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1.Be Proud of Shadwell

2.Share the Pride*


*This text is in courier font, which suggests it was

written on a typewriter. West Bromwich produced Smith-
Corona typewriters and was also home to British
Typewriters Limited, who manufactured the Empire
Aristocrat, the most portable typewriter in the world.
This unique personal writing machine embodies a standard
keyboard and many other features of the office
typewriter, yet it stands no higher than a matchbox. A
fine example of precision engineering, the Empire
Aristocrat enjoys a world-wide reputation for out-
standing performance. However, despite this, I’m writing
these words on a MacBook Pro, not an Empire Aristocrat,
so from the beginning be aware how I might be
untrustworthy, making false claims, pretending a presence
in the landscape not born out by the reality, some sort
of linguistic imposter...
look good feel great
was £3 each now 2 for £5


an essay an investigation a poem a provocation an

This text adopts the form of one issue of
the BCCA newsletter. This means it will be 20 sides in
length. This typesize is 14pt and the layout is simple,
reminiscent of home made signs in shop windows and on
market stalls in West Bromwich: transcriptions of these
signs are at the top of this and other pages

I thought it might be interesting to try and place each

page of this text in an appropriate location in West
Bromwich. I liked the thought - even metaphorically - of
these words having an existence again in the city from
which they emerged
this text is about the page, and private
moments of reading. It’s free to come in and have a look.
It organises itself, too, around the form of the BCCA
market stall, using its sections of Art, Culture and
‘Regeneration’; Planning; Local Information; Project
Development; Elsewhere; Film Program,

sometimes only a change of font
is needed to make a piece of writing your own,
super fast
super stylish
this is it

Katerina Šedá’s project Over and Over began when she

noticed the ever more prohibitive walls and fences
appearing throughout the small German town of Líšeň. Šedá
imagined a performance where she navigated all of these
fences, dependent on the inhabitants in each house
providing some means - a ladder or chair - for her to
cross each fence. This required meeting all the different
residents, and a high level of coordination as one person
failing to realise their part at the specified time would
cause the whole project to collapse

Invited to take part in the 5th Berlin Biennale in

2008, Šedá reconstructed the fences as an installation,
and invited the residents to come to Berlin - with their
fence crossing object - to repeat the performance
themselves. In the book of this project, Šedá presents
her sketches, drawings, sculptures and objects, revealing
how the projects public engagements fed into and out of
the more private languages of these different artistic
media. £1.29 Double Cheeseburger. No joining fee.

Eve Merz SPACE/RETAIL/MAGIC is a small book on the BCCA
stall, which focusses on Market Muir, a playing fields in
Huntly, Aberdeenshire where Tesco want to build a
supermarket, despite having various abandoned stores
nearby, in Inverurie and Elgin: “I spent five days
walking the field, photographing grass and trees,
benches, rugby posts, football goals and the old
pavilion. Everything... I photographed everything I saw,
taking approximately 1000 pictures on each site... trying
to create a picture with perspectives true to how we see
things when we move in a space.”

could language work like

this, or is the task here to separate it from everyday,
mobile perception and
Take away the fast way

In May 2010 I spent two days in West Bromwich as part of

the Black Country Creative Advantage. I was interested in
the language of urban regeneration, in how such issues
were evidenced: in council documents, local newspapers,
museum exhibits, shop signs and hoardings: the word
matter surrounding us in a place. Get in there.

I structured my two days as an investigation of these

different kinds of language. I read through reports and
documents of urban regeneration; I walked the locations
of urban regeneration, noting the language on signs and
hoardings. Sometimes the official signs of new urban
regeneration projects occupied the landscape alongside
those for projects long since concluded; future ambitions
and past (failures) jostling for attention.

