For as long as I can remember, the railway bridge over the M57 at Switch Island was adorned with the graffiti “THE PIES, THE PIES”, in 6ft-high letters, over the north-bound carriageway. I’m sure the comma was there, although I may be imagining it; I don’t think punctuation would be foremost in my mind as I teetered, paint brush in hand, over the middle lane.
Anyway, it became my all-time favourite graffiti, boasting a dream combination of meaninglessness and longevity. The only other one that came close was the slogan painted on a wall at the bottom of John Dobson Street in Newcastle upon Tyne, of which my wife and I were espcially fond: “Tyneside 90% Latvian”.
And then, disaster struck! They repainted the bridge and replaced the graffiti of the gods with one of those bloody GOURANGA stickers. For what seemed like an age, it appeared that those wondrous days were gone forever.
Until, that is, a renewed assault was made on the bridge: see right. This one is just a single “The Pies”, lacking the soporific rhythm of the original, but then an exact replica might have been seen by some as disrespectful. Instead, we have a glimmer of a golden era, surely left by the hand of Zeus, and with which no mortal man should interfere. Taking this picture with my camera-phone whilst doing 85mph, I felt a tiny frisson of that same adrenalin rush that must have driven the artist to commit the act itself. Actually, maybe it was just a bit of flatulence.
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