Walsall's changing. Some call it progress but I can't get excited about yet more fast food outlets and a massive Primark dominating the skyline.
I barely visit town any more. Half the charity shops have moved out and the stock in the remainder is depressingly shoddy, little wonder as parking outside to drop off donations is nigh-on impossible with the one way system and double yellow lines. In a couple more weeks it'll be nothing but clapped-out Atmosphere dominating the rails once the town's population tire of the purchases they made when Primark opened its doors eight weeks ago.
There's a few interesting indie shops holding out against the retail giants. The Curio Shop opened in 1969 and remains packed to the rafters with all manner of antiquities, junk and house clearance curiosities.
Eerie Ink is just one of many tattoo parlours in the town. If you ain't got a tattoo you're considered a bit weird round here although THIS local chap might have taken the ink loving a bit too far.
Market House has been beautifully restored but stands empty.
I'd love those Corinthian columns outside our front door. (Identifying Ionic, Doric and Corinthian columns, my grammar school education wasn't a total waste).
The modern building to the left replaced Shannon's Mill, a clothing company which, at its height in 1887 employed 600 people and made almost 180,000 garments. It was destroyed by arsonists in 2007. The gate house with the chimney is the only part that remains, for years Ace of Hearts, a tattoo parlour run by a mother and daughter.
Walsall's always had a huge Mod scene. We've even got a dedicated club.
The School of Art opened in 1908. It was built in 1859 and was originally the town's Free Library.
My Grandma took a few courses here in the early 1970s. One of her classmates was the notorious serial killer known as the Black Panther.
Directly opposite the old college is fabric shop, The Hole in the Wall. Back in the early 1980s most of this area was derelict and occupied by squatters. The coolest of the bunch was Boy George who lived with Walsall lad Martin Degville, later to become lead singer of Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Seeing him walking around town dressed in a silver spacesuit or an Elizabethan ruff with his dog dressed to match was a familiar sight. Nobody really batted an eyelid - or if they did they didn't dare say anything, he was built like a brick sh*thouse.
A middle-aged woman in a psychedelic catsuit is tame by comparison.
Jon's standing outside a derelict sandwich bar. Who can afford to compete with The Pound Bakery? He's anxious to get back home, if you can't tell by his face. He did manage to find a few treasures in the chazzas after all.
Just time to capture the fabulous interiors shop that is 34a
A mix of French antiquities, industrial chic, retro and salvage. It's like someone burgled our house and put it all in a shop window.
|WEARING: Sportaville 1960s catsuit (Second To None, Walsall's legendary vintage emporium), Bertie platforms (charity shop), Fringed leather bag (made by my friend Fran), 1970s sunnies (Moseley Vintage & Retro Fair)|