A Year-Long Duel In Red: Frame By Frame

Street artist Mobstr recently shared a photo story that took place over the course of a year. The artist explained how it came about:
“I cycled past this wall on the way to work for years. I noticed that graffiti painted within the red area was ‘buffed’ with red paint. However, graffiti outside of the red area would be removed via pressure washing. This prompted the start of an experiment. Unlike other works, I was very uncertain as to what results it would yield.”

Below is what transpired over the course of a year. I’m not sure if it was the same council worker called to deal with the graffiti each time, but I sincerely hope it was, and it became personal. I think I may be missing the odd shot, but you will get the gist of the duel.

The battleground:


The duel begins with ‘RED’


Someone else adds graffiti






I’ve somehow missed a photo. Graffiti would have been gone. Then next, helpful instructions on how to deal with each line


50% gone


Polite reminder




Gone. But someone adds to the other side.


That goes. RED is back.


Another artist attempts to make a connection


Council worker is hard of heart


RED back.




Outside the zone




Back to basics


Can’t spray til the paint dries


Another polite reminder


Someone else joins in, and the ‘other side’ artist returns.


The other side is overlooked. Perhaps now Council Worker is consumed wholly by his personal feud


A perfectionist


Pissed off Council Worker now means business




A continual loop


Another joins in


Council worker departs, gleefully rubbing his hands


Final goodbyes



Apocalyptic London

As fog blanketed parts of the country, this amazing photograph was tweeted by passenger Sarah Wells as she flew into London, showing the skyline of our engulfed capital.

“Flew into foggy London. Views are beautiful-this is the Shard and all the towers in the city.”


Like in the pea-soupers of old, the swarming masses below are hidden in cloud and vulnerability.  Stephen King’s The Langoliers comes to mind.

Hopefully everybody was still there when the plane landed.

A Sea Of Red

Here are some striking images of the moat of the Tower Of London, filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies, each one representing a British life lost in the Great War.


I like how they appear to flow down from the castle into a sea of blood.


The name given to this art installation is ‘Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red.’


In this centenary year of remembrance, I think it really is quite effective. Each individual poppy is to be sold to raise money for different charities.



Sometimes, when numbers become, well, just numbers, we need a visual representation to help us appreciate the scale of things. Think of the size of the ocean created if the seas of blood from every, affected, scarred country should run and merge into one.

A Deluge of Doctors

The moment was almost  upon us. After counting down the days, and all the hype, it was now time for the 50th Anniversary special The Day Of The Doctor. I was sat with my unenthusiastic wife Jen, who would rather be watching X Factor. Quarter of an hour to go, trying to wile away the time by browsing my Facebook feed, I learnt that Darren, an old school pal of mine who had moved from oop norf (Manchester) to darn sarf (London), along with his partner Laura, had somehow managed to acquire cheap tickets to watch it in the cinema.

Of course I took the posts personal. Every mention of the Whovians in fancy dress, how he made sure he didn’t sit behind the Sontaran as the massive potato head would obstruct his view. Being offering a jelly baby by a three foot cybermidget.

Consumed with jealousy?

As the clock wound down towards zero hour and my wife Jen sighed and plugged into her ipod?

You bet I was.

I tried to replicate the cinema experience, switching off the light, getting some chocolate, trying to ignore my wife singing along to The Dooleys.  But, then, I learnt that




in 3D.

In complimentary

stupid glasses.

To pass those final, frustrating minutes before the show aired, I decided to swamp his newsfeed with relevant Doctor images.  Just for my own amusement, you know. Maybe the vibration of numerous Facebook notifications would distract from his ogling of a Leela in a loincloth,a Romana in a rah-rah, with a surreptitious glance towards Laura from behind his green and red lenses.

The product of a juvenile mind, I thought that I would share them here with you. I should explain that references such as ‘chips and gravy’, are just a peculiarity of the north-south divide.


Just like your London buses, you wait hours to see a Doctor then five turn up at once.

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Great atmosphere here, even Jen is getting into the swing of things

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Tenth Doctor:”Cheap tickets, for the southerners, to watch in an obscenely comfortable cinema in 3D?”

