March 11th – Quick photos grabbed in passing on a desperately murky evening, but there’s no mistaking the recently relocated, civically vandalised Walsall hippo. Now outside the library, publicity wonks working at the council decided it would be a bit of free and easy publicity to paint the concrete kiboko in a Walsall football strip to cash in on – sorry, celebrate – the recent success of Walsall Football Team, a sporting enterprise that in former, less successful times, was untroubled by civic attention.
The wonks this post prandial brainwave surely was – whose previous contact with paint technology is probably limited to spare rooms and nails – assure all and sundry the paint will wash off (presumably when sporting fortunes return to normal and disassociation is necessary) and that the stunt – sponsored by an unholy amalgam of tattoo parlour and home insurance company – is all in good taste.
Of course, seeing a football fan on the streets of Walsall, resplendent girth barely contained by team shirt is not unusual, and the footballing hippo is very representative, even more at home like this. But cast from cheap concrete worn porous with age, it’ll take some effort to expunge him from the red peril he finds himself in.
Of course, the duality of the civic position that graffiti is wrong has gone unnoticed, and it’s odd to see the insurance people back off the naughty step, but hey, this is Walsall.
And no, this sculpture has never been called ‘hoppy’ by anyone I’ve met, despite apparent attempts by the burghers to convince us otherwise.
Good luck to The Saddlers, though…