EDitorial ± 31-Aug-2004

Comes Great Responsibility

Seen the Spider-Man films? Note, by the way, that hyphen and the capitalized letter M. Shows that I know what I'm talking about does that. I'd say that number two is at least as good as number one, possibly better. Rare is the sequel that is greater than or equal.

Flash back a year to when The Boy received his Spider-Man outfit. Now outgrown, he was fortunate enough to be given a new one for his recent birthday. And so it was that on a damp Sunday morning, for want of something else to occupy the kids, his father thought that it would be amusing to re-enact some key scenes.

Feel the pain as our hero tries to halt the runaway train

That notorious elevator scene

Coming to MJ's help in Doc Ock's dockside lair

Every expense spared on the sets.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 2-Aug-2004

What's My Tag?

Between mouthfuls of Rice Krispies this morning there was an item on Five Live about an Italian plural noun. From what I gather, the likes of the Black-Eyed Peas and the Fabulous Borlotti Brothers have been very naughty boys indeed, appealing to Da Yoof by standing in front of walls covered with, shock, graffiti. By the way, that's two fs and one t.

Getting all Daily Mail, those angular icons at Keep Britain Tidy claim that This Great Land "is in the grip of a multi-million pound graffiti epidemic". And the long list of those to blame includes The Eden Project, Greenpeace and even the Chelsea Flower Show. Oi Diarmuid, how d'ya spell fushcia?

Although they may be exaggerating a tad, I suspect they're right about it adding to an area's "sense of squalor". There's a great example in Malcolm Gladwell's book The Tipping Point where he describes the New York Transit Authority's battle against crime in the 1980s, putting into practice the Broken Windows theory:

If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge. Soon, more windows will be broken.

To the disbelief of many who favoured more radical measures, the Authority gave top priority to stamping out graffiti. Trains that came in painted weren't put back into service until clean. Over time it was found that levels of crime as a whole were dropping, demonstrating that big problems can sometimes be tackled by concentrating on tiny details.

Don't think that KBT would be impressed with one of the features on Suffolk County Council's website, namely their graffiti wall: have your say indeed.

I must mention one of KBT's targets, a graffiti artist known as Banksy. Bombing in Bristol before he heard the sound of London calling, he works with cardboard stencils and produces some astonishing stuff, admittedly on other people's walls. And on Wednesday this week, according to his website, he's unveiling a new 3.5 ton monument "cemented somewhere in central London". Keep watching the walls.

Be seeing you!