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Home > Culture and Society

The TFT Guide To... The Angels of the South

2 March 2007

This week plans were floated for statues and monuments to be erected by the main roads into London to celebrate life in our great capital city. It’s been suggested that the monuments could be modelled on the Angel of the North, the vast love-it-or-hate-it statue in the North East that suggests South Shields is occupied by the Wehrmacht. As yet no decision has been made about what form the ‘Angels of the South’ should take, so TFT offers some suggestions...


1) A sculpture that captures all the excitement and vibrancy of modern London: a one-legged pigeon eating a fag end next to a homeless person who is either sleeping or dead.

2) Much as the Angel of the North celebrates the North East’s industrial heritage, particularly shipbuilding, any ‘Angel of the South’ should celebrate London’s traditional industry, financial services. A statue would depict a currency trader who works 90 hours a week at a US investment bank in Docklands suffering a
fatal heart attack on his 41st birthday.

3) Creative control of the ‘Angels of the South’ project should be handed over to the British artists of the moment, Gilbert and George. Accidents on the A40 rise by 5,000 per cent as motorists have to drive past a 120m statue showing a naked, crucified George being wanked off by Gilbert, who is standing in a pool of piss and spit.

4) Plans are drawn up for an archway in the mould of the Arc de Triomphe, which celebrates Napoleon’s victory at the battle of Austerlitz. However, celebrating military victories is considered a bit reactionary in 2007, and so the ‘Arc de Londres’ celebrates the defining social achievement of the Blair years: patronising public information leaflets. The A2 now features a vast archway covered with slogans, including:

- ‘Fruit can be fun!’
- ‘Watch out, there’s a jihadist about!’
- ‘Don’t get AIDS, it’s wack!’

5) The very essence of contemporary London is distilled into an iconic artwork. The M1 outside Hendon is now flanked by two giant teddy bears in Beefeater costumes, made in China.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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