Fibreglass shark, doo doo doo doo doo doo
April 8, 2019 4:48 AM   Subscribe

"Any system of control must make some small place for the dynamic, the unexpected, the downright quirky. I therefore recommend that the Headington shark be allowed to remain." RIP Bill Heine, broadcaster, journalist, and the man behind one of Britain's best-loved pieces of public art.
posted by verstegan (12 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
"The council is understandably concerned about precedent here. The first concern is simple: proliferation with sharks (and heaven knows what else) crashing through roofs all over the city. This fear is exaggerated." It can be lovely when a person in power speaks plainly.
posted by ardgedee at 5:15 AM on April 8, 2019 [9 favorites]

I am reminded of the Girnin' Dug of Castlegate
posted by Molesome at 6:21 AM on April 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

... and now that song is stuck in my head once again ...

(and we thought Too Many Cooks was bad)
posted by panama joe at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

The shark was the second headache that Bill gave the Oxford city planning department. The first related to Headington Cinema (which used to stand on the opposite side of New High Street to the shark, where Standon Court is now). The previous owner had named it the Moulin Rouge but failed to get planning permission to put up a turning windmill on the grounds that this was misleading, as there were no can-can dancers. Bill took over the cinema in 1980 and put up an enormous pair of can-can legs (sculpted, like the shark, by John Buckley). When the planners predictably objected on the same grounds, serving enforcement order 82/00144/E, Bill promptly changed the name of the cinema to “Not the Moulin Rouge”, stating that a pair of can-can legs could not advertise anything which was patently not the Moulin Rouge, and he eventually got away with it.

posted by designbot at 6:58 AM on April 8, 2019 [13 favorites]

although the police were aware of what was going on they were powerless to do anything, as there is no law to prevent a man from putting a shark on his own roof.

One wonders if any sea life is forbidden on roofs, or do sharks (and, one would assume, skates and rays) have some special dispensation....
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:14 AM on April 8, 2019 [3 favorites]

A shark on the roof is delightful. I suppose it keeps nuisance birds away, like a plastic owl or a scarecrow.
posted by TrishaU at 7:25 AM on April 8, 2019

The last place I lived, a couple of streets away someone had painted a massive Union Jack on the side of their garage - due to the arrangement of the property this faced into the main street. There had always been a bit of war in that street over Christmas decorations / flags during World Cups etc ... that was basically the winning move.

When the house was sold the new owners painted over it in battleship grey a week after they had moved in.

Some relatives have a house with a massive gable end and I keep half-jokingly trying to persuade them to let me paint a mural on it. At the moment its' the stars of the European flag.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 7:35 AM on April 8, 2019 [1 favorite]

It turns out at some point someone submitted a LEGO set of the house and shark to the LEGO Ideas website after making their own unofficial one-off set for a friend, but it was rejected because of LEGO's ban on political content.
posted by chrominance at 8:46 AM on April 8, 2019 [2 favorites]

I suppose it keeps nuisance birds away, like a plastic owl or a scarecrow.

Surely a shark would only work to keep away fish from the roof? It seems to be effective, because there is a notable lack of roof-nesting fish in the Oxford area.
posted by Fuchsoid at 9:49 AM on April 8, 2019 [5 favorites]

Lego doesn't want to get involved in local council battles?

...probably wise.
posted by alexei at 9:57 AM on April 8, 2019

I was lucky enough to live in a first floor flat near the shark for a few years, which resulted in surreal scenes like this through the lounge window.
posted by garrett at 11:10 AM on April 8, 2019 [16 favorites]

I suppose it keeps nuisance birds away, like a plastic owl or a scarecrow.

But it will attract remoras, so there’s that to deal with.
posted by TedW at 8:57 AM on April 9, 2019

« Older Slab Crappie Hyperactive Minnow   |   Where did these three men go? Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments