Friday, January 22, 2010

George Davis Is Innocent

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”?

Hmm.

Answers painted on a brick wall at the usual address please...


33 comments:

Rol said...

You still have more cultured graffiti artists than the ones round here. All they can manage is "I Love Biscuit Sandwiches". I still don't know what that's all about.

Steve said...

Rol: biscuit sandwiches...? Ah, the dessert that accompanies Pot Noodle sandwiches (for the main) and Heinz tomato soup sandwiches (for the starter)... Much better for you that the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall alternative: badger stuffed with stoat sandwiches served with ganache of sheep intestine.

ArtSparker said...

Words of the prophets, dude.

Steve said...

ArtSparker: I hope not. Some graffiti around the corner from me proclaims that "Michelle Is A Fat Slag". That's not a great destiny to aspire to.

French Fancy said...

You seldom see graffiti around here - which makes it all the more striking when you do. There are militant Bretons (a bit like Welsh and Cornish nationalists) who want separation from France and they put various slogans around the place - but only now and then.

Steve said...

FF: give me graffiti that is passionate any day of the week over the petty "Kilroy was here" or "phone xxxxx for a good time" kind (nobody ever answers those numbers anyway)...!

Löst Jimmy said...

At least that graffiti has a bit of social history background, the stuff round the back of the factory here would make a grown man's hair curl. I am actually amazed that someone would take the time to plaster a wall in 3 foot high letters boasting about the size and capability of their tackle. Then again I keep thinking if you had a 12" cock why not boast publicly?
I was going to end this comment about the anatomical braggart graffiti with a quip along the lines, does anyone here know how to get spray paint off their hands?

Steve said...

Löst Jimmy: in my extensive experience turps always works a treat...! ;-)

Gypsy said...

I was going to comment on the actual post but was so rivetted by the hilarious comments (yours and everyone elses) that I forgot what I was going to say.

A biscuit sandwich Rol? I now have to go and buy a packet of biscuits just so I can put that mental image to bed.

Btw Steve....it is nice that there is intelligent life here even if they are only visiting :)

Steve said...

Gypsy: as long as they contribute to the gene pool (with our permission) they're very welcome. Maybe we could bribe them to stay longer with biscuit sandwiches...?

Tenon_Saw said...

FREE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, he's innocent = one from years ago.

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: I must admit you've lost me on that one!

Gina said...

We had snow graffiti here a few weeks back - people pacing stuff out on the field. Can't think what it said but it was accompanied by snow penis sculptures and the like so I think it was of a sexual nature and lost on innocent old me.

Steve said...

Gina: are you sure those "penis scultpures" weren't just badly built snowmen...? ;-)

Suburbia said...

We have BANKSY here, so there's no competition really!

Steve said...

Suburbia: I'm not worthy!

The Sagittarian said...

We don't seem to get readable graffitti, other than the usual "so and so is a w**r"...you must live in a highbrow area afterall eh?

Steve said...

Amanda: it's true that all the best thieves around here wear monocles and bowler hats...

English Rider said...

I vote for a retro graffiti wave rolling over us. The most succinct and original graffiti I ever saw was anti-royalist. I do not agree with the sentiment but "Stuff Corgis!" remains brilliant in my mind.

Steve said...

English Rider: you know, it may have been a disgruntled taxidermist touting for business...

Owen said...

What fun it is to try to unravel some of life's little mysteries ! Was even able to find a picture of a similar graffiti thanks to Google... How did we ever survive as children without Google ? So, you won't even have to go to Somalia to commit armed robbery, you can do it alot closer to home... and probably alot more folks in England will believe in your innocence than in Somalia if you get caught...

Steve said...

Owen: absolutely, and Roger Daltry will wear a t-shirt with my name emblazoned across it!

On second thoughts, I might just get me a slow boat to Somalia...

English Rider said...

I knew that you wouldn't be able to resist the taxidermist point of view!

The Crow said...

Love the idea of retro graffiti. I'll have to try to remember some from the old neighborhood.

Have enjoyed the repartee very much!

:)

Steve said...

English Rider: it's the smell of sawdust that does it for me...

The Crow: I think perhaps the repartee is better than the post...

Ros said...

i live on george street. walk past that graffiti every day.

Steve said...

Ros: it certainly draws the eye doesn't it... but thankfully not as badly as the big graffiti penis that appeared on a tree half way along Brunswick Street sometime last year...!

Anonymous said...

A - R - S - E - H - O - L - E.

YOU KNOW FUCK ALL.

Anonymous said...

You know fuck all - you green horne you had to look it all up on wikipedia - you're a sprog still covered in provincial bum fluff. You're probably still wearing napkins. Maybe you're a peado patrol leader. Goerge Davis? If you'd a been around the East End you'd have been blown away you nitwit. Don't forget to approve this one dick head.

Steve said...

"Anonymous":

No 1) It's greenhorn not green horne.

No. 2) I'm in my 40's and have worked all my life and paid for my own education because student loans and grants weren't an option. I owe nobody anything least of all you.

No. 3) I did look it up on-line for the simple reason the "great days" of the East End blaggers are over. The "sprog" gangs now rule with their shooters and their Nikes. Personally I think that a retrograde step but there you go.

No.4) I doubt very much I'd've been "blown away" - possibly given a slap - but that would have been it. You're plainly living in some sort of fantasy land where you consider yourself an old "face".

No.5) Don't bother leaving anymore comments. At the end of the day this is my Blog and I'll write what the hell I like and not you, the law, or the Government will ever tell me what I can or cannot write. Basic rights of an Englishman right there, old son. Anymore comments from you will be deleted before they ever go live. Save your time and money and go and do something else. Either an anger management course or, if you think you know so much about the East End crime world, why not write a book about it? They're currently very fashionable - just look at Jake Arnott - and I guarantee it will be the only way you will ever make a killing.

No.6) Lastly - and this isn't meant to insult you or wind you up further - but if you were genuinely offended by this post then you have real self esteem problems. Unless you really are George Davis or a relation I can't see what you're problem with it is. My biggest beef was with the grafitti artist.

It's a nice day out there. Why not lose some of the anger and allow yourself to enjoy it.

Goodbye. I guarantee we won't be "talking" again.

Steve said...

Addendum: The Krays, George Davis, Harry Starks & Me.

French Fancy said...

I wonder if this is the 'anon' who told me 'to get over myself' a while back. How cowardly people are

(runs away)

Steve said...

FF: I suspect that Anon is a composite made up of all the cowardly, bigoted, snide people who exist in the world. They can always be relied upon to air their nonsensical views but never to put a name to them.