A common man marvels at uncommon things. A wise man marvels at the commonplace. CONFUCIUS

Friday, 25 February 2011


I've long been an admirer of graffiti - not the dumb stuff, but the clever stuff which inspires you, and makes you think and smile. (The more popular Spanish Caminos are peppered with spiritual and political graffiti - in autopista underpasses, at pilgrim picnic-places, in suburban edgelands.) Here are some of the wittiest graffiti I've collected over the years.

Absolute zero is cool.

OK, so I'm cured of schizophrenia, but where am I now when I need me?

Not enough is being done for the apathetic.

I couldn't care less about apathy.

Sycophancy rules - if it's OK by you.

Is a lady barrister without briefs a solicitor?

I bet I could stop you gambling.

Fucque Braque.

Bread is the staff of life. Toast a decadent capitalist luxury.

I thought cirrhosis was a type of cloud, until I discovered Smirnoff.

Descartes thought he was here.

Sceptics may or may not rule, OK.

Constipation is the thief of time. Diarrhoea waits for no man.

Do you have a drink problem? Yes, I can't afford it.

Easter is cancelled this year. They've found the body.

Graffiti should be obscene and not heard.

I used to think Fellatio was a character in Hamlet until I discovered Smirnoff.

If you feel strongly about graffiti, sign a partition.

Halitosis is better than no breath at all.

What do you have in common with your husband? We were both married on the same day.

Life is a sexually transmitted disease.

Norman Mailer is the master of the single entendre.

One thing about masturbation - you don't have to look your best.

Monogamy leaves a lot to be desired.

Just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Help your local police force - beat yourself up.

How do you tell the sex of a chromosome? By taking down its genes.

It begins when you sink into his arms; and ends with your arms in the sink.

Sterility is hereditary.

Suicide is the most sincere form of self-criticism.

(Acknowledgements to Nigel Rees and his book Graffiti 2)


Friko said...

I too love graffiti, I even like the pictures on hoardings. They brighten miserably boring derelict town centres up no end.

What I like best of all are the scribblings on the walls of women's loos, there are some real gems there.

The Solitary Walker said...

Friko - tell me more!

Matt said...

I thought that said "Gaddafi" first time round! Must be reading too much news.

The Solitary Walker said...

Tonight, and only for tonight, this is a Gaddafi-free zone, Matt!

Amanda said...

wow - some of these are brilliant!

one of my all time favorite sayings scratched on a bathroom wall:

To do is to be -- Descartes
To be is to do -- Sartre
Doo, bee, doo, bee, doo -- Sinatra

The Solitary Walker said...

Love it, Amanda! Another Descartes-related graffito: 'I'm pink, therefore I'm spam!'

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

I remember one 'guerilla' graffiti scribbled by presumably disgruntled IBM employees years ago who would deface the company's trademark "Think" posters by scribbling next to that solemn imperative or thwim!.

Warning: people with lithpth may not get it.

The Solitary Walker said...

thertainly amusing, Lorenzo ..!

Lorenzo — Alchemist's Pillow said...

Hey, Robert, from what Friko and Amanda say, I think the ladies make for much more creative graffiti artists than the gents. I don't know if your experience is similar to mine, but I long ago concluded that reading the type of wretched scrawlings that tend to deface the walls in the mens' loos is one sure way of losing all hope for humanity.

The Solitary Walker said...

Though I did read one once, Lorenzo, in some backstreet Birmingham convenience, which said: 'Disembowelling takes some guts'. Creepy. Never went back there.

The Weaver of Grass said...

They made me laugh Robert. The toast one also made me think of a thing I read in the Times today where Caitlin Moran was talking about Posh Beckham and how thin she was. Apparently Posh says she has a good appetite and her favourite food is toast and salt.!!

The Solitary Walker said...

Pat - !!! (Err, and she wonders why she's got a sore throat?)

Vivien said...

I saw a good graffito in Oxford a few years ago, written in chalk:
"Theology rules OK".

call me any name said...

Great stuff! I am a real graffiti fan, too.
This site can amuse me for hours:


Luiza said...

Thanks for the smiles Robert.

Ruth said...

My problem is I can't remember this stuff. How do you remember them, Robert? Do you have a tiny notebook you carry on treks?

I like the lady barrister one, Robert. I like Amanda's too. And your pink spam one.

There goethz Lorenzo going all Cathtilian on uth again.

Anonymous said...

I hope you weren't recording in your notebook in the public convenience in Brum!

The graffiti on the Camino Levante in Spain was fascinating. Few pilgrims, so no pilgrim related stuff. Plenty for and against immigration and fascism - "Contra el Facismo, la luche sigue".

Climbing down the road into Toledo, where the Tour de Espana had just been. The road covered in !Vengas!

And then the difficult day, on the outskirts of a pueblo with no one around at all, when all the graffiti, including the yellow arrows, had been whitewashed. I was glad of my compass!


The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for your comments, Vivien, call me any name and Luiza.

Ruth - you've guessed it - I've kept notebooks for as long as I can remember in which I jot down bits and pieces I've heard and read, resonant quotations from books and newspapers, and ... graffiti. (Though most of the graffiti quoted above comes from the book I mentioned.) One of the best and most inspiring examples of graffiti on the Camino is simply: 'Ultreia!' (Difficult to explain what this means quickly - see my post on this by searching under LABELS.)

Andy - whitewashing the yellow arrows? Surely that must be a sacrilegious offence, answerable only to the Spanish Inquisition?

A little artistic graffiti can certainly brighten up some boring concrete underpass, that's for sure ...

Judith said...

Ok, that made me snort into my coffee. Thanks for the laughs.

The Solitary Walker said...

Thanks for reading, Judith. And snort away!