By jane2012, Nov 1 2020 12:56PM
Two blog posts in one week, what the actual??!!
In my last post I talked about creating for the sake of creating and this little personal project is an example of that.
I live in a small town called Wolverton in Milton Keynes. It was the country's first purpose built 'railway town' housing the Wolverton Railway Works from the late 1800s to the present day. It's a Victorian town consisting of streets of red brick Victorian terraced housing and is, I suppose one of those towns that with the right investment could be seen as up and coming. It is directly on the rail route to Euston, London which is 50 miles down the track, so for commuters (is there such a thing any more?) it's ideal.
I grew up in Wolverton, having moved here with my family in 1974 and have moved away and come back again as life circumstances have changed. In the late 70s we were subject to the whims of a new approach in architecture; a sort of futuristic view which unfortunately did not take kindly to the old fashioned Victorian aesthetic. So we were 'gifted' a building called The Agora from a new group of architects who thought that what the town needed was modernist building plonked right in the middle of the town, effectively cutting it in half. It housed an indoor market, a roller skating rink and various other shops and businesses including a cafe, pub and arcade machines. Sounds great eh?
The Agora split opinion from the start, as so much in our modern world does. Some loved it, particulary the town's younger generation who hung around the rink and corridors, smoking and playing the pinball machines. Personally I always felt intimidated by all the big kids! But noise levels increased with the Friday and Saturday night discos and eventually businesses in the Square died as natural traffic flow was cut off.
When I returned to Wolverton in 2008 the Agora had diminished to the point that the only businesses were tat marts, and bong shops. Roller skating had long gone, although there was a move to revive it temporarily by a group of people who had skated there back in the day. The owners had neglected it to the point where insurers wouldn't insure anyone and eventully it was closed up. There have been moves to demolish it and redesign the area in consultation with the local community, which is more than we got the first time round, so it's not all doom and gloom. However, with Covid happening things seems to have stalled somewhat.
I digress. Back in the heady days of 2019bc (Before Covid) the demolition of the site was imminent and there was much excitement. Funding was granted for a community project to celebrate the Agora's passing and so local artists, including yours truly were granted some money to decorate the outside of the building. I came up with some large banners that in part were dyed by local children. 2 have long since disappeared, but I did another four to coincide with the Wolverton Lantern Festival in December. These have now been up a year and are so faded and sad (not to mention covered in bird crap) that I felt depressed everytime I walked past them!
So I decided I would just make some more to brighten up the rusty old railing the old ones were tied to. Over the late summer I created three new banners, all bright floral designs and this past Halloween weekend I finally got them up. Just in time for our lockdown winter! Hopefully they will brighten up this little corner for a time as we navigate the next weird twist to this already strange year. I still have some material left so I may well add to them at some point.
Creativity is what we humans are best at, whatever form that takes. Doing this makes me feel good. It's pretty much all I can do as an artist. It's not much but a snowball starts with one flake right? Who knows, maybe it might encourage others to add some colour to this faded monolith!
Anyway, that's all for now, hope you like the banners :)