Phil Gyford


Sunday 11 May 2003

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A few days ago, just round the corner from Hackney police station, I noticed a car abandoned, straddling a bus lane and half the pavement. A day or two later, also from the top of a bus, I noticed someone had painted the entire car — body, windows, tires, lights, the lot — completely white. Given the level of obstruction I was surprised the car hadn’t been towed, even in Hackney. But the white car looked very cool, beautiful even, and I was pleased by this temporary exhibit. I wondered if it was connected with the people Dan saw painting over flyposters with white paint last week, some kind of mass cleansing of London.

So I just went round to take some photos and noticed the car wasn’t completely white. I saw a stylised human on the bonnet and, as I walked round to the side my heart sank a little… stencilled spray-on graffiti read “There’s beauty in the squalor,” beneath a couple of stencil faces. Unless done with the wit of Banksy, stencilled graffiti is an almost message-free territorial marking of the Nathan Barley Hoxtonian artist wannabe. A text-free white car would have been abstract and ownerless. Instead it was spoiled by shallow and patronising sloganeering.

But, as I waited for another combat-trousered youngish thing to finish taking her photos, as I switched on my digital camera and thought about going back to my smart flat behind locked gates off Clapton’s “murder mile” and uploading the snaps to my weblog, I couldn’t help thinking this was all I deserved.


I think you're being a bit harsh on yourself phil. My favourite bit was the fact that there's a queue of people to take pictures of the white car. I saw a bloke on my street this morning taking pictures of the one way sign. he was combatted up too. had a very very expensive camera though - such is life.

Posted by paul murphy on 12 May 2003, 12:19 pm | Link

...and to think I just walked past it and got on the train to work. What else am I missing by living without gates on the murder mile? should I install a gate to help with my perception of art? Discuss

Posted by rebecca smith on 20 May 2003, 4:50 pm | Link

Love your Pepys, and loved that car too. I liked the Percy the Penguin on the front. It made everyone who saw it happy, I think that's the most important thing about it.

Posted by Paul Mac on 17 July 2003, 11:54 am | Link

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Man most of the "art"/graffiti that goes on around Los Angeles is by the likes of Shepherd Fairy and other fools who find flyposting the same old crap in obvious spots is somehow related to art. There is no message...
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