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Beans & Toast.

In the first year of 39 Elmore Road, I was still smoking and eating cannabis, I would awake at 5.30am have a bong, or perhaps two. Then around 6.30am in winter I would leave the flat to go to Rawmarsh, a friends house that I had used to to hide in from Sheffield at the time when Matilda came to an end..

I would get on the Train and watch the sun rise over the waste grounds that are the East End of Sheffield, still standing were the Cooling Towers of Tinsley.

It was during this time that a plan came to my mind. 5 years on, circumstance and weather has put play to the plan. I quite enjoyed  the commute and then getting stoned in Rawmarsh then coming back to Sheffield around 4pm I would set back off. I did this for around a year watching the sunrise and set in winter, as summer drew close it became just a commute.

In the winters days it was rather nice, on the train or bus, I have become to like December 25th, it is a good day for wandering, from the frozen waters of 1996 to walking through Neepsend in 1999. Then, being the only person in 2001 on Claywood, I was squatting and spent the day exploring every flat, all 800 of them.

Such walks and time out has saved me from the crass over consumption, the fucking insanity of it all, you can not beat being in a empty derelict Post Office on December 25th, or wakening in a woods and going for mass at Beauchief Abbey. If there is no rain and the weather is mild and dry then I’ll be off on a trespass. There will be no bus service to speak off, I have walked the Rivelin on December 25th, there is another thought but that might need two people so I’ll let that be to the 28th.

You can keep the over consumption, the fucking insanity of it all. Over the years I have grown to like December 25th as a time to go have a mooch, I do think about being caught, but you can not beat an empty Halifax Bank, then a walk over to me mothers, or a night in Rawmarsh and then walking back on December 25th to Sheffield, this time of year for people like myself is far too much of an opportunity for a bit of urban exploration.

So, as people wake, I shall be having me Weetabix, some Coffee, hoping the weather is not rain or snow, and off I shall go wondering. As the first disagreement begins, the opening of presents, the sound of Eastenders, kick into being, I hope to be somewhere I have been dreaming of for some years.

As the night draws in and the cat/dog are hiding, Dad is sleeping, Children playing with the empty box and Mother saying only another 364 days to next one.

I will be in the office/studio editing and uploading images from my December 25th. Just another day, the only thing that changes is the opportunity, this is why I have come to love this date.

I quite honestly dislike the over consumption and mass hype, one of the better moments was three years back, we had been wondering and walked down Spital Hill, shops open and live just going on, it is just another day, where trespass is made a little more of ease.

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The road….

…… Is not a line between places, it is place between places of its own. In a time past we walked the bucolic waste grounds of Sheffield, we trespassed outdoors and indoors to capture society in decay/dereliction. To escape the present, a walk into the past. It has become known as urban exploration. This is what I get me kicks out of..

Sunday I walked past what would have been my 20th urban exploration, an old house on Oxford St, Sheffield, demolished 1987. We then moved onto the derelict Sheffield Infirmary (where Tesco now stands) some of it still stands and the rest demolished, it was born from the former Sheffield Workhouse. In its past derelict state it was used for Threads, a film made in Sheffield..

Monday I caught a bus to town (as I looked over Sheffield ,in my minds eye a mushroom cloud), sorted out some shit and then had coffee at Broomhill. Back to West St (Rare n Racy) and at home I watched this..

More politics: If you have time read this.. Fuck, it is the end of the year, hence our Top Ten Urban Explorations each in their own a good time. It being Tuesday an overcast, rain sodden winters day, I would wander and capture the mood change in images. For now I shall enjoy Ornette Coleman, some coffee as the Incense burns and the candles flicker, I feel like a bath and some afternoon reading. Will get back to image taking ,thoughts are cooking…

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29 years ago and The Brixton Riots in Images.

Just over 29 years ago, shopping in Brixton, I stepped out of a card shop and two hundred yards up the road a car exploded as the 1981 Brixton riots, against a background of poverty, tension between police and the black population and a Thatcher government, ignited.

The riots, sparked in the belief that a youth suffering stab wounds was being refused medical attention by the police, were unexpected and unprecedented. In 1981, before the almost instantaneous communication of Twitter and Facebook it took several hours for the media to work out what was going on and for the first two or three hours I was almost certainly the only photographer at probably the worst peacetime riots in England in living memory; riots that preceded a wave of civil unrest, initially across London and then across the entire country.

