Oct 172014

In the third of a controversial 52 part series Duncan Harley and Janice Catto take cognisance of the political comments on a wall near you.

gun batterypenisOverall, Pantsy got our vote for originality at Innes Links. The laid back graphic style and the hands in pocket relaxed stance suggested a ‘devil may care’ attitude to life, universe and authority. We like that.

We consider his work to be precise and accurate. Many of his contemporaries place quaint pro or anti homophobic rudeness and fuzzy sexual innuendo foremost. That in our view can often be a misleading mistake.

After all, those who want to make it big in the art world might do best to embrace a more gentle and polite art style in order to attract establishment patronage.

Scot’s artists such as James Pittendrigh Macgillivray embraced sculpture in such a way and, as far as we know, declined to leave even a skid-mark on Victorian loo walls.

Born in 1856, Pittendrigh trained in Glasgow under, amongst others, William Brodie from Banff and early on in his career produced exquisite busts of the ‘Glasgow Boy’ painter Joseph Crawhall and philosopher Thomas Carlyle.

His later work achieved national fame and includes Edinburgh’s Gladstone Monument, the David Livingstone statue in Glasgow and the statue of the scandalous reprobate Lord Byron in Aberdeen. Seemingly he inscribed his signature on the back of each work using the pseudonym ‘Pittendrigh‘.

Pantsy has no such hidden agenda which is more than can be said for his nemeses, pre-pubescent wall artist Giant Master Wullie.

Body parts-wise, Giant Master Wullie’s work is almost equal to that of several reviled toilet penis artists. Three Balls McGinty springs to mind immediately.

The triple testicular’d toilet artist’s work can be viewed in most male loo’s near you and is replete with comments such as “WANK IF YOU LIKE ME” and “ROGER NEEDS A SCREW CALL 0122464*97600, ASK FOR JOE or FRANCIE the DOG.”

Wullie’s work however is on a different level. With a blue hospital plastic gloved grip, his Innes Links graphic is slightly short penis wise.

According to a recent survey, the average erect penis in the UK is over 5.2” long as measured from tip to scrotum. Mind you, that may not include folk under 17 or recent immigrants.

However, Wullie’s graphic is worthy of note due to the surrounding text.

“MOYSER MISTER”, “MICKEY MIGER” and “BAZOG” have all left comments.

Moyser says “I LIKE COCK”, Bazog comments “SPLAT” while Mickey Miger’s comment “DICKHEAD” suggests that he is into detective novels and portrait painting.

We all like cock.

As for splat, the jury is still out.

Yours creatively, Duncan and Janice

Next week in the Voice we will be looking at the work of some west coast wall artists who by default have made friends with a horde of bats.

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Oct 102014

pantsy graffitti3 by duncan HarleyDuncan Harley and Janice Catto take cognisance of the political comments on a wall near you.

As part of our ongoing research we went off to Moray recently in the hope of meeting the artist known as Pantsy, a post-pubescent master of public wall art. A bag full of aerosols plus some cardboard stencils do not a painter make but in truth Pantsy is the biscuit.

Innes Links hosts a healthy population of red squirrels, a good few Comma butterflies and boasts a quite stunningly intact 1940’s vintage coastal gun battery facing out to sea in the direction of far off Norway.

We Scots love Norway, honest injuns, but in the dark distant days of 1940 there were paranoid fears that the Scottish coastline offered an easy landing place for Hitler’s troops.

If there had been comments on a loo wall near you in 1940, they would no doubt have read “NORWAY SUCKS –NO MORE BOMBERS PLEASE” and “FUCK HITLER UP HIS ARSE.”

Norway of course had been invaded by the German army and was now a base for the Luftwaffe bomber crews.

Bad hair days indeed.

The Innes Links Battery near Lossie nowadays features a couple of gun emplacements, two searchlight casements plus a small coastal rangefinder housing.

There are the obligatory latrines, an ammunition bunker or two, some slit trenches plus a few thousand anti invasion blocks. All were manufactured by Polish refugee troops employed as forced labour by a local building company awarded the contract for General Ironside’s 1940 anti invasion plan defences.

No invasion came by sea and the Innes Links Battery never fired a shot in anger. Hitler’s bombers however, crewed by the nice young men of the Luftwaffe, roamed the skies over the Aberdeenshire and Moray coastline killing at will for several years until it became clear that the dice were rolling against them.

In the true spirit of humanity, the coastal battery has latterly been put to new use as a place for folk to party, BBQ and have a few beers. The bland exterior of concrete painted camouflaged brown, cream and green has long faded but Pantsy and his mates have added a few pieces of colourful art to brighten up the somewhat outdated 1940’s interior décor.

