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Posts Tagged ‘graffiti’

It’s been there bloody ages, but old Bruce has taken even longer to work out how to get pictures off his phone and onto his laptop.

Hopefully, it’s worth the wait as, post-graf, post-stencil, post-posters, 3D graffiti comes to Collingwood. How pleasing that they chose a post with which to start the trend.

Balls to you too

Balls to you too

Yes, they did indeed have the good grace to include veins.

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In a matter of days Fran will celebrate reaching the magnificently divisible age of 32, while just four days later Bruce will leave that milestone behind for the somewhat less divisible, but eminently alliterate 33.

Both are pleased to report, however, that signs of encroaching maturity are notable by their absence as evidenced by the giggle that accompanied the first sighting of this on Smith Street:

bum

One can only hope the person(s) responsible find time to head further down Sackville Road with a dark blue marker pen…

slag

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Northcote's entertainment hub

Northcote's entertainment hub

“So you’ve come from shit weather to more shit weather,” said the man from Brisbane as a young girl on a skateboard hurtled past him before being brought suddenly and painfully to a halt by a bench on which were scrawled a selection of childish rude words – balls, wees, poo.

Now, while Bruce would be foolish to deny that Melbourne’s flirtation with above 20C temperatures has only been tantalisingly fleeting, he is reminded of the words of Bill Hicks whenever people question why he and Fran chose Melbourne over the warmer climes of Queensland. Then, speaking of Los Angeles, the great man said:

“Hot and sunny, every single day, hot and sunny. And they love it. ‘Isn’t it great, every day, hot and sunny?’ What are you, a fucking lizard? Only reptiles feel that way about this kind of weather. I’m a mammal, I can afford coats, scarves, cappuccino and rosy cheeked women.”

Moments later, the young girl by now carried to the relative safety of a nearby shrubbery patch by her friends, a skinhead in a red hoodie approached the same bench at speed, leapt over it while performing a somersault, mistimed his landing and careered into a row of parked bicycles. Half an hour later he was back pretending to be a dog and giving someone’s black labrador the time of his life. Welcome to Northcote’s High Vibes festival.

Despite being located in a section of Northcote High Street, it did a remarkable job of capturing so much of what festival-going is about:

  • You don’t actually see any of the bands (in this case, because the venues were so packed by the time we arrive there mid-evening rather than any lack of willing to traipse through fields knee deep in mud)
  • No matter how drunk you are, there is someone far drunker only yards away. Always reassuring
  • The police are there in body only
  • Grown men who would otherwise guard against it think nothing of displaying deep affection for each other in public
  • You realise just how little it would take for Western society to descend (rise?) into anarchy
Boatyard blues

Boatyard blues

That Bruce and Fran had spent the preceding few hours watching a bunch of good ol’ boys (and some not so ol’ boys) playing soulful rockabilly and blues in a wooden boatyard in Williamstown (featuring a man playing an armoured breastplate with metal thimbles), which itself came less than 24 hours after they’d watched some pretty nimble breakers and talented graffiti artists at the Don’t Ban The Can protest event in Brunswick, made for a colourful weekend.

Then there was the Spanish food in the couldn’t-sound-more-Scottish Robert Burns Hotel, in Collingwood, a great and very popular little place that combines the decor of the mercifully defunct Berni Inns of 70s and 80s Britain with tasty food and generous bar staff. And The Detonators rockin’ and rollin’ at The Gem around the corner, complete with a singer whose quiff was only outdone in its audacity by the leather holster belt in which he carried his eight harmonicas. Quite what was so special about the ninth – kept in its own separate padded container – is perhaps best left secret…

Reflecting on this as a crowd gathered to form an impromptu choral line for some buskers in Northcote High Street as the festival came to a close, Bruce wondered why anyone would choose not to live in Melbourne. Even the visitor from Brisbane admitted: “Only in Melbourne.”

Then he remembered – it’s not hot and sunny every day.

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Why

There’s a moment at the end of the superb film The Lives of Others where action skips forward a few years to former East Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Instantly noticeable is the graffiti decorating the imposing dark stone buildings.

It is merely the backdrop to the scene, but is not there by accident: the director could have had his actors walking along any street, but he chose this one. Why? Because the graffiti was a symbol of freedom, a sign that the oppressive regime under which the Stasi was able to thrive and people lived in constant fear had been overthrown for good.

Bruce and Fran have already commented on their love of Melbourne’s graffiti, from that splattered over abandoned factories to the stencils popping up in the most unlikely of spots. Some, such as that at St Kilda Junction, is even there with the support of the local council and Vic Roads, among others. Hosier Lane is a tourist attraction because of its graffiti.

So why these new regulations? $550 fine for carrying a spray can? $26K for defacing a building and up to two years in jail?

One of Melbourne’s most attractive features is its pro-active attitude towards the arts and culture, an attitude that brings people from all over the world to live here. It has the world’s third largest comedy festival, wants to be number two behind Edinburgh for literature and has more cultural festivals going on around the year than it’s possible to attend.

And yet this, a Draconian attempt to stifle an artform available to anybody. OK, so there’s good and bad graffiti and no one (well, very few people) want to see gratuitous swear words or shitty tags everywhere, but surely that’s a price we should be willing to pay to allow this expression of freedom, this freedom of expression?

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A few new pages and posts belatedly added…

Que?

 

 

Que?

 

 

***

“For the lucky few who own breweries the temptation to test the famous idiom and organise regular piss-ups must be nigh on irresistible. Yet resist they do…”

***

“Watch out for the ones who run the ball back to the centre after a goal: their little legs go so fast and they do a fantastic little hop, skip and pirouette at the end, which is quite marvellous”

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Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition

Cleese keeps a watchful eye on Fran

Feel freeMelbourne is awash with splendid graffiti, from huge building-seized murals to witty stencils. In places, such as the underpass at St Kilda Junction tram stop, it is positively encouraged by the council. In others, such as parts of the inner western suburbs, there are schemes in place to cut it short.

I guess they’re not happy with the quality of some of the workmanship and have to admit, some of the efforts in my local vicinity leave a lot to be desired. Take Little Grey Street, where the primary concern of the artists seems to be to try and come up with ever more comical rude phrases, “Cunt Flaps,” in black italics, being a real standout.

Boobz

Among the random swear words, insults and tags, one word holds sway. That word is “Boobz”. Credit where it’s due, the artist responsible has at least gone to the trouble of putting dots inside both of the O’s, making them look a little bit like, you’ve guessed it, boobs. Heaven knows what the power-mongers on Maribyrnong City Council would make if it made it to their side of the city.

Finding the culprit may not prove too troubling, however…

Mr Boobz\' getaway vehicle

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