Yellow Borough

Jerry: Like Bizarro Superman. Superman's exact opposite, who lives in the backwards bizarro world. Up is Down. Down is Up. He says "Hello" when he leaves, "Good bye" when he arrives. 
Elaine: Shouldn't he say "Bad bye"? Isn't that the, opposite of "Good bye"? 
Jerry: No. It's still a goodbye. 
Elaine: Uh. Does he live underwater? 
Jerry: No. 
Elaine: Is he black.. 
Jerry: Look. Just, forget it.
- Seinfeld, The Bizarro Jerry


Whitbread seems to be having an inter-departmental competition to see whether Costa Coffee or Premier Inn can knock out most new premises fastest (poor old Brewer's Fayre - no-one talks to those losers at the Christmas Party)... and Lewisham is in their sights. A new Premier Inn is planned for Lewisham town centre, replacing a car lot next to Plough Bridge, near Lewisham Station.
Part of the deal put together to secure planning for the 60-room hotel is that a new piece of public art will be created under the bridge, to jolly it up. And the proposed work is mahsiweL, by Henry Stringer Duval - a bright yellow LED lightbox with Bizarro spelling meant to reflect the diversity of the languages spoken in the borough.
mahsiweL inverts not only the spelling of our fair borough, but also its colour scheme, demoting the over-exposed royal blue to give priority to our glorious canary yellow. There's not enough primary colour in the public realm and the Blue Borough really needed to rethink its palette, so this gets the BC blessing. 

If you want your say, fill out this survey by May 5th. Work is due to start on the hotel itself shortly.

40 comments:

terrencetrentderby said...

I bet Henry Stringer Duval can't believe his luck. Lewisham spelt backwards.
Wow.

Brockley Nick said...

HSD is a team, rather than a person.

terrencetrentderby said...

*their

uoy knahT

Anon said...

'...suggest possible ethnic diversity inherent in a place through language...'. I didn't know that dyslexia counted as an ethnicity. Looks to me like a massive insult to mahsiwel's diverse ethnic communities.
Even if it wasn't such an insult, I can't think of anything more corporate than a council logo being used as art in this way. No doubt it will get the nod from the licnuoc lacol, who it will appeal to more than any residents.

Anonymous said...

Worst idea ever. Why not pay local artists to brighten up depressing areas of the borough like under railway bridges etc perhaps create images of the people of Lewisham or what they like most about the borough. Hell they might even do it for free. This is a very uncreative idea and makes no sense whatsover why would we want to see letters spelling the name of the borough backwards in the Council's colours? What have they been smoking! Next they will be saying that an artwork of Mayor Bullock should be created on every street corner so we can all admire his substantial facial hair in cartoonish colour.

mahsiwel said...

Is this a belated April fool's?! That is horrendous and a massive waste of an opportunity to add something nice to the area.

Jon from SE4 said...

This is a horrible attempt at being trendy. Trust Lewisham Council to cock things up, yet again.

mahsiwel said...

Yes, I think this picture of Henry Stringer Duval (the artist behind this 'concept') sold it to them...

http://payload178.cargocollective.com/1/12/402069/5878929/Duval%20Timothy%20mahsiwel%20installation%20rob%20felix%20Esm.jpg

Seems like something cooked up by Nathan Barley.

Good grief said...

Seriously, what have we done to deserve this?

AliAfro said...

Personally, I prefer Southwark's attempt at public art: http://brockleycentral.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/shiny-shiny.html

Tim said...

I'm fairly sure most people won't realise it's art, and will assume it's some sort of advert, but won't be able to work out what for. I wonder how long it took Henry Stringer Duval to think it up?

Tim said...

... and how does writing something backwards suggest diversity?

Brockley Nick said...

'Dere's more ways to spell Lewisham dan dis'

Pizza snob said...

In fact both "male wish" and "ale whims" I'm sure would be a hell of a lot more popular.

Van Halen said...

If they go with this design I dont think people will take Lewisham seriously at all and the borough may well become a laughing stock. What about creating something like the Dalston Peace Murial?

Brockley Bob said...

I'd be interested to know why my idea wasn't chosen

Brockley Nick said...

A mural won't work well under a grimy rail bridge. Whatever's created needs to be illuminated. I don't think we need worry about the other boroughs picking on us.

JPM said...

Tahw a elip fo parc!
Lewisham speak, innit.

Sue L said...

I distinctly remember speaking at the planning meeting for the Loampit Vale development and asking if improvements to under that bridge could be made as a condition. I was assured by the cabinet member responsible that they would ensure that happened but the developers seemed to get off the hook, so glad something is going to happen linked to this development.



