Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Art of the Community

I'm in Cleethorpes trying to find a bus to Hull. I know they run once an hour from the town centre but am not sure exactly where. There is a 'not in service' bus pulled into a lay-by just off the High Street, so I interrupt the driver's break to ask his advise.

He is a cheerful middle-aged guy with grey hair and a substantial belly.

'You want the stop by the Art Foundation shop,' he tells me, pointing as he talks, 'Go right at these lights, then round that corner to the left and you'll see the Art Foundation shop at the top of the road. The stop's just outside there.'

I thank him and set off towards the lights, feeling that there was something unusual about his directions and trying to put my finger on what it was.

Most people, if they elaborate on their directions at all, tend to do so with such details as the names of roads, or pubs, or well known stores, avoiding anything which may allow a stranger to make negative assumptions about them, for instance that they are in any way inclined towards pretentiousness.

I wonder what the Art Foundation is and what led the driver to so readily acknowledge its existence. Could it be that in this dilapidated seaside town an artistic organisation has sprung up which has genuine grassroots appeal?

I get an answer of sorts a couple of minutes later when I locate the bus stop outside a large charity shop belonging to the British Heart Foundation.

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