Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Dog's abuse

In this posting, we go to Cleethorpes, a traditional English seaside resort that nestles on the coast of Lincolnshire.

There’s lots to do in Cleethorpes. You can stroll along the promenade while tucking into a pot of locally-caught cockles. You can take a walk along the pier, admiring the view and enjoying the bracing sea air. You can treat yourself to a stick of rock and then have a donkey ride on the beach - tide times and weather permitting. Or you can seek out some grubby graffiti and marvel at the puerile scribblings of the town’s bored youngsters. And there’s plenty of it, as we’ll be seeing in forthcoming intermittent postings.

One of Cleethorpes' main thoroughfares links a sprawling estate of 1950s bungalows with the town centre by cutting right through the middle of a vast cemetery. Along the path are a series of signs aimed at dog-owners. Some insist on leads, while others remind them to bag it and bin it, should their beloved pet feel the need to empty its bowels in the vicinity of the plots. Quite right too. Just think of the mourners.

After they’ve seen Nan off by gathering sobbing round the hole as the vicar fluffs his lines, the grieving relatives are eager to get back for the wake, where they can stuff their tear-stained faces with a selection savoury snacks and nibbles, washed down with tea and booze. The last thing they want to discover is that they’ve trodden in something nasty and have to sit on the doorstep while they use a matchstick to pick coffee-coloured fido fudge out the treads of their size 9s.

To an inveterate graffitist, a polite council sign is like a candle. They’re drawn to it, moth-like, without really understanding why. The desire to deface is powerful. Resistance is useless. It’s a deep, primeval urge.

The legend 'fanny juice' is surely the most delightfully juvenile piece of graffiti yet posted on The Filthy Pen. Maybe you’ll giggle at it, maybe you’ll grimace in disdain, but regardless of the reaction it engenders, surely we can all agree on one thing - it’s an outstanding bit of playground smut, marred only by the sloppy execution of that final e.

But as if that wasn’t enough by itself, we get a couple of bonuses too. Take a look at what the dog is doing:
With the addition of a few casual dashes of their pen, the culprit gives the impression that Rover is passing a broken string of blue pearls, or spilling a packet of turquoise Maltesers. And, as a final kiss-off, the legend or not has been also been added, turning the council’s definite order to keep dogs on leads into a please-yourself option. All in all, it’s a veritable feast of graffiti. This sign is a banqueting table.

Nowhere is safe from an inspired wielder of a Magic Marker - not even Cleethorpes Cemetery. Yet if this work can raise a titter in a miserable mourner, then the scribbler has done a good job. Top marks.


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