Sunday, 22 February 2015

Artform Dodger

Teddy, Artform Dodger, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 22/2/2015

Consider yourself at home

Artform Dodger, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 22/2/2015

Consider yourself one of the family

Artform Dodger, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 22/2/2015

We've taken to you so strong, 
it's clear, we're going to get along

Artform Dodger, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 22/2/2015

Consider yourself well in, 
consider yourself part of the furniture

 Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 22/2/2015

There isn't a lot to spare - who cares? - whatever we got we share

Artform Dodger, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 22/2/2015

if we should see some harder days, some empty larder days - why grouse?

Artform Dodger, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 22/2/2015

there's always a chance we'll meet somebody to foot the bill, then the drinks are on the house

Artform Dodger, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 22/2/2015

consider yourself our mate

Artform Dodger, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 22/2/2015

we don't want to have no fuss

For after some consideration we can state:
consider youself  one of us

Artform Dodger, Fratton Park, Portsmouth, 2014
we accept you, one of us, gabba gabba, one of us, we accept you, one of us, gabba gabba hey

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Grace and beauty, spirit and fire

 Sleep is a form of yoga

 I'm sending that devil back where he belongs

 there ain't a damn thing you can do about that

 for some reason it's particularly popular in the morning

my soul belongs to the trail

 50 words for snow and only one for banana

 there is no failure except to give up trying

so much more than meets your mother's eye

I would trade my dreams for yours

Was that gunfire?  Sounded like gunfire.

his soul is in these hills

well, Ricky Schroder, thats one of the worst films I've ever slept through

all tags from Beyond Graffiti, the Avenue Subway, Southampton  

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A bevy in the Snatcher

when I was a lad . . .

growing up in a provincial town in the 70s the earliest graffiti I remember was the acronym LEBB. Cast your mind back: these were the days of Slade on TOTP and Kevin Keegan at LFC - it was not a time of subtlety and style. LEBB stood for Leasowe Estate Boot Boys.  Some of the time it was Bovver Boys rather than Boot Boys.  I'm not sure if they had a committee meeting with a proposal for a name change put forward, seconded and  voted on but I'm pretty sure it did change.  I did a bit of googling to see if anyone else remembered and found this attached to a Flickr photo of the Oyster Catcher pub in Leasowe:
Back in the 70's early 80's there was a small police station next to the Oyster with the words Dodge City painted on the outside, other grafeity would include LEBB, Leasowe Estate Boot Boys, or Bover Boys and ASL Anti Scag League. the LEBB would go hunting in packs with the enamy being the MABB who hail from Moreton, the MABB's meeting place would be under the roof of Les Turners shop in Moreton Cross, of course that was many moons ago. the Oyster Catcher has allways been a really good comunity pub, as far as i'm concerned if you havn't had a bevie in the Snatcher you havn't lived.

Elsewhere I found a comment to the effect that the reason Leasowe didn't have a drug problem in the 80s (at a time when nearby Ford Estate was known as Smack City) was that the dominant criminal family that operated out of the Oyster Catcher didn't approve of drugs. 

I had a run in with LEBB once.  There were half a dozen of them and one of me.  They were all around 16-18.  I was about 10 or eleven.  They were skinheads, with the boots, the braces, the white t shirts and jeans.  It was summer and I was riding my bike at Mockbeggar Wharf.  They bent my handlebars.  I never told anyone this before. Thought it was my fault.  Anyway, back to the graffiti.  There was LEBB.   There were some individual tags, including TIGS. And there were what we used to call Flying Kiwis. Still see them around sometimes. Most graffiti at that time was small scale and found on buses and in telephone boxes.

The MABB didn't come to our side of the motorway. There was a subway under the motorway - the Underpass - with a bit of waste ground between it and our school. This was used for gathering, school fights and the like. Here's a little something from the local paper in 1973:

The school was opened in 1961 and it is only recently that it has been subject to vandalism. It is thought that one of the major causes was the building of a pedestrian underpass beneath the New Brighton link to the M53 motorway.
"This underpass is a meeting place for the worst elements of society," said Mr. Bradshaw. "The playing fields have been fenced off, but it has been smashed down so often the Corporation have left an opening for them to get through.

"The worst elements of society".  What Mr Bradshaw seems not to realise is that these worst elements of society were his present or former pupils.  Bradshaw was known to one and all as Sam, a reference to a long forgotten crooner by the name of Sam Costa.  Costa had been popular a couple of decades before my generation. Sam was never popular.  

Sam Costa, Radio Times illustration by Bob Sherriffs, 1956 

Here's another snippet about Wallasey school life from a very entertaining page

On Wednesday, 21st March saw a remarkable walk-out by fourth formers at Oldershaw Grammar School in protest of being deprived of a games period. One-hundred pupils refused to go in for afternoon lessons and stayed on the school playing fields. They were also joined by 100 third-formers who came out in sympathy. Headmaster Mr. M. Mullett described the incident as "disgraceful". Leader of the rebels was 15-year-old Trevor Langton, of Trafalgar Road, who said "we were kept in after morning assembly for singing practice. This meant that we only had about 20 minutes of games, so we decided not to go into school in the afternoon". He continued, "our main grievance is that we have to have two assemblies a week - one would be enough, The friction has been building up for some weeks, so we decided to take some action".

Wonder what happened to Trevor.

Way back then the two most common canvasses for graffiti were buses and phone boxes.  The inside of buses and phone boxes.  Mostly it was of the TIGS WOZ ERE, LEBB and LFC type.  There was a wall in up-market Chester by the River Dee that had SANTANA sprayed in large letters which always seemed incongruous.  Around Liverpool there were areas where FTP graffiti predominated.  This tended to be in LFC areas not EFC areas (because Everton supporters were Catholic and Liverpool fans Protestants. And FTP was a bit of anti-Papal graffiti).

Meanwhile in NewYorkCity taggers were hitting subway trains.  Tagging a train which would then be seen all over the City was worth a bit of effort.  Tags got fancier and fancier.  Someone should write a history. On the walls.

These are from Southampton, by the very committed Jip Cr2em.  Improving the world, one wall at a time.

Jip Cr2em, Southampton, 2015

at one, with the birds

you are worth hundreds of sparrows

(It wasn't my secret to tell)

you galz haz fun 

a lie undiscovered becomes the truth
Jeff, Rules of Engagement 

damn the whole group of murderous misfits

Sunday, 15 February 2015

degrading art

Ars longa, vita brevis.  Not all art is designed for the ages.  Sometimes the artist wants to create something time limited. For example, Andy Galsworthy creates environmental art designed to disappear into the landscape, perhaps washed away by the next tide or rotting away on the forest floor.  A tagger knows that there's a fair chance his piece will be painted over before very long.  

This piece in Southampton tacitly invites the viewing public to contribute to its degradation.  The discolouration after only a few months shows that there has been a good take up by the public.  It is good to see folk getting involved in art in their community.

  Well done people of Southampton.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

comes a time you just gotta take that first step

you walked right in with a great big smile

 Love makes me strong, I don't have to wonder

If I forget how good your love is, 
I'll forget how good life can be

don't waste my time with your foolish chatter

you gonna live by the corn poppy
you gonna die by the corn poppy

I was raised in a cotton patch way out back,
Momma used to tote me on her back

church is just a place where others go to prey
church is just a place where others go to play

Donnie Fritts