A good article on the riots, their causes and the aftermath can be found on Wikepedia. More pictures from this series can be seen in a gallery on this site here.

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Our top 10 Urban Explorations of 2010.

This is our top 10 for the year 2010, yes it is that time of year some are out shopping, others are planning the urban explorations for 25/12/2010 and the year that follows. This is when our year begins regards urban exploration.

1: William Brothers I just love it. Though a lot got demolished during 2010

2: Stanley Tools. It took some years to get in here and then some time to get this place but I have fallen in love with her.

3:  Redmires Water Works. We was board of the same old same old, here was on the list. It was The Monkey who gave the world this place.

4: Mollett Catering Supplies in Bradford on Thornton Road. Just a classic Urban Exploration thanks to The Man SS.

5: George Barnsley and Sons Ltd. This place got done to death was stolen from by people who should know better, was smashed up etc etc, It was nice to see her once more.

6: Botanic Garden Tapton Experimental Gardens This would have been the place The Triffids come from, it was that creepy.

7: Laycocks Silversmiths This likewise has been giving us the slip, we had word access was easy (yer right) and once inside it had some charm but our mood just was not there we had missed something round the corner.

8: Clarkson/Osbourne Building, Another Sheffield Classic and we had to do it when live, now demolished.

9: Beehive Works Parts of here are still very much live, it took an age to work a way into the derelict parts.

10: Woollen Signs and much where the year began, there was The Old Post Office, however this comes in at no 10.

 

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My domestic circumstances..

I removed the last blog for good reason but, having re-read it… Well, the paint has gone onto the walls and the studio has lost that dark green and scruffy feel it had. It took three fucking coats to get rid. As narnia melts away, I have not been out. Friday I went for The Sheffield Telegraph, been in since Wednesday trying to forget the negative of that day. In that time there has been another student protest in London, both sides are saying each other are thugs.

It brings me back round to James Wallbank and Access Space, all this painting and when we had spent an age getting things right, it was painted over, no doubt the dark green looked good to the other person. However, I have gone white, with a touch of magnolia, to bring out the features of the attic room that is now an office/studio.

 

I have a music room, with wall hangings, and that will get some paint licked over the rather tired looking wood work, I want to paint the woodwork on the stairs black, the walls are white with art works hung.

The Bathroom is the same magnolia I have used in the office/studio with a a old intercom from a friends flat hangs, a space is vacant and I ponder what to put there? The bedroom is white with a wall hanging and some photographs from a former friend.

 

The reading room, as it has become, will have an A0 black in white print fly posted to the wall when I get it done, home is taking shape and as I paint, thoughts go back to James Wallbank, no paranoia but he needs to move on. At the end of the day shit happened and, in turn, it served myself as good, alright one is still not over that bitch Matilda and if she is demolished I might just dance on her ruins. There is no ill thought or malice about events at Access Space, I have moved on others need to do the fucking same.

I have enjoyed the last couple of days painting away, for the first time in years there has been no need to take images, no need to seek attention, now where is that paint brush- erm black, goes off to think.. now the snow has all but gone, I might go for a wander to help me in that thought.

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The Paint.

Is still looking at me, but the snow distracted myself along with another protest, from 3000 down to 250, and then at the weekend no more than 60. A strange mix of people. I would normally leave the politics to the other blog.

However, this came up on Barnsdale:

A recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation report confirms that there are now 2.1 million impoverished children in homes where parents are in work, an increase on previous years and a figure that is set to rise thanks to ConDem policies. A staggering 58% of impoverished children live in homes where one or both parents work, giving lie to the sick Tory myth that child poverty is the fault of idle parents. As co-author of the report, Tom MacInnes says:

“With more than half of all children in poverty belonging to working families, it is simply not possible to base anti-poverty policies on the idea that work alone is a route out of poverty … Child poverty in working households must be given the same focus as out-of-work poverty. Until this happens, debates about poverty will continue to be misleading.”

