Victoria Wood and the Giant Purple Horse

Another week, another letter from the council. This one comes from Victoria Wood. Not that Victoria Wood, sadly, but her namesake in (deep breath) Development Control at the Directorate of Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills – I’ve no idea what that is, but I’m guessing it’s where Greenwich Council stores all its recently repossessed nouns. Anyway; Victoria, it turns out, is writing to inform me, completely out of the blue, that I have 21 days to object to the erection of a temporary sign, 15 foot by 15 foot, round the back of Greenwich station.

Now, usually when a woman draws your attention to a large and unexpected temporary erection, your best bet is to smile awkwardly and shuffle behind the sofa; unless you’re at a party and suspect she’s simply trying to break the ice, in which case suggesting she finds a steak mallet or small hammer generally makes more sense. Clearly, though, neither response was appropriate here. But what was? Vicky’s letter really didn’t give me too much to go on, and my immediate thought was that we were about to get something like this:

Big Boris is Mocking You

Or maybe something more parochial. Maybe every street in SE10 was to be blessed with a giant painted image of Chris Roberts, leader of Greenwich Council, beaming into the middle distance as, like peons in Pyongyang, we scurry beneath his beneficent gaze and marvel at the greatness of his works.

Clearly, I needed to find out more about Planning Application 12/0971/A. Which meant either a trip to Woolwich library, or going online. And last time I went to Woolwich I got chased by a man with very little hair and a very angry dog, eager to discuss their right to walk on a designated cycle path when there was a perfectly good pedestrian walkway alongside, so online it was.

And that’s where I discovered this mock-up of what we should expect:

Straightsmouth Horse

So, it seems like we’re getting a 15-foot horse. A purple and white horse, in fact (I don’t know why they’ve not used purple in the mock-up). It won’t be illuminated, either from without or within, and it won’t project more than 5cm from the wall. It will, though, be made of vinyl, so be easy to wipe clean, should it become… marked.

Obviously this is another Olympic thing, the thinking behind it presumably being that spectators, being barely more evolved than deep-sea sponges, aren’t capable of finding their way from Greenwich station to Greenwich Park without a 15-foot purple horse to guide them. But… if that’s the case, then… isn’t the horse facing the wrong way? So… maybe it’s showing them the way back to the station? Well, if so, it’s making a mockery of the Great Olympic Gyratory which, as I’ve mentioned previously, is going to completely disrupt my breakfast. Now, quite literally, I won’t know which way to turn.

I don’t think I’m going to object, though. Instead, I think I’ll just write anonymously to Seb Coe suggesting that drug testing be extended from the athletes to all members of LOCOG – or at least to all those who, when invited to brainstorm, begin gabbling about giant purple horses…


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