October 2009 Archives
MORE handiwork of the mysterious Banksy copycat street artist 'Matey' has been spotted by eagle-eyed readers.
Humorous or unusual spray-painted stencil murals have appeared across the borough that mimic the style of the infamous West Country graffiti artist who has never revealed his identity.
Among the largely black and white images are a policeman with a pigeon on his cap in an alleyway between Station Road, Harrow, and Greenhill Way Car Park, a turtle on a telephone cable exchange at Shaftesbury Circle, West Harrow, and a cat holding a paint brush on the outside of AVS Ltd in Roxeth Green Avenue, South Harrow.
This week, Jane Prince, of Porlock Avenue, West Harrow, found a pigeon dressed as a painter and decorator.
She said: "I spotted this on a grit container on the corner of Porlock Avenue and Whitmore Road at the beginning of the week.
"I adore Banksy's work, especially his sense of humour and, although I don't approve of the general graffiti tagging, things like this do make me smile."
STENCILLED graffiti has started appearing around the borough, mimicking the style of Britain's most famous 'guerilla artist', Banksy.
The works - almost all in black and white - are signed 'Matey' and are similar to the kind of irrelevant or tongue-in-cheek murals produced by the anonymous and popular street artist.
Quite how many images 'Matey' is responsible for is unknown but it does seem plausible there may be more than the three the Observer has seen.
The presence of the street art reignites the 'Is it really art?' debate about graffiti about which one local councillor commented some months ago: "This isn't about any kind of street culture, it is vandalism pure and simple."
One of 'Matey''s pictures is of a policeman who is seemingly unaware a pigeon is perched on top of his hat apparently smoking a cannabis joint.
This spray-painted sketch lies in a whitewashed alleyway between shops that connects Station Road, Harrow, with Greenhill Way Car Park.
There is another, smaller, design on the bottom right hand corner of a green telephone exchange cabinet at Shaftesbury Circle in West Harrow: a black and white tortoise and artist's signature on a patch of white paint.
The third spotted by the Observer is on the side of AVS Ltd, a MOT garage in Roxeth Green Avenue, South Harrow, which is of a cat holding a paint brush from which a trail of red paint appears to run off the wall and along the pavement.
Paul Williams, manager of AVS, said he and his colleagues have no idea who the mysterious artist is.
"It appeared on Friday night," he said. "He's name's 'Matey' and I reckon he's painted a cat to be a copycat of Banksy.
"It IS art but it's still graffiti since you're painting on somebody else's wall. It looks good but we will have to paint over it at some point."
Paras G, who has been involved in documenting London graffiti for some years now, said: "While I can't be completely sure of whether any of these stencils is a Banksy, I have a feeling that they have been done by someone trying to emulate him.
"For one, the quality of stencilling on these three is fairly average, indicating a lack of experience.
"The subjects too, seem to have been chosen without much thought to the message they convey and lack the characteristic humour of an original Banksy, except maybe that of the cat.
"Even there, I would have expected to see a speech bubble inscribed with a funny observation and not the 'Matey' tag."
However, the Metropolitan Police views graffiti dimly since it constitutes a crime if the artist does not have permission of the owner of the wall: in July officers from Harrow arrested four 17-year-olds in morning raids across Pinner, Burnt Oak and Northwood Hills.
At the time Councillor Susan Hall (Conservative), portfolio holder for environmental services, said: "Graffiti has a corrosive effect on the quality of life for ordinary people.
"This isn't about any kind of street culture, it is vandalism pure and simple."
n Do you know where any more 'Matey' originals are and do you have photographs? Are you 'Matey'? Contact Ian Proctor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07795 811230
PUB customers and staff from South Harrow will be handing over more than ÃÂ£2,000 to St Luke's Hospice.
A team representing The Half Moon in Roxeth Hill took part in a sponsored 12,000ft tandem skydive this summer in Oxfordshire, and the final sum from collections has finally been revealed.
The daredevils included Paul Blower, Aoife Hegarty, Trevor Sullivan, Oliver Peers, Niall Brazil, and manager Caithriona Hegarty, who said: "We raised a total of ÃÂ£2,110 at The Half Moon and I think we should thank all involved.
"It was an amazing experience and for such a good cause as some of our customers unfortunately have passed away recently due to cancer and we hope we can help others and ease there pain."
St Luke's Hospice, in Kenton Grange, Kenton, provides care for patients from both Harrow and Brent.
The Multiple Sclerosis Society and Young Lohanna Association of North London (YLANL) proudly present "The L Factor" Talent Show on Saturday 5th December 2009.
A PETITION has been started to 'Save the South Harrow Post Office' at the same time as the owner of the shop in which it was based says he had nothing to do with its closure.
