New lease of life for landmark pub contents

Darts match marks end of ‘everyday objects’ city exhibition.

A darts match using the original dartboard and cabinet salvaged from the now demolished Birmingham pub The Eagle & Tun – made famous as the location of UB40’s Red Red Wine music video – will mark the end of a city exhibition featuring a host of everyday objects.

The event has been arranged by artist Harun Morrison, Wheatley Fellow at Birmingham’s School of Art, part of Birmingham City University, to celebrate the end of his visual arts show Experiments with Everyday Objects in the large gallery space at Eastside Projects.

Darts players of any ability and experience are welcome to join the event between 5pm and 8pm on Friday 30th July, held at the gallery’s Heath Mill Lane Digbeth home with individuals and staff teams from the Birmingham arts sector already committing to stepping up to the oche.

Key artworks in the exhibition include Eagle and Tun fixtures and fittings such as chairs, wine glasses, and signs, salvaged prior to the historic pub’s demolition last year. The interior of Eastside Projects is currently layered in flock wallpaper chosen by the last owner of the Eagle & Tun, as well as a ‘glass harp’ red wine glass installation based on the chords of the hit 1983 UB40 recording of Red Red Wine.

As well as providing the location for the filming of the music video to accompany the global hit from the Birmingham reggae band, The Eagle & Tun, stood on the corner of New Canal Street and Banbury Street close to Birmingham city centre, also featured in a video accompanying the single Take Me Back to London by music star Ed Sheeran featuring British rappers Stormzy and Jaykae.

The pub was demolished in October 2020 following a Compulsory Purchase Order, to make way for the HS2 terminus at Curzon Street Station next door.

Artist Harun Morrison, said, “The Eagle and Tun Darts Night is an informal way to consider how places can be memorialised through performance. The landscape of Birmingham is rapidly morphing, both through new infrastructure and housing developments. How can we creatively recognise, celebrate and mourn these changes?”

Experiments with Everyday Objects takes its title from a 1970s science book that describes over sixty experiments for children to do at home using readily available materials.

Harun Morrison has used a copy of the book belonging to his father, a former science teacher to select experiments as scores for a series of actions to camera that evoke the weirder end of YouTube demonstration videos. The series began during the first COVID-19 lockdown using whatever was to hand.

The experiments with everyday objects extend beyond the book’s instructions to include other things with personal and socio-political resonance of various sizes. These include the reconstruction of a stage prop originally designed by dancer Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson (1878–1949), the evocation of the recently-demolished Eagle & Tun and his narrow-boat Zoar.

Gavin Wade, Director of Eastside Projects, said, “Harun’s artworks propose many important ideas about the past and future of this part of Birmingham and he carefully weaves together an exhibition that asks us to slow down, be attentive to what is happening around you, and encourages people to ask more questions about the actions they take on a daily basis.

“Harun is an artist with a quiet, generous vision of bringing people together and recognising creativity in our daily lives.”