Culture Vultures

Culture VultureAfter I wrote about the steelworker mural the other day, I suddenly remembered the vultures.

I used to love walking past the vultures. Part way down Arundel Gate in Sheffield was an end wall with a brick mural of four vultures. Like the steelworker, this was also commissioned by Sheffield City Council, but this one was built six years earlier than the steelworker, in 1980 and was designed by Ric Bingham, from the Landscape and Planning Department.

I used to play a kind of mental game every time I passed the vultures. As a child, I was given a copy of the soundtrack to Walt Disney’s Jungle Book. One track on the record was the scene with the four vultures.”What we gonna do?””I dunno, what d’you wanna do?” I loved it, I learned it off by heart, although I wasn’t so keen on the song that formed the second part of the track – the start of that was a lift the stylus off the record moment.

I don't know, what d'you wanna do?When I arrived in Sheffield and spotted this particular mural it immediately brought back childhood memories and had me playing the scene from the Jungle Book in my head. I don’t know if Disney’s vultures were any kind of inspiration for this mural, but I always associate the two.

So why hadn’t I thought about or noticed my feathered friends lately? Were they still there, or had they fallen victim to the major redevelopments in that part of town? I went back to check them out. They are still there, but whereas once they were a focal point in a run down area, now they are slightly overpowered by the large new buildings around them. In fact, the four culture vultures sit just across the road from one of my newer friends the Millennium Galleries, surveying the relative newcomer that has temporarily grabbed my attention.

I’m probably not the only one who has been overlooking them, whilst I was snapping away taking some photos, other people stopped to look; but then, maybe that was just because I was re-enacting a certain movie scene for the benefit of Mr TLC. Unfortunately, Mr TLC had wandered off to sit on a bench just down the road, something I had completely failed to notice. I’d like to think that the people who stopped were looking at the mural, and not at the crazy woman having a conversation with herself in a fake Liverpool accent.

“Now don’t start that again!”

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