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By: Rob Turner
The local golf course has been sold. It is an area of land in transition and I am watching what happens there.
# 24 [25 February 2013]
I decided to walk around 'The swamp' for a change. This is a part of the golf course I rarely go. On the way to it we discovered newly placed chestnut posts and wire blocking some pathways! Had to cross the brook of Plenty by using a pallet as a stepping stone. We also found a gate on the public footpath with a padlock on. So some real attempts to keep people out beginning to emerge now....Yet the path that bisects the area is totally unrestricted.
According to a security guard on the other side of the A299, who is based in a metal container next to engineering works, The Brook of Plenty which passes under the dual carridgeway has eroded its own tunnel walls and they have collapsed? This requires the lining for the tunnel under the road to be re-lined. Hence the generators and pumping water equipment causing the traffic diversion. Its only a small country lane and I expect hardly anyone has even noticed this.
We saw plenty of magpies and not a lot else apart from another dog walker...taking a strange route just outside the perimeter fence. I thought about following him, but as usual Cosmo wants to walk through the gate and down to where the graffiti tunnel is. I looked at the graffiti again and bits of it remind me of the layered drawings in the pre-historic Chauvet Caves. I can see layers where people spray on top of whats underneath, and this build up reminded me of the many drawings and engravings at the cave.
This Cave was discovered for the first time less than 20 years ago and it contains the earliest ever examples of art. I find it extraordinary that it was never found before? When I have time I would like to look more closely at 'Cave Paintings' I know there is a show at the British Museum called Ice Age Art.
Must get up to London to see that before the end of May.
# 23 [29 January 2013]
One Year On
The golf course was for sale for two years, as a golf club, but no one bought it, and it closed down. It is now a year that the golf course has been empty and my blog covers that year to date. There are no physical signs yet of the mixed use development plans outlined by NewmanQuin. The Development Vision was prepared and presented to the local authority as a deliverable and sustainable proposal for the councils Local Plans.
I heard of another golf course which had closed down and the local authority had cemented up the holes to prevent members of the public getting free rounds of golf in. This never happened here and I did see a few practicing. It is all over grown now.
I will fess up and say I did actually fill one of the holes up with soil and plant some wild flowers seeds in there, but as with the rest of my guerilla wild flower planting scheme, nothing grew.
So anyway I have decided to post a handfull of drawings each month now, depicting some aspect of the site.
Here are my January Drawings.
# 22 [22 January 2013]
I saw a green and red woodpecker in someones front garden just as I entered the golf course. I had never really seen one before, I made dummy ones painted them and screwed to some trees in the woods!
Today the golf course was busier than I ever saw it before! Not exactly Piccadilly Circus....but about 8-9 people including me, plus 2-3 dogs. I saw the left overs of snow-man fun, and was asked to take a photo on a blackbury of two young women sitting on the snow-sofa they just made. They were going to come back tomorrow with more girl power and build an igloo!
I did not build anything, but did notice that the majority of foot prints traversed the area from one side to the other, or place to place; yet I always skirt around the perimeter much less footprints almost none and I was the only person to have crossed the bridge near the overgrown 9th where the blue tent use to be.
The lonely horse was OK with a jacket on eating hay and Cosmo always seems to want to exit and go out past the graffiti tunnel under the motorway. I looked at the graffiti again and it reminded me of a book I read about cave paintings over the Xmas. Subterranean mysteries in remote places. Coded social meanings, and according to my book altered states of consciousness? probably true for some graffiti as well. The book also pointed out that without rebels, and what appears bad behaviour, taboos and bucking the system then society goes stale it needs refreshing....Did the graffiti writers want to change things I could read about their anger and feelings of hopelessness. These were the clearest messages they left behind in my language not theirs.
Back on the golf course which still has no sign of the diggers preparing groundworks for yet another architects master plan for a 'designed on paper community'. What will the graffiti writers make of it? The architect who can build buildings like sculptures and try very hard. But real appropriate ideas and vision, that's left to the everyday people who will live there. This is a 'Place' and that's my job, my work as an artist.
So for the moment I am enjoying this being a non place.
# 21 [23 November 2012]
I went for a walk round the golf course last night in the dark...it was so dark... but on this occassion my dog (Cosmo) seemed keen to take a left out and along to the underpass under the dual carraidgeway. I let this happen as I could not see anything and the change might do me good........WOW.
