I notice tonight that The Stymaster, late of this parish, has been appraising the state of the statues and artworks assembled in Walsall Wood 18 months ago. I’ve never been supportive of them, and still think much better things could have been done with £40,000, but my views are well recorded and it’s good to know I’m not alone in feeling that the installations now look rusted, tatty and unpleasant.
In the process of chatting to The Stymaster on twitter tonight, he turned up this page on the website of the creator, Luke Perry and his organisation, Industrial Heritage Stronghold. It apparently is a testimonial by Glen Buglass, manager of the Creative Team at Walsall Council; here is an interesting snippet:
To show just how much the sculptures are loved by people who live in the area, over 600 people attend the opening ceremony. From the day they were installed to this, the works have not been touched; they have not been covered in graffiti and they have not been damaged. There has not been one word of criticism about them in the press or through Council channels.
This is patently rubbish. I’ve no doubt about the attendance (after all, free food was available), but as to the works not being touched – Bob the fish going missing twice, graffiti on the fisherman’s plinth, vomit over one of the figures and the necessity to subsequently install anti-climb paint on the pithead seem to have been conveniently forgotten. As to criticism, Rod the Angler was panned in the Express & Star over his headgear, and there’s a sizable camp in the Wood who openly state that it’s all a waste of money.
I tip my fisherman’s hat to The Stymaster and hope this fad for wasting public money on junk and calling it regeneration soon passes. Not one single life (except perhaps that of Mr. Perry) was improved by this, and not one job created. It’s more usually referred to as fiddling while Rome burns.
This is something BrownhillsBob has mentioned on more than one occasion , and several separate conversations with friends and my dear better half prompted me to vary my Sunday morning cycle route this morning for some illustrative pictures to accompany a rant. They’re only cameraphone snaps, but they serve the purpose.