The Post Office counter situated at the back of KP Retail in Northolt Road, South Harrow, shut without warning earlier this month when customers arrived to find posters from Post Office Ltd saying: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, the branch closed temporarily on 20 October 2009."
Huw Davies, a representative from the Communication Workers Union London North West branch, and local Labour councillor Graham Henson began collecting names on Sunday afternoon when it dawned the closure may be more permanent.
Mr Henson said: "We're not getting involved into the ins and outs but South Harrow shopping centre needs a Post Office and the longer it goes on without one, the longer it disadvantages people.
"It's going to have an impact not only the residents but business as well. People will rake their custom elsewhere - they're going to shop wherever the Post Office is.
"The Post Office says it's looking for another premises but that's not a quick thing: it has to find a premises, fit it out and open it and that can take months."
Last week, a Post Office spokesman said: "South Harrow Post Office was being run by a temporary sub-postmaster but unfortunately the premises were withdrawn for Post Office use so the office closed on October 20.
"We apologise to customers for any inconvenience this temporary closure may cause customers but there are posters up in the window giving details of alternative branches nearby.
"We are working very hard to find someone else to run the branch so we can
re-open as soon as possible, either in the existing premises or somewhere
But Kaushik Shah, who owns the premises, said: "It's not true that I actually refused permission for the Post Office to continue. Let me set out a few things.
"One, the Post Office had the right to use the post office area rent free up until November 6.
"Two, between the Post Office and the temporary sub-postmaster, either party could terminate their contract at seven days' notice.
"Three, the temporary sub-postmaster asked Post Office about their future plans so that he could arrange for appropriate staffing coming up to Christmas. The Post Office never responded."
It was following the resignation of the temporary sub-postmaster that the Post Office was closed suddenly when representative came in, collected the cash and stock, and left.
Mr Shah - who ran the post office branch himself up until about six months ago and was an employee of the most recent temporary sub-postmaster - confirmed the Post Office Ltd could still approach him to negotiate use of the post office area from November 6 onwards.
He revealed that an independent agent, which run franchisees on behalf of the Post Office, had approached him about operating the concession and he had replied, offering to talk. However, he has not heard back from the agent.
Mr Shah said: "I feel sad for the elderly customers."
TWO local restaurants are vying for a gong at the British Curry Awards along with nine others from around the country.
Curral Mahal in Northolt Road, South Harrow, and Mumbai Junction in Watford Road, Harrow, will find out if they have won on November 3.
1st Roxeth Scout Group is holding a general auction on Saturday 31st October. Viewing will be from 10am and the sale will start at 11am. To be held at South Harrow Baptist Church, Northolt Road. For further information call Paul on 0208 248 1163.
THE Zoroastrian Centre for Europe - the continental headquarters of the ancient Persian faith - has applied for a licence to serve booze, stage dances and play music.
But an immediate neighbour of the cinema-turned-place of worship in Alexandra Avenue, South Harrow, said he is worried the extra "noise and disturbance would be impossible to live with".
Jeffery Poonawala, whose family includes two children and a grandmother, wrote to councillors: "Already we are experiencing disturbance during function nights with severe parking restrictions and loud music which can be heard through our adjoining walls late up to midnight.
"Obviously, with young children sleeping next door, this is causing severely nuisance already, and if you allow further extension to the time and days, we would not be able to endure the noise and disturbance thereby disturbing the children's sleep and effecting their schooling.
"I have complained once recently about the loud noise especially passed the 11pm time and the council patrol came straight away to stop the disturbance.
"I fear that if the application was granted, it would be impossible to live with serious disturbance."
The Zoroastrian Trust Funds of Europe (ZTFE) is asking for permission from Harrow Council for:
n live music Monday to Sunday (11am to 1am)
n recorded music Monday to Sunday (11am to 1am)
n performance of dance Monday to Sunday (11am to 1am)
n dancing Monday to Sunday (11am to 1am)
n late night refreshment Monday to Sunday (11pm to 1am)
n supply of alcohol Monday to Sunday (11am to 1am)
n opening hours Monday to Sunday (9am to 1am)
The trust's application said: "Alcohol is served in moderation only as a social need, either before or during a meal.
"Occasionally we may have a live band for entertainment purposes which would be amplified. Could be on any day of the week."
Dance performances would be "very occasional" and "all activity is supervised by at least two responsible members of the ZTFE".
"Our premises is on an island site with hardly any residential neighbours. Having previously been a cinema, the hall is well soundproofed."
But the council's own environmental health team pointed out: "The applicant has failed to show how they are planning to control the level of live and recorded music as applied for."
The team therefore asked for a condition to be imposed on the licence to force the ZCFE to monitor the noise and keep it at a reasonable volume.
Harrow Council's licensing panel will consider the application on Monday, October 19 at a meeting at Harrow Civic Centre, Station Road, Harrow.