diamond geezer

 Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Bank holiday postcard: Leake Street Subway
It used to be a dark and forbidding tunnel beneath the platforms at Waterloo, running approximately beneath the front of twelve-car trains. Cars drove through, and pedestrians nipped through if they had to, taking a necessary shortcut between the South Bank and Lower Marsh. When Eurostar moved out the tunnel was made pedestrians only, and the following year Banksy moved in under cover to decorate the walls. His work's long been painted over, but the Leake Street Subway is still a graffiti artists' plaything, appropriated throughout for the urban collective. They're not necessarily the greatest works of art, to be fair, a lot of them (admittedly colourful) tags and scrawl. But some of the current designs have flair, particularly when Star Wars or comicbook superheroes have been appropriated, and the quality's often better the higher up the wall they are (suggesting the use of either ladders or scaffolding). Even first thing on a bank holiday morning there was a beardy bloke on the go with a can, and if you stepped on something cylindrical in the darkness it was more likely an aerosol cap than a can of lager. Departing commuters probably know nothing of the transient gallery beneath the tracks, but freedom of expression has created a modern-day palimpsest in this SE1 netherspace.

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