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No. 75: Pavementalia, or the writing is not on the wall

Pavementalia, or the writing is not on the wall

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Strip by: Ian Boreham

{A boy is seated on the footpath (sidewalk/pavement) with a can of spray paint in his hand.}

caption: Darryn flew under the radar by doing all his graffiti on the ground.

{The ground is covered in fluorescent paint lines, arrows and letters, similar to the markings at construction sites.}

The author writes:

Over recent years, there seems to have been an explosion in fluorescent spray paint markings on the footpath (sidewalk/pavement) by construction and other workers, indicating the location of electricity cabling, gas pipes, data cables etc. Although this legal graffiti is functional, it is also a terrible eyesore. I don't know if the paint they use is supposed to fade away over time, but it seems to hang around for ages. A related whinge of mine is about workpersons who dig a trench through a paved public area, to lay a pipe or fix some problem. Instead of carefully removing the paving and re-laying it, or even just replacing the bits they cut out, they seem to simply fill the trench with asphalt, thereby ruining a perfectly good bit of paving, and leaving it uneven. It's probably difficult to do such re-laying well, and people trained to dig a trench and lay a pipe are probably not trained to lay pavers. Surely there must be some better solution, though. It must be terrible for the workers who lay the paving to see it destroyed a week later by the trenching louts. Or at least I'd feel terrible if it were me.

It occurred to me that a graffiti gang (Or is it an individual? I don't really know how this works) could adopt one of the standard markings used by one of the various dig-up-the-footpath industries as their "tag", and thereby get construction crews all over a city or country to mark the place with their tag for them. The problem with this plan is that nobody would actually notice.

The street where I live is pretty dark at night. I wonder if I could get some street lamps installed by simply marking the footpath with the appropriate symbols? I'd probably have to work out where the street lamp electricity cables are too, and mark them. It would be a lot easier than trying to persuade the local council to do anything about it. Of course, there probably aren't actually crews of magical street-lamp installers cruising round the neighbourhood looking for the appropriate runes and sigils to appear, indicating where new lamps should go. But it might be possible to fool workers at an existing site into doing additional tasks by putting markings nearby. Don't try this at home. Or anywhere else.

Drawn in Krita and Inkscape.