Eleventh Doctor:”Yes, while those poor commoners oop norf have to watch it sat on the couch, squabling kids around their feet, wives that would rather watch that X Factor rubbish. We must do something timey wimey and wibbly wobbly.”

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“Oi, you Cockneys-take those damn silly glasses off first!”

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“I can barely watch, Pond. No gravy. Chips…without gravy.”

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“Hello my Cockney Darlings! Time to kick some Dalek arse!”

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Darren, when you said you got those tickets cheap, did you bother to read what it actually said on them?

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Yes I know. I’m cool in 3D.



Unravel this one, Jeremy Kyle.

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No Jen-don’t put your earphones back in. Let me run this by you again…

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Darren, you haven’t have you? Laura please check and let us know. Don’t worry, they won’t be in 3D.

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This is just up your street Darren. The London eye, I mean, not the erm, you know…

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With this last photograph posted, I ran out of time. The programme started, and it was ‘fantastic’, to quote the above Doctor. With the mini episode before it-The Night of The Doctor, both Paul McGann’s and Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor were tied up nicely,providing continuity, and I just love how the ‘new Doctor Who’ acknowledges, references, and celebrates its own history.  Has to be important for a show about time travel.

And for a long term fan like me, the surprise appearance, at the end of the episode, of my Doctor, the great Tom Baker, was the icing on the cake.

We only have to wait until Christmas now to see Matt Smith’s regeneration and the new Time Lord on the block.

Darren-what do you mean, you have tickets?

Jen-what do you mean, divorce?

The Legend of Spring Heeled Jack

I love the old legends and stories of this country. Spring Heeled Jack was a sensation back in the 1800’s-showing up all over the show, but is largely forgotten now. I never knew though that his appearances have allegedly continued into modern times.

Stephen Liddell

With Halloween just around the corner I thought I would share with you the legend of Spring Heeled Jack who was once infamous in Victorian times and yet is now largely forgotten.

Early 19th Century London was a spooky and often dangerous place to be after dark and ghosts were often reported to follow and prey on lone travellers, sometimes even assaulting them. Of these the most prominent was The Hammersmith Ghost who seems to have been active for at least 20 years.

It was in this background that Spring Heeled Jack first came to prominence in the London of 1837 when in October of that year, a young girl by the name of Mary Stevens was walking to Lavender Hill where she was working as a servant, after visiting her parents in Battersea. On her way through Clapham Common, a strange figure leapt at her from a dark alley…

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Coffee in the Crypt

When I was in London last week, assailed by waves of caffeine withdrawal, I decided to call for a coffee in the crypt. Don’t worry, this is not the type of dramatic expression of being on my death bed which we blokes normally come out with as soon as we get a headache.

No, rather, it was a visit to St.Martin-in-the-Fields church in Trafalgar Square, which has a cafe downstairs in the, well, crypt.

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And no, before you ask, it wasn’t dead. In fact it was quite busy. A perfect place to find respite from the crowds of the square, where you can get something to eat with ancient tombstones beneath your feet and modern tourists above your head.

When I went into the church itself, there were many people spread out among the pews, sat with their heads face down on top of their arms. At first I thought they were all praying. Then the penny dropped-they were all sleeping. At the root of the church’s ministry is care for the vulnerable and disadvantaged, and these were all homeless people catching up on the sleep I guess they miss out on when out in the cold and inhospitable outside world.

It was impressive. This is how I imagine a church should be.

I had only ever heard of the building before in relation to the many renowned classical concerts that it hosts. I have spotted it on the odd cd that I own.

Outside the church doors is a sculpture by Mike Chapman called ‘Christ Child’, commissioned for the MilleniumAround its base the inscription reads:

In the beginning was the word and the word became flesh and lived among us.

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On top of the stone is a newborn baby, its umbilical cord disappearing into the rock from which it is emerging.

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The contrast of smooth flesh and rough hewn rock.

