Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Famous Clockwork Orange Spot

After a short break I find myself writing my second post in a week.    
On Monday I visited a roundabout in Wandsworth, south west London. Not a place for a bank holiday picnic, but quite good for a bit of skateboarding tomfoolery.
Pleasingly I was picked up at around midday by an already loaded car filled with Dan, Harley & Jasper.
From north East Anglia a trip to south west London by car is a bit of a mission. Especially with bank holiday traffic. But by 3 o'clock we were approaching the destination programmed into the satnav and as we drove the streets noticed that every vaguely green public space had a pony tethered on it. As we realised that we were not in fact in Wandsworth, but in Abbey Wood  although the place we visited was a location used in the filming of A Clockwork Orange it was a good 15 miles from the roundabout we were looking for in Wandsworth. So having recalculated our route we set off up the south bank of the Thames. 
Once well on the way to Peckham, we found out that Lee, a friend of Jasper now living in London who we had arranged to meet at the original location was now at the original location, looking at ponies. We turn round and sped off back to Abbey Wood to pick him up.
Finally reaching the Wandsworth roundabout at around 4 o'clock we all uncurled ourselves from the car and stretched.
As you reach the bottom of the ramp and enter the tunnel under the busy road to the centre of this huge roundabout you walk straight onto the set of the opening scene of the film that gave it's name to this famous spot. (A tramp is taunted by the gang before they beat him up in one of the tunnels connecting the centre of the roundabout with the rest of the world.)  Tramp scene 

Through the banked tunnel and into a now very weathered 1960s concrete construction long given way to nature. Huge banks of various angles rise from the paved paths between huge triangular central platforms to the inner edge of the road way above. And a large array of CCTV cameras attached to the top of a pole at the centre of it all.
Sam, another of the Milk Crew had visited the spot recently and reported that some electrics had been updated and the top of the most commonly skated bank now had a sort of coping on it. This turned out to be very unstable galvanised electrical conduit tubing loosely fixed to the top of the bank.
Harley fell to flat pretty early on and sat out for a bit having hit every pointy bit.
Jasper got on it as Lee and I set up flashes and such.
When I checked the spot on Google maps a couple of days earlier, I found a link to a blog post charting the history of this roundabout. Within it was a photo shot from one end of one of the tunnels looking straight at the bank. This would be my first shooting location. On arrival I positioned myself in the tunnel and continued to setup. 
This shot came off pretty early on and Jasper continued to try different things as I moved around the area looking for different angles.

Nothing I found quite compared to the compositional advantage of using the tunnel wall so I took a few more from the same place. I even got one of the boss. I'm not sure if Jasper's black & white shot was a make, but I like the shot. And I've told you, so it's ok. Right?

Dan Shervington - b/s 5-0
Jasper Pegg - switch crook
As we were packing up Harley brightened up a bit and got the VX out and got back on the wheelie plank for a bit. He found a wall at the top of a big bank and started jumping off it.
By the time I'd got the camera back out of the bag, I only managed to get one shot before he packed it in.
With no flash, this black & white version of the photo looks far better than full colour.

Harley Miller
After a sightseeing journey over London Bridge and into The City of London, we dropped Lee off near his home and set off back to Suffolk as night fell. With more tricks to be made at the spot we can now add it to the list of spots for weekend long filming missions planned for the near future. 

With the official opening jam at my local skatepark in Bury St. Edmunds on 11th May (this Sunday!), expect a post full of photos from the event very soon.     

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