WOW.......I knew this underpass had graffitti all over it as I been through there on a number of occasions..........but I never been along it at night time before. It was lit up like a sports stadium waiting for the Olympic opening ceremony to start. in the complete darkness in the middle of nowhere......
I was actually blown away and spent 20 minutes looking really closely, trying to read, decipher it and find some way of interpreting it. The whole subway seemed more finished, both sides completely covered no background tiles visable anywhere. New work must have gone up covering years of tags and old stuff. I noticed several pieces dated 2012. I also noticed Eliza might have been doing grafitti in here for as long as ten years, going by tags a dates. I could almost say Eliza was the subject for many of the large lettering pieces. I thought it would be great to meet them, as what I was looking at here was a history of a group of people. History, but only allowed to use letter (ish) forms. Totaly abstract really, but I thought loaded with meaning if you were in the know. I wondered what Eliza and her mates were like at school? Was writing actually something they hated, was art a joke lesson, and if you asked them to keep a personal diary or scrapbook would they laugh and say 'bcolokls mate'. I wanted to get the yard broom out of my workshop and sweep up all the litter, dust and bundles of leaflets/ papers to make it look good. As it is an intervention or an installation.
Why so austere around the letter idea, religious devotion to it.
I have been doing a lot of letters latley, very text based work, and suddenly I've seen letters and connected with it. I liked the similarity between grafitti and cave paintings many years ago, but I never really connected with grafitti even though I walked past it loads of times......and more surprizingly I even did a summer project (grafitti type) with kids living in a deprived area in the summer with spray cans. I was interested, but the funny thing was; even though I enabled them to do grafitti I was frozen out.
So as usuall then I want to explore something really interesting, but have more than I cope with in other areas on different themes. Perhaps thats what being an artist is and by being patient I can explore it and get paid to do it later. One year later, 5 years later who knows. But my next task is an illustration for an interpretation panel. A drawing of the 'Radfall' a droveway through Thordenwoods. I'm not even an illustrator! But it is one of the final things to complete for The Wildart Trail which I am responcible for.
see project blog below
# 20 [4 November 2012]
Herne Bay Golf Club Developments
I have a copy of the Herne Bay Golf Club Development Vision Document and here is a section outlining the purpose of the document.
The Document is designed to help inform the Council of the
‘Deliverability’ and ‘Sustainability’ credentials of the Site, and provide a
robust evidence base to assist the Council in considering the Site as a
suitable mixed-use allocation in the emerging Local Plan delivering the
• Residential (approximately 400 dwellings);
• Retail (circa 2.9ha);
• Commercial (Employment opportunities circa 0.95ha);
• Medical (Doctors’ Surgery and Care Home);
• Leisure (Public House circa 800 sqm);
• Sports Hub 8.2ha (inc. new sports pitches/Astro Turf); and
• Education (in connection with Herne Bay High).
Copies of the document can be downloaded from the link below
I don’t expect anyone to actually download it, except me for research as it is the subject for my blog and I always knew development of this kind was inevitable.
No signs of the dozers on site yet as I doubt planning permissions are fully in place.
A twinge of sadness as progress marches on and I look back to when I was a child playing, getting muddy in those non-descript places that were quite common back then. Here is a list of the non-descript areas I grew up playing on!
Behind the pre-fabs
The Marshes and along the river, these were mixed with private company land the formally owned local authority land footpaths and the woods, the Abbey etc.
But these were odd spaces where you could ride your bike, build tree houses and dens, fire stones at bottles with catapults and if you didn’t look out: get stuck in quicksand!
That is why I’m interested in this space as it would have been one of the places I would have played in as kid. I walk my dog there and I am half heartedly playing there, drawing little maps and that, naming trees and stashing golf balls in secret places?
Where have those spaces gone? The’re used up?
The ‘Golf Course’ is a rare example of one of those spaces, and I hope the kids make the most of it before the hoardings go up and the diggers arrive.
# 19 [5 October 2012]
I have done 3 walks over the Golf Course now, specifically to plot the layout of the numbers put down by someone.
marking what?......Who knows?
Was this related to the mysterious 4x4 visit; as they appeared pretty soon after that?......who knows?
There are definatley x2 number 16 and they more or less go around the edges of the area. Some of them are on corrugated metal, but most of them are on green roofing felt squares about 12x12 inches?
Now I have found most of them I am rather disapointed with the layout. Most of the missing ones 1-9 are probably on the section where the tatooed man lives and I'm not walking round his patch. I already did this a little bit and managed to escape un-noticed.