Broken glass litters the embankment and the raised shingle beach hides urine filled overlapping pillboxes every 600 yards or so.  A blue abandoned sleeping bag sits facing seawards among the thistles alongside a toppled line of anti-tank defences painted with the words “The Unknown.”

Facing out to sea there are a few additional words in Polish which I am reliably informed criticise Winston Churchill for exploiting his Polish allies:

“Dlaczego kurwa tutaj przyjechaliśmy by bronić Polskę i pomóc Churchillowi, skoro jedyne co teraz robimy to mieszamy beton dla tych Brytyjskich drani.”

No tanks ever came ashore here although Pantsy invaded from somewhere inland in 2009.

His major work here is a devil horned black suited figure on the back wall of Battery “B”.
The gun, a first war 18 pounder salvaged from a scrapped Ironclad, is long gone of course, having been itself scrapped in 1946, however the implication of the artists mural is obviously “don’t mess wi’ us pal!”

Somewhat oddly, the neighbouring concrete gun batteries are more or less artless.

Battery “A” sports a banal white painted “SPLAT” alongside the faded instruction to  “CHECK WITH HQ S12B BEFORE FIRING” while the rangefinder housing has the words “SHIT HAPPENS HERE” sprayed on the back wall alongside a three testicled penis.

The searchlight positions, and there are two of these, are similarly bereft. No one has so far gone to the length of even a “Mo Mo was here” statement. Perhaps true graffiti needs hidden makars.

Overall, Pantsy gets our vote for originality here since his work is precise and without equal amongst the Innes Links collection. Efforts to track him down have so far failed although, as always, our spies are out.

Next week we will take a look at Pantsy’s nemeses, pre-pubescent Giant Master Wullie.

Yours creatively, Duncan and Janice

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Oct 032014

River Don Inverurie by Duncan HarleyIn the first of a controversial 52 part series Duncan Harley and Janice Catto take cognisance of the political comments on a wall near you.

Wiki says that graffiti is:

“writing or drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface, often in a public place. Graffiti ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings.”

“The underlying social and political messages are often ignored and controversies regarding the art form create disagreement amongst city cleansing officials and writers who wish to display and appreciate work in public locations.”

“There are many different types and styles of graffiti and it is a rapidly developing art form whose value is highly contested and reviled by many authorities while also subject to protection, sometimes within the same jurisdiction.”

Be that as it may.

Today we took a walk along the Don to Inverurie’s abandoned Ardtannes Mill.

Mo Mo was seemingly here a few months ago, as was Super Ned. We last saw Mo Mo’s work two years ago in Kellands Park. At that time he advised that ‘Mo Mo is fat’ and to the best of our knowledge that was indeed true.

His spray technique leaves little to the imagination and his statements are orange/brown with a stark signature reading ‘Mo Mo likes to be fat, how about you’.

Our spies are out but to date little is currently known about Mo Mo apart from the above although he has a deft hand with a spray gun.

With statements such as ‘Better to have a short life doing things you want than to live a long life in a miserable way’ and ‘Plop’, who could disagree.

However, In a moment of inebriated philosophical humour, Mo Mo’s rival Super Neds writes ‘Fuck Israel’ and advises that ‘good girls go to heaven.’

We, of course, are sure that they do in both cases.

Next week in the Voice we will be looking at the work of Pantsy and his comments on the life and times of north east history with particular relevance to the life and times of creative walls near you.

Yours creatively, Duncan and Janice

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[Aberdeen Voice accepts and welcomes contributions from all sides/angles pertaining to any issue. Views and opinions expressed in any article are entirely those of the writer/contributor, and inclusion in our publication does not constitute support or endorsement of these by Aberdeen Voice as an organisation or any of its team members.]

Aug 272013

battery rangefinder innes links duncan harley_1Duncan Harley reflects on the art of street protest.

Belfast remains a sectarian mess. Hatred of the folk next door or over the road, plus a sense of outdated history divides folk who might otherwise be best of friends given the need for a simple cup of sugar. The religious divide may be just a smokescreen for something deeper though.

I well remember an interview with a Serbian who had thrown an old man off a bridge in the “Safe haven” of Sarajevo during the multi-ethnic Bosnian War of the 1990’s. Asked why he had murdered the man he said quite simply that in around 1637 there had been a conflict in which the man’s family had done something similar.

The so called peace walls are a stark reminder of the divide. Belfast has quite a few of these. Symbols of division and hatred, they are reminiscent of the Berlin Wall and the 230 mile long, six metre high wall topped with barbed wire lined with guard towers which the Israelis have constructed in the West Bank. The walls say much about the intolerance of those who rule towards those who are ruled and speak volumes about the state of Israel, Ireland and the UK.

