Month: August 2015

Jonny Walsh: J4.73.1

Roger Moore used to live in Salford…

• Old Curiosity Shop •
77-79 Chapel Street, Salford 1974

~ Antiques ~

The curious. Its own beginning and endless end, once more.


Take the old straight track from Chetham’s. Groping in the maiden gaslight for their Madam Geneva monstrance, apparitions of Karl and Friedrich. New Romans to the fray.


Banqueting at The Red Dragon, soused. Fred stumbling home to abuse his servants, once more.


I’ll tell you what, their shit stinks just like everyone else’s.”

Manchester’s traffic sent down onto Chapel Street.


A lilac skirt after a print.

Curios. Mick Weaver jams Taj Mahal.
Boy with Dog. Unk.

Tiger! Tiger!

The great tea race.

Ascanio Sforza?
A tenner on the red.
The Communist Manifesto.
Cardinal sins, once more.

And that Jimmy Savile used to live in Prestwich… yeah, opposite the hospital.
And before that, near The Rialto.

Dialogue: Mary Wilde (b. Salford 1913 d. Manchester 2006)

Jonny Walsh
co-founder: PARIAH PRESS and Only Joking Records


Alex Woodall: UGN5-007


The Hole in the Road, Part 3

When I first adopted my slides, I did a mini Facebook survey to see what my Sheffield friends remembered about this amazing landmark of Sheffield gone by.

I think some of them will probably remember this exact shop and its amazing displays and lurid colours. The colour of goldfish?

I didn’t realise that there was a painting of the Hole in the Road by Anthony Lowe in the collection of Museums Sheffield (thank you Liz W) which you can see here:

‘You must mention the fish tank!
‘ said Amy. And this is something Rachael remembers too: ‘ I remember visiting from abroad when I was younger, the fish tanks and the fact that you see outside in the middle. I used to visit the sweet shops as we loved UK chocolate and didn’t have much of it in Africa.’

Kerry reminisces about these things too – amongst other less salubrious delights: ‘It smelt of a mixture of diesel, urine and greasy food. Tramps used to sit in the middle, passing around bottles of cider. It had shops down there; my parents went there to buy cut price cigarettes, while I pestered them to buy me sweets. It had loads of entrances and was a secret route into all the shops around, such as C&A and House of Fraser. They had window displays for the surrounding shops and a fish tank.’

Anna remembers walking past mannequins in the underground windows of House of Fraser, and one day stopping in her tracks as she realized that the mannequins for the women’s clothes were all actually male ones!

And my favourite from Chris, bringing the holes right up to date: ‘Everyone was so upset about the loss of the hole in the road that the council has replaced it with 10,000 holes in the roads.’

I remember once following a van driving through the city which had a sign painted on the back: ‘Welcome to Sheffield – Britain’s holiest city!’

And so it is. The Oyl Int Ruwad has been replaced by the era of the pothole.

Alexandra Woodall
PhD Researcher
School of Museum Studies
University of Leicester

Alex Woodall: UGN5-006

The Hole in the Road, Part 2

Somewhat remiss and belated, but here’s my second slide of three adopted.
All are scenes from Sheffield’s Hole in the Road.
Towards the end of June, I went for a walk around my most local reservoir, Damflask.
There’s a lovely tearoom halfway around in Low Bradfield, where I often stop for a little break.
A pile of old books and magazines lay on one of the tables, and since I was alone, I had a little browse.

I picked up a 1975 publication entitled ‘Discovering South Yorkshire’, sponsored by the now defunct South Yorkshire County Council.
I was delighted to flick through to discover the following:

“No visit to Sheffield would be complete without a tour of ‘The Hole in the Road’ – the main town-centre crossroads where an underground precinct allows access to many of the big stores and the market area from a partly covered concourse. If the weather turns really bad you can do all your shopping under cover making use of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport’s City Clipper service – a fixed fare, circular route, shoppers’ special bus service – to get you and your parcels back to the bus or railway station or car park. It is not surprising that Sheffield attracts shoppers from Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and the north Midlands. The City is such a popular shopping centre that there are special buses on Saturdays bringing customers from Stoke-on-Trent and the Potteries!”

Oh, how times have changed.

Alexandra Woodall
PhD Researcher
School of Museum Studies
University of Leicester

Clive Parkinson: PVP:GBR:PEN 1849

I’ve been pondering which slide from the Visual Resources Centre I’d adopt for some time, fully aware of the enormity of the task – both in terms of the precious nature of the material and the infinite possibilities. I recently had the dubious pleasure of sitting with my pallid, fellow patients in the waiting rooms of both my GP and the local hospital, where we were subjected to the psychological battery of some dim-witted middle managers idea of entertainment; the local radio station, 96.9 The Bay. Force fed sound – local adverts, inane chatter and music I’d not subscribe to. But it was the walls of the rooms that drove me to despair, peppered with nastily framed monstrosities that are the feverish delusion of local ‘artist’, Chas Jacobs, (no link offered…do your own google search).

Imagine some bilious flattened-out, artless rendition of purgatory, dressed up with figments of your own home town – a fifth-hand rendition of an opiate addict’s directions from one tourist hell-hole to the next. L.S. Lowry’s simpering, punch-drunk offspring perhaps? If some arts/health researcher had taken bloods, saliva, heart rate etc, they would have found my mind and body grievously assaulted by this deficit of imagination, in its bargain-bucket approach to aesthetics. Unnecessary harm was inflicted on me by our dear NHS. Too many people make assumptions as to what arts/health is about, and I guess this just sums up that misapprehension. Contemporary arts/health is more interested in the social determinants of health and when I think of our health being political, I’m fully aware the the arts are political too. The inequalities that act as barriers to health equality play a part in the way culture is understood, propagated and accessed.

So my choice from this archive of material wasn’t going to be some half-cocked choice, but something that resonates to the area I work in – in popular culture and some small liberation. The most thrilling part of a journey across England recently was the emergence of the eight water-cooling towers of Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. In the early morning sun, these sentinels thrilled me to the core. Give me the Kalgoorlie Super Pit over any divinely created Arizonan land gash. Intelligent design? No. Imagined and created by human minds and hands. Quite thrilling. Weren’t Bernd and Hilla Becher tapping into this, through their meticulous documentation of our industrial landscapes? It’s natural then, that I’m drawn to this sumptuous little slide of the Agecroft Power Station taken by John Davies in 1983. In the shadows of those giant cooling towers, people play football and live their full and rich lives. The blink of an eye. Those aggregated urban fantasies of our latter-day Fauvist, Chas Jacobs, are all cloying nostalgia and sentimental gibberish, pedaled to the masses as lowest common denominator ‘art’. Waiting for invasive and unpleasant treatment in hospital, works wonders on the imagination and my tendency to anxiety. This gibberish pap increases those levels of irritation and adrenaline.

For my part at least, the countryside can indeed be enhanced by a carefully positioned smelting unit, giant wind turbine, or sentinel pylon. Derek Jarman’s little shack is only what it is because it hitches a ride on the shadow of Dungeness’s advanced gas-cooled nuclear reactor. No potted plants can detract from the beauty of this, the ultimate provider of all our consumer needs! So, yes, I’d rip down the tat from my hospitals walls and replace them with the melancholic beauty of Agecroft Power Station. Something to think about, not some spoonfed cultural sedative.

Clive Parkinson, Arts for Health