Thursday, 23 October 2014

Abandoned Factories in The the Midlands (UK)

A while ago I went on a trip around a few sites in the UK with a new urbex buddy, who since has come to visit dear old Paris, and I realized I hadn't shared all of what we saw that day... So here is more of a photo post.

I enjoy a good dead animal (in that I find them fascinating, I would rather they were alive of course).

What I remember most about this trip was getting onto the roof and sunbathing whilst listening to some truly shit rehearsals going on nearby and eating copious amounts of homemade and very orange pumpkin cake...

The thing that cracked me up about this sign was the current state of the toilets. Not great.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Night in the Paris Catacombs

So after a few not so successful trips down the catas, in that we saw virtually nothing other than bad graffiti and a lot of water, I was invited down by some people who knew them a bit better-- and had a map I was actually able to read...

After having been told I would have to climb in through a man hole (and silently panicking for a few days prior- I have stood under some of those and have seen how high they can be), I was actually let off and we went in through the more famous and easier way. Though only just. I was then led by the one friend that has come out to meet me, as I was only on a one night trip down due to work constraints, and we spent just over and hour trying to catch up with the others. It was easy enough, until an attempted short cut led us into water up to my waist, my guide was considerably taller and better prepared than I. 

One of the things I found the most interesting was walking down the roads underneath Paris that I frequently used above ground. Rue d'Alesia being one of them. It was also rather surreal walking underground from more or less where the Rabbit Warren was to my old university, and tying associations to the paths we went to the routes above. My accomplices being all British did not get the same kick I did, thought did find my various squeaks amusing. 

The first room I saw was the "Castle Room" ("Salle du chateau"), which of course had a castle in it and a few other bits. Mainly toys.

This lego lion made me laugh, as did the rather funny gargoyle heads, Though I admit it is a shame about all the glitter stuck to the castle, looks like the kind of art work the kids in my art workshops would do.

We did a lot more walking, met some more people, and then had a small break in this room (below) which stank to high heavens, probably the least sanitary place I have ever eaten but hey...! Spirit of the adventure, I didn't care, and I was already pretty filthy. It had been very creatively dubbed "The Sword Room". There was momentary debate over whether the texture of the surface of the rock indicated chicken sacrifice or fiberglass. The fiberglass argument won out, especially considering as the sword was fairly secure in it's rock. 

After a final leg of walking we found a series of rooms, the first few of which were to be my accomplices' sleeping spots for the night, the last was to be our party room. I brought the world's worst rum, unbeknownst to me until we were too far away from any Carrefour to source anything better. So I just pirated booze off of everyone else.

Photo courtesy of a friend.
After several hours of trying not to drink myself too far and perhaps achieving exactly that, we followed some well practiced cataphiles out at a speed I couldn't quite hold (due to my terrible footwear), though several TINY holes not much bigger than I and up several flights of steps, where we finally resurfaced at 6am via a triangular man hole. It wasn't until we hit ground level that I realized just how exhausted I was. 

I leave you with a photo of me reading the lovely English map that my friend had (rather than my tiny French ones).

Photo courtesy of a friend.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Abandoned Places VIII: A Malt Brewery

This post is more just a collection of photos I wanted to share, I love old factories and this one was an interesting explore. A generous friend from 28dayslater took me for a walk through the remains of this place...

 Yes, we did get up on that ledge...!

It was one of those days where the sky was totally colorless and white, always amazes me how devoid of color the sky can be...

Monday, 8 September 2014

Abandoned Places VII: Longbridge Tunnels (East Works)

So after spending a month cooped up inside writing for university, I celebrated by heading to the Midlands for a well needed break, and met up with a very lovely and helpful guy who took us all over to stake out some really interesting places. So many in fact, that it deserves multiple postings! The first was this place, and the cause of me totally scabbing up my right leg- all part of the fun though eh? If you ain't broke by the end then you haven't worked hard enough  guess!

These are the first photos I have attempted to take underground, so whilst they aren't great, I am pretty proud that you can actually see things in them (the Paris catacomb photos were so bad I couldn't bring myself to share them). 

The first place our fantastic guide took us was this tunnel, part of a system under Longbridge that was used to house and assembled aircraft engines and components during WWII.

These were in one of the little rooms off the main tunnel.

It was incredibly dark down there, and rather wet and gooey. Really it was just as well I had been down the catas twice before as it meant that perpetually damp feet didn't bother me as much as it would have before...

Some truly grotty toilets...

Below are some shots of the tunnels close to the entrance and so lit naturally.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Abandoned Places VI: Goussainville-Vieux, a French Ghost Town

Just outside Paris in the north, under the Charles de Gaulle flight path lies the remnants of the town Goussainville-Vieux. A few months ago a friend and I went to check it out, and last week Atlas Obscura asked me to write about it for them. The article is here with some photos I took whilst there.

For more photos of this truly eerie place, see my gallery here. I took so many photos it was almost unreal! I am hoping to go back again at some point, better armed with flashlights etc so I can take more pics in the slightly darker rooms that my poor ol' camera couldn't handle last time (rookie mistake!).

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Paris Street Art: In Situ at Fort d'Aubervillers

On what turned out to be an extremely hot day (even for my Italian accomplice, it wasn't just my mainly British-conditioning) and the final day of In Situ, I went to go check it out before it was closed. And I am mighty glad we braved the heat because it was well worth a visit. 

One of the first few pieces.
The entrance gate to Fort d'Aubervillers.
This was one of my favorites, though a little unnerving with all the eyeballs, I loved the contrast of textures between the slightly rusty corrugated iron at the back and Victorian-esque angel perching among the rocks and eyes.

Ram-skull..? I am sold. I have a minor (major?) fascination with these...!

What really struck me about the exhibit was location combined with the colors. Though it felt a little like we were attending an exhibition in the desert at times (the foliage in these pictures are deceiving as most of the land was barren- owing to the concrete), the sheer brightness and power of the art in a somewhat neglected grey space was very effective. Also put me in any abandoned place that has been reclaimed by humans and I am happy...

My friend that came with me also commented (and I agree) that more ugly warehouse type buildings ought to be spruced up like this. Like William Morris said, 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or beautiful', or in this case, outside..!

This one below was a tribute to the punks that occupied the space after it ceased to be of use to the military.

Several burnt out cars had also been reclaimed as an unconventional canvas, I recognized the handiwork of the one below from some art in the 13 arrondissement of Paris.

 And this one reminded me of the picture I saw in Strasbourg, I think its the same artist.

 This was one of my favorite areas, where the artists were each assigned an alcove to fill.

Gagged chicken, just 'cuz.

Catacombs anyone??

 I adored this one, with all the butterflies, it deff struck a cord- books can indeed inspire dreams.

This one below is just stunning, "Open your Eyes".


And finally, I leave you with Superman.