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„The fallen leaves in the forest seemed to make even the ground glow and burn with light”
— Malcolm Lowry, October Ferry to Gabriola

Exercise 4 — A moveable beast

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Read a story about a sculptor based in Britain working from the scrapyard. Decide what words should be used in the gaps 1-15. ONLY ONE WORD in each gap.

A moveable beast

1. .......... a sculptor is one of those strange jobs that really throws you 2. .......... the dice roll of life; you never know what’s 3. .......... the corner. One day you’re in the papers and meeting celebrities and the next you’re broke. I had a taste of this in 2012 when I 4. .......... commissioned to create a bicycle-inspired sculpture for the hospitality tent of the Tour of Britain cycle race, after the organisers had seen my exhibition, ’You Are What You Eat With’. Years ago I had 5. .......... rebuilding stairs or fitting beams, I was raiding skips for ancient bits of metal and old bikes that I broke up and made into birds, dogs, stags, fish and other beasts that I sold in a gallery nearby, so I already had a few ideas 6. .......... what I could create for the Tour of Britain. This time around though, instead of destroying a bike, I would bring an old one back to life. The cowbike was born! It proved extremely popular at the event and actually went on to become my main means of transportation after I had to scrap my van.

It was not 7. .......... after the cowbike that I set about building the horsebike – the link between horses and transportation and carrying loads all came together. I originally thought that it was going to have to be based around a tall bike construction, but after various, slightly hazardous attempts at this, decided to stick with just the one storey. As with the cowbike, it is made out of old stainless steel kitchen appliances and tableware, meaning it doesn’t rust and it has a sort of Fritz Lang Metropolis look about it, which I’m rather fond of. Making these bikes is a real challenge as they have to be strong enough and practical enough to actually be 8. .......... to use them! 9. .......... said that, the horsebike’s saddle is about one foot above the crossbar, just too tall to put your feet down, but I have some boots with extra thick soles to help out with this. It made its debut in the pub car park close to where I live – the people inside came running out thinking that there was an actual horse charging around their car park after seeing it on the CCTV. 10. .......... long after, we had a slightly more glamorous appearance at Glastonbury Festival, where there were plenty of big fields to test ride it and lots of long grass to fall off into when required. If I’m honest, it wasn’t the first time that I’ve 11. .......... asked if I’m completely insane, but I have never been asked it so many times in one day!

I am always foraging for parts 12. .......... use in my sculpture. I have dragged various things out of rivers and skips, and am always visiting scrapyards. In the past I’ve made elephants out of old cement mixers, a crocodile entirely out of spoons and an ostrich from the remains of an old kebab oven. Art can be so pompous sometimes but it doesn’t always have to be meaningful – it can be just fun.

When I was young, I 13. .......... to cycle about 1,000 miles a year and in the Welsh valleys there are some tough hills and harsh winters, so when I got my first car that was it. But now, through building these bikes, I have rediscovered the exhilaration of cycling. I’m now finishing work 14. .......... the third instalment of my bicyle triology, the Stagbike. Well I say triology, but plans are already 15. .......... for another one – a recumbent crocodile...

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