Monday, 30 January 2012

Over the hedge

Above is an excellent photograph by Andy Lock, a photographer who has recently been making studies of the Stocking Farm estate in Leicester. You can view his work on his website here   

There's a great deal of the slightly strange, sharp-edged quality of the post-WW2 architectural photographs by Eric de Mare in Andy's photo, but I also like this for two other reasons - one is that it's a quite typical image of the council estate landscape, somehow refracted through the very English surrealism of the paintings of David Inshaw, and tempered with a good dose of sunny Sachlichkeit. 

The other reason is that it shows a privet hedge. If and when I get some research money to do my deep archaeological/phenomenological study of the Middlefield Lane estate (the AHRC Connected Communities strand of funding has just turned me down, so here's another council estate community that won't get connected quite yet) I will look at the continuing existence of the privet hedge there. Here's one by the gate to the back garden of one of the houses on Priory Close:

And very neat and compact and naturally defensive it is. This hedge must now be forty six years old. I have fond memories of being told off as a kid for deliberately diving into them (or was I pushed?), and of the sweet, heady scent of the small creamy white flower buds that more often than not did not come into flower at all. I know that the privet is viewed as being dull and 'suburban' but they do make a difference across a council estate, they soften things, especially in contrast to the mish-mash of fences that the post-Right to Buy world has admitted. But I've been led astray in relation to what I really wanted to write about, which will now turn up in the next post. 

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