Thursday, November 20, 2008

There's nothing unusual about this photo. In fact, there are probably hundreds of thousands of snapshots of this mural - that's the power of New York!!! But I'm drawn to this image for three reasons.

Firstly, Joe Strummer (John Graham Mellor) was an influence in my life and I appreciate that someone went to the trouble to memorialize him in this way.

Secondly, it reminds me of the kind of love/hate relationship I have with New York. In fact, this particular spot across from needle park holds memories for me (both good and bad). I even recall seeing this when it was first put up, and it's still there, which is kind of amazing. Eventually it will be gone, and this and the other million images of it will live on as part of its legacy. And of Joe's. (And I think that the idea of how we connect ourselves with works of art is really important, but that's a pHD paper that someone else is going to have to write / has probably already written many times before).

But beyond that, beyond my personal interests, it just kind of says "punk" to me. It's kind of trashy, but with a message. It has attitude. It's half of this and half of that, but certainly centered, or should I say more like something along the lines of being self-consciously grounded. It's not perfect, but it's in your face. It has presence, even if that presence is a little bit rough around the edges... it has grime!

And it's kind of universal. This could have been taken in London or Glasgow or Munich or Paris or even Anchorage, Alaska. Or maybe even New York City.

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