Call Box of Shame

I was just about to write about this neglected little corner of Westcombe Park – and what a sad little area it was, when Serendipity sent me a mail from Methers, who at least made me giggle – even if really it’s no laughing matter…

This little nook – on the corner of Dinsdale Road and Vanbrugh Hill – should be lovely. It’s sheltered, there’s a sweet little bench and a phone box there. It should have an air of bucolic charm, half way up what has to be one of the steepest hills in Greenwich (and let’s face it, we have a few to choose from) – an opportunity to take a break and catch your breath while looking out over London. What it actually is amounts to Tag City – a mess of inarticulate daub; a scream of frustration from a voice that has realised it has nothing to say.
I’m not totally against street art – at its best it has a dynamism and visceral quality that lends it a power and gives its purveyors a means of communicating through a vibrant artistic medium. But this – this has nothing. No merit, no power, and worse – no hope.
The people that create this have no vision of their lives as anything more to look forward to than the fumes they can breathe from their marker pens. For a few short seconds while they’re wielding a spray can, they can feel they have a purpose before sinking back into the anger that will prevent them from becoming anything.
“Look, World. I am skilled enough to take a cap off a pen and point it at a stationary object. I am dextrous enough to make a mark. Respect me.”
And what for the rest of us? To get angry ourselves? Or to get even? How about a bit of both? Methers sent me this photo – with a most convincing ‘notice’ from Greenwich Council:
Let’s take a closer look, eh…

Methers notes “who ever made the sticker made a very professional job of it. The colour, the typeface, everything looks authentic. It couldn’t be a strange attempt by the council to try to put the taggers off, could it?”

Who can tell. But I can’t help thinking that he has a point when he continues

“I know someone would probably be upset by this, but I do think of asking BT to take the phonebox away. There’s another one just down the hill for anyone who needs one, and it just seems to attract graffiti and vandalism. Am I being an old misery? Could we make it a lovelier spot, with another bench and some nice plants?”

Excellent idea. Any volunteers?

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