Finally, I went for a walk along West Bromwich’s Golden

Mile. Like any high street, I noted the claims for value
in shop windows, on market stalls, council banners and
boards, church notice boards, night club doorways, and
shouted out by market stall vendors. I became interested
in the pervasiveness of this language of value,
communicating the good news of the save 10p, the two for
one, the sacraments by appointment, the 100% happiness
guarantee and the everything 89p

As well as the simplicity of the information

they provided, what did such signs tell us about
ourselves? Simply bargains. Could arranging, editing,
working with these fragments be a way of understanding,
measuring other aspects of the landscape and community I
had fleetingly encountered in West Bromwich, of
understanding those flattened spaces behind hoardings,
where new supermarkets, schools and houses were supposed
to be be built? Save 39p

Where everything costs a great deal less

Aircraft accessories aluminium castings axles and axle-
tress bearings boiler compositions bolts and nuts bottle
makers box-irons bricks brewers bridges - iron and steel
bright drawn and rolled steel builders’ fittings,
supplies, ironmongery, etc. building trades business
equipment cabinet making caravans casements castings
chemicals concrete products constructional steel core
oils and compounds collieries and colliery plant
confectionery and sweets electrical fittings, equipment,
engineering engineering fertilizers flock manufacturers
forgings furniture glass grates gauges, steam pressure,
etc. gun makers hollow-ware hydraulic machines iron
foundries industrial painting mechanical handling
equipment merchants motor engineers motor body building
and ironwork nails non-ferrous founders oils and
lubricants paints pattern makers photography pies
plastics printing rims and sections rolls - chill and
grain, etc. safes slag springs steel sheets and office
furniture strip and sheets timber tools trailers tubes
typewriters typewriters and office equipment washers
weighing machines and spring balances welders wire and
wire weaving




Regular 1.99
Medium 2.99
Large 4.99
Family 7.99
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This is it. ..what forms of value find their material

expression in the current ‘abandoned present’ of towns
like West Bromwich, caught between cultural projects
commemorating the closer or more distant past, which has
largely been eroded through successive and ongoing
demolitions, and the still largely imaginary future
townscape, which is present in imagery on hoardings. The
present moment, if visible at all, itself appears defined
largely by not publicly represented demolition sites...

I’m also spending my two days here thinking through the

materials and methods of the writer. In the late 1960s
the US poet Aram Saroyan published a series of books,
often featuring a single word centred on a page. Words
such as “ENOUGH,” or words slightly manipulated, such as
“LIGHGHT.” As these examples show, this was a serious
project with a sense of humour, aware how meaning making
also involved the page and the material forms of letters.

Saroyan has noted that when the Vietnam War and the
assassination of Robert Kennedy changed the mood of the
times, he gave up writing minimal poetry. In 2010 many of
Saroyan’s books are being re-published, both in print and
online, as if the strategies of such a poetics - its
careful attending to delicate relations of letter, space
and page - have, in new and adapted ways, become relevant
to current generations of writers and artists
I thought
this text might be a series of words and slogans arranged
on otherwise empty pages, but I didn’t want to create
another empty landscape of potential. Informed by further
readings in the INVESTIGATIVE POETICS of, for example,
Jill Magi, Kristin Prevallet and Kaia Sand, the pages
filled up we’re the only bank that gives you £5
priced to suit all pockets

The poet is a researcher, investigator, interpreter,

singer, and prophet who engages in an active relationship
with the political, social, and cultural forces around
him or her. The poet is a manifesto-creating,
opinionated, ranting, perpetual surveyor and tireless
investigator of history. The poet is busy creating verse
grids out of whatever materials are present before him or
her at the time: the poet is an appropriator of sources,
a thief of facts, a collage-creating scoundrel in a hyper
state of awareness and inspiration. Flowcharts, newspaper
articles, photographs, etymology, and ethnography become
the raw materials for the poet’s unique assemblage.

big brands big choice big deal


No longer geared towards attracting the customers

attention (or not to the same end), the collected words
and phrases become tools (for what?). I like it when
phrases, as above, are worked in ways that turn against
themselves. When a phrase is spoken, its intonation may
unfold different meanings than the written word, with no
alphabetic change, but a difference evidenced through
sounding. INSTRUCTION: make a version in language of how
Monika has described the BCCA market stall:

WITH THIS RESEARCH CENTRE we are looking into the

developments around “regeneration” - the
demolitions, building work... - in the town of
West Bromwich. WE WANT TO ASK QUESTIONS such as:
what has been and is happening? Who decides and
how? How much can different people have a say? How
can those who live and work here find out about
this or influence what is happening?

