The above appeared, clumsily spray painted on the wall of a dilapidated pub building in Leamington, a couple of months before Christmas.
At first, being ignorant of gangster lore, I assumed it referred to a local lad; some poor yob out misspending his youth who had found himself on the wrong side of a policeman’s taser. Before he could protest that he had just gone up that there alley for a quick Jimmy Riddle he’d found himself banged up for burglary with 500 other spurious offenses to be taken into consideration and escorted to a prison cell by a couple of uniformed officers who were slapping each other’s backs for singlehandedly improving Leamington’s clean-up rate over night.
His siblings, his mates, even his 85 year old granny with her dodgy hip and rheumatoid arthritis had taken to the streets of Leamo armed with cheap aerosol’s to protest his innocence on every wall, pavement and fence they could find.
Who was George Davis? That was the question that was rattling around my mind every time I walked past this enticing bit of graffiti. Who was he? What had he not done that he had been accused of doing?
In the end I Googled him. And lo and behold George Davis wasn’t a local lad done wrong by the local constabulary at all but a London mobster who was dodgily convicted for The London Electricity Board Robbery in 1975. He was released a couple of years later as a result of a campaign by supporters who protested his innocence before being later re-imprisoned for armed robberies that he did actually commit. So not so innocent after all.
Which must have been a bit of a kick in the teeth for Roger Daltry and Sham 69 who via T-shirt wearing and song-writing had come out in George’s defence. Stick to rock opera’s, Rog, your wrists are too subtle to divine the true realities of a man’s innocence.
So back to the graffiti of 2010. George Davis Is Innocent? Plainly the graffiti artist hadn’t done his research properly. I’m eagerly awaiting an addendum to the said piece of graffiti that starts with the words “Well, actually, ahem, the thing is...”
Or perhaps this is the first instance of “retro graffiti”. A celebration of famous graffiti from times gone by? Is the wall at the back of Tesco’s car-park going to shimmer with the words “The Juwes are the men who will not be blamed for nothing” sometime in the not too distant future? Or shall I get ahead of the game myself and paint the side of my house with the legend: “Is there intelligent life on earth? Yes, but I'm only visiting”?
Answers painted on a brick wall at the usual address please...