The  groundbreaking findings presented in Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett’s book, ‘The Spirit Level‘, shows exactly where the problem lies and what needs to be done to truly address this problem. The years of research behind this book have  provided hard evidence to show how almost every social problem – from life expectancy to depression levels, violence to illiteracy, preventable disease rates to academic achievement  – is affected not by how wealthy a society is, but how equal it is.

Britain in the third millennium remains stunningly unequal. Classism is as blatant as it is rife. It’s a word that’s out of political favour at the moment, but what we need is a new movement of ‘levelers’. What we need is an urgent and far-reaching leveling of socioeconomic inequality. What we need is class war!

My thoughts are this, change comes from the desire to change, all the recent protest are about protecting the socioeconomic status of those involved. Not fundamental change of capitalism as it stands. I have been moving from the dysfunctional attention seekers once more Saturday proved, the report from Joseph Rowntree Foundation tells me nothing new.

There is nothing groundbreaking in this report and the recent student actions, just the same old class war! And a lot of hype. If we desire change then we have to become that change, but the cracks in the pavement are leading us to the beach perhaps we better spend our time letting them be.. I visited William Brothers once more, I rather like her as she stands, an atonement to the urban age me thinks.

 

We might like to paint/change the ruins of capitalism as though we are in some form of denal how fragile things are, once more I have had quite a nice time wandering and coming home to slippers a un-painted house matters not, um.. yes (strokes chin..), while it has been a journey of interest being one of the dysfunctional attention seekers, time to move on.

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There is still life in the snow..

It should have been, I get on with task. The paint is still looking at me however the winter playground is where I have been and it seems I live in a community, I left this morning to the sound of birds looking for food with the sound of spades chipping the frozen snow making paths for the rest of us. The further you got out of Walkley you began to encounter crass car drivers, brain dead joe public.

It might be right like 28 days later, the dead walk into the urban metropolis looking to feed off the detritus of others, it has been like that last few days, as you walk back out of town into Walkley normality returns. A quick pint in The Blake (him indoors) and we are back out to sound of spades chipping the frozen snow making paths for the rest of us.

I still have not managed to become deeply domesticated, but I now have the slippers and Friday night might just be another load of washing and brushing of carpets, as I must have a wonder through Rivelin on Saturday Morning, then that paint might stop nagging me as we spend an afternoon applying ourself to the task the snow has got in the way of. Oh, the search for oblivion has come to an end as I feel one will never find it, what is that wardrobe door doing open? Off to have a look, could be a while..

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Home Truths and the search for Narnia (2)

So the records have been broken in Sheffield, we have the deepest snow since 1882, that is what we are told and I have been walking in what is very much like Narnia. Capitalism has come to an almost stand still and community has come to forefront. People are speaking, eyes making contact, in snow I have some quite wonderful times of joy..

At the age of 8 I was moved to Todwick Grange in the summer we had the grounds to play Fox and Hounds, till sunset, by the age of nine I had my own room, it was Christmas the staff of the children’s home gave me the all clear to decorate my bedroom. It had a deep windowsill, with soap I created snow and it become the center of my Christmas decoration.

The snow came late that year, in January it fell, I sledge down the long drive for hours, made a giant snowman with The Staff and other Children of Todwick Grange and each time I read C S Lewis’ the tales of Narnia, it is here that comes to my mind.

In January of 2010 the snow fell, I walked with a close friend through The Rivelin Valley up to Redmires and back to 39 Elmore Road, for over 5 hours we had escaped into Narnia, snow for me will always remind me of the little joy that was my early years of youth, in the last few years it has meant escape from the present, just the same as urban exploration.. for a time I can goto another world where time has stood still, in the last few days this has happened one is not to bothered about it being the deepest snow since 1882, I can not but laugh at the impact it has had, now perhaps that has added to the joy, like a derelict building it shows how fragile the structures of capitalism are..

“Your action, and the action of your fellow students all over Britain, in standing up to a mendacious, undemocratic government is one of the most important and exciting developments in my recent lifetime. People often look back to the 1960s with nostalgia – but the point about the Sixties is that it took the establishment by surprise. And that’s what you have done. Your admirable, clever, courageous actions have shocked and frightened a corrupt political class – coalition and Labour – because they know you have the support of the majority of the British people. It is you, the students on the streets – not the Camerons, Cleggs and Milibands – who are the authentic representatives of the people. Keep going. We need you. All power to you.”  John Pilger on the recent inspiration that has been the students actions.