use me and save £75

Write in public and The Public, the high street, through

Kings Square and Queens Square, write as I walk, then
stop to write up words seen or overheard. I feel self
conscious, as if I’m about to be challenged, although no
one does. Why would someone write down all the prices and
signs in a street? Maybe people will think I’m an
inspector (of what?). Perhaps my concern is less with the
ethics of what I’m doing, then with a sense of the dated,
awkwardness of my technology: paper and pen. If I was
holding a phone and talking, or tapping out on its
keypad, no one would pay me any attention. But writing

Describing what became known as

“New Journalism” Tom Wolfe wrote of a generation of
writers in the 1960s that abjured fiction, preferring to
note down what was actually going on around them. In his
long essay Radical Chic, Wolfe did just that, standing in
the centre of the room, writing down what he heard and
saw at a party the composer and conductor Leonard
Bernstein held for the Black Panthers. Wolfe turned to
fiction thirty years later, feeling that held more
appropriateness when describing the Wall Street of the

this language of regeneration policy

documents, billboards, shop signs. I think it requires a
method somewhat awkward, lo-fi, a little ludicrous and
clumsy. Hence the design of this newsletter.

I also want to make something that can be enjoyed by the
figures wandering through the computer images of the new
Sandwell college. Who are they? What do they want to
read? Can they read? Are there books and newspapers to
fit the stock characters and types of this Google Sketch
Up world?

or 7 for £100
receive a free pot of coleslaw


We have seen our quaint little parish of 70 souls in

1086, grow into a County Borough (1882) with a population
1000 times greater. We have watched the little self-
contained village grow until it sends its products to the
ends of the earth. Its holloware, springs, iron and
steel, soap, printed matter, balances, builders’
ironmongery, kitchen utensils and steel safes, are today
to be found in every quarter of the globe. We have learnt
we are ‘citizens of no mean city.’ Free reactions

free England cushion


Engineer Hermann Knoflacher invented the Gehzeug/

Walkmobile in 1975. Made of a wooden frame, rope, and red
and white safety tap, the frame, extending into space
around the human body, allowed the pedestrian to
approximate the amount of space taken by a car. I imagine
Hermann in 2010, a Tesco supermarket around his middle,
showing not just its built form, but its ecological
footprint, its psychic imprint on our minds and lives....

Tassle net Lyndsay

Clumber Petal
20% off everything today
20% off everything
haircuts 20% off special offer June only

There are various maps on the BCCA stall. This text is

another, although I wouldn’t use it to get you anywhere
Order an OS map with yourself in the centre. A
wiki map that you can enter data into yourself.
Historical maps. Maps of a future city. Maps in our
heads, with memories and emotions for scales. Talk maps.

In “Hidden Cities” the poet Geraldine Monk writes a tour

of Manchester. In this poem-talk-quide the materiality of
the city enters Monk’s language, as content and
commentary. It shapes and invites her own linguistic
invention in the same manner as the city itself unfolds
each day, and through literally dirty dealings of
Victorian industrialists
Finding ways of opening writing
to all this, makes text itself a form of address, both
character and micro-climate:

Welcome to all of you... involuntary ghosts of

tomorrow... scoring future imprints down the roads
and junctions of unmarked time... welcome to the
imperceptible slice between now and now... the
progression of idle nanoseconds.

Welcome to Manchester... Funchester....Gunchester...


Journey with me now and regain a return to where we

almost started... journey through the making of each
suspended sentence... spectral word... half breathed
comma... shifting metropolis... through these
unofficial urban arteries of time-ticking
creatures... glossed out histories... contrived
artefacts... accidental spaces.
Anything on Walter’s Farm Table £5



A series of hoardings form the backdrop of the play:



West Bromwich, 1981. Bernard O’Connell from the Black

Country Liason Committee for the Defence of Trade Unions
is working on Peoples March for Jobs Banner. Behind him
two banners on the wall:

Means Misery
and alongside:
Destroys the
Youth and

The banners grow bigger and bigger until they fill the
whole space. Then they require separate spaces, then
separate buildings. Each banner, alone, meaning confused.


King George Playing Fields, with ‘Elephant Rock’ - huge

slag heap adjacent the Patent Shaft site ( which is now a
warehouse park near Wednesbury Parkway metro). These are
joined by piles of rubble from the Tesco site and two
clay heaps glimpsed on the Lyng development site. The
mounds are playful, but wary of each other.