Banksy’s feelings about such barrier’s are made explicit in a statement which says the wall “essentially turns Palestine into the world’s largest open prison.” Many including the Moray street artist Pantsy wholeheartedly agree. In a rare interview the reclusive Pantsy echoed the sentiments of his mentor.

We met at the Innes Links on the coast midway between the Moray village of Kingston and the township of Lossiemouth. Innes Links for those not in the know is a party place with some attitude. During the 1940’s it was a focus for the defence of the realm. In those dark days there were quite justified fears that the Moray coastline was the soft underbelly of Scotland.

Norway had been invaded by the German’s and with air raids over Moray and Aberdeenshire a daily menace it seemed logical to expect invasion from the sea. Nowadays however the coastal defensive structures are a mecca for those intent on a few beers and a wee barbeque.

The Innes battery ( pictured above ) features a couple of gun emplacements, a couple of searchlight casements plus a rangefinder housing. There are the obligatory latrines plus a few thousand anti invasion blocks manufactured by Polish troops employed as forced labour by a local building company who got the contract for General Ironside’s anti invasion plan.

pantsy graffitti Innes Duncan HarleyPantsy has added a few pieces of his art to brighten up the somewhat outdated 1940’s décor of the Innes Links Battery.

In fact his spray paintings put to shame those who like the anonymous “FU” reflects “Mo Mo is fat”.

Pantsy told me “My art is simply a reflection of what humanity does to the underdogs and I don’t need to defend it”.

I asked if he was expressing something deeper.

The response came fast and sharp.

“Keith lads suck, Lossie lads are much better, in fact ten times as good, maybe even more. Try them at darts is all I can say. But I’m not sure.”

When further questioned Pantsy revealed his Irish heritage.

He told me of his grandparent’s experiences during the Irish rebellion of 1916. How those patriots were mistreated by the Black and Tans. How the ordinary folk of that island, were mistreated. How the folk in his country were vilified by a war torn Britain who only saw the rebellion as a treason in the face of the common enemy who threatened death and destruction from the air, land and sea.

Seemingly his great uncle was murdered by the men of the Staffordshire Regiment and a cousin far removed met a similar fate in rural Cork.

It’s really no great surprise though that the Irish needed their independence. There had been the British indifference after the harvests failed and folk in the south began to starve.  There had been the issues of the setting up of a general election set up by the British authorities in 1918 where 70% of the voters decided to support candidates pledged to abstain from the ties of English authority but were ignored.

There had also been the issues of Easter 1916 when a “terrible beauty was born” and many good Irish folk died by shooting and hanging in the cause of shedding the yoke of an oppressive and often uncaring ruling elite.

Tom Barry wrote in “Guerrilla Days in Ireland” about those dark but somehow progressive days. Tom was Commandant General of the West Cork flying column and in his early career was pitted against the combined might of the British Army in the days just after the first war to end all wars.

People like Major Percival and Montgomery were on his hit list.

orkney 205 italian chapel

The first, who was later to surrender his entire army to the mercy of the Japanese in Singapore, due to his extreme anti-Irish attitude and encouragement of torture. The second because of the man’s habit of allowing his troops free reign to murder and pillage at will.

Percival survived the assassination attempt seemingly due to his habit of raiding and murdering IRA sympathisers at random, he was out on a raid on the night in question it seems.

Montgomery simply went to tea with a new mistress on the night in question thus avoiding the assassin’s bullet.

One ended up as a prisoner of the Japanese and the other ended up as the heroic general who led his troops to victory in the Western Desert at El Alemain.

After Montgomery’s desert victory, there were many prisoners a number of whom were brought back to the UK to live out the rest of the war in captivity. The Italians were the most numerous. Their leader Mussolini had neglected to provide them with much transport and their German allies stole what was left forcing most of the Italian desert troops to surrender at the first opportunity.

orkney 205 italian chapel

Out of over one hundred thousand Italians who surrendered in 1942, around 1300 were sent to Orkney and housed in three prisoner of war camps tasked with building the Churchill Barriers following the disastrous sinking of the HMS Royal Oak in Scapa Flow by the U 47.

From the desert heat and water issues they then faced the freezing winds and belting sleet of an Orcadian winter.

This beautiful chapel is their legacy.

Built using found materials and the parts from two Nissan Huts it survives to this day as a memorial to the spirit and resourcefulness of the people of Italy in the face of the defeat of Fascism.

If Tom Barry had succeeded in the assassination of General Montgomery then in all probability this chapel would not exist.

Now there’s a thought.

With grateful thanks to Wm Yeats, Pantsy and Tom Barry without whose help this article could not have been written.

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