I thought this number thing warrented a new base map. The old one was drawn by be with estimated shape and scale. This new one I have based on a better scaled map I found on the internet, it is no doubt based on an OS map of some kind and probably shows the actual shape properly. I have added the footpath which goes under the A299.
I'm done with the numbers now they are uninspiring, I'd hoped for an interesting shape!
# 18 [2 October 2012]
I went over the Golf Course the other day half expecting to see changes. Diggers or areas cordened off, hoardings or something to indicate building work starting. But no all's quiet:
Except I found a blue tent. What I wanted to do was tell my dog to go and check it out, make sure it was empty before I did. I could not do that as it was just on the other side of a boundary fence running along the Brook of Plenty. The fence was actually down and the posts used as bridges across the brook at that point where the tent was. Lots of barbed wire still attached, so I alone had to negotiate the brook to check the tent out. Cosmo did not fancy the barbed wire obsticles and I encouraged him to stay on golf course side of the brook, he tried to out flank the fence and obsticles, to no avail. Tent empty, flapping in the wind. Loads of bottles and rubbish strewn all around, not exactly in harmony with nature and idillic brook beside it.
Kind of sad looking at this scene, as it shows a total disregard for something ....... which I can't quite describe....all take, and give back nothing in return...a one way relationship to the natural world, in that it is there to be used up. Left behind only contamination.
I checked out the areas where trees have been felled and what I am calling the 'new earthworks'. The removal of these trees has diluted the sensation of corridors, which were a hang over from the fairways when it was a golf course. A kind of random tree positioning is the result. Interesting to position new houses amongst a random treescape I thought.
Moving on I found two traffic cones placed close together...to close to be goal posts, and they were on the tatooed mans side of a brook? I saw this brook marked on a map as the Herne Drain.
And I also saw a couple more numbers on the roofing felt squares. I looked under them (like the tatooed man did). Nothing. But as I walked I began to form a theory that they were around the perimeter of a shape. On my next visit this will be my objective to prove or disprove this hypothasis!
# 17 [28 September 2012]
Hector has gone, been dragged around the park 3 times! Totaly gone been dug out removed from history and the soil smoothed over.
Other trees have also been removed and areas of soil smoothed out. Small green squares of roofing felt (about 1 foot square) are placed all over the place. They have numbers sprayed onto them, the highest number I saw I think was 29.
I did see the tatooed man get out of a 4x4 right in front of me, and lift up one of these squares of felt as if to look underneath it, and then put it back down, odd?
Official footpaths have been marked with posts with yellow arrows indicating which direction to take. My friend Sue said, 'look this one tells you to go up this tree'! ....'What....So it does!' There is also a new foot bridge where the path crosses the Brook of Plenty.
# 16 [29 August 2012]
I found some photos of Hector and Achilles before Hector was duffed by Achilles. I was really amazed that I had taken them. Looking at them now you can see Hector really leaning, because I guess he needed light, being mostly in the Shadow of the neighboring tree.
I stayed up last night and did some drawings.......I enjoyed doing them.
# 15 [28 August 2012]
Range Rovers when not in aspirational residential developments look like suspicious vehicles to me.
I recently strolled across my country park with my dog and was surprised to see a clean very comfortable 4x4 driving across a wide open area and stop. About 5 people got out and opened the boot and left the car doors open. They huddled around the boot talking, as I walked from one clump of trees to another sheltering from the rain. At one point they all got back in the car as it was rainning quite hard.
A scene from a spy thriller was unfolding. One guy walked off 150 yards and then returned. Only the odd tree and grass where did he go and what for?
The other odd thing was I thought I could here music wafting intermitently in the wind! Was this coming from said 4x4 or was it from traffic with an open windows driving along the dual carridgeway just over the perimater fence. Your mind invents story's to explain what what is probably an on site planning meeting.
This is not what a fellow dog walker thought, as a couple of days ago she had seen two Black Range Rovers outside the club house where the tatooed man lives. Then she saw a police car drive up and policeman get out. Its all so secret the dealings around this piece of land! Blah Blah Blah.
Its amazing how these sort of rumours get started.
Well..... other news is Hector is still alive, three smaller trees have been choped down.....using a chain saw (badly as the back of the tree has been left sticking up from the stump). Does not look a proffesional job to me?
And some of the putting greens are finalaly turning into wildernesses.