West Bromwich, 1970s. Mac Hamblett leads a one man

campaign to get the old Adelphi cinema demolished and the
site developed. Fallen into ruin, Hamblett complains it
has become both safety hazard and eyesore. Stood in front
of the ruinous building, he holds up a crumbled cinema
ticket. Slowly everyone notices and copies this gesture.



VOICE 1: The growth of cities The need for protection The

power of the church The rise of the merchant The Grand
manner The rise of industry The city in decay Wren’s plan
for the city of London Nash’s contribution to London
Haussmann’s plans for Paris How others have dealt with
destruction The town must not be rebuilt as it was - but
demolish with discrimination The Heart of the city The
home in relation to the town The home Work in the City
Transport Recreation Health in the city The child in the
city Architectural form Dream or reality? The economics
of reality

VOICE 2: shop around for the cheapest food the best food
at the cheapest price its as simple as that... its not my
policy to undercut supermarkets I’m just hear to make a
living like and a living I intend to make the best way I
can make it.... I make a penny a loaf and I turn enough
loaves... serve bread always helps bring other trade in
... 1p on 1 loaf sell 106 loaves that’s 106 pennies and
106 other items as well... couple of papers have been on
to it... if I was running myself out of business I’d soon
find that out in about a week
I’ll give you a sausage free of charge today


Working with the words and phrases I encountered, I began

to imagine a form of theatre. I arranged texts into the
forms of scenes, and made phrases into lists of
characters. A “little theatre” as the poet Frederico
Garcia Lorca proposed
I wasn’t worried about being overly
realistic in these scripts. These were theatres of the
page and of language, ways of trying - playing -
revealing something of the words sale I encountered

as well as the street

signage, there was the collection of official documents
on the BCCA stall. Making them into theatre scripts was
(a) refill and save up to 80%; (b) while you wait; (c)
ways of negotiating with the un-read and possibly
unreadable; (d) great food at amazing prices





No hats
No hoods
No Shox
No Air Max
No 110s
Everything is really appreciated
West Bromwich stands pre-eminent in the manufacture of
metal springs. It would be hardly too much to say that
the town was the birthplace of this industry. There are
more than thirty firms engaged in this industry in West
Bromwich and their products are known in all parts of the
world. The growth of the motor-car and the development of
aeronautics, the wireless, electricity and engineering,
have created an enormous demand for springs of every
size, form, and description, and the major part of this
demand is met by West Bromwich spring manufacturers. The
variey of springs now in use is remarkable, and the range
of them covers an astonishing number of uses. There are,
for instance, single springs for heavy rolling stock,
etc., weighing as much as five hundredweight each, and
some for wireless equipment so minute that they are
handled only by delicate instruments. The largest and
smallest springs are made with equal success by West
Bromwich craftsmen. The largest kinds are used mainly in
railway and tramway rolling stock. These, such as
buffing, bearing, helical and volute springs, are made
locally in large numbers, as well as laminated springs
for commercial vehicles and motor-cars. Aeronautical and
motor-car engine springs are also made in large
quantities as well as all types of general engineering
springs, safety valve springs, coil springs and all
electrical springs, however intricate. Hardened and
tempered springs and springs made from the best hard
drawn steel, phosphor bronze and brass are turned out in
great variety and numbers. Modern upholstery makes large
demands upon the spring industry and in West Bromwich a
big industry is carried on in the manufacture of spring
seats and squabs for the motor and furniture trades,
spring interiors for theatre seats, three-piece suites,
etc., and cone springs for the mattress trade, as well as
tension springs for use in conjunction with these, and
all kinds of coppered, galvanised and black japanned
upholstery springs. Special springs are made to
customers’ specification from drawings or patterns if
required, and where necessary West Bromwich spring makers
are prepared to design new kinds of springs to suit any
particular innovation. West Bromwich has been famous for
many years for its iron and steel industries and many
firms have become world famous for the manufacture of
iron and steel tubes and pipes. The tube manufacturing
industry has advanced enormously in modern times and West
Bromwich manufacturers have been kept busy. Tubes for
every purpose in great variety are turned out in their
works, and are in demand not only throughout the British
Isles but in all parts of the world. All the various
grades are supplied by local manufacturers from the high
grade seamless precision steel tube through the range to
electric resistance welded, furnace welded, lap and butt
welded, close joint down to wrought iron. Non-ferrous
tubes in brass and copper and bi-metal are also produced
in large quantities. A comparatively new branch of the
industry is the manufacture of plastic tubing in
polythene P.V.C. and nylon. Allied to the tube industry
are manufacturers of various fittings for gas, water,
steam, hydraulic and electrical purposes in addition to
plain and special flanges and joints as used in high
pressure steam mains, etc. It is impossible to detail all
users of tubing but to name a few uses there is the high
pressure field as used in boiler and ancillary plant for
nuclear and conventional power stations down to the low
pressure for gas, water, and steam services. Railways at
home and abroad use large quantities for boilers,
superheaters, air brakes, fuel lines, injectors and
overhead gantries for electrified lines. The motor trade
absorbs a big volume for inner and outer steering tubes,
track rods, fuel pipes, shock absorbers, exhaust pipes,
car seat frames, cross members, axles, petrol filler
pipes, and various engine details. Added to these are the
cycle and motor-cycle trades, tubular furniture, toy and
perambulator manufacturers, the chemical and petroleum
industries as well as Government Departments.With regard
to heavier tubing, West Bromwich maufactures iron and
steel poles for telegraph, telephone, tramway
transmission lighting, tubular ship’s derricks, steel pit
props, and ventilating shafts for sewers, etc.

