Monday, July 23, 2007

Grow up Sean

On The Filthy Pen's trawl through the cheeky doodles and scrawled messages that decorate the UK's public spaces, there's one aspect of graffiti that so far we've barely scratched the surface of - the murky realm of personal attacks and public vendettas.

While jibes, digs and insults form a key part of much graffiti, examples where the victim's full name is utilised are much rarer. Over the last few months though, an impressive collection of such images has been assembled here, and now seems as good a time as any to start featuring them. Assorted forthcoming posts will highlight a diverse array of such hyper-personal pieces. Let's air some grievances. Let's get things out in the open.

To start the ball rolling, here's a piece of graffiti from Victoria Street in Grimsby. It was spotted on the external wall of Argos, adjacent to the store's entrance. The site is unlikely to have been selected at random, and was presumably chosen because it's a favourite shopping spot of the writing's target, Sean McNally.

As you may have noticed, there is a strong trend among today's young British males to sport ostentatious jewellery. For many, Argos is their preferred shop as it offers a wide range of fashionable and attractive pieces at reasonable prices. Perhaps the graffiti's author placed their message there in the hope it would catch Sean's eye as he ventured in to peruse the latest edition of the chunky Argos catalogue, before checking his chosen item's availability on the user-friendly computerised stock system and - providing they'd not already sold out - making his purchase.

What might Sean have selected? There's much to choose from. He might have decided on a tasteful ring, or a modest pendant, or a discreet earring. Such a wealth of choices.

We can also see from the same picture that Bryony and Tod, whoever they may be, sadly appear to have ended their romance. Bryony, it seems, is no longer “4” Tod. Oh dear. Maybe Bryony scribbled over her own name after a tiff, or perhaps Tod attacked it with a marker pen after a falling-out. Or it could be that a jealous, vindictive Sean McNally was responsible for defacing it, leading in turn to the graffitied retort from one of the still-happy couple in a bid to cut him down to size and highlight his childishness in trying to come between them. Maybe Bryony had previously dumped Sean for Tod, leading Sean to deface their public declaration of love as a method of petty revenge.

There are so many options here. You will have to decide for yourself what it is that makes Sean so immature, and whether Bryony and Tod's romance is on or off. Consider it a sort of real-life soap opera, starring a young Grimsby cast – an earthier alternative to Hollyoaks, if you like. Use your imagination. Plot out a storyline.

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