Foxy's restaurant and delicatessen in Penarth last night - with "police" tape across the entrance and blanked-out windows. No one could see what was going on inside.

Foxy’s restaurant and delicatessen in Penarth last night – with “police” tape across the entrance and blanked-out windows. No one could see what was going on inside.

What had been billed as the “big-reveal” of last year’s Penarth Suggestion-Box Campaign – the moment when all would be disclosed – left members of the public none the wiser last night.

The “reveal” was set to take place at 19:00 hours last night at Foxy’s restaurant and delicatessen in Victoria Road . Those who turned up too early, found their way barred by police-style “do not cross” tape and the windows of Foxy’s  obscured from inside by  sheets of paper, preventing people from seeing what was going on inside.

The 446 "suggestions" were strung out on strings for public perusal

The 446 “suggestions” were strung out on strings for public perusal

When the curtain finally was raised, the paper screening taken down and the tapes across the doorway removed, people walked into to Foxy’s to find some 446 “suggestions” on display .

The Batman manikin bore the suggestion "We need a local Batman"

The Batman manikin bore the suggestion “We need a local Batman”

Most of the suggestions  been submitted on pages torn from the notebooks which had been tied to each suggestion box at their respective locations around the town.

Each one was pinned up on strings along walls and shelves, pinned to a Batman manikin, a cardboard drum . An astronomical telescope bore the suggestion  “Star-gazing on the beach”.

One Penarthian  Margaret Phelps called  in to see on what had happened to her suggestion – of having electric golf buggies run £1 a time commuter-service along the Railway Path to ease town centre parking. She also wants to start a Penarth choral competition.

Restaurateur and proprietor Sian Fox reads the risque suggestiions in the "Top Shelf" compendium . The inset shows the front cover with suitable warnings.

Foxy’s proprietor , restaurateur Sian Fox reads the risque suggestions in the “Top Shelf” compendium. . The inset shows the front cover with suitable warnings.

Some suggestions received which were adjudged too risque for public display – had been pasted in a book labelled “Top Shelf” for the perusal of ‘Adults Only’. There were also other props installed .

What was missing  was anyone representing the people behind the whole scheme. The organisers – it seems – had  spent quite some time at the restaurant setting up the display and then preserved their anonymity by silently stealing away into the night, undetected – and unccountable.

Even restaurateur and proprietor Sian Fox said she didn’t know who had set up the display. She and her staff had been asked to vacate the premises whilst the exhibition  was being set up and had only be re-admitted after the organisers had disappeared – leaving only some free bottles of complimentary wine for the public. Apparently no charge is being made for holding the display itself –  which will be on show for several days,

Penarthians peruse the "suggestions" posted in the six suggestion boxes sited around the town last autumn

Penarthians peruse the “suggestions” posted in the six suggestion boxes sited around the town last autumn

This all left the puzzled members of the public who had turned-up to see the suggestions, speculating about what lay behind the whole bizarre affair.

The consensus was that this was all too slick a campaign to have been a purely amateur operation.  Some theorised that there was a probably a public relations company behind it with creative input from its art department.   Other guessed that it was a project carried out by students as part of an advertising or media course.

A framed essay on the wall explains - to some degree - what lay behind the campaign

A framed essay on the wall explains – to some degree – what lay behind the campaign

The only clue left by anonymous organisers was a photo-framed essay on one wall which said :-

The motivations for this project were curiosity, boredom and a hypothesis about suggestion boxes In our experience they collect dust and chewing gum, or at best a few predictable complaints and ideas_ Would it be different if the boxes cajoled or dared you, What if there was no obvious purpose or direction for the suggestions?

The organisers go on to say “We couldn’t resist implementing suggestions to light the railway path and one Friday morning runners and dog walkers found the trees and Alberta Place barrier lit up with fairy lights “.

In their framed essay the organisers claim the suggestions collectively “present a snap shot of this town’s creative spirit, sense of community and fun” . They say  “We think many of them represent voices that often go unheard.”  .

...And yes the suspiciously large number of pro-skateboard "suggestions" from "children" are displayed on an appiopriate effigy. represented

…And yes the suspiciously-large number of pro-Paget Road skateboard park “suggestions” from “children” are displayed on an appropriate effigy.

The organisers modestly say they are “limited in our ability to make good things happen” and that “some ideas require public funding, support and planning to implement. we’ll pass these to the local councils. Others require a magic wand or talented animator “.

The essay ends with the believe-it-or-not assertion that  “For the record we have no political affiliation or single issue axe to grind and the project was privately financed”.

As for who thewe are – they don’t say.

Townspeople  attending last night’s viewing said it might have been basic good manners for the organisers to at least introduce themselves and explain who did the financing  – and why.


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  1. Tom says:

    You can be sure the people ‘behind it’ think they’ve brought a hip, happening vibe to bemuse the ‘old buffers’ of Penarth. Not sure what they hope to achieve with their pegs and Batman outfits. It’s a seaside town, not Dismaland.

  2. Philip Rapier says:

    I am not against skateboarding as such but recent events seem to suggest there is a serious risk that the Paget Road edifice is likely to slide in to the Marina as a heap of slurry……..
    The inherent risks are well known it is not just a matter of dumping a skateboard park somewhere and walking away.
    ……..As the Royal Society for the prevention of Accidents say on their website
    .” A third of all skateboarding injuries occur at weekends. The average age of skateboarders is between 13 and 14 and they participate in the sport on average 50.8 days in the year. 90% of them are male and 60% are under 15. Sprains, fractures, contusions and abrasions are the most common form of injury. 74% of injuries were to the extremities. Among these broken wrists (19%), ankles (11%), face (16%) and long bone fractures are the most common injuries. Head injuries accounted for around 20% of all injuries. Serious injuries, concussion, blunt trauma, skull fracture or closed head injuries represented 3.1% of all injuries to skateboarders. ”

    ROSPA recommend the facility be managed as follows (I have seen no evidence that the Vale of Glamorgan has either the resources or determination to take these actions). Hopefully I am wrong.
    ROSPA policy states…………………:
    ……” involve skaters and other users in the development and management of the facility
    discuss siting of the provision with the local police and architectural officer…. site the facility so that it is overlooked (this gives some informal supervision) and is away from overhanging trees etc……. make sure that there is good access for emergency vehicles …… ensure there is good, firm access to the area ……. ensure that correct signs are provided (see BS EN 14974 for an example)……. ensure that all equipment is built and installed to BS EN 14974…… obtain a post installation inspection from a suitably qualified body such as RoSPA to ensure safety standards are met. (Your insurance company may insist on this)……. inspect your site regularly. Even in a small parish this must be a minimum of once a week… ensure users know where to report faults…. obtain an independent annual inspection of the site. RoSPA can undertake this inspection at the same time as it is inspecting play areas ….. document all inspections and keep records for as long as possible. (RoSPA recommended a minimum of 15 years) ….. undertake all repairs/maintenance problems as soon as is practical if this cannot be done, take the equipment our of use as far as is possible and inform your insurance company”

    • Penarth Drone says:

      I would not like to live in your household.

      “Like some scrambled eggs Phil?
      I would answer in the affirmatory with regards to the aforementioned question if you can prove that by doing so no eggs are cracked in the process. I would like to draw your attention to a survey of egg cracking done in Switzerland in 1968 where two accidents occurred over the space of 7 months. If you do managed to scramble them without hazard or incident I will require written proof of that the egg was indeed laid by a virgin hen. Do the hens conform to BS7816 and is the gas the correct thermal temperature for the scrambling process………”
      YAWN :-O

  3. AlunT says:

    Are you telling me that the owners of Foxy’s didn’t know who was using their premises and left them unattended?
    I sure hope Foxy’s insurance company doesn’t read this.
    It all sounds highly suspect to me.

    • Dan Potts says:

      A huge publicity stunt for Foxy’s ?
      Did Sian realy leave her premises open for compleat stangers to have the run of ?
      or did she send out the invite ?
      As Alun T says all VERY suspect !

    • Jane Foster says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I turned up early enough to be put right off by the papered windows and police tape and went straight home again. Looks like I didn’t miss much.

  4. RetailGuru says:

    Are we taking this all a bit too seriously? The suggestion box scheme is surely a bit of fun meant to provoke discussion and free-thinking ideas.

    So what if Foxy’s allowed their premises to be used without hindrance? So what if Foxy’s are even behind the whole thing?

    I am proud of the fact that Penarth is sometimes a quirky place to live and this is just one of those quirky events! More batmen, more suggestion boxes and more events like this please!

  5. Christopher David says:

    “Townspeople attending last night’s viewing said it might have been basic good manners for the organisers to at least introduce themselves and explain who did the financing – and why”. What utter rot and rowlocks. Have some no imagination or sense of fun. Trust Mr Rapier to try and make it a point scoring opportunity- bah. A pointless jobs worth diatribe so numbingly tedious and vapid even my laptop was bored 🙂 I agree with Ret Guru, spot on. Just enjoy it. As for manners- those with such comments need a lesson in them with such comments- manners are so sadly lacking in so many quarters these days- says he taking a few pop shots heh.

  6. Martin gossage says:

    Ah ha ! When I turned up I noticed the windows and thought it was of course part of the mystery . PDN ..the tape said ” don’t GET cross ” not don’t cross , again part of the play on our observation smile ! So I bent under and went in .
    Totally knew there wouldn’t be the perpetrators in there that would have been be so obvious .
    Also surely any action that comes out of this really would be from the publics own drive and determination without any ” contamination ” from the organisers on the night. Unless they WERE there ?

  7. Grave and Flavour says:

    With all those Post-It style notes everywhere and free bottles of wine could it have been set up as a Liz Burnett aversion therapy season?

    • Lindsay says:

      Free wine? That’s even better than Christopher’s 1.70. I bet he filled his boots

      • A local Penarth Resident says:

        Didn’t you said bye bye?
        Suppose any hint of anti Labour and the central policy bureau for re-election of the great and the good committee has ordered you to start posting again.
        Nice to have you back 🙂

    • Lindsay says:

      I said bye bye to Christopher. Oops, silly me, more aliases. I must be more careful.

  8. Margaret Phelps says:

    I wanted to suggest a Penarth Choir Festival as part of the Penarth Festival to involve all local schools, as well as existing choirs, using all Penarth Church venues as well as the Pier Pavilion and the Paget Rooms, and to cover a broad range of music.

  9. Lindsay says:

    Nope, you’re barking up the wrong tree. No silly names for me. Hmmm, yes I know all about the WDA business

Comments are closed.