11.55pm. I’m in my room at the West Bromwich Premier Inn.

I have brought back a lot of the documents on the stall,
laid them out on the bed. I look through Cathy Busby’s
YOUR CHOICE, a book of photo’s of food stuff packaging in
Jingkelong, China during the Beijing Olympics. Earlier
that evening, in Netto’s I stand behind someone with a
whole trolley of Pepsi Max. When you write in the street
how are you deciding what is important and not important?
When I come back to London, S says: “I was stood behind a
nun in Tesco’s on Portobello Road. Guess what she had in
her trolley? Nothing else. Just one thing.” “Pepsi Max,”
I said. I was right
Someone is thinking/
speaking to herself. Analyzing beat of energies, of
digression, remembering. Memory and this question: What
is the relation between narrative and history, between
art and memory? Articulate the relation between
witnessing/ events and speculation/ fiction. An attempt
to see how issues of biography and history are neither
represented nor reflected but are translated,
reinscribed, radically re-thought. History as a
translation, through which is created new articulations
of perspective. Acknowledge the conceptual and social
prisms through which we attempt to apprehend....
Go laugh! Go listen! Go dance! Go watch! Go
learn! Go play! Go discover! Go public!

When I only had a small piece

of text on each white page I related this to all the
empty space in West Bromwich - the areas flattened and
awaiting a new Tesco or new housing
I thought of
this “empty” page as a space like a hoarding, which -
away from the central thoroughfares - are more likely
bare boards than an image of what will (may) be.

I wasn’t sure if it was useful to make such literal

connections of page and space. Like areas of Lyng become
impromptu parkland, such zones and pages are not empty,
but subject to the constant encroachments of litter, bird
dropped seeds, teenagers, dog walkers, thoughts
Perhaps such metaphorical thought
exercises are themselves abandoned, flattened, awaiting
development. Sometimes, printed in this primitive way,
this essay seems too stretched out, but also

1 pack for £1.50 2 packs for £1.20



The Vision 2026
Vision for Urban Form in Sandwell
The Sandwell 2020 Vision
A 30 Year Vision for the Black Country
Live Work Play Learn

Here’s another thing to smile about
You won’t want to lie down anywhere else


ALL: (speaking simultaneously, but not understanding the

words) West Bromwich: a well-connected base for
successful businesses and investment, a vibrant centre
with great retail, cultural and leisure experiences,
supported by a healthy, skilled community with access to
rewarding employment opportunities, good quality housing
choices and excellent and educational and learning

In Sandwell, we are making a commitment to the creation

of sustainable, high quality environments in which people
are proud to live, work and play. The Sandwell of 2020
will be a thriving, sustainable, optimistic and forward
looking community. Sandwell residents will live in a
transformed borough. They will enjoy excellent health, a
safe environment, heave access to rewarding employment
opportunities, and have a positive view of life in
Sandwell, in a revitalised West Midlands. It will
continue to be a diverse, but harmonious mix of
industrial/ commercial activity and attractive


The various VISIONS improvise as they wish, using the

words of ACT ONE. Some have their heads in their hands.


