Thursday, 13 January 2011

Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens: £250k for a gold statue & Tea House Theatre refurb

(Photo taken from Tea House Theatre blog)

The Tea House Theatre (formely the Queen Anne strip pub) are moving ahead rapidly with their renovations.  They've got a new Tea House Theatre blog, where you can view photos of their renovation work and track their progress.  They've uncovered centuries of old wallpaper, discovered original fire places and cleared and cleared and cleared to reveal 1200 square feet of space.  It's very positve and will hopefully encourage further development of an "arts quarter" in SE11.

(Photo taken from Friends of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens site)

What are they building on Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens?  Two 18 metre lit-columns to mark the entrance to the park.  Last night, as I was waiting for a lift outside Vauxhall station, I noticed that the two Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens "columns" appear to be surrounded by scaffolding, but progressing quite well.  They look a bit tall and rather strange in comparison with the surrounding buildings (reminding me of two down turned cigarettes), but art appreciation has never been my strong point.  What do readers think?

(Photos from Cinema Museum website and Bangalore.metblogs respectively)

Finally, how much does it cost to erect a statue of your favourite guru (or guruette) in Lambeth?  It appears that all you need is the backing of the Mayor and a £250,000 bribe (or, ahem, offering) to a local "friends of" group for regeneration of the Gardens.  Obviously, with looming council cuts, the money is attractive to the Friends of the Pleasure Gardens, but it does beg the question of whether local residents want a 3.5 foot bust (on plinth) of Basavanna, a 12th century Indian philosopher, on the Albert Embankment?  (I must make it clear that I'm not against public busts of important cultural figures from all over the place, and this Indian chap sounds like a thoroughly progressive guy, but I question the manner in which this has been proposed.  Which councillors would consider objecting and upsetting the mayor?)  It seems that the bust won't technically be in the Pleasure Gardens (which only accepts busts of local dignitaries), but on a grass verge opposite the Texaco garage which is not quite in the park, and therefore qualifies as an appropriate place for the statue.  Sounds a bit, well, below the belt...  Thanks to Vauxhall Society for the heads up on that story, and read more information about the proposal here.

All of this does lead me to wonder whether Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens might accept money for the often proposed (and somewhat unattractive) giant 20 foot outline of Charlie Chaplin that frequently does the rounds?  Will Charlie look down from the park on Basavanna?  And who will have the last laugh?


Andrew Orange said...

Actually I fear your bad art radar is spot on.

Still, those giant cigarettes will beautifully frame the street drinkers who congregate there, all set off by the glinting, twinkling reflections from the broken glass that's always lying around there.

Don't get me started on the Charlie Chaplin sculpture.

Richard said...

Is there half a car in that photo?

Anonymous said...

I really do not understand the mentality of Indians (though I live in India). A few years ago there was a fight in India (in Karnataka) when some of the Indian actors wanted Charlie Chaplin's statue to be erected. There were many protests held and at last no statue was erected. But, now Indians feel it as something great to erect their religious leader's statue in the UK.

Anonymous said...

I think they could possibly be covert missile silo's handy for protecting the MI buildings? One could also describe them as the gates to hell for those past there sell by date clubbers who can all to often (these days) be seen receiving treatment atop what has been christened by some as Ketamine Hill!

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