Thursday, 22 October 2009

Tunnel visionaries


What does it take to get a drink around here?... Well, if you're in Herne Hill, it'll need: a month of stopping people in a piss-stinking tunnel and asking them where they'd love to be right now; endless negotiations with Lambeth Council, Southeastern Rail and Railtrack (not to mention narrowly avoiding a last-minute, show-stopper when some bright spark decides that the word 'buddha' is "disturbing" and likely to "offend certain members of the public" ... presumably, visiting members of the Burmese junta); a day of jetwashing and scrubbing aforementioned piss-stinking tunnel; a back-breaking 18 hours straight (!) of chalking and painting to get the artwork down and dry for Monday's commuters (which, just so you know, means getting home at 5am - and that's not even mentioning the police raid at 2am... Nice to see eight of the boys in blue being put to such good use); and then when it's all done, a lovely news feature by Warren at the BBC (what did we say before about never watching yourself on telly? Heyho) ... Then, with a bit of luck, it'll be free drinks a-gogo (much obliged to Crazy Jimmy, Alan ... and the drunken posh bloke in Pullens).
Free booze notwithstanding, we are broken - honestly, we can still barely walk. We'd never have made it without Sabrina and George turning up like heroes to bring us dinner ("Oh thanks! That's amazing. Here's a paintbrush...") nor without the encouragement of the punters who stopped to watch the work taking shape. And while we're in Oscars mode, the biggest thanks must go to Gerry at Lambeth for being consistently upbeat and on-it, and the wonderful folks at Herne Hill Forum who had the vision, enthusiasm and belief to get us involved, battle all the red-tape and then let us do our thing.
Anyway, making Passages has been a testing but hugely rewarding experience and we're really chuffed with the response it's had from the local community: all we've been doing since we regained the use of our legs is hanging out down there watching people enjoy it. It'll only be there for a few weeks, so see it while you can!