I would love to say that the title of this posting implies some kind of emotional, spiritual or other physical epiphany, but that would be done with just the merest hint of over exaggeration. However, to me, the exclamation mark is well and truly earned. This Saturday I found a site, a place that I had been trying to find for months. I say trying to find in a somewhat lose version of the term. Essentially, as I have baffled, bemused and bored people with in equal measure, I have a fetish for street art, graffiti and whatever other term we care to use for it and this weekend I hit payload. The difference between this weekend and any other is that I had the time, the inclination and the sense to use Google Maps to find it, or at least somewhere near it.
I tend to find that this type of art, some of the better examples of it anyway, tend to appear in places that you wouldn’t ordinarily wish to go and this was no different. This place was in fact an abandoned engineering plant at the back of Sheffield, next to the train line and apparently forgotten about by everyone and everything apart from weeds, alcoholic tramps and passing dogs with digestive ailments. Every time I have the pleasure of a train trip to Sheffield for work, I see this place and have wondered where it is. A wreck and a ruin of something industrial that is being slowly, smashed, battered and destroyed by the world, it is covered from head to toe in gaudy and garish paintings and it looks fantastic. 2 miles before this pot-hole riddled, smashed and pungent Xanadu there is the rugged beauty of the peaks, the Moors, but to a rather different eye-view, this is just as interesting.
There was just one prroblem and it was quite a significant one, it was completely viciously fenced in, barbed wire, fences, padlocks and a sodding great river to boot. I’d come this far, so I was not going to be deterred, not that easily. I paced, I prowled and then I found a hole in the fence. It was at this point that I had to overcome two barriers; 1) did I use the almost sheer, sandy drop route, or did I push my way through the razor sharp brambles, grabbing trees and Special brew cans/KFC buckets/condoms (that must have been one hell of an evening!)route and 2)what would the passing pedestrians/drivers think as they saw a forty year old man with a beard hop over the barrier and enter the woods? I don’t have much of a reputation to maintain, but I don’t want to appear on any register the police may hold!
I chose the latter and escaped with only minorly deep gashes to shins, elbows and ankles. And there it was, laid out in all its broken beauty before me, mine for the taking. At that moment, I truly got a sense of what the Conquistadors must have felt as they beheld Machu Pichu, honest guvnor.
I’d found it and it did not disappoint. Now, my only concern was that I didn’t fall down one of the many dark holes that appeared from nowhere, didn’t get molested by a gang of horny tramps, felled by something falling from the battered roof, or detained by a passing Security Guard.