THE SANDWELL 2020 VISION eats the others, but in the

reversible manner of certain cartoons. If SANDWELL 2020
VISION was cut open down the middle then the other
visions would come tumbling out, unharmed, eager for

THE SANDWELL 2020 VISION: The last year has seen real
delivery in our vision to create a place for working,
living and education, by raising standards and
expectations. In West Bromwich inparticular, visible
progress has been made and will continue to be made in
the coming months.

As the audience leave the following text is distributed:

THE POET: The simple act of moving information from one

place to another today constitutes a significant cultural
act in and of itself. I think it’s fair to say that most
of us spend hours each day shifting content into
different containers. Some of us call this writing.

Language as material, language as process, language as

something to be shoveled into a machine and spread across
pages, only to be discarded and recycled once again.
Language as junk, language as detritus. Nutritionless
language, meaningless language, unloved language,
everyday speech, illegibility, unreadability, machinistic
repetition. Obsessive archiving & cataloging, the debased
language of media and advertising; language more
concerned with quantity than quality. How much did you
say that paragraph weighed?

THE END, although as the audience leave slogans are

projected on the walls around them:

fantastic deals or 7 for £100

We’re the only bank that gives you
Other sacraments are celebrated by appointment
super free
We pay more we lend more
We buy them as well Rock bottom price
Just eat
Time’s running out
500 Free
Super stylish big value pack
top taste
wise buy

SOURCE TEXTS p1: adapted from West Bromwich Official

Handbook, 1964; p3: Katerina Šedá Over and Over (JRP
Ringier, 2010); p5: “THE INDUSTRIES OF WEST BROMWICH” in
West Bromwich Official Handbook, 1964; p6: First
paragraph: Monika Vykoukal; p7: Kristin Prevallat,
“Investigating the Procedure: Poetry and the Source” in
Mark Wallace and Steven Marks ed. Telling it Slant:
Avant-Garde Poetics of the 1990s (University of Alabama
Press, 2002);p10: Henry Herbert Price, Old West Bromwich
or The Story of Long Ago, 1924, and Knoflacher’s
invention is included as one of numerous strategies in
What You Can Do With the City eds. Giovanna Borasi &
Mirko Zardini (Canadian Centre for Architecture,
Canada);p11: Geraldine Monk, “Hidden Cities”, in
Noctivagations (West House Books, 2001); p12 Act 1:
Images from DVD The MACE archive for CENTRAL ENGLAND ATV
TODAY 22.01.74 ATV TODAY Survey on Food Prices. Scene 1
-3: Taken from images in In Living Memory, an exhibition
at The Public. Act 2: VOICE 1: Ralph Tubbs Living in
Cities (Penguin 1942), and VOICE 2: Transcript of ATV
Today programme (as above); p15: entries on springs and
tubes in West Bromwich Official Handbook, 1964; p16:
Abigail Child, This is Called Moving: A Critical Poetics
of Film (University of Alabama Press, 2005); p17-18:
Visions taken from documents available on stall,
including: RETHINK WEST BROMWICH (2009); West Bromwich
Town Plan: Supplementary Planning Guidance to the
Sandwell UDP (2004), The West Bromwich Area Action Plan:
Preferred Options: A Development Plan Document(2008);
p19: The Poet is from Kenneth Goldsmith “Postlude: I Love
Speech” in Marjorie Perloff and Craig Dworkin eds. The
Sound of Poetry/ The Poetry of Sound (University of
Chicago Press, 2009).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Berridge is a writer who lives in

London. He is the author of The Moth is Moth This Money
Night Moth and Kafka Thinking Stations. Essays on
connections of writing and art practice can be found in
JACKET, Fillip, Syntax, and elsewhere. He curates
VerySmallKitchen which, throughout September, is in
residence at The Pigeon Wing gallery in London, with two
Festival of Nearly Invisible Publishing.