28 December 2006

The Day The World Turned Day-Glo

Since I live equidistant from both the Camden Town and Mornington Crescent tube stations, unless I need the Bank branch, I avoid Camden Town crowds and opt for everyone's favourite game and Belle and Sebastian song instead. Hop off the train a bit sooner, ride the lift upstairs and maybe even stop off for a pint and some Thai food on the way home. I love you, Mornington Crescent!

This, however, was not an option on Boxing Day, when limited London Underground services were running, so Camden Town it would have to be. (Note: Don't get me wrong, I love the Camden Town tube station for the amount of life that oozes from it and I feel fortunate that I get to use it on a daily basis instead of some boring quiet stop. I just avoid it sometimes on the weekends when large quantities of life-ooze are likely to make me ooze violence.)

As I emerged from my little transport capsule, I initially felt that something was off, but quickly came to see that something really was quite on. Paint was everywhere. On the ground, on the tiles, across adverts, covering tube maps and even electronic signs. A grin spread across my face as I realised that Camden Town tube station got massively graffiti bombed!

Of course this was the rare occasion that I wasn't carrying my camera, so I raced home to get it. Fifteen minutes later, I was back underground taking loads of photos. My favourites?

The initial shock of seeing this familiar daily sight turned on its head when you first come down the escalator:


Its close-up counterpart:


The melting acid swirl that once was a plain instance of familiar London Underground iconography:


The funny aside to Mr. Christ (apologies for, and to, the guy who is picking his nose):


These wishes of a good Christmas:


The punk prankster's reminder that this is not a socially acceptable way to celebrate:

xmas fuck up

Most of the graffiti was text, not drawings. Brixton, however, got treated to a cute rendering of Buster and Babs Bunny along with a manifesto. And who doesn't love a little manifesto, especially with a side of cute? (Certainly I would rescind at least a portion of my hatred for Matthew Herbert if he would draw bunnies in the margins of his rants.)


Camden Town Tube Station Graffiti Bomb: 26 Dec 2006 (my Flickr set)
Photos of the Brixton graffiti bombing (courtesy of Alex Buchanan)


London Underground Tube Diary - Going Underground's Blog
rodcorp: Graffiti taggers vs British Transport Police
Camden station graffiti bombed


Graffiti gang defaces Tube stop
Police target graffiti vandals


Update (1/1/07):

I moderate the comments on this blog due to the sort of harassing rubbish I've been getting from quasi-stalkers here and on Flickr. I'm not silencing dissent: I'll gladly post a comment that disagrees with me if it can do so with even a mild degree of intelligence and avoid threats to me and my (landlord's) property. I happily let-live a comment on my Flickr site that so eloquently stated, "it's a piece of mindless vandalism by a group of low life scum". A bit blunt, but that's his/her opinion.

I like open debate, I just don't like trolls. Thanks again for stopping by.


Tanya said...

Haha that's fantastic - I'm going there at lunchtime today to see if I can get some snaps. Hopefully they haven't cleaned much of it up yet!

theviker said...

I hate this post modern, I'm so tendy, its art attitude towards crime, first off all ...it was crap graffiti...why when it comes to graffiti we don't judge it for its pros and cons. We judge all other art forms but when it comes to graffiti, we say its self expression. If it wants to be accepted as an art form and not a crime. secondly I 'll get them to come around and do your front door shall i.

Dave Knapik said...

I certainly don't think street art is above criticism, I just disagree with your assertion that "it was crap graffiti".

I thought it was amazing. The lettering was classic graffiti bubble writing, done exquisitely well. If I could have directed it, though, I probably would have requested those little sparkles and stars one often sees on bubble letters, but that's just a personal preference. In fact, do me this favour: when you get them to come round to do my front door, ask them to put the sparkly starry bits on the letters, okay? I would also like a few drawings of Meatwad and the Mooninites, if possible. Cheers!

bob said...

I really appreciate you taking all of these photos. I live half a world away and only just recently (in early september) I was able to visit London and I went through that very Tube station in Camden Town that got hit. During my whole trip I was slightly disapointed by the lack of street level art in a lot of London, but also impressed with what I did see due to the high level of security and CCTV EVERYWHERE. To pull off something of this magnitude in what could easily be the most crushingly packed tube station in the city is nothing short of Awesome AND hilarious on several levels. The content of the work could be argued, but they did a damn good job of covering a lot of space and getting attention (i read about this on the bbc international home page) and .. if i remember correctly, in the begining the whole point of graffiti was to "gain fame," and these guys did just that..

Paul said...

I lived on Delancey St and can't believe I didn't see or hear about this.

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