All EOS blogs All Spain blogs  Start your own blog Start your own blog 

Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

Graffiti Blues
Sunday, March 31, 2024 @ 7:18 PM

We are surrounded by louche pintadas and graffiti, somebody’s initials in blue, black, red or silver spray-paint, squirted furtively but ambitiously over an old door, on a wall, on a shop-front, on the side of a ruined house.

Forget the Banksys and the news-items that show up here and there like ‘Andalucía is home to two of the prettiest street-paintings in the world’ – here, we talk about the jungle of aggressive balloon letters painted at night to dismay the local residents. It’s grim vandalism: a kind of Call of the Worthless. ‘Urban art is an industry, graffiti is just ego’ says a columnist.

The street-artists know that Society has no room for them, that there’ll be no chance for them to be remembered, raised, honoured or respected. Theirs is the sour realisation that they are the detritus of modern-life.

Have you seen the pictures of the underground trains in Barcelona? Cohorts of feeble-minded nitwits are out every night, spray-cans at the ready. Did you know, it cost the city 11,5 million euros to repair them last year?

Did you see the old ruin covered in competing letrasets near the motorway, or the besmirched shutters in front of the entrance to the bar that closed down last year, or the ruined and unreadable street-signs or that odd message on the bridge (how on earth did they get up there, anyway?). What about the daubed political comments, crossed out by opposing idiots who get their ideals from comic-books? Will my vote change because I suddenly see a Pedro Xanche maricón inked onto a wall?

The offensive doodle must either be removed (I saw a can in my local Chinese shop which claims that it will lift it) or painted over by either the owner or the council. Why bother? It’ll probably be back tomorrow.

One answer is to employ municipal graffiti-removers – pay them with a one euro surcharge applied on all spray-paint sold in the shops.

The town hall is busy planting trees, gussying up the fancy buildings and spending a fortune on tourist campaigns, while the secret hoards of scribblers are out night after night befouling the walls and alleyways (preferably where these idiots can’t be seen, or denounced, or arrested).

It gets worse. There’s a new phenomenon in Spain called el turismo vandalico, where foreign tourists come here to paint. Not with watercolours, but with spray-cans. Tenerife is particularly punished with this kind of visitor.

A book in the Valencian language says that it is ‘…all about our popular culture, which - among other things - helps to understand how those graffiti that emerged as a spontaneous countercultural outbreak having evolved from the primary scream to today’s sophistication…’.

Yer, right on. That’s no doubt how Rembrandt started too.

The defacement lies in its unstated threat. We are out there.  Vandalism isn’t just paint-spray on a shop-front. In its more extreme moments, it can be worse: where one paints some crap on a castle wall, or gouges out one’s initials on a prehistoric relic, or cuts down a famous ancient tree.

The message is: I may not be going anywhere, but I’m here nonetheless.

Like 2


Only registered users can comment on this blog post. Please Sign In or Register now.


This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More information here. x