Thursday

Thursday 31/10/2002To the Oxford Arms, Camden, to discuss the state of the IT contract market (dire) with the woefully underemployed Adrian. He's just got a contract doing technical documentation at a fraction of last year's rate, but counts himself lucky.

Thursday 31/10/2002
To the Oxford Arms, Camden, to discuss the state of the IT contract market (dire) with the woefully underemployed Adrian. He's just got a contract doing technical documentation at a fraction of last year's rate, but counts himself lucky. On the way from Camden Road station, my attention is grabbed by a poster on the bus stop. A colourful concoction in Soviet Collectivist style with just a hint of Futurism, it shows a stylised bus trundling over a bridge, lit by the golden rays of late evening. Overhead, four giant eyes hang in the sky like an invading fleet of UFOs, their pupils filled with the London Transport roundel. "SECURE beneath the WATCHFUL EYES" reads the slogan, and an explanatory sentence says "CCTV and Metropolitan Police on buses are just two ways we're making your journey more secure." The whole astonishing affair is signed MAYOR OF LONDON. It's a piece of art beyond anything up for the Turner, whose references to totalitarian propaganda go beyond irony. Is it possible that the designer didn't realise the effect it would have on a nation brought up on 1984? Hardly: I'd like to think that this is a deliberate attempt by whoever produced it to show their own horror and distrust at the underlying implications. Whatever, the poster has provoked equally strong reactions in everyone I've shown it to: a natural for creative reworking. So I say to you, children of the revolution, take up thy digital cameras, thy Photoshop of righteousness and thy mouse of burning gold, and get post-modern on Ken's posterior. If there aren't five decent rip-offs flyposted around the capital by Christmas, we deserve to be called double-ungood. Back in Camden, shaken but resolute, I continue on my journey as four Watchful Eyes of the Met zoom past in a police car. I'm not sure what they were Watching, exactly, but it wasn't the junction ahead: they ploughed straight into a moped, whose rider went skidding across the road. As he came to rest under a CCTV pole, I'm sure he felt very Secure. Very Secure indeed.

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