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28th September 2011

Graffiti Special – A short history of graffiti in Manchester

From the riot-provoked graffiti that recently graced walls near you, we traced the way back to the explosion of graffiti in Manchester in student-friendly Hulme in the late 80s.

Way back when, the (almost) recent riots that spread through the UK like flames to flammable really shocked and saddened me. I know that firstly, I am not alone in expressing distaste at these events, and secondly that riot comment is archived news now, lining the bottom of your fish bin or fertilising your compost heap. And yet I cannot quite let go the bandwagon that was leapt onto by all of sundry wanting ‘free stuff’. Comment on the state of our social system? Or comment on human nature gone awry on an overfed diet of shiny adverts?
But, there’s still a but. Post-riots the glass was swept up, windows boarded over, and brooms brandished. And all by city-dwellers leaping to the salvation of their city as if to compensate for the domestic violence shown to it from a violent drunk of a public.
And once these boards had been nailed up and swept under, masking a fractured city underneath, the plaster cast began to be decorated by eager friends. They amassed with felt tips, and spray cans, and stickers to brighten the blank surfaces. The graffiti was bright; the I HEART MCR stickers were plenty and all in support of a slighted city. Smoking Gun spotted a protest-protester inking up on one such board, and decried it ‘bizarre’, but is it really?
This week, we took a brief look at the history of Manchester through an aerosol, and began to understand what a shake of the can means to this city.

the rio

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