Spring has suppose to have arrived and summer hotly pursuing it, however this being the UK, the sun has generally been hiding and it looked like our regular mural walks were going to start under an umbrella.
But luckily for us, our first walk for 2012 was taken in the glorious May sunshine. This perambulation is a regular event that has been held since 2008; the one taken last weekend is part of the “If Walls could Speak” project – a scheme to create a short film about some of the Brixton Murals and to restore the Brixton Windmill Mural. So instead of there being just members of the public and some of the mural society on the walk, we had a camera crew in tow – a couple with hand held cameras who came along with us and a bunch with large equipment setting up at various spots along the route!
We started at the usual spot – Stockwell station – our walk leader (myself) and another participant had a mic attached to our clothing (mine in my cardigan and battery pack attached to the bra) I felt like I was in a reality tv programme!! The crew took awhile to set up their first shot making us a little late starting! However, it meant we could wait for a late arriver and then we were off!!
We went the usual route, stopping first at the Stockwell Memorial mural and then onto Slade Garden Adventure Playground to see their mural.
We then went on a slight detour to vist the Stockwell Pen, a place where graffiti artists practice their work. It was an interesting contrast to have as part of the walk and something we would like to develop in a route. The walk is not just about art and local history but also should create a conversation about public art and heritage!
During this time, the main camera crew had ran on ahead to wait for us at the Brixton Academy mural. After they had had a very, very long wait (and after we had watched a man climb into a wheelie bin and slide into a dip at the skate park) we made it to the next camera shot.
Suddenly, the pavement was busy with people trying to get past us and the camera crew; and the buses were blocking the view. It is always a little awkward to find a good spot to stop and view the mural!
So after everyone had taken in the facts and someone pointed out how funny the kids look, we then took our first break of the day. This short stop was so that people could fill in a form about interesting stories they liked about the murals; this will go towards creating a leaflet. Everyone had a break for hot or cold refreshments and it was at this point that a battery pack for the microphone got dropped down the toilet!! Well, it was an easy thing to do!
Next we back tracked up to Bellefields Road to look at the two murals there. Again, a little bit of waiting til the shot was set up – we all practiced our swaggers hoping to not look like we were walking the catwalk for the camera!
Talk done with a little impromptu set of facts about the wall opposite one of the murals (it use to have a spray painted image of this). Next stop the train station though we seemed to manage to loose a few people on the way (although they eventually caught up).
Next camera shot – the Nuclear Dawn mural. Usually the car park in front isn’t open but today it was so for the sake of a good view and some arty shots, we navigated the interior fence (with two pushchairs in tow).
Once inside, we got the best view of the mural and could see how badly damaged it is.
From here we had our next stop at the Dogstar pub where a few more people had to leave us – the walk was taking extra long today! Luckily we a bright sky, it was a good day to be wondering the streets. From the pub, we headed up Rushcroft road to hear the story of the lost murals.
And then we had the long stretch of the walk, from Windrush square up Acre Lane to the road before Kings Avenue. Not a lot to see here!
Gathering speed up the road, we spotted the film crew taking a well earned rest! “Stop” they said as they drained their coffee cups and dashed around the corner to set up the next shot. So our little group of walkers waited til we got the nod and turned the corner to see the Big Splash mural on the corner of Strathleven Road. This is such a great piece to get children to look at as it is full of creatures, colours and people!
Finally we were near the end of our walk. We marched up the hill to Mauleverer Road to see their long mural.
And then the last little push to see the Windmill mural as it was being prepared for painting!
A big thanks to everyone who came along and especially the people who saw it through to the end. It was a long one but a good one! Thanks to the sun for staying out and giving the film crew and our photographer some lovely shots!