The strangest thing just happened outside my flat.

I heard a scrubbing sound and voices – someone saying they needed more water – so I peeked out the window. There were three teenagers – they looked Chinese – who were scrubbing chalk marks off the footpath with water and a broom. Next to them was the neighbourhood old drunk guy who kept saying, “Chalk? You don’t have to do that. Don’t bother doing that.”

Then suddenly all three of them stopped and took off across the road, all sprinting in different directions, taking shortcuts to get away fast. It was as if they were running for their lives.

The old drunk guy staggered off home.

Checking the footpath, there was just a wet patch where the water had been, and a rogue chalk X they missed.


UPDATE: It was Christians!

This morning I examined the scene of the scrubbing. There were smudged chalk marks and a few X’s all along the footpath, as if forming a route. The marks continued around a corner and down a side street where I found this written:

Christian graffiti

But this doesn’t explain why they suddenly sprinted off so quickly.

Poynton south left

I never really used to be into graffiti much. I couldn’t differentiate between some angry 14-year-old tagging a bus stop and someone like Askew doing a really awesome piece. But one day a few years ago, Dylz introduced me to Askew (and told me his terrible, terrible secret from the dark history of TV3) and I slowly started paying attention to the graffiti that I saw on the streets.

This year I started to notice the two walls on the corner of Poynton Terrace and Pitt Street. I walk past them most days on the way to work, and one day I photographed all the pieces that were up on the walls.

Then I noticed one part of the wall – furthest from the street – was being graffitied over rather frequently. So far I have five different photo starting from March this year. It’s interesting seeing how the pieces evolve, how elements of the old pieces are incorporated into the new ones.

I also learned how to take better photos of graffiti. Some guy in America messaged me on Flickr and asked me to take photos front-on – no wacky “I’m making art with art!!!” angles.

So here are the five stages of the left side of the south wall of Poynton Terrace.

Poynton Terrace graffiti - south side

Poynton Terrace graffiti - south side

Hustler's Ambition

Hustler's Ambition update

Poynton South Left

Write on

Driving to the gym this morning, I had to suddenly brake to avoid a sign that was blowing across the road. As I got closer, I saw that it was promoting three Citizens and Ratepayers candidates standing in my local ward.

Ah yes. It’s local election candidate sign defacement time.

I’m expecting the usual to happen: the right-wing candidates signs get defaced or ripped down, while the left-wing candidates’ signs usually escape unharmed. But, of course, it’s always worth wondering who exactly is doing the vandalism. Is it lefties wanting to prevent the right-wing candidates from promoting themselves? Or are some conservative supporters getting out there and defacing their own signs in order to make the lefties look like crazy vandals?

As far as the mayoral candidates go, I noticed the following:

John Banks – His sign originally said John Banks with for under it. Someone had attempted to deface the Banks/for area, but had picked grey spray paint that seemed to blend in with the blue and red of the poster. Then, perhaps written in frustration, FUCK had been sprayed under John. This bit was on a white background, so it was much clearer. But the end result was like an angry eight-year-old who couldn’t come up with any better insult than “John FUCK”.

Dick Hubbard – Oh, that’s right. He doesn’t have any billboards. No, instead his name and a cartoon likeness of his face takes up a few shelves in every supermarket in this city. But as far as defacing goes, I recently binned an empty box of Hubbard’s cereal.

Christine Fletcher – Who cares about Christine Fletcher for mayor? Does anyone? Just to show how insignificant as a candidate she is this time around, her sign was defaced not by some angry anti-Fletcherite, but by some tagger who’d just scribbled his name at the top of her sign.

Oh, it’s just so hard to pick who to vote for.

Spell check

I was walking across Grafton Bridge today and saw the saddest piece of graffiti:

Go home Aisasns. Fuck off

And further down was another failed attempt at spelling “Asians”.

I’d be really embarrassed if that were me. I mean, if you’re going to go to the trouble of spraying graffiti about something that you (apparently) feel very strongly about, then at least get the spelling right.

I hope all the Asians who walked past and saw it had a good laugh.

And it got me thinking. If all the Asians living in Auckland suddenly left, the downtown area would feel really empty. The streets would have significantly less people walking down them, shops would be empty and Queen Street would probably end up feeling like ghost town after 6pm.

I hope the only homes Auckland’s Asian population will be fucking off to are their Auckland ones.