Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Russian Tank, 8th January

We were meeting some friends for a catch-up as we hadn’t seen each other since before the Holidays, and a bit of a wander which was more than welcome considering I hadn’t done any exercise, or indeed barely left the flat, since before Christmas. We agreed to meet at the Brunel museum (though not go inside) and head out from there in the direction of Bermondsey, an area I wasn’t acquainted with.

Bermondsey is meant to be a bit of an up and coming place and from what I saw it does seem to have its fair share of trendy and inviting cafes, bars and eateries. At least along Bermondsey High Street. We stumbled across the Bermondsey (obv) branch of the White Cube gallery and decided to have a mosey in there. There were two artists showing their work. Both contemporary. Neither particularly appealing to me. I do like modern art sometimes but this stuff didn’t really speak to me on a visual level, and as they weren’t accompanied by explanations of their meaning, they didn’t really speak to me on an intellectual level either. The actual building they were showcased in was impressive. Cubic and, you guessed it – white. Very large rooms with tall ceilings and not much else apart from the works on show.

After having completed some wandering, I had my bearings a bit, and while in the Cube, realised that I was pretty sure that one of the things on my List was in this rough area. I had a quick scroll (I keep a copy of my list on my phone) and checked where Mandela Way was in relation to where we were. It was a mere mile away. I suggested to my friends that we make it our next destination and they agreed.

It was fairly easy to get to Mandela Way, but it didn’t really look as I had expected. We were there to see a decommissioned Russian tank, that as far as I could remember, was sitting in someone’s front yard, with it’s gun pointing toward City Hall (or the local council offices, not sure which) because they tried to stop the owner from leaving it there. Where we turned up was in the middle of what looked like an industrial estate, not the sort of place with houses in front of which tanks could be planted. I was a little disheartened. But not for long. Our techie friend immediately looked it up on the Net and it turns out the tank has its own Wikipedia page which kindly tells you exactly where on Mandela Way it is. We were in roughly the right place and only had to walk ten minutes to reach it.

There it was, on corner of some scrubland, sitting behind a fence. 

It has been painted and repainted a couple of times but now is mostly covered in graffiti. I thought it was going to look more like it did when in use but actually, the graffiti is quite effective in making it look like it’s just a natural part of the urban landscape. I was busy trying to take pictures of it through the fence when I noticed my friend wander into my shot, which rather surprised me as I had assumed it was cordoned off. In fact, just one foot along there was an opening in the fence, clearly so people could get up close to it and have a play on it, which my boyfriend duly did. 

Other people might think it’s not really worth the effort to get to it, as it’s not really near any tubes and to be honest, I wouldn’t want to walk in that area alone or on a dark night but I’m glad we did it. I get to cross another quirky bit of London off the list, but also it was oddly enjoyable seeing it there. 

1 comment:

  1. Did you see your photo on the tank's foursquare page? You and the tank are linked forever!

    ReplyDelete

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About Me

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I work as an editor in educational publishing by day, and then spend most of my spare time discovering interesting things to do in London, and taking people there with my own Meetup.