Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Obsessive compulsive

In the days when Roy Walker was making a tidy living hosting the popular game show Catchphrase, the genial Irish funnyman would often have to handle contestants who were a little bit shy, a little bit dim or a little bit both. Faced with one of the show’s state-of-the-art computer animated puzzles to crack and with time running out, it wasn’t rare to see some hapless hopeful lose their nerve and clam up. Silence.

But Roy was a seasoned old pro. He knew how to handle a mug punter. To coax them into saying something - anything - he’d reach for one of his own catchphrases and use it like a verbal cattle prod. “Go on,” he’d helpfully hint, “say what you see…”

The culprit behind this piece of street sign defacing, spotted just off Leith Walk in Edinburgh in October 2006, seems to have been following their own variation on Roy’s adage – it’s not so much a case of “say what you see”, more “write what you think”. It’s clearly a subject that means a great deal to the author of the scrawl, and one that has been given a lot of consideration. Perhaps too much consideration. Take a close look at that shaky handwriting: What a giveaway.

An earlier Filthy Pen posting looked at a large-scale work in a Musselburgh alleyway (look here for a reminder) and mentioned that the same alley wall bore something of a bonus that would be held over for a later date. Let’s revisit that spot now, given that its second work shares today’s central theme: Take a moment to admire the deft spraymanship of this piece. It’s particularly gratifying to see bubble writing make an uncommon appearance. A style of lettering often utilised in the 1970s, it’s now rarely seen and has yet to enjoy a popular revival among graphic designers and graffitists. And doesn’t it look fetching in scarlet? All in all, this one reeks of creativity run riot. It’s stinks of art for art’s sake.

So there you have it, two for the price of one. A Poundstretcher posting. Bargain.

To the perpetrators, respeck. As Roy Walker himself might have been moved to say, “It’s good, but it’s not right.”

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