Hold tight, if you can remember that saying when you ran a bus, remember the conductors? They used to shout just before the bus moved “Hold tight!”.
The bus would move and lots of people would be holding on, swaying to and fro. The walkie-talkies is an artwork by socially engaged artist Michelle Baharier, working with a number of community groups and based on a poem by David Morris called the Route master race. David was a disabled wheelchair user and unable to use the bus, therefore feeling excluded from London life, the works explore inclusion on public transport, and the meaning has for inclusion into ordinary life.
Michelle Baharier is collecting audio stories and turning them into collages. Stories based around this experience of the route master, the London double-decker bus and David’s poem.
These stories will be gathered from pensioners many of whom many will now have acquired disabilities. Michelle is working with the Golden Oldies, Southwark Irish Pensioners and Southwark Pensioners. In particular focusing on the number one bus which used to go from Penge to Woodgreen now goes from Canada water to Tottenham Court Road. With the 176 taking part of its original route.
The collages track the absurd, the unfortunate and the ordinariness of our bus journeys. On a route master bus people would often travel just for fun and go sightseeing. However buses were also needed to be used for work and necessity. Violence on buses is not uncommon, even in the days of conductors there was occasional violence and assault on buses.
The collages convey this range of experience, and the experience of differently abled people’s ability to use public transport.
Works will be eventually housed at the London transport Museum in their raw and finished form. They will also be available on Disability Arts Online website for free, which can be downloaded so that you can listen to the pieces on your smartphone on the bus. All aboard, hold tight, look forward seeing you on the bus ride.