich Raider


    All great writers have their own, unique methodology and I am no difference.

    In this update I have been asked to share my writing secrets with you, as I have apparently agreed to write a book.

    I think of writing as a destination. The role of the writer is simply to remove the obstacles along the path to this place.

    Firstly, all personal admin should be dealt…

    9th February 2018 Where is the Dulwich Raider?

    by Dirty South


    No matter what the artist Francis Bacon did the night before - and it was usually a ton of booze and rough sex - he would be at his easel by 6am demonstrating his extraordinary gift.

    That’s the kind of work ethic we were going to need in order to put together a catalogue of the best days out South London can offer, in tales woven by colourful characters throughout the…

    4th February 2018 Ned Boulting to Write Foreword

    We are delighted to report that broadcaster, journalist and author, Ned Boulting has agreed to write the foreword for Deserter’s book with Unbound.

    Ned has been an avid reader of Deserter from our early days, being lucky enough to have settled in the bejewelled boroughs of South London during his 20-year TV career.

    He once tweeted: "Anyone with London in their hearts, especially the mystifyingly…

    29th January 2018 Meet the Illustrator

    First of all, thank you to everyone who has pledged so far. It means a lot, despite the fact that we will actually have to do some work to get the book done, which is a shame.

    In this first update, we thought we'd introduce the illustrator for the project, Emily Medley.

    Emily Medley lived in North, East, Central and West London for over ten years before she finally saw the light and headed…

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  • murray w
    murray w asked:

    hiya lads, i thought i did the pledge which entitled me to a book, but i havent received one. can you check which pledge i was on?

    Unbound replied:

    Hi Murray, You can see what your pledge reward included over in your account, or read more about how to see this in our help centre here: I hope this helps! Unbound Support