Saturday can only be described as a day of pure happiness. I went along to the Green Backyard at 10am for the Overground Arts Festival, now in its third year. Luke Payn, one of the organisers, had invited me to be one of the guest artists there. Basically they get artists from all over to come along on the day and paint onto a wooden board. Most people there were graffiti artists of amazing talent, but there were some painters and collage-ers too. I’d been allocated a nice, un-intimidating 4’x4’ board, and I’d decided to do a grid based composition featuring one of my favourite things in the whole world: hand-drawn typography.
For those of you who don’t know or who are maybe reading from a far-flung place, The Green Backyard is a beautiful piece of land in the centre of Peterborough, and it is home to a number of amazing projects, like sculptures, allotments, a pond, a bee mound, free-range chickens, green energy, live music, art… the list goes on. It is run tirelessly by a father-daughter team as well as volunteers. Oh, and our city council would like to get rid of it. And replace it with a coach park.
Yes, you did just read that right.
So, outrage is plentiful round here at the moment, especially on a day like this one, where the sun beats down on delighted English people who have endured more than two months of sodden misery thanks to a mischievous jet stream. Why would the council want to get rid of such an amazing, popular community project? Especially as in the past Peterborough has led the way in green living, so I thought. In bleak economic times, a place that encourages sustainability and companionship, and shows us an alternative to consumerism must be a good thing, surely? If you want a coach park, can’t you dynamite Liquid or another ghastly nightclub?
Sigh. But the mood on Saturday was peaceful, and happy, mostly. I did have a strop mid way through my piece – the sun was beating down and I hadn’t had a beer yet. The colours were looking mucky and the brushwork was looking clumsy. I was on the verge of packing it all in, unfinished, and flopping on the grass with a drink, when someone cheerily approached asking me if they could buy it. I cheered up slightly. Five minutes later my neighbour who was also painting a board came over and asked if she could buy it. ‘I know exactly where I’m going to put it,’ she said. I cheered up a lot, and pushed onwards to finish it. Just who will end up with the final thing I don’t know, I didn’t pay for the board so it’s out of my hands. Here it is, all finished.
Oh, and in other news, I’m fully signed up to start a PTLLS (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) in September, which I can do at night around work. Very, very happy. Nothing like learning to shake life up a bit!