Henry Moore and Community Service

If you have ever lived in London you will be familiar with Henry Moore the sculptor. They are all over London, this one nestling in the south London estate of Stockwell. The sculpture sits in the dead space between tower blocks beside a picnic table, never saw anyone use that table other than the odd staffy dog taking a piss on it. I don’t know that much about Henry Moore but as a Londoner for 20 years I have always been aware of his sculptures.

Community Service helped me realise the finer points of Henry Moore’s abstract sculpture.

Community Service or Payback is unpaid labour which the UK courts imposed on an otherwise law abiding citizen who was caught in possession of a harmless plant(s) (weed). I served in the chain gang one day every week for around a year. It brought my appreciation of weed to a whole new level, on the chain gang everyone smoked weed throughout the day, painting railings was a common job or sweeping leaves, mostly we would just be rolling around in the van just killing time, the levels of marijuana intoxications were immense, I saw one guy collapsed in the van from smoking, I often had difficulty speaking or couldn’t stop laughing or had to go to the bakers, if the weather was nice we would have a BBQ or play football, I got to meet very interesting people, weed farmers, gang members, dealers, football hooligans.

So where does Henry Moore come into the story? well I spent a great deal of time admiring the works of  Henry Moore, gazing through a pot haze at the sculptures, the dirty van of the chain gang had an air of pot induced pschycosis around it, some of the staff were reasonable people, saddled with blunt edge of UK justice, some of the them were racist/religious both black and white, some were preachers trying drive out satan, all would judge us, and apply their own personal justice, which was either working or not working. All the time I was very high just couldn’t care, just as athletes use substances to improve their performance, I feel the experience helped me understand abstract sculpture in particular Henry Moore. I feel that had I not been sentenced to community service and been so very stoned, I would never have got to know and love the work of Henry Moore.

The chain gang as a punishment is a joke, it merely introduces you to others who share the same interests.

The above is a fictional account based on fact. No laws were broken then or now.

image from urban75