It’s too cold to be hell.

I’ve been checking the weather reports from Toronto. Assuming, stereotypically that it’ll be cold. Cold was redefined last night.

“If feels like hell”. “No, it’s too cold to be hell.”

Too cold to be hell turned out to be the Lion works in Sheffield. A hotch potch  amalgamation of buildings with an outside toilet, resplendent with broken sinks and worrying looking plumbing.
This was the ninth circle of hell.

Hell is usually represented as a fiery realm where sinners are eternally punished. Dante’s ninth circle, that reserved for traitors, and now it seemed artists, is a frozen lake, the Cocytus.

When I approached the building I was greeted by a friendly voice, but not one that I had been expecting. I know most of the life models in Sheffield, so to be greeted by someone I know external to that circle who was modelling that night was a bit of a shock. We entered the building and met Sam who as running the session.

Sam explained the layout of the building to me, the artist’s studios, the lack of glazing, lack of roof, the asbestos, “but it’s quite stable”. I had walked up to the Lion works so was warm from the journey but as the evening progressed I could feel that warmth ebbing away. The concrete floor sucking the life out of me. It was also doing nothing for my drawing. Concrete is not a good medium on which to draw, the pencils just can’t take it.

At half time I made my way to the outside toilet block buried at the bottom of a series of metal stairs. This was the descent in to hell itself. A muggers paradise with the faint whiff of a holiday park thrown in for good measure.

Asides from this vision of hell, I noted that most of the building would make a good backdrop for photo shoots. That decaying industrial feel. The staircase leading down to the toilet block was also an M C Escher dream. The never ending climb or descent, depending on the way you look at it. Is the glass half full or half empty? I always choose to look at it another way. Sod that, the bars only over there! I vowed to use the venue to its full potential, just maybe in summer.

On leaving the venue I realised that after my trip to hyperthermia and back that Canada could never be as cold.


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