Post No Bills

herald asbo article
[click for bigger image]

I picked up a free copy of the Evening Herald in Bus Aras the other day. Unfortunately there was no recycling bins where I could dispose of this waste of paper so I left it on the bench to pollute someone else’s mind after me! Anyway, I could write an in depth piece about ‘free’ newspapers and the waste that they are, but I will save that one for another day.

This story is related though and it stems from this piece that I snapped from this free rag to pass the time while I waited for my bus. The article talks about Anti Social Behaviour and the photo cites graffiti as being such that. But yet, graffiti is not mentioned in the article and I wonder if it is in the report at all.

Now I’m not going to defend all graffiti here. Some of it, is of course rubbish. Tags could be seen as just the work of bored teens rather than a piece of art or a statement. I don’t really get tagging to be honest. Some of it is good, especially on a big scale where there is obviously preparation and thought put into the design. But some is just crap, the “I woz ere” or “BA luvs GB” variety, as much to say “I own this here bit of wall, look at me”. Now I know a lot of graffiti artists will disagree with me, but you have to draw the line somewhere and by that I mean where you don’t write on walls. For example, if it is going to piss someone off enough to start addressing their local politicians about cleaning up the neighbourhoods and imposing tough penalties on people who draw on the walls no matter if they are just inconsiderate bored teens or creative street artists. In other words, painting them all with the same brush.

I feel that Irish cities would be far more lively if we didn’t have inane ‘post no bills’ laws which are amnestied for political election posters and if building site hoardings were a free for all, like in a lot of european cities. It serves the purpose of allowing events, gigs, clubs and the like that don’t have huge advertising budgets, to put the word on the street, literally. Then of course there are hefty fines dished out for littering if a flyer or poster ends up on the ground. But what about the litterbugs that throw it there? I know efforts are been made to fine people on the spot for this, but surely it’s not fair to fine the group that produced the flyer? I’ve heard recently of people being stopped passing out leaflets with social information as they could be fined for littering. How is the Metro or Herald AM different from this? How many fines do Mars, Coca Cola, Tayto, McDonalds, Burger King et al get for their colouring of the urban landscape?

See my Percil post

Now we only have to look to some cities on the European mainland to see how life and street art can live happily side by side. How it can rejuvenate inner city areas and make them popular for youth and adults alike. Berlin and Barcelona are great examples and both of these cities provide recycling points in practically every district, within walking distance.

So why is it different in Ireland? There is no doubt that Dublin is a dirty city. There has been a song or two written about that. But the hoardings are reserved by one or tow companies who have monopolies in this area and this doesn’t not include billboards which is an even bigger business, literally. Some of the hoardings have been known to be a free for all, that is, no arrangements were made with the site owner to put up ads. It seems like it was just a given. The new bins all over city streets include an ad space on the front but no facility to separate rubbish for recycling.

So why do I think we should be aloud to post bills? Well it’s down to freedom of expression and aesthetics. |t looks good and not everyone will agree but the same is true for ads, some look good, some don’t, yet they invade our pubic space every day. Also it allows for more creativity when posters get layered on top and montages are the result. It looks much better than designated billboards which are sometimes even hidden from public view and are not really targeting their audience. Regulations? Yeah, I guess there has to be some. Any temporary surface would be a good start, as well as bins, electricity boxes and the like. It would be paradise! Graffiti and street art is another story and represents a lot about a city. If only the walls could talk! Well they do, with well placed graffiti and street art. And no this is not making the city more dirty, this is adding character. It adds interest to bus and rail journeys, it’s like a sit on museum!


John Gormley’s (not very updated) blog talks of the peril that is graffiti. It seems he would be happy to outlaw it even more rather than to understand it. Of course some of his points are valid but a lot are generalisations.

More needs to be done for one thing to place separate recycle bins (big ones) all around our city centres. Oh but they would be big and ugly I hear them cry. Cover them in graffiti then I say!

Wooden hoarding should be used as a canvas, not for elections or advertising, but for art.

This rant was about graffiti, anti-social behaviour, social behaviour, society, advertising, freedom of expression and creativity and brought to you by the letter A.

Have a look at some Pictures Of Walls.

End of rant!

Look at what Banksy said about this before…

banksy’s take