EYE SPY: Neil Baker – The Horse Hospital

The Horse Hospital is on the corner of Herbrand Street and Colonnade. It was built in 1797 to provide stabling for the local gentry and later became a hospital for sick and lame horses. After years of neglect, the building reopened in 1993 as a venue for avant garde and underground art. Today, it claims to be London’s longest-running, truly independent artist-led venue. But a rent increase means it is facing closure.



Let this be the place.

Chase off the pigeons,

clear out the rats,

make way for the uneducated,

the amateurs, the low class

and the no-class, the furiously

romantic life-affirming,

independent, intuitive, difficult ones.


Let the strange in

and get ready

to learn from this alternative,

this celebration

of individualism, anti-conformism,

this not giving a damn,

this taking of control,

this doing-it-yourself,

this won’t be controlled.


Champion the outsider,

the unfashionable,

the back-street, below-stairs,

mews-hidden other ones.

Reject the professional,

the strategy, the power,

the market, the sell-out.

Abolish boring. Commit

highway robbery. Stand

with one another. Deliver.


This is the long struggle.

Enough is not enough.

Whip up a crowd.

Kick down door after door.

Think: What would happen if

we questioned the desires

that harness our minds

and rein in our lives?

We could do anything.

So reject the scavengers,

the nay-sayers,

the extorting bullies

who have done to the earth

what they have done,

with their two-faced tidy rooms,

their plastic flowers in grubby windows.

Destroy their sense of solidity

and permanence. Let these grooves

and gutters gush with effluvia

and irreverence.


Let these cobbled, stabled streets

overflow with offence. Draw strength

from connecting with one another.

Take what you can get

from this chamber of pop culture,

this cheap, nasty, revolting carnage

and go, do your work.


Liberation is in the air.

This place put it there.


Neil Baker

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