Eye of the beholder

Monday 30th January 2012

P183 may not be the catchiest nom de plume around, but there’s a pleasing sardonicism to it. I’ve decided it’s probably also an official form used by the local council.

“Tell the lads who are putting the signs up to make sure they take P183s with them. Don’t want any more trouble with that nutter in Coxwell Street.”

I’m ambivalent about graffiti.

Spray-canned daubs rarely enhance the walls of public conveniences or buildings viewed from trains, but just as unsightly are roadside trees draped with scrawns of plastic-baggery. Dropping litter is, surely, as much a crime as any aerosol-fuelled angst.

Now, however, we have Banksy to thank: for putting the art into apartment block, the yes into eyesore. Daredevil decorators will have to undergo apprenticeships if they are going to be noticed.

P183’s pieces are in Moscow: a face peering over a ledge; riot police behind door shields; a spectacular pair of spectacles. Worth a look. As are the photographic charms of Laurent Laveder and wit of Vincent Bousserez, both of whom I found by chance recently.

And the council? Well, maybe notice was taken of the poem I displayed in a window following an outbreak of local graffiti, for somebody somewhere has judiciously removed a number of the…

Signs of the times

Narrow Coxwell Street is on the Town Walk:
tourists coo over our mullions and gables
photograph the pastry-hued Cotswold stone
capture the curvature of history’s spine

A cosy plaque on the Woolgatherers’ gate
talks of a prosperous merchant, the stairway
leading to a counting house; dares to use ‘abutting’:
bygone words, old and solid as the buildings

But later vandals violate the aspect of the street
with purple-yellow bruises cautioning waiting,
daubing walls black and blue with advice about parking:
signs put up under the cover of a darker age

Count the houses, dear passer-by. Notice how
this lane of ancient memory is presently scarred
by preposterous méchants, pulling wool over eyes
when screwing pleonastic notices into noble stone.




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