It is perhaps I desire another world why I have Joined the protest in Sheffield, but there was the normal dysfunctional attention seekers (and yes I include myself in this). I have only one thing in common with The Students, I desire another world, but my reasons are without doubt a lot more different to theirs. In the last few weeks I have found home, for a brief moment I have been reminded of Narnia and the students have given us hope that another world might be possible, but for now I shall go walking. I hope to meet you in Narnia.

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Home Truths and the search for Narnia

I ain’t an ordinary person with an extraordinary story to tell, just found myself in circumstances due to my desire to appear and then become dysfunctional. The lifestyle anarchist took me over, it has been a while to kick the habit.

Every so often I find myself back in the ever descending circle of the dysfunctional attention seekers to ease the sinking feeling of isolation.. There are times I love the solitude of myself, other times it drives me to go seeking attention. The Home Truth being I was forced to integrate be of a community, I call this The Bastard-discourse of myself. From there life became a ruin. I was bullied due to being overweight with a speech problem.

One is learning to become a loner once more but, as with Tuesday, I find myself with the attention seekers and then pondering the wisdom of such a move as I sat drinking Earl Gary tea, in the quiet before the storm. Sheffield is deep in snow, I have loved snow from the age of six.. it was a cold December night, someone had set fire to the local changing rooms, used for the playing fields that backed onto 37 Hallsall Avenue. I watched them burn to the ground as the snow fell, the next day being Christmas Day. As the rest of the children home opened presents, I got the alright to go outside, I walked into another world (in later life it become known as Narnia). I was on my own, it was wonderful

I got back indoors, was given my presents to open then was forced to share them with the rest of the home, here began The Bastard-discourse of myself, I have never forgotten that Christmas Day. As I marched in protest with people nothing in common with myself in the snow on Tuesday I was taken back to then, Walking round on Wednesday was like a snowy apocalypse movie: No cars, just bands of semi silent people walking down the middle of the road and It’s official! Deepest UK snow is in Sheffield 18″+ of snow has buried England’s 4th city.

Tuesday was nothing more than attention seeking, I have nothing in common with these people they likewise have nothing in common with myself, just fair weather friends, that I need to stop pretending one is dysfunctional and end being a lifestyle anarchist, a lot has happened in the last 4 years and I found myself involved through the desire to escape 39 Elmore Road, it is now time to stop looking for oblivion and go find Narnia, I sometimes have found this in my urban explorations.. I will write more but the door on the wardrobe is open back to Todwick Grange and the snow of 1976. You get this, I like lost worlds and snow reminds me of such a places..

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Bringing it all Back Home (part 2)..

(Part One can be found here)

It flows that following active involvement I have an ill nights sleep, so at 2am I was awake in a bath.. It worked and by three I was sound asleep.. Waking, I looked out the window.. no sunrise over Sheffield. The snow was deep and far deeper than last year’s. At long last we had the real shit..

For the old and infirm not good news, but for people like myself it was a joy I dressed, came to the studio/office.. oh the joy of home. Logged on, checked a few things. 9:30 I was out the front door at Walkley Bakers for 9:45 having seen the joy of life with out cars, they lied at the side of the road like redundant snow sculptures

People walked/talked and shared the joy of walking in the middle of Howard Road, I was meeting a friend for Coffee at Refresh, what a joy of stillness and quiet invoked by the heavy snow fall. People were joyful, talking to each other. Not in their isolation tins, but on foot.

It has been that sort of year, the uprising of communities, that another world could be possible without Planes (yes, the weeks of no trails due to a volcanic eruption) now the snow had done the same and proven that cars, the current way of life is redundant. The Joy of skipping down Whitham Road in the middle on a Wednesday afternoon outside Western Park can not be told. Neither can the joy of snow.

It has not been like this since 1981, indeed students running The Police round London Benny Hill style, occupations.. who said another world was not possible? That snow is calling me back out doors.. Just a note: if you have an old person/infirm person, do the right thing and knock their door, check they’re alright, offer to go shopping or whatever they might need. Be the community you desire.

Love, Rage and, of course, Anarchy..

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