The renting politician: what Sian Berry keeps on her shelf
- Credit: Archant
Sian Berry, 42, was the Green candidate for Mayor in 2008 and in 2016 (coming third). She is a member of the London Assembly and she rents in Archway. Check out her ‘shelfie’ here
These shelves are part of the slightly wonky, propped up shelving in my rented flat. I can’t properly attach things to the walls so they are balanced on piles of bricks between the bookcase and the desk and I keep a few random things on them. One of the most random is this figurine. It’s one of the rejects (it won’t stand up properly on its own) from the 40,000 clay figures that made up Anthony Gormley’s Field installation in the 1990s. I realise it defies the point of the piece to have one figure on its own, but it is very expressive. A friend who worked at the Arts Council gave it to me and I love it. I also have a postcard of a pledge I signed as candidate for the Greens. In real life it’s a wonderful painting by the artist Bob and Roberta Smith, which asks for all schools to be art schools and proper support for young creativity from the Mayor. I’m half done framing it to put in my office at City Hall.
Bless my Dad for giving me this tourist souvenir but this is a nice old bus and nothing like the terrible, sweltering, expensive ‘Boris Bus’. On the day they were launched in 2012 I was working on a campaign called ‘Sack Boris’ and we hired a bus like this one draped with banners to follow the Boris Bus’s maiden trip. That was loads of fun but it took another
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four years before we got a new mayor who has now cancelled any more orders, a decision of which I approve a lot.
Pottery from dam works excavations on the Heath
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I am Camden councillor for a large part of the Heath and was on the local community working group to keep tabs on the project. The City of London team took us up there a few times to see the works and I found these bits of old plates (which are not of archaeological value!) amongst the diggings above the ponds.
I keep a few samples from my metallurgy degree. These are slices through big arc-welded joints for steel girders, which I worked on as a summer project at British Steel’s old labs in Rotherham. I was getting them tested to see if
we could predict their properties. They are very heavy and a bit rusty now, as is my metallurgy knowledge, sadly.
Mutant apple in a jar from the tree in my old garden at Archway
The apple tree in the garden of my first London house in Archway (when renters could
afford gardens!) produced a mutant fruit with three apples fused into one. This was when I was just becoming a Green and I pickled it to keep, though I always planned something more artistic than this jar