Poster Boy

Poster Boy

I was down the alley at the back of the Robbie Burns putting up a spread of posters for a band called ‘The Poodles’ when the police car pulled up beside me. I tried to ignore it and just kept covering the backs of the posters with the glue from the bucket at my feet but then I heard the doors open and the cops walk over. I picked up one of the posters and stuck it carefully onto the wall before turning to face them. They were a couple of young guys – fresh out of Police College.

“Do you know you’re committing an offence?” said one of the cops.


“Well, you are”.

He paused and looked at the wall which was covered in a thick layer of posters dating back to sometime in the nineteen- fifties.

“But a lot of other people seem to be doing it too”.

I kept quiet and looked humble.

“Personally I can’t see a lot wrong in it. As long as you’re not sticking them on private property?”

”I wouldn’t do that! I do this for a job.” I said, making a direct appeal as one professional to another.

They looked at me with new respect.

“So do we”, said the other cop. “Have a good night”.

They got back in their car and drove off and I put up the final poster of the lay-out before moving down George Street towards the Octagon. It was getting cold and I had to keep my foot on the posters to stop them blowing away while I glued up the next lot.

A block or so down I had just started a spread on a wall surrounding a new building site when a car pulled up at the traffic lights and tooted. I tried to pretend it wasn’t there but then a hand came out of the passenger side waving a band poster.

“We’re gonna’ cover your posters!” someone in the car shouted drunkenly and then the lights changed and I could hear them laughing as they drove off.

“Fucking amateurs” I thought. “Make-work pricks!”

If the little shits did cover them I’d have to go out the next night and do the job again!

The next couple of blocks were pretty uneventful except for some bodgies in a Cortina who wound down their window and abused me – “Faggot with a bucket!” – as they cruised past.

I’d nearly finished the main street and I was putting up some posters on a bollard when I was confronted by this old Asian guy who was clearly very angry about something. It was hard to understand what he was saying and it took me a minute to work out that he was a shop owner whose premises had been ‘postered’ at some point. He had decided it was me. He kept on telling me to “Piss Off!” and that he was ‘sick of me putting up shit up all over his building.

“How would you like it if someone came to your house and put shit all over your walls? You’d call the cops!”

I tried to reason with him and tell him how responsible I was but he just didn’t want to listen.

He started asking me for my name and I took this as my cue to leave but I could hear him abusing me for the next block or so.

There was only the university to do now.

There used to be some big bollards outside the union but they’d be knocked down when they built the new library so the posters had spread onto the wall in front of the bike stands. I was putting up the last of the Poodles posters when a couple of students came up and asked if they could have one. Of course I gave it to them. It saved me sticking it up and them tearing it down.

I had just about finished my glue as I pasted the last couple of posters onto the wall.

I could feel the grime of the city starting to eat its way into my finger-tips and I was looking forward to getting home and going to bed.

I was almost home when a car pulled up beside me – it was the Cortina with the homophobic bodgies again. Naturally I kept walking and ignored them but this tall bodgie jumped out the passenger side and grabbed me and the driver  – who looked like Meatloaf – got in front of me and started yelling that I’d spat on his car or some such shit.

I knew as soon as I said anything – just one word – he’d hit me – so I said nothing and just looked through the guy like he wasn’t there.

He kept on abusing me and knocked the bucket out of my hand but I just continued to blank the prick completely.

He realized his strategy wasn’t working – so he upped the ante and spat a beer-smelling gob of saliva straight into my face while his mate held me round the neck and laughed.

I could see him waiting for my reaction but there was no way in hell I going to give this mother the satisfaction of acknowledging his mindless existence now.

So I just kept on blanking the fucker completely.

My complete lack of response really threw him and I could see the cogs slowly turning in what passed for his brain as he tried to work it out.  Maybe I was retarded or deaf? He just couldn’t understand why I wasn’t reacting.

By now I was resigned to getting a kicking no matter what but suddenly his mate let me go and without saying another word they got back in their car and drove off.

I wiped the spit off my face with my glue-covered hand and walked home feeling really good.

I had totally dominated those dumb fucks.

It was just another night in the exciting and sometimes dangerous world of the professional poster person.

Toyboy 4 - Cuba- 12.10.10


About artordeath

Bruce Mahalski is a Dunedin artist, known for his illustration, street murals, and sculpture incorporating animal bones. He is founder and director of the Dunedin Museum of Natural Mystery, a private museum of natural history and ethnographic objects and curios.
This entry was posted in Art Teaching, Politics Art, posterart, Street Art, tagging and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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