Through an alley I leave the relaxed atmosphere on Emiel Braunplein behind me and move on in the direction of ‘t Graffitistraatje. This is actually named het Werregarenstraatje, but as the lady on the recording so eloquently states; Since 1995 this graffiti-dominated alley has been tolerated by the police as a designated graffiti area and so people started calling it ‘t Graffitistraatje. It has evolved into something of the cities public sketchbook. I am really fond of this place and hope to find a lot of street-art related commentary on the pandemic situation. Wow the graffiti activity has clearly grown here! There where already a few small tags and such on the floor but now it’s pretty much covered with them. Lots of information… I walk from the front to the back and back again, searching for corona outcries to only find a few. I did not expect that! Apparently corona is the last thing people want to be thinking or reminded about. Well I don’t blame them. If there has ever been a situation that managed to bore the intire globe out at once, it was definetly this one. But I do find a few outcries. Amongst them are:
- Fuck van Ranst – this is one of the Belgian virologists that explained about the virus and the importance of the safety regulations on the television. He is now in hiding because he is actually threatened with his life for this. - Covid still can’t kill the beat – that is of course only true if you don’t count the heartbeat. - Some ‘sun’like shapes, that remind me a lot of the images they show of the virus in the media - Normal written everywhere – I might be wrong about this being a corona tag, but if there was one indoctrination the governments was very hard trying to sell us during this crisis, it is that this is all the new “normal”. Bleh!
At the end of the alley a girl is spraying a new piece. A flock of spectators has gathered around her. As I proceed back to the front I hear a man playing the blues on a guitar. Although there are always some people hanging out in this alley, today nobody seems to be in a hurry and the atmosphere is nothing short of great!
Two months later
I decide to visit the alley once more. I am curious if much has changed since my last visit. The first thing I notice is that the graffiti, under the statement ‘Fuck van Ranst’, has been sprayed over. And not necessarily by a better piece, but that’s just how this alley works. They did take care to make sure that they leave the statement alone though. Apparently the author of that remark stands not alone in his conviction. Today the alley is less of a hang out place and some of the tourists, although locals, seem to be back to be making pictures of the scenery. At the end of the alley a men plays jazz on the saxophone. I take a moment to enjoy the music he is playing before I proceed on my way to the Rodetorenkaai.