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Whatever your opinion of Christmas, and of the nativity stories in particular, the sculpture is stunning. It reminded me of this photograph I have seen of the carving of a fetus into rock along a road in Columbia, which I think was done to create awareness about abortion.

photo (31)Stood on that outer porch, I could hear the whisper of Michelangelo:

I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.

The freed Christ Child, the realised vision of the creator, (with a little ‘c’ or capital ‘C’, depending on your perspective), is pretty impressive.

So too is the ministry of this church, begun in the early twentieth century, among the most marginalised members of the community. If ever you find yourself in London go and check out the church yourself.

Maybe grab yourself a coffee down among the dead men.

Snaps and Snippets

Well I had an idea about a post I was going to do on here about my recent trip to London. But everything has gone pear shaped due to me losing most of the photographs that I had taken on my phone.

Damn Gremlins.

Deep breaths.

Nostalgic thoughts of Polaroids.

So, instead, from what I have salvaged, I will just post the shots that I do have along with snippets of conversation heard along the way.

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Boudica hopping on.

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Buckingham Palace

Hi Millie, it’s Dad. I got that photograph of the Queen’s house for you. Was she there? No, she was putting her wheelie bins out around the back”. 

King Charles had a crane with a wooden leg“.

If you don’t like your personal space being invaded, do not go on the tube“.

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From St.Paul’s Cathedral

If you don’t like heights, don’t go up St.Paul’s“.

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Tower Bridge

What do you expect me to do? What do you expect me to do? What do YOU expect ME to do ?” This was a security guy to a tourist on Tower Bridge. The tourist wanted to cross to the other side, but we had to wait as a scene was being shot for a new film-The Gunman . I tried to get the helicopter in the photo that was swooping low, supposedly with police or a marksman or something in it, but guess what? Yes- the phone!!

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Monkeys in the tower.

All I could get on the tv in my room was porn channels. I was looking for the football “. I believed him.

They never knew who disposed of the two Princes in the Tower. And they never knew who Jack the Ripper was either”.

Probably not the same guy in the frame though.

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The White Tower.

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Scaffold Site Memorial

This is the memorial on the scaffold site in the Tower of London, where some private executions took place. Not many took place within the Tower  itself, and among those unfortunates who were awarded such privacy were Henry VIII’s two wives Ann Boleyn and Catherine Howard, along with Lady Jane Grey.(See-he was a sensitive soul). The site was set apart and made a memorial place under orders from Queen Victoria who was deeply moved on visiting it. Behind is the chapel that houses their remains.

I guess the cushion on the sculpture is to catch the severed heads.

Asian tourist:”In the olden days they used to eat fish and chips out of newspaper.”

American tourist:“I envy you for having all of this history.”

British tourist:”I hate it. I’ve always wanted to come here, but it’s the ugliest place I’ve ever seen. In future I will stick with the Isle of Skye“.


Wellington’s Tomb, St.Paul’s.


Nelson’s Tomb.

In St.Paul’s: “You cannot take photographs of the donkeys.”

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Claws for the Weekend:Departure

Today I leave the delights of oop norf  behind me for darn sarf. Which translates as I am leaving Manchester to go down to London again for a few days.

Something tells me those southerners have been tipped off.

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Alas this time there is no Neolithic exhibition for me to get lost in wonder, but going back almost as far, I am meeting up with an old school pal while I am down there. Exorcising old memories and creating new ones.

I don’t get back until Monday, so until then have a great weekend Jackdaw spotters.

See you on the flip side.

London Postscript

“Enough of the birds!” was the title of an earlier post, taken verbatim from my wife’s exasperated refrain.”Enough of the birds! Write about something else!”

Well I feel the same way now about London. After documenting my three day trip and then my return to Wembley, I think I have posted about our capital city now ad nauseam. It is time to settle myself right back into more familiar territory.

Anchor myself once more in the Greater Manchester area.

Get gravy with my chips.

Sorted. Innit?

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But one final thought:

I am not saying the traffic in London is bad, but this local cab driver is able to get an extra  chapter in before he makes the lights.

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A commuter’s Hell.

A bibliophile’s Paradise.

And many hours spent watching the meter in Purgatory in between.

Now-put the meter on. Let’s head north.