BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘sculpture’

#365daysofbiking A case of tinselitis

Friday December 4th 2020 – Heading home along the High Street, something in the dark looked different about John McKenna’s Brownhills sign.

Some kind hearted soul had decorated it for Christmas.

With things in the town a little grim for the season, with the pubs shut and the pandemic ongoing, this guerrilla act of festive cheer was welcome and beautiful.

My thanks to the beautiful soul that did this. Merry Christmas!

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#365daysofbiking Hoked on sunsets

May 7th – It was a decent sunset and I was in Walsall Wood. That’s always frustrating, because there aren’t any very good vantage points to take one in around that area.

Then I caught the sunset over Walsall Wood Bridge past Rod, the Walsall Wood angler, who bears an uncanny resemblance to David Evans, gentleman of the parish.

It didn’t work out so bad. Shame they never sorted out the purloined fish…

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#365daysofbiking Monumental

May 5th – Looping back into town, I caught sight of Morris, the Brownhills Miner, a statue and work of art I hold dear.

Morris is not particularly accurate, or even a true representation of our history, as such, with Brownhills actually maturing as a town long after the immediately local mining had all but ceased. But he captures the spirit of our town, and our collective history, reflecting that many Brownhillian lads were miners, but working in pits in adjacent towns and villages.

Morris is also uncomfortably Soviet, to anyone who’s any experience of Eastern Bloc public art; he’s exactly the sort of thing many soviet states would have willingly erected.

But this lad, pick and lamp aloft, is ours. And it’s always good to see him silhouetted in the dusk.

It’s how I know I’m home.

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#365daysofbiking Monumental

March 14th – Passing through the Wood on an errand. The world is clearly on the brink of something and people have been panic buying toilet rolls and other silly stuff needlessly because they fear the spread of coronavirus.

I swung over the playing field of Oak Park to admire the pithead sculpture to Walsall Wood Colliery while I was passing. It was solid. Strong. Ever present. Reassuring in a world that seemed to be losing it’s composure.

Sometimes it’s the monuments and monoliths that make you feel most secure.

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#365daysofbiking Old tin buns

November 11th – Returning to Brownhills late with a companion we went looking for fast food. While we waited, a good chance to try and get a decent photo of Morris which always seems so difficult.

An interesting phenomena around this artwork is the way ladies tend to admire the statue’s bum. It’s very fetching, apparently.

Not a bad photo really, but still not totally happy with it… Maybe try again soon

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#365daysofbiking Sunset mellow


August 31st – Nipping up to Walsall Wood that evening to see a friend, I passed the pithead sculpture, which always looks dramatic with a good dusk sky behind it.

A structure I’ve never been fond of, it can look fantastic in the right kind of light.

I’m concerned to see the metal flag has sheared off, presumably from repeated wind-flexing. Good job nobody was under it when it dropped. That would have been sharp.

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#365daysofbiking Monumental controversy

July 22nd – I’ve been riding through Bloxwich more often since the Chase Line upgrade, and I keep passing the remarkable sculpture of Lady Diana Spencer outside the monumental Masons that commissioned it. It’s certainly an unusual landmark.

The sculpture was made around the year 2000 in tribute to the deceased Princess, but when unveiled, it was black, shiny granite and was ridiculed for looking more like Diana Ross (according to a local politician of the day) or Dennis Nordern in the view of a local news commentator.

It was donated to Walsalls Council, who refused it, declined to place it in the local art gallery, and ended up back with the donor after plans to put it on display were apparently vetoed by the palace.

Since then, it was sandblasted to remove the sheen, and it stands outside the Masons being, well… Somewhat incongruous.

I think it’s absolutely bloody awful.

You can criticise almost every aspect of it – but the one thing nobody ever comments on that has always baffled me – the shoes.

Has she just come from welding on a ship and forgot to change her boots?

A curious bit of local legend.

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#365daysofbiking Clear sight

June 20th – Again heading over Catshill Junction on the way to the High Street, I checked out something I’d spotted the day before: Some kind and community-minded soul has taken it upon themselves to clear the far side of the canal near the narrows on the way to Anchor bridge. I suspect the same for have also cleared the scrub away from the sculpture ‘Cycle of Life’ on the canal junction too, as the job is far tidier than the the one usually done by the Canal and River Trust, who seem to just leave the debris where it lands.

Whoever did this, thank you. It’s nice to see the brickwork at the narrows (formerly a toll point) as it’s a fascinating style.

I’ve always found it sad that when the new flats were built here to replace Bayley House, the various parties couldn’t get it together to sort out the scrub which must seriously shade the dwellings and impede their view.

Again, thank you.

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#365daysofbiking Brutally wet in Cannock

March 6th – I had an important hospital appointment in Cannock, a place I rarely go. Cannock Hospital is actually lovely, and a model of the best of the NHS, but Cannock itself, I find a bit otherworldly. It’s nice enough, suffering like all post industrial town centres, with odd, lingering pointers to a more prosperous, or at least busy past.

The brutalist concrete relief mural featuring local industrial icons – pit heads, Caterpillar vehicles, Rugeley Power Station and GEC seems to have been transplanted from an earlier building or situation. It’s almost soviet.

Everyone seems to know of Walsall’s hippo, but who ever dares mention Cannock’s concrete elephant? How did that come to be? There’s a story there.

On this wet, grey and unpleasant day, I found Cannock solemn, but pleasant, and I shall come back – mainly to see if it wears it’s cloak of quiet melancholy on nice days, too.

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#365daysofbiking Leave a light on for me

 

December 22nd – Homecoming, late, and a ride around Brownhills before bed.

Finally, due to hard work by members of the local committee, the Christmas lights on the miner island, as well as those on Morris himself have been fixed, so just in time for the festive season, my favourite icon of home is bright and proud ant night once more.

A great thing to come home to. Thanks to all involved.

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