King Kong

There's something about old buildings.

Maybe it's the thought of all the life that has been lived within them, their quiet witness to the world changing around them or simply their vulnerability to the passing of the years.

I attended the last screening at the Whiteladies Road Picture House before its closure and was saddened by the thought that all its red plush and faded gilding would soon be consigned to the past.
It stood empty then for over a decade, its brave New Deco facade stripped back and crusted in rusting scaffolds, it's ornate circular windows boarded up and blind.

Schemes for its conversion to smooth plastered magnolia living spaces bounced to and fro between planners and developers; the locals huddled in earnest committees and tried to save it and tempers 
began to flare.
It stood in silent composure, its pale tower rising like a dowagers plumed hat above the undignified squabbling.

Somebody ought to do something...

There are certain practical issues to be faced when constructing an eight foot gorilla.
Being able to pick it up without a crane is one, and getting it into its chosen location without breaking your neck is another.
Making sure it doesn't fall off and crush unsuspecting passers by comes pretty high up the list too.

Building him, ( complete with small white lady in hand ),  was as nothing compared to the logistics around getting him to hang dramatically off the side of the cinema.
More than once I attempted  ingenious things under cover of the night, involving climbing gear and pulleys but the height and danger got to me.
Each time the possibility of being found lying in a heap in the road damaged and confused, wrapped in a giant primate put me off and I scuttled away, defeated.

Over the next few weeks it became something of an obsession and I realised that, until that damned monkey was in place I would be unable to focus on anything else.
It became such a feature in the garden that even the postman stopped noticing it.

In the end, the solution was both simple and obvious.
On a hot, bustling Friday afternoon I parked the van by the cinema, put out some cones and stuck a ladder up the side of the scaffolding.
Dressed as a workman, and in plain sight, I hauled a life-sized wire gorilla up the side of the building and fixed him in place.
Nobody even looked up.

He lasted about three weeks before the Health and Safety Wombles got to him, but by then he'd served his purpose and taught me a valuable lesson:

If you want to be invisible, wear a high-vis jacket.