Leake Street highs

Last weekend I joined my friend Ian for an afternoon of wandering along Leake Street in Waterloo — a disused road tunnel since the Eurostar moved up North to St. Pancras and home to the recent Cans Festival organised by Banksy which drew thousands of people to South London in August.

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The first thing that hit us was the fumes. I felt like I was getting high within a couple of minutes of hitting the tunnel — there were only two or three groups working the walls but the pieces were fairly large and we arrived as one of them was being finished. The pieces created for the Cans Festival have pretty much gone now — the turnover looks to be almost non-stop but there is still some excellent work here.

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As you know I’m a big fan of stencil work and there’s loads of good pieces here — great to see lots of stencilled copy and a real attention to detail in the more complex work. Shame some of it’s been obscured by the tags already but that’s the nature of this place. It’s be nice to single out and protect the best work but that cuts the open-source nature of it all. Got to take the rough with the smooth I guess.

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There’s paint everywhere — on the walls, the ceilings, the floor and the locked doors. It’s painted over the lights and on the railings, the pillars are covered and even the CCTV cameras are not safe. After being there only a few minutes you get the urge to just grab a can and add something of your own.

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I’m not sure if Leake Street will continue like this — get down there before Lambeth Council decides to paint over it all and spoil all our fun. Recommended.