Not the current proposal though, please, it's about as inspiring as sticking a big pile of stones in the middle of a roundabout and calling it art, or calling the lit-up sign for a library an art installation, or paying a small fortune for lots of blue lights in trees, oh wait a minute, we did those already anyway. . .

teahound said...

Says everything about the councils attitude to art - backwards. It looks terrible. A triumph of art wank being sold to a committee. It's just corporate crap.

Broca said...

People want to stay in Lewisham?

anonymouse said...

I like it. There's always the possibility of something better, but I like it. When you see how the centre of Lewisham is fast becoming a concrete canyon, what's to complain about this artwork?

Tj said...

This is the borough with Goldsmith's at its artistic core, the borough the kickstarted the emergence of British modern art as a world player in the 90s, and we get....that! Seriously Lewisham, how about ensuring you have a panel of art experts and a competition for this sort of thing. The art suggested is lazy, and the council is being lazy....oh so maybe it does fit...

Johnny said...

Very Interesting there is a lot more to Lewisham than Goldsmiths. we have the largest population in London and the least amount per head spent on the arts/libraries provision in London. Wake up Lewisham the residents want more for our pound.

Brockley Nick said...

"we have the largest population in London and the least amount per head spent on the arts/libraries provision in London."

From the 2011 census:

"Croydon was the most populous London borough with 363,000 usual residents. Eight other London boroughs recorded populations of over 300,000; Barnet (356,000), Ealing (338,000), Enfield (313,000), Brent (311,000), Bromley (309,000), Newham (308,000), Wandsworth (307,000) and Lambeth (303,000)."



Not sure where you get your figures about arts / libraries?

Pessimist said...

Jesus. This is the best we can do? Civilisation in decline. Time to move to New York.

Anon said...

Yeah why not an old mattress Tracey Emin has slept or a Damien Hirst halal cow stuck on the wall?

What about a tribute to Lewisham's heritage of sea faring traders and bring back the sumo wrestlers.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/rmerritt/485804100/

NAT said...

Even 'I am Welsh', would have its followers.

Van Halen said...

I dont mean the mural under the grim bridge I mean somewhere else entirely which people can actually enjoy looking at in a distinctive public space, perhaps somehwere in the new Lewisahm gateway development. Why have it hidden under that bridge? Some coloured lights under the bridge as Southwark has them would be much better than this.

Brockley Nick said...

But there was a desire to do something about this dark bridge, an opportunity to get a neighbouring development to pay for it. The question is whether or not this is a good installation for this location.


I agree, it would be nice to create something else somewhere else as well. No reason why it should be one thing or the other.

Magic Geoff said...

I actually don't mind it. It's only under a bridge and looks like a bit of fun for once. (and will make it a bit brighter as well)


I think sometimes, knee-jerk reactions against whatever is proposed is the usual response. Sometimes justified, sometimes not, but people don't stop to actually weigh things up most of the time.


(Obviously shops closing down reverse their signs like this, so I hope that's not the subliminal here!)

Hillyfieldsgirl said...

Is it possible to provide a link to the pdf file about the proposed art work that is mentioned in the survey?

Tag said...

I guess it is okay for some of you sad racists to hide behind your online personas and be abusive. Shame on you!

Jon from SE4 said...

Nobody was being racist here. I voiced my disapproval of this without even knowing who or how this artist looks like. The art installation proposed here is crap.

Tag said...

Not racist eh? what is this comment then? " Dere's more ways to spell Lewisham dan dis'". You sad sad person. Get a life. You are entitled to your opinion but you are probably no more qualified to judge good work from bad than the next resident. We black folks like it!!

blacker than black said...

So just one comment (which may or may not be racist) and you judge everyone here to be a racist. Well done you sad sad person.

"We black folks like it"

I am black and detest this so called art.

Tag said...

No further denials of racism then? People like you live sad little lives and can only express your frustrations through sarcasm and bile. So now you are suddenly 'black' are you? You are fooling no one you truly execrable being.

Brockley Nick said...

Since that was my comment you're talking about, I suppose I'd better respond. "Dere's more ways to spell Lewisham dan dis" was actually a reference to the Alan Partridge scene where he tries to ingratiate himself with some Irish people and says "Dere's more to Oirland dan dis" (Irish accent, not patois, or whatever you thought it was supposed to be). Even if it were, it wouldn't be racist. And in case you hadn't noticed from the article, I like the artwork.

Headhunter said...

Wow, someone has an enormous chip on their shoulder....

Selma said...

I think it's a good idea, hopefully decent bars, restaurants and shops will bring lewisham back to how it was many years ago, allowing young and old to enjoy the place both day and night. born and lived here all my life and it's about time they knocked down things like car washes and pound shops. Can't wait for decent shops to replace the grubby pop up ones that have dragged lewisham into the gutter over the last 10 years or so.

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