Olympic Breakfast Topography
2015 - Present (work in progress)
Once a staple of the British roadside, 2018 is the year in which Little Chef and its mascot, Charlie, disappear. The company having passed through numerous hands since 2008, each closing more and more restaurants in a desperate search for financial viability.
Born of an era when the 'getting there' was just as much a part of the trip as the 'being there', Little Chef lost its way, being trapped in the romanticism and escapism of the American road trip, a concept incompatible with this island of ours.
With the space between origin and destination now regarded as an inconvenience, societal trends have shifted - service stations are now the source of fast-food, quick loo-stops and coffees-to-go. Many a Little Chef now stands disused or derelict, they having become the ox-bow lakes of our time-obsessed, ever-americanising culture.
Despite their disuse, dereliction or metamorphosis into a Starbucks or Burger King, clues to a previous life remain. With branding removed and the 'safe journey' message spanning the exit sliproad now tyre-beaten and faded, car parks are still lined with 'mini-milk' lights, a staple of the restaurant's 1980s and 1990s heyday; Little Chef's failure has seen them become totems, marking where there was once a Little Chef, but is no longer.
The work comments on the failure of American imperialism and the exporting of the American dream to British shores; for Route 66 may take you from Chicago to Santa Monica, but the M18 takes you from Rotherham to Goole.