Think free, be free

There isn’t much graffiti in our town, which is rather nice, but the graffiti we do have is nothing like the gang signs and symbols I’m used to seeing in the States. Instead, the graffiti tends to be done by the local anarchists — all five of them, if even that many. I find them incredibly endearing, if only because very rarely do they get the anarchist symbol right.

The park I walk past to go into town has a wall where the anarchists usually draw their messages. This week had the best messages by far: on one wall, ‘Think free, be free. We have nothing to lose but our chains’ and on the other, ‘Blank walls? Silent generation!’ It warmed my Odonian heart with pride and I wanted to find these cute little anarchists and pat them on the head, saying, ‘Well done!’ I kicked myself each morning for forgetting to recharge my camera and bring it with me. Last night I remembered after going to bed, so I got up and plugged in the battery to charge overnight. I dutifully remembered my camera this morning.

…and walked to the park to find workmen washing off the graffiti. They saw me walking toward them, clutching my camera with a crestfallen expression. ‘Hello,’ they said.

‘Hi,’ I answered. Then, because I am a madwoman, I asked, ‘Could I take a picture, before you wash it off?’

The two workmen exchanged glances then looked back at me, utterly bemused. ‘What’s left of it, anyway,’ I added hastily.

‘Sure, what’s left of it,’ said one.

‘Is this for your scrapbook of achievements?’ asked the other, while I was snapping these pictures.

‘What? Oh, no no, I just find it really funny!’

Again, complete and utter bemusement on their part. I thanked them for letting me take pictures and hurried away.

I managed to get to the graffiti on the post office before the workmen did, and so you can see the paint there more clearly. The red was painted first, and then the next day someone had added the message in black:

I particularly like how they attempted to combine the two symbols with this one. They’re clever, but they don’t know what the symbols are supposed to look like.

This message on the old health centre has been up for ages, ever since the health centre was moved to the new hospital two years ago. I really like this one because it’s timely, relevant, and fits in its context.

So you see, another reason I’m fond of these painted messages is because they actually have something to say.

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