At the end of my road there is a pub that has been closed for about ten years now. It was taken over by squatters and in recent times has been used as a kind of unofficial art gallery, although I don’t know how you would visit it, as the entrance seems to be boarded up. On the whitewashed walls of the building some stenciled utterances have been posted up. I call them utterances. I don’t know what the habitual term is for this kind of art product, but it has become quite commonplace now, no doubt inspired by twitterish pronouncements. They are, for the most part, existential type statements, often truisms, but no doubt formulated to make you think or, at the very least, disarm you. On this old pub there are about twenty such utterances. I cite five of them : Honesty and Trust, Freedom from the Man; Climate Change is urgent to me; Trying Greggs for the first time; Money it would solve a lot of Problems; I am too stuck in my ways.
Do you know what to make of this? I am confused. It is tempting to read these statements from a certain altitude and make of them things that the author(s) probably never intended. Climate Change is urgent to them sounds like a dreadful boast. Trying Greggs for the first time tells us more about their class than anything else (presumably their mum shopped at Gale’s or Paul for her baked products); If they are as middle-class as I suspect, maybe they are the Man of which they speak, which would explain why money as a useful thing would be such an epiphany to them. Maybe a Gregg’s sausage roll will help them to unstuck themselves from their ways. Language writes us rather than